So you know how some horses get grass bellys, I want my boy to get rid of his and get it lifted and smooth like a fit horse? He is fit everywhere except his belly ! D: Please help.. no more grass bellys!!!
Longing or round penning in side reins can help him pick up his back and travel in a proper frame; which will get rid of that belly, because he will be using his abdominal muscles. The side reins do not have to be super tight, just enough to help him use his body more efficiently.
Lots of trotting under saddle, especially if you can go up and downhill alot.
That's about all I ever have to do to get rid of saggy bellies; other people may have other ideas.
Making sure he is worm free is also a good idea, a stool sample doesn't cost much to test, and then you know for sure it's just a tubby horse you're dealing with, rather than a horse who's actually sick.
You can do 'belly lifts' by pressing or scratching under his belly with your fingers; this will help him lift his spine, using his belly muscles. Do this a few time each grooming session.
You could probably do trot poles, and small jumps, to help him travel inframe, and lift his back (again, he has to use his belly muscles in order to do so).
Longing really helps too; the two young horses I'm working with are working on getting rid of their pasture bellys as well, and the light longing is really helping. You're not really focusing on speed, or wearing him out, just getting him to tuck his tummy, lift his back, and travel well.
I had the biggest grass belly problem of all time. It's finally fixed after 2 years of experimenting. Here's what I suggest.
Is your horse pastured or stalled? If he is full time pasture boarded, like my guy was, I would reccomend getting some in-stall time to keep him off of the grass.
Teach him a proper frame and to carry himself under saddle. It will work his topline and his underline.
Invest in a nice surcingle and side reins to lunge him in. Work him without hooking the side reins for 10 minutes, 5 one way, 5 the other. Then hook up the side reins to the surcingle and do 10 minutes each direction. When he gets the hang of coming down into a frame and using his hind end, therefore pushing his back up and working those tummy muscles, throw in some groundpoles. This will really get results!
alot of the times with a "hay/grass belly " is the horse is just a bit over weight. Can you feel his ribs without pressing hard at all? if no then he is a bit over weight. but hill work will definitely help him use his back and suck up some of the loose belly
Grass bellies are usually caused by poor forage and/or lack of topline from muscle atrophy from not being exercised.
when a horse eats poor quality forgage (stemmy,moldy etc) he keeps it in his intestines to process it longer to get the most nutrition out of it (basically milking it for all its worth). which is what causes the hay belly appearance (forage going in and staying in accumulating and fermenting).
also when a horse loses topline from not being exercised/ridden. his belly sags from not having enough"core" and muscle to hold his belly up. you can't have a strong topline with a saggy belly and you can't have a saggy belly with a strong topline. it just can't happen. you need both sides strong and muscled to help eachother.
so check your forage quality and make sure he is working those ab muscles and topline muscles. long low stretches and trot work. hills hills hllls. but build up gradually.
My horse was really lean because she's old and doesn't have all her molars so she wasn't able to get all the nutritents her hay had to offer. Also note I didn't ride her for like two years. We put her on pellets and she got this big 'ol hay belly after about three months! This was when I started coming out to the stable and working with her several days a week. It's now been over a month and the hay belly is gone.
Just because your horse is wormed "regularly" dosent mean he doesnt have worms. I dont know why people dont get it. Just because I use antibiotic A right now, doesnt mean I dont have bacteria C in my system. My vet tells everyone to get a stool sample if their horse has a hay belly, even if "regularly" dewormed. It costs $15 at horsemanslab.com. I'm doing that right now with my little guy.
Lunging alone won't do a darn thing if your horse dosent carry himself right. If hes strung out or hollows his back side reins are great. It takes a while for a horse to understand side reins sometimes, they can be a little scary (restricting and using different muscles.) Get someone who knows how to use them to help you. And tighten them a little at a time. I usually let them at the loosest setting possible, with just a little tension for the first week or so, then slowly over several weeks tighten it up a little. It should never be so tight that the horse cant move is head around, or that its fully stretched before you start working. Always use elastic side reins. IF there is no elastic the horse will just brace and resist them. You dont need a sirsingle, regular tack is usually fine.