Conditioning the underweight horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-16-2009, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Conditioning the underweight horse?

Mods, I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this - it's specifically about riding but not a certain discipline...I thought it was more health related so I'm starting here!

ANYwho! My new boy is coming home in 2 weeks!! Can't hardly wait... He was in a less-than-perfect situation this past spring and lost quite a bit of weight. He's with another person now, and she's been bringing him back to where he should be with his feed. Her riding time is very limited, though, so he hasn't too much of that.

He still needs to put on more weight, and I'm wondering about how much exercise he should have? On the one hand, I see some light workouts as helping to build muscle, but on the other hand I don't want to feel like I'm doing too much if he's not 100%. I've never dealt with this type of thing before so it's new to me.

He's not in an emaciated state where he's weak and his life is at stake - nothing that drastic! But his hips still stick out and some ribs show, and of course the muscle in his hindquarters is lacking.

Any suggestions for a general routine, like a "start with 'x' and work up to 'y' ?
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-16-2009, 10:23 PM
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im kind of in the same boat, my horse isnt underweight but hes had about 2 months off and now he needs conditioning (which i cant give him til in find a barn with an indoor) to bring up his muscle tone
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-16-2009, 11:07 PM
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The new issue of Equus said that horses will condition just as well on being on turn out 24/7 as being ridden daily, so that might be a thought if you can turn him out.
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-16-2009, 11:10 PM
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It really depends on how thin he was and what he currently is.

I've gotten in a few family horses who were 250+ pounds underweight and they still rode the horses thinking nothing of it - they lived.

HOWEVER, when I get these horses in I stay off for quite a while, then bring them back into riding slowly. Trail riding at a walk is usually where we start, and they are generally nearly up to weight, just needing the finishing pounds and muscle.

Turning him out in a large pasture is a good idea.
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-17-2009, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by deineria View Post
The new issue of Equus said that horses will condition just as well on being on turn out 24/7 as being ridden daily, so that might be a thought if you can turn him out.
BTW, beautiful arab pic deineria! I think that's a curious statement above. Depends entirely on where/how they're kept & how they're ridden. Eg. most conventionally paddocked horses are rather sedentary, get little exercise. But then there are those with a wide range of hills & poor grazing for eg, or those in a 'paddock paradise' system who may well get a fair amount of exercise. And if you just do a bit of 'schooling' on level ground, or go for quiet hacks, then the horse may not get much good fittening exercise, but that's not the only way people ride.

Basically if a horse is well, practically speaking, you can't really do too much slow & steady work, and for harder work, just build up gradually, based on how the horse is going. If they're unfit or poor, esp. in the back, I believe it is much better to get them to a reasonable level of fitness before riding tho.
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