Easy Keeper and Hard Keeper together
I moved to SC and had my hard keeper with me, but the horse property we bought came with a pony. She and my horse are instant pals and love to be together. However, she is FAT. FAT FAT FAT. I try to offer free choice hay, but I'm afraid she's too fat for that, but the hard keeper will just waste away without it. I have them on the pasture now, which has it's own problems I'm trying to combat, so I bought a grazing muzzle for her (she hates it but can't get it off and still manages to eat food). I give probiotics, hoof concentrate, and coat conditioner suppliments with oats and feed for my hard keeper. For her, I've been trying to only give a handful of oats with all the dressings, but often she'll finish hers and rush off to finish his, so I have to stand out there and block her from his feed. I used to gyp them and ride a bit daily when the kids were in school (I got her in April, and she was fat then), but now I'm running around to every kid's activities and she's just fat and not exercising much this month until the kids go to camp next month. How much hay should I feed her?? I take them off the pasture after 6 hours of grazing and put them in a paddock because the pasture is FULL of clover, and they get the slobbers if they're on it too long (still working on fixing the pasture ...). SO ... she goes on pasture for 6 hours with a grazing muzzle, and she gets the suppliments with a few ounces of oats, and then how much hay should I give her? She's a 13.5 hh Welsh/Arab mix, and I don't have weight tape, but I would say she's a body condition of 8.5, maybe 9. She's chubby-ubby, but not lazy. The hay I have is Fescue/Coastal mix. I just purchased a mailing scale to weigh hay and grain, so I am trying to be precise. Any help would be appreciated. I'm worried she will founder if she stays this way! I plan on riding her or at least gypping her daily when I get a more relaxed schedule.
I've leave her up and not let her graze at all is she's an 8-9. I haven't ever seen a grazing muzzle that a smart pony couldn't work around and eat just as much as without one. Another option would be to get some panels and just give her a small area to graze everyday. It's work because you'll need to move them constantly as she eats one area down. Let her out of jail for just 30 mins if that's too cruel but she does not need 6 hours of grazing lush pasture.
She doesn't need to same quality of hay the other horse needs either. Buy her a lesser quality, more mature, more stemmy hay that is just her's. She only needs about 10Mcals per day or the equivalent of 10# grass hay. That's nothing! She probably exceedes that just in grazing. You have to come up with a way to get extra feed into him and only him. They won't die is you have to separate them. Her pacing the fenceline is one easy way to get some exercise. I have an aged OTTB in a pasture with drafts and draftXs. The only way to keep him in any condition is to dry lot him about 2 hours a day with alfalfa and senior feed. He eats until he's full, than he goes back out.
Should I just cut out all suppliments and feed her a Ration Balancer? We kind of live in middle of No and Where but there is a little feed store pretty close that sells Bartlett All Phase. If I cut out all her suppliments (except maybe the hoof, because she has white hooves and I'm worried they aren't very strong and probably the probiotics, too). I've only been putting about 2-6 ounces of oats with her dressings, but I suppose I should cut that out. Would the RB be better?
I've never had a pony or an easy keeper, so this is challenging for me. I plan to ride her daily when the kids go to camp and again when they are in school, but that means less time with my Appendix, but I think she needs the exercise more than he does. Probably just long walks at first? I go jogging on a trail in the morning ... should I bring her along on a lead rope and make her go with me? That would be so weird ... but I'm willing to do almost anything to prevent founder. How long will it take her to lose weight?
I would definitely cut out the probiotics - she doesn't need any extra "help" digesting her food and getting more out of it, obviously! White hooves aren't any weaker, that's a myth, so if that is the ONLY reason you have her on the hoof supplement, then there is no reason to keep her on it. Out of the 9 horses on my property, 4 have all white hooves, and 3 have some white hooves, and all my horses are kept barefoot and have completely sound and solid feet. I would cut out all the oats, and I personally wouldn't replace it with an RB, she doesn't need it. Hay only.
Letting her graze on lush pasture, with her weight already being a big problem, IS inviting founder. I would keep her in the paddock with just her small amount of hay. If that feels too mean, invest in a really well fitting grazing muzzle for when she is on pasture, if the one you have doesn't fit well enough they can still be getting too much gazing. Make sure it's the kind with a rubber end and just a small hole in the bottom.
I would either use (or create, if you don't have one) an area to feed your hard keeper separately. I have one particularly hard keeper in with my herd of fatties - my hard keeper and other horses that get grained come into the barn and are shut in their stalls to get their feed, and put back out after they finish. Neither of my two easiest keepers ever get a bite of anything but hay or pasture. My gelding was dangerously obese when I got him - you can see on my avatar that he is finally in good shape, and that is after 2 years of consistent dieting, muzzling, and regular work.
Obviously being able to ride her or work her more is going to help this process, but I can sure understand the time constraints with children as well.
Easy/hard keeper together
Thanks for your insight and wisdom.
Pics of my easy keeper
Here are pics to help out. You can see her CRESTY neck!
Okay, she's 850 lbs (based on the cowboy calculations heartgirthxheartgirthxlength/300+50.
Thanks for all who emailed. She is 13.3 hh (55 inches).
Okay, based on THAT, how much weight does she need to lose? I am thinking 150 or 200 lbs. Would that be right?
150 might be a fair guess. I have a 53" gelding the vet said was in perfect weight at approx. 500-550 lbs, but he's a very light boned little hackney pony. Rather than focusing on numbers, though, just start approaching weight loss with a goal of being at a healthy weight, numbers can be deceiving. :lol: To be honest, while she is heavy for her frame, she doesn't look as bad as I was expecting! lol
She's a cutie!
While she is fat, she's nowhere near as bad as my mini was when we got her. As soon as she arrived she was put on a pretty extreme diet, of literally 2 flakes of hay a day and nothing else. She was in a paddock that had grass, but very little of it. And during her weight loss she did founder, but we caught it early and the vet said if she hadn't already lost some weight she would have died. Now i'm happy to say we have a healthy weighted 37" miniature who is allowed to eat grass again :) -but still is not allowed 24/7 out in a paddock.
Hay is not as fattening as grass is, but still makes them feel full while being able to lose weight, so my guess would be that so long as she has hay and possibly a mineral block (if you take her off grass completely like I did to Gemma) then she should be alright. It's now 3 years since we first got Gemma and she went from hugely obese/should have died, to healthy/rideable (ridden by my 7yo sister, not me)
Thank you Holly and Indy - you're information has been great and gives me confidence that I can help Dixie lose weight and not founder. I will for sure keep her on a diet and be sure to exercise her more once my kids go to camp, but I'll try to get her into the arena and make her trot around for 20-30 min after dinner at night. Or if worse comes to worse, I'll make her go jogging with me in the morning. How funny would THAT be? I wonder if she would do it ...? I will keep you all updated on the progress! Hay only!
Yes, please keep us updated, and happy to help! :D
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