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Hello
My 15 year old mare has recently been looking FAT. Like very fat, I dont know how it happened so quick but it did and I need to fix it. I live on a farm with lots of hills and no flat areas so that makes it a bit harder. She is very lazy and slow and would rather be pigging herself on grass then be out working. (Not at all what you would think a OTTB mare is like). It is currently a very hot summer here and it seems she gets fatter off the air. I have reduced her feed drastically and it has made no/very little difference. She is very slightly off/lame at the moment and im waiting for the farrier to come do her hooves before I start properly exercising her (So no riding at the moment). She is fine to go out on in hand walks and lunge at the walk with short sets of trot. When she gets better what should I do to start taking her weight down and about how long do you think it will take?

(Btw im not the most confident rider and when I do ride her they are always just mostly walking and trotting and a few strides of canter up a hill)

Thanks, all responses appreciated
 

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If you're unlucky, she will currently be on-off lame from laminitis from being on overly rich feed and too much of it - happens especially when they get fat, and happens especially in times of lush grass, like the Australian spring flush - and if your TB is off-track, she's likely susceptible already. You can't let horses that guts themselves have access to unrestricted grass / feed. An easy way to limit intake on pasture is to use a grazing muzzle. It takes a lot of time to slim anything back down safely after they've become obese. Steady exercise, built up slowly in duration and later intensity, is good for weight loss - but if a horse has active laminitis, you can't ride it, or force it to work, you need to treat and manage the laminitis first (and hope it's a case that doesn't kill it eventually - sorry, but this does happen, and it's best to be warned) - for which veterinary supervision is strongly recommended.

Let's hope it's not that, but alarm bells always go off in me if a fat horse is on grass and on-off lame.
 

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Before making drastic changes to her diet, you should have a vet take a look at her for their trained eyes and years of knowledge they may see what you don't being your issue.
She is prime age for many things starting to happen...
Sudden fluctuations in weight though often point toward endocrine problems...how her insides work digesting food.
Her on/off lame could also be a abscess coming out or navicular syndrome beginning...
A vet, a exam and diagnosis, possibly some x-rays to rule out if recommended...

But, just like the horse did not overnight get fat they do not overnight get to correct weight either.
It is a work in progress...
To fast a change can also bring on issues...beware, be careful and get your vet out to give you the much needed guidance you really need.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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Bummer, just lost reply... In short...

Horse could already be laminitic if she's 'slow & lazy' & 'slightly lame' - altho there could be other problems causing it. Never force exercise, even at a walk, of a lame horse unless on express vet's advice. You might be lucky & find a qualified Equine Podiotherapist in your parts - there are a few around NZ now.

It is common for horses to put on weight quite quickly when they're on rich spring grass, but if she is really obese, fair chance she was fat to start with & you've just noticed the sudden... final bloom. If that's the case, more likely she is insulin resistant not just 'fat'. I'd budget in future for getting her off(or greatly reduce access to) rich grass before spring. It's great that you've got a hilly property - use it! Ideally you could put a track around it, up & down some hills, to greatly restrict grazing & also motivate far more exercise **But as she's already hurting, don't do it right now without vet's advice.

Remember (Secuno too) that grass loses little if any sugars when not growing. Including processing/drying for hay. So the common 'get them off green grass & feed hay' advice is not necessarily helpful - the hay may well be just as rich as the grass it was grown from! Low sugar native grass/hay is best, or if you can't get it, you can soak & drain rich hay before feeding, to leach out some of the sugars at least.

Nutrition is important. Extra Mg can be really helpful, worth looking into. There was also a Kiwi member a while back who's friend produced a product 'GrazeEze'(don't quote me on spelling) that was tailor made for NZ pastures, that would be worth a look.
 

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Hello
My 15 year old mare has recently been looking FAT.

It is currently a very hot summer here and it seems she gets fatter off the air.

I have reduced her feed drastically and it has made no/very little difference.

She is very slightly off/lame at the moment and im waiting for the farrier to come do her hooves before I start properly exercising her

If I am understanding you correctly, she is out on pasture 24/7 AND you have been giving her extra feed/grain on top of it? Please correct me if I am wrong.


Chances are, she has foundered (laminitis) and that is why she is "off". Along with farrier work, I would also have a vet examine her and xray her front feet to see if there is any rotation of the coffin bone.


Then I would get her off grass and start feeding her a controlled diet of good quality hay -- no grain.



If you need to get the weight off, that's what you need to do.
 

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Yes, it sounds like she is already laminitic. Have your vet out and get radiographs done of her hooves to see if there is rotation.

Get her off grass and onto hay only. No grain, either. I'm not sure what feed supplements there are in New Zealand, but something that fills in the nutritional gaps on a hay-only diet is what you need. It's called a 'ration balancer' here in the US and it's basically a mineral supplement.

You can't restrict her food too much or her body will hold onto every calorie thinking she's starving. Get your vet out to do bloodwork and radiographs to see where she's at in terms of underlying health and laminitis, get an accurate measure of how much she actually weighs, and feed her 2% of her bodyweight daily in good-quality grass hay, with a vitamin/mineral supplement if needed.
 

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Agree with the others, carry the horse to the vet first for blood work, exam and x-rays. Then, based on what the vet diagnosis is, will determine the needed trimming/shoeing, feed and exercise needs.

Please take her to the vet before proceeding with changes in diet and exercise.
 

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I agree with the others. Have a vet examination done so you know exactly what is going on. If your horse is IR and laminitic, then there are specific things that need to be done. That being said, I also have a very easy keeper and he doesn't get grass, nor grain. We balance his nutrients from the hay with a power vitamin/mineral supplement mixed in hay cubes or fibre nuggets. This is the ONLY way we could keep his weight down without exercising consistently (Barn owner won't soak hay), but I've seen the best results with this feeding plan.
 
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