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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have an older horse 18-20 who is still healthy.
The problem I am experiencing is that he has gotten too fat, probably storing up for the winter that never happened here in california this year.

I took him off grain recently (last month, with decrease in past 3 months) because I do not think he needs it if he is this fat. He still has energy too, not lazy.

He suffered a number of injuries throughout his career as a show horse. (all happened over 5 yrs ago)
1 "sprained"/strained tendon left front flexor sent him to pasture for a year
while in pasture his right tendon bowed (weird random or a sign..?) but he never came up in pain or discomfort, just ugly legitus
2 (~2 yrs later) recovered but has off days due to age and wear, tendon is visible but sound. Then he tripped and fell hard on right knee had to get stitches has some damage to knee
3 since the knee thing the bowed tendon seems to have worsened from the knee injury, the tendon started out in the middle but migrated upwards toward knee

He was underweight for a while at a barn my mom had him at and it reduced pressure on the knee/tendon, but he looked horrible 12x24 stall

Now I have him again and have added weight which was good until recently he gained more weight which has also added stress to his right side. 24x24 stall helped stiffness from age and joint arthritis.
The problem is with his fitness now as he is over weight due to me finishing school and being sick in the past 3 months
Before the school and illness in the past 3 months he got out 6-7 days a week and worked looked fine
I still got him out 3-4x a week no problem in this recent time, but loosing 3 or 4 extra days of getting out then going down to just walking or not even going out for a few weeks while i was sick really made him fat.

Getting his endurance up to where it was and to get him in shape is what is key but also doing it carefully as not to stress these older injuries is what I am having a hard time with and am not sure the best approach considering the injuries at this point

usually i arena ride quick hack to stretch his legs or do a lunge or working turnout arena galloping
and i do trail riding mostly walking some trot and cantering

ideally he will be fit enough to do arena work again instead of just being fit enough to walk on the trails

today in the arena he tried but there was too much strain on his legs and it was uncoordinated he was falling into the ground with each barreling step so i just let him gallop himself to stretch it all out so i dont have to be squashed by his fat self

I would like to start doing stretches with him regularly too.

what will be the best way to get the extra weight off my horse?
these are the ideas I have had
1 increased trail riding length and intensity and forget the arena stuff for a few months until the weight is gone then introduce arena work again without risk of injury
2 some trail riding, bringing up intensity moderately and some free gallop in the arena/ lunge work between the trail days to keep him moving in the arena
3 slowly build up the arena work again until he is fit for it just using trail rides as a walking and stretching therapy to aid the arena work

ideally i would like to be able to work at the level he was 3-6 months ago when i would go trail riding with moderate trot and canter and have his work in the arena be moving forward not fat falling into the ground and have him at the right weight to be able to continue jumping without stressing the legs as it would now with all his fat

did i say he is fat? ive never had a horse with a belly this wide!
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