Losing topline - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-03-2020, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Losing topline

A couple of weeks ago, our instructor said she thought Moonshine was losing too much weight. I challenged this, and then she specified that her topline seemed not as toned. I looked more closely, and she's definitely lost some topline, particularly behind her shoulder. Today the bodyworker came out and said the same thing.

I'm going to increase her alfalfa hay and give her some leftover muscle-builder supplements I have from Teddy. I'm not sure what else to do. The amount and type of riding she gets hasn't really changed. I think the only thing that's changed, that I know of, is that her pasture is maybe not that great right now and I also cut down her alfalfa hay because she got a little heavy over the winter and spring. They have been getting a decent amount of coastal hay every day. Teddy's weight and shape have been consistent, and Pony has dropped just a little.

Any thoughts about this?

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post #2 of 16 Old 07-03-2020, 04:39 PM
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I add free choice grass hay when I want to put weight on a horse. If I can't provide full turnout. I also feel a senior feed (higher fat content) and will add soaked beet pulp if needed.

I don't reduce the work load. Usually because I can't and I don't think that would be good for the horse. The above puts weight on.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-03-2020, 04:43 PM
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Is she otherwise healthy? Maybe some malabsorption?

Has anything else changed? What else has Moonshine been eating? Something makes me wonder about both the quantity and quality of protein.

Also, calories. Topline (muscle) can't come from nowhere. You have to be feeding enough quality calories to maintain or gain topline.

How does the saddle fit?

How is she ridden? Lack of core and hindquarter use can cause wasting over time.

Links:
https://feedxl.com/5-building-topline/
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-03-2020, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Saddle fit is great -- I just had the fitter out last week and she approved.

The bodyworker suggested trying to get her more collected and off her front end, but I feel like my daughter has actually been doing a pretty good job of this lately. Moonshine's canter, in particular, has gotten much more collected.

She's on pasture 24/7. They just got round bales (Tifton) in their pastures.

@Seeker6 I'm also wondering about the quality and quantity of protein, which is why I'm going to up her alfalfa hay back to what it was. I know that protein levels in pastures fluctuate, but I don't know when or why. This change seems fairly recent, like maybe the last month or so, which is when the pasture really started to dry up. Most of the horses in that pasture lost weight, but since it was mostly ponies that wasn't really a problem.

@boots yes, and in fact the bodyworker said we should try to put an extra ride per week on her. She's only being ridden twice a week, although again that's been consistent for many months.

ETA: I had hesitated to up her alfalfa, since people say it makes horses hot, and it's hot enough here right now already, but I feel like that's a good source of calories and protein. I will give her feed if I need to, but I'd rather not. I like them to get calories from hay and forage.

Any other thoughts?

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post #5 of 16 Old 07-03-2020, 05:20 PM
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Sounds to me like the pasture has lost nutrition and pony needs a little extra to build those muscles up. Especially if the riding is getting more intense. Good luck!
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-03-2020, 05:37 PM
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By saying alfalfa makes a horse hot, they mean overly-energetic.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-03-2020, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boots View Post
By saying alfalfa makes a horse hot, they mean overly-energetic.
See, I asked that question here before, and the responses I got were about 2/3 saying temperature heat (because the process created by digesting extra protein creates extra heat) and 1/3 saying tempermentally hot.

https://www.horseforum.com/horse-nut...e-heat-813475/

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post #8 of 16 Old 07-03-2020, 06:18 PM
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Not sure what part of the state you are in but to much rain leaches the nutrients from the ground and not enough rain stops the good nutrient growth of fresh grass...
Rainy season started here, by us still somewhat sporadic in daily rains but I notice the dairy behind me is suddenly placing round rolls out in the fields for the milk cows...says something to me is up and off for this time of the year.
With the loss of pasture grass quality, Moonshine may need some feed to give the extra calories now missing from a more busy food than nutritious food.

Have you changed supplements fed, brands by any chance?
Has a supplement you use changed/altered their recipe?
That can sure upset how your horse would absorb and use those nutrients...
Were you feeding feed and stopped?
Could you post a picture of Moonshine and let us see if we see something...you know eyes that are fresh sometimes just "see" ...

You said rides are 2x a week on average...
Is this different than what was before since the unbearable heat has arrived?
Has the amount of time ridden and the intensity of the workout changed?
Sure could make a difference over several weeks/months that suddenly you look and go "Huh!"...
And honestly, the unbearable heat could be to blame too.
My horses are not as active just messing around in their paddock and pasture as they were a month or so ago..just to darn hot.
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-04-2020, 07:19 PM
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Has she been one that had a nice cushion? No excessive fat but enough to obscure a well muscled topline?

Some horse people change their horse, they change their tack and discipline, they change their instructor; they never change themselves.
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-04-2020, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QtrBel View Post
Has she been one that had a nice cushion? No excessive fat but enough to obscure a well muscled topline?
No. She actually seemed little swaybacked when we got her, but we worked with her a lot and got her to where she had a nice normal horse shape. She never had a nice cushion (that would be Pony), but she was a good weight and had a good shape.

Here are some pictures I took today:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg M_top_1.jpg (241.9 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg M_top_2.jpg (233.0 KB, 4 views)

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