Just bought a horse, need some help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-01-2015, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Just bought a horse, need some help

So I just bought my first horse, and mostly we're doing okay. Trouble is, he was a neglect case just 4 months ago and he needs a bit of help health-wise - he has a separated white line and virtually no muscle, and he's also a little overweight. How do I fix this? He's living in a paddock which doesn't have a lot of grass right now thanks to our other animals.
Some background - four months ago Shajae was rescued. He was hugely overweight, had had no hoof or vet care, minerals or proper feeding other than dairy pasture for four years. He's greatly improved since then - his separated white line is much better and he's lost a lot of excess weight - but he needs to build some muscle as he's very hollow in his hindquarters.
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-01-2015, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Can I have some help with regards to building more muscle and getting him to lose some weight? He's still a bit too chubby, honestly.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-01-2015, 08:05 PM
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If he hasn't been worked in a long time, I would start slow. Fifteen minutes a day for two weeks. Walk for five, trot left for five, then right for five. Then up it to half an hour. Work both directions equally, doing mostly trotting. Work in circles, big small, figure eights, spirals, get him bending in both directions.Make sure it's a nice working trot, that will build up the muscles your looking for. After about a month, go up to forty five minutes, and add in cantering. Start with only one lap in each direction, on the correct lead, then after a few rides go to two laps, then add more circles at the canter. Be careful of his balance, is he heavy on the shoulder? Leaning? Slipping underneath? Work on keeping him straight and under himself.

You can also work on the lunge if you don't feel like riding. Follow your same pattern. If your in the middle of fifteen minute rides, lunge at the trot for fifteen minutes, both directions. If your into the forty five minute rides, lunge for at least a half hour, trot and canter both directions.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-01-2015, 08:33 PM
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are his hooves better ? I mean, better enough to carry rider?

walking and lots of it is best way to condition from the start.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-01-2015, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalisaParalyzer View Post
If he hasn't been worked in a long time, I would start slow. Fifteen minutes a day for two weeks. Walk for five, trot left for five, then right for five. Then up it to half an hour. Work both directions equally, doing mostly trotting. Work in circles, big small, figure eights, spirals, get him bending in both directions.Make sure it's a nice working trot, that will build up the muscles your looking for. After about a month, go up to forty five minutes, and add in cantering. Start with only one lap in each direction, on the correct lead, then after a few rides go to two laps, then add more circles at the canter. Be careful of his balance, is he heavy on the shoulder? Leaning? Slipping underneath? Work on keeping him straight and under himself.

You can also work on the lunge if you don't feel like riding. Follow your same pattern. If your in the middle of fifteen minute rides, lunge at the trot for fifteen minutes, both directions. If your into the forty five minute rides, lunge for at least a half hour, trot and canter both directions.
Thanks, that's really helpful :) I'm not allowed to ride him until the week after next as my riding teacher wants me to form a bond with him first and get him doing groundwork properly first - so this gives me some more stuff to work on!
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-01-2015, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
are his hooves better ? I mean, better enough to carry rider?

walking and lots of it is best way to condition from the start.
His hooves are unbelievably better :) They needed a serious trim when he was brought home from that neglect place, I've seen photos, and they're probably due again soon as the edges are getting pretty cracked and just generally nasty, but in general they are a lot better. As a general matter he has good feet, but he's quite mineral-deficient (neglect case again) and that is not helping me at all.
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-02-2015, 02:28 AM
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that's good to hear. so, just a whole lot of walking is what I'd do. hills are good conditioners, too.

last year I rode a horse who was rotund, and we got a good 100 pounds off by two hours of walking and trotting , 3 or 4 times a week. AND no grain!
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-02-2015, 10:04 AM
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I think you will be pleasantly surprised in how well diligent hand walking can be for both his weight, muscle mass and hoof health.

I would start out hand walking 20-30 minutes a day. Not a leisurely stroll, more like a power walk. Just do this for a few weeks. He should be conditioned enough to take a rider by then. Then once you start riding continue with the walking for about a week and then add in some trotting.

As far as feed goes- no grain. Stick with hay. If the hay is lacking any nutrients, you might add in a ration balancer. A slow feed hay net might not be a bad idea, either.

For his white line/ hoof issues- Spray on some apple cider vinegar every time you pick his hooves. It should keep any funk at bay.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-02-2015, 10:34 AM
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How old is this horse? Any idea as to what his previous training was?
You say he is mineral deficient but have you had him examined by a vet and had blood drawn so you know what he needs? A vet can give you good advice as to a proper feeding program.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-09-2015, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dustbunny View Post
How old is this horse? Any idea as to what his previous training was?
You say he is mineral deficient but have you had him examined by a vet and had blood drawn so you know what he needs? A vet can give you good advice as to a proper feeding program.
Nine, he was professionally schooled in showjumping and hunter work, then left to do stock work. He remembers most of it, tucks himself really nicely from what I've seen of him jumping, and he's not fazed by our menagerie :)
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