I don't know how you got those pictures posted on $9/month but huge Kudos to you!
The bad news is that I see a cresty neck and Penelope is in a dry lot. Mercy your BIL must be feeding her an obnoxious amount of feed that includes grain.
Looking at the pics, I can see the need to lose a good 100 pounds. If your BIL used a tape to measure her weight, the tape could have been off.
If he took her to a weigh scale and she came in at 1,300 pounds, that Sweet Face needs to get at least 200 pounds off. That is more than 12 months of dieting. The weight loss, like humans, needs to be steady and done in a healthy way.
The cresty neck means she is a candidate for insulin issues, if she doesn't have them already. That can mean laminitis ouchy hooves when walking or an unwillingness to walk too much, or outright founder.
Founder is when the coffin bone inside the hoof (actually looks like a Mini-Me hoof within the hoof), starts to rotate due south. The more rotation the more danger and pain for the horse.
I hope hope hope your vet is up-to-speed on metabolic issues so he can help in the weight loss process.
1. No legume hays such as alfalfa. Weed-free grass/mix hay and the mix should NOT include any sort of clovers or legumes.
She can have bermuda hay but a lot of folks don't like feeding all bermuda because it is so fine and can cause impaction colic in some horses - not all horses as I have four that can eat Coastal Bermuda, a/k/a The Fluffies, very well.
2. I hate to say this but if you can't dry lot her during the day and let her out to pasture at night, a grazing muzzle is in order for the dollface.
2.1 Also a slow feeder hay net for the times she is in lockdown. Horses digestive juices never stop producing; if they have nothing to digest, colic can happen.
Sometimes horses with insulin issues will gobble an entire night's supply of hay in a few hours, thus the reason for the slow-feeder nets.
I order those things from Chicks Saddlery because they sell a muzzle that has huge nostril holes so the horse can breath better.
Grazing muzzles do not stay on 24/7. On in the daylight hours, off at night. I wash mine every night with Dawn Dish Soap and hot water.
The slow feed net is on the same page. Product SF1802 for $7.95. Saddles Tack Horse Supplies - ChickSaddlery.com Tough-1 Easy Breathe Grazing Muzzle <>
3. Her hooves need done as soon as you can afford to get them done. Hopefully you can get by with getting her trimmed every 5 - 6 weeks. Hooves on diabetic horses are like toes on diabetic humans - they need constant care and maintenance
3.1 If she hasn't had any hoof issues yet, hopefully you can catch her in time to prevent them because, like human diabetes, equine meabolic issues are never reversible -- only controllable with a strict diet and hoof maintenance program.
The disease does not render a horse unridable - to the contrary they need exercise as long as the Owner doesn't want to send them over Oxers, team pen, rope, or do endurance, etc. with them - the stamina just isn't there due to the disease.
Any good feed store knows what Ration Balancers are.
It would be fantastic if you have Triple Crown feeds available because they list their ingredients, where many others do not.
Tractor Supply carries Purina and Nutrena (please leave their own DuMor feed right where it sits in the store:.
FEED Possibilities, depending on availability:
Triple Crown Lite is grain-free and also has a Probiotic in it. http://www.southernstates.com/docs/s...s/55314011.pdf
Triple Crown Low Starch is also grain-free with a probiotic. http://www.evergreenmills.com/docs/t...nLowStarch.pdf
Triple Crown also sells "Ontario Dehy", Equine Nutrition: Triple Crown Equine Nutrition For Low Carbohydrate Horse Diets
My friend has seven acres of rocks and very little grass. She feeds this along with grass hay. She has already laid one horse to rest from insulin resistance (IR) AND Cushings.
Purina has Enrich 32, WellSolve L/S and WellSolve W/C.
Nutrena offers Empower and the SafeChoice line.
If you're confused, you're right up there with the rest of us.
Tractor Supply sells Purina and Nutrena products. Unless you get lucky and one of the sales staff is an experienced horse person, they will not be of much help. Most likely your feed store sales staff won't be, either
I think if an RB poll were taken on this forum, just of these three brands, Triple Crown would win, hands down.
You may have other brands of Ration Balancers available, specific to your area. Sales staff had better at least know the difference between a ration balancer and a bag of feed containing grain.
Not all pelleted feeds are grain-free by the way
I know this is an awful lot for you to digest, but don't get overwhelmed. There is lots of help and encouragement on this forum
Just know that Penelope needs to lose weight for her own good. That means:
No grains whatsover
No sugary treats (sorry children:)
Either limitied time on grass with a grazing muzzle or dry lot her with hay in a slow feed hay net during the day, and turn her out to grass AFTER the sun goes down and stops producing sugar.
Just an FYI, the shorter the grass, the more sugar and drought grass is worse for containing large amounts of sugar than Spring or Fall grass.
That is because the root system is forcing sugar up to the shoots at Mach 80 to help the grass survive without rain.