Help! My horse is fat - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 09-09-2019, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Help! My horse is fat

Hello! I had to sell my saddle as it was too long and so causing my mare back pain. I eventually found the saddle I needed but have now just got back from a month on holiday, and she is so fat!!
She's a 15.3hh thoroughbred, she's now 8 - I've had her since she was 4.
I don't know what the best way to get weight off of her is?! She is in her stable for the day at the moment with hay (and a tiny feed for her supplements) and out in the field at night, with no rug 24/7. She's always been a fairly chunky thoroughbred, so not worried about her getting cold!
She's got a lot of energy and loves doing things, but I don't want to push her too much!
Can anybody please help me! What kind of activities should I be doing and for how long? I tend to just hack
We have a covered horse walker, an outdoor school, a lunge pen, a gallop track, and plenty of on and off-road hacking!
Any advice hugely appreciated!!!
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-09-2019, 08:54 AM
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Work, work and more work!

Horse walker whilst you are mucking out. Riding her out and about, lots of walking formthe first week then trotting. Trot her until she is breathing heavier and then back to a walk, as her breathing recovers trot on again.

This should be for at least an hour a day preferably longer.

Then, if you can horse walker in the afternoon.
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-09-2019, 01:38 PM
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I too have a fat horse. She's 14.2, and looks great at about 975 lbs. She weighs 1100. You can feel her last three ribs if you push. Henneke score of 6.5 according to my vet.

All she gets is hay and grazing. Luckily the weather is changing here and soon it will be freezing at night, so that will help, as she'll start burning her blubber to stay warm. Meanwhile I ride as often as possible and see to it she gets either a long ride (three or four hours up and down steep hills, trotting and cantering where we can) or if I can't fit that in, a fast one (mostly trotting).

All I can add to @Foxhunter 's advice is to get out the measuring tape and find out how much she does in fact weigh, give her a Henneke score, write it down and do it again in a month, so you can stay objective and see progress (or not!).

I wish you luck and keep us posted as to her progress!
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-09-2019, 02:23 PM
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Was her feed changed in any way while you were on vacation? Or, did she gain weight only based on not being ridden?

Perhaps she is just being fed too much for the level of work, on average, that she does. Can her hay be put into a slow feeder?, and then cut down the amount a wee bit.

If she is really overweight, then don't work her real hard to start with, since she is carrying an extra 100 lbs . Do a TONNE of walking to start with.

How long can you stay in the saddle? challenge yourself to take her for a 3 hour, no rest, walk.
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post #5 of 15 Old 09-09-2019, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! Her feed was reduced while I was away, so I’ve kept it the same and limited the size field she has.
Think I’ll invest in a weight tape to work out what she actually weighs - she isn’t obese but her belly is looking very round and her crest is big.
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post #6 of 15 Old 09-09-2019, 04:47 PM
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-09-2019, 04:54 PM
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Could you let her out on pasture 24/7? It could make her weight worse, if she eats too much, but on the other it might encourage her to get more exercise, so it could help. You could try it and see if it makes any difference one way or another...

ETA: if you keep her in the stall, you could soak her hay and / or get a slow feeder hay net.
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-09-2019, 05:22 PM
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You don't need a weight tape, just a piece of string. measure her girth and her length from point of shoulder to point of buttock, and plug those numbers into this online calculator:

Of course a weight tape isn't very expensive either.

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post #9 of 15 Old 09-09-2019, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by brendabea View Post
she isnít obese but her belly is looking very round and her crest is big.
Belly being round doesn't necessarily say 'obese' but if she has a crest, particularly if it's big, that definitely does. If she has a fat crest, she also may have 'fat pads' on her shoulders, sides & rump. Has she? Is her crest & these pads soft & spongy, or firm/hard? Pictures?

If she's cooped up in a stable every day, only allowed out at night, when they move less anyway, she is getting very little exercise, especially if she's kept solitary - you don't mention if she's out with mates at night. I'd want her fully turned out if possible, in a herd situation, which aside from being good for her mentally, will motivate a lot more movement. As well as 'working' her more.

Re feeding, just replied with relevant info on

We have a covered horse walker, an outdoor school, a lunge pen, a gallop track, and plenty of on and off-road hacking!
While a horse walker is great for exercise, I'd rather take my horse for walks - not boring. Along with more exercise for me too! Depends what you do in the 'school'(arena?) as to whether that may be boring, or how much exercise she gets there. I would do little lunging/circling with an unfit horse especially, as it's hard on their joints. And it is also boring to just do circles for exercise. If you can brisque walk or trot on the 'gallop track', go for it, but I possibly wouldn't be doing much cantering or any galloping if she's really fat. If you can ride her, go hacking, particularly long trotting & hill work, great. Or do this, or ground drive in hand or pony her off another horse.
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-10-2019, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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She is out with 2 others now. She was out 24/7 whilst I was away and that’s when she put the weight on. I think it’s just due to lack of exercise but I just don’t want to push her too much (she’s so full of energy). Attaching a picture of said pony this morning. I’ll bring some string and a tape measure down this afternoon and measure her
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advice needed , exercise , fat horse , help me!

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