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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi gaited horse enthusiasts!

I just bought this horse, her name is Maddie. She's 6 years old, 15 hands and about 985 pounds (using the height/weight tape). No one really knows what she is, except part Appaloosa for sure (freckled lips, whites around eyes, spotty in places!). Her previous owner told me that the vet thought she might be part TWH because of her build. I'm having my own vet come out this week (I know...I should have done that BEFORE I bought her, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway. It was love at first sight!). The place I keep her is a roping ranch with a bunch of cowboys and HUGE thick quarter horses. They seem to think she's "poor" and underweight. I think she could use some pounds too. But could it also be her breed? She does have a pretty poor top line with lots of wither and spine though. I'm trying to use nutrition and exercise to build it up..... Any advice? What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance!!
 

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Larry Whitesell has some DVD's on ways to improve gaited horses and excersises. I don't think he's skinny but a few pounds may help fill him out a bit. Alot of walkers have thin hips and it is harder to get them rounder. Grain would help though.
 

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Walkers come in two shapes. Barrel chested and slab sided. The slab sided ones always look on the thin side. The important question is, how much fat is on top of the ribs? Hard to tell from this picture but looks like there is a nice layer there.
 

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IME, when a horse is brought back up to weight, the topline is the last to come back, and when they're going under weight, it's the first to go. She looks to be on the thin side to me from the top line, but from this pic, the rest looks okay to me. Even a lankier built horse shouldn't have a noticable spine, and she does all the way through to her tail.

I've read that you can add coconut oil to the feed as it puts the fat directly on the top line and it's rich in Omega 3's (not 6 like veggie oils). Not recommending it because I don't really know anything about it, but it's something you could look at.

Lack of exercise and muscle building in that area may be part of the problem too. It may not be a weight issue as much as a conditioning issue. Your vet will help guide you there as it's hard to really tell from one pic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks RockinD! You know, in the 6 or 8 weeks since I took that picture, we've been on a "fitness" plan - one or two days of hills, arena work a few days, nothing too hard, just breaking a little sweat (like how I would work out!) to try to condition and build some muscle. Her butt is definitely improving, and she's getting a nice layer over her ribs, but the top line, you're right...it's a LITTLE bit better, but it's going to take time. She really wasn't ridden much in the two years before I got her so I'm hoping "nutrition and exercise" will work in time. I also got an orthopedic saddle blanket that adds some padding in her withers and takes pressure off her spine so that at least she's more comfortable (I hope). Thanks for the tip, I'll look into the coconut oil!
 

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It will. Proper nutrition and exercise will do the trick unless there's an underlying issue that's unknown at this time. They can lose weight so fast, but it takes a while to get it back on...which is okay. Doing too much too fast can cause other problems.

You're already seeing an improvement so I don't think there's an underlying cause. Give it several months and you'll see her back in the shape you want.

I've brought several back up to weight that I've "rescued" and it just takes time. Don't forget to consider if she needs additional vitamins and minerals. A lot of vitamins and minerals are stored in their muscles and when they lose them, they get out of balance. Even a good daily feed program is designed only to maintain proper balance, not rebuild it.

My SSH was so underweight (almost skeletal) when I bought him yet he acted like he had ADHD. After research I found that a magnesium deficiency can cause that, hence what I found out about minerals and muscles, etc. I started him on Red Cell to help replinish and it's made a huge difference.

I think I read you're in Splendora. If you mean Splendora Texas, then you're not far from me. I'm in Conroe. If so, welcome neighbor! :D
 

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To me her weight looks perfectly fine, if a bit pudgy- but she needs quite a bit of muscle- which is why she has that 'saggy' light look to her. Once you develope a good topline and some hindquarter/shoulder muscle, I think she'll look a ton better. She's quite cute though, with very unique coloring!

Is she ridable? If so, a 10-15 minutes walk every day, graduating to trotting and doing hill work would do her a lot of good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, and yes, she's very rideable! We've done some trail riding with some hills - a couple of hours is our longest ride. I try to do that once or twice a week. Most days, it's fairly light arena work. I just got her up to some loping, it took a while because she's very green and is just now slowing down at the lope instead of trying to run full speed. She still bucks a little when we start a lope which is cute because it's not a "real" buck, just a head shake and a little kick up with her heels. She's beginning to collect herself nicely after that little outburst though.
 
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