Fat pockets on Paint/QH horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-26-2019, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Fat pockets on Paint/QH horse

I'm trying to figure out how to best handle my gelding. He is an APHA 12-year-old. In the last few months, he has added on fat pockets. A bit of a crest, some pockets on his tailhead and a bit behind his shoulders. He is in a fairly active workload (ridden by me or my husband for 30-45 minutes plus lunging 4x a week plus 2x a week of training with my trainer which usually consists of ground work/lunging/round pen or also riding.



He has limited turnout on a dry lot for only a few hours a day. Hay fed 3x a day in a slow feed net. He gets 3 small grain meals of beet pulp and Poulin E Tec One. (Used to get Tribute Kalm N EZ before barn switched). For supplements, he is on DAC Cool Gut, DAC Oil, DAC Total Performance Plus Joint and Biotin 800Z. If he gets treats, he gets a low sugar/low starch/low carb (maybe 10 pieces a week if he has been good.) His hooves are fantastic. He has a great attitude about work and his living conditions.



But as a Quarter horse, he has a lot of genetics toward fat buildup. I have not had him tested yet for IR or EMS. Any advice or thoughts?

Equestrian wife with a horsey husband.
Owner of a wonderful APHA gelding.
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-26-2019, 07:10 PM
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Get him seen & tested right away...he fits IR and is prime age for it to emerge.
Only a vet and diagnostics can tell what is truly going on but to suddenly have a drastic change seen you know it is something inside, metabolic happening.


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post #3 of 11 Old 06-26-2019, 07:21 PM
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35 to 45 minutes of work a day isn't hard work. Work him harder feed less. Wouldn't be giving oil to a fat horse. My horse's are currently in barn 10 hours a day do to bugs. They get only warter and a little bit of hay.
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Out riding my horse.
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-26-2019, 11:37 PM
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Hard work is 20-30 miles pulling a carriage or long-trotting across a ranch, or 12 hours a day trekking mountain trails or a couple of hours a day loping or doing high-level dressage, etc. A horse fat on light work like yours is unlikely to need anything more than quality hay and possibly something like a ration balancer supplement fed at about 1 lb
per day. Get the horse tested for IR just so you know, but 'air fern' horses should be fed as if they have problems or they soon will. More exercise and far fewer calories should be started immediately.
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-26-2019, 11:53 PM
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Good to rule out health issues esp if this is a change but what I see is,

-consistent but minimal work, I would consider this light-moderate based off the average rider
-no turnout, when he's not working he just stands around getting fat

add in

-a lot of feed (how much hay does he get per feeding? rich hay? not all hay is created equal)
-grain 3x a day! beet pulp! oil!

I would try to get him more turnout if possible. Consider working him harder too, if you don't have more time then make the work more intense.

If the hay is rich or something consider a different type/less. I would absolutely adjust his feed. Etec One isn't high fat but it's higher then he needs for sure. How much does he get total? How much beet pulp does he get total? He doesn't need to be fed 3x a day unless he's getting a lot. Consider a different feed DEFINITELY get rid of the beet pulp (the only reason to feed that is for weight!!) and I would also get rid of the oil.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-27-2019, 12:03 AM
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I would cut back to hay and a ration balancer, and increase the duration and intensity of his work. Most QH/paints are pretty easy keepers.
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-27-2019, 03:20 AM
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Agree with cutting back to only hay, even before you ever get a vet out there to test for IR. That is your safest bet here. Soaked beet pulp is fine but might be unnecessary given that you're feeding constant hay. You can add a trace mineral balancer like California Trace Plus, because he doesn't get turnout on fresh grass. Keep in mind that hay can have lots of sugar and iron in it too - you can get that tested, unless your barn already does. Hay should be <10% NSC (sugar) and your horse does not need more than 40ppm (parts-per-million) iron. It's almost assured that your horse gets plenty of iron from hay only. If you can get it, meadow or orchard grass is very good, make sure it doesn't contain timothy grass (high in iron!) It's very good that he gets hay 3x daily in a slow feed hay net. Sounds like he gets a lot of exercise, but it's not really hard work. So he's an easy keeper. But that cresty neck and fat pockets can be Cushings/IR, as @horselovinguy said. I'd get him tested and see if he needs anything more than a diet and routine change.


Rarely looked at information about iron in the equine diet:

https://www.superiorequinenutrition....ealth-Problems
https://thenaturallyhealthyhorse.com...oad-in-horses/
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No diet, no hoof. No hoof, no horse. No horse is not an option!
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-27-2019, 03:42 AM
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Hi,

Yeah fat 'pockets' or 'pads' are a sign of insulin resistance(I wouldn't personally worry about testing him, but just assume he is). We can all stand to put on excess weight & stay healthy, but retaining it long term, without regular 'hard seasons' to use up fat stores is a big thing that reduces insulin sensitivity. That & high sugar/starch diet, and nutritional imbalance, particularly deficiency of Mg & Chromium. So those factors need to be addressed & corrected, hopefully before he develops serious health problems because of it.

If at all possible, I'd keep him at a setup that provides 24/7 turnout. Or at least a lot more than a few hours daily. If that's impossible, I think you really need to get him exercising for more than 3 quarts of an hour daily(sounds about what he gets). I also would hesitate to do much lunging & circle work, at least until he's not so obese. It's quite hard on their joints to do a lot of circling at the best of times. Take him out & about for long walks & trots, up hill is also good. Just watch that he gets enough 'breathers' & remember to build up gradually to harder/longer exercise, as an obese person needs to do.

How much & what sort of hay is he getting? It may be too rich - remember, while grass loses nutrients when processed, it loses little sugars & starch, so it may be just as rich as when it was growing, and a lot of hay these days is made from 'improved' cattle fattening pasture. If you can't get low NSC hay, you may need to soak & drain what you have before feeding, to leach out some of the sugars.

Why on earth is he getting any grain or other supplementary feeds if you recognise he's already obese?? I'd cut that yesterday, unless there's an extremely very good reason - which may be providing literally a single handful of low NSC feed to mix appropriate nutritional supps in.

So, I'd get his diet(as in scrap the extras, just the hay) tested so you can work out what nutrients he may need to be supped with, so you can find appropriate products. *I'd give extra Mg on top of the 'balanced diet'.
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Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg

Last edited by loosie; 06-27-2019 at 05:39 AM.
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-27-2019, 03:54 AM
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One other thing that can help you keep track of his weight is the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System: https://www.habitatforhorses.org/the...coring-system/

No diet, no hoof. No hoof, no horse. No horse is not an option!
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-27-2019, 05:41 AM
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Oh & absolutely go study ecirhorse.com

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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fat , feed , nutrition , paint , quarter horse

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