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Need help with building muscles.

2248 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Steine
So where i have my horse is a great place and the owner does know a lot more about horses then i do. She is 52 and have had horse her whole life. But today, i found out. She know's nothing about Draft horses, and i should have known. She only have quarter and paint horses.

So my Irish X Shire Mare gained some weight. And the weight tape says 574 Kg and she is 16,2 HH / 64,5 Inches. Her calculated weight should be around the 550-580 Kg. With Muscles!!
Yet, the owner at the place kept saying my horse was fat and needed to at least lose around 50 more kg. And now i asked a breeder today, and he said it would be waay too much to lose for someone my mare's size!

But, she does still look a little fatty then she did 3-4 months ago and i am using a new band for the saddle. So she did gain little weight, so when i get her down to the 550 kg mark she should be in a good position.

Next, i dont use her for English nor Western riding. I just do mixed and make sure her balance is great and i don't damage her under riding!
But now i want to build good muscles on her. I just don't know where to really start. I am lunging her 3 days in row with 2 day break where we just cuddle and work on agility and so on!

So is there anyone out there with great things for me to do, do build more muscles on her. I do sometimes put a rope around me and try and pull things. We actually did 80 kg pull yesterday and it was way too easy for her.
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Running doesn't build muscles, and lunging in a small circle is as strenuous as it is boring. Resistance training builds muscles, and gravity is a great resistance for a heavy girl, and it's free. Use hills, up and down, at the walk, and step over raised poles in the arena, 3-8 in a row, also at the walk at first, maybe at the trot later once she's comfortable getting through without tangling her feet.

Just imagine running 5k on a 20m circle - in order to gain muscle. It just doesn't work that way.

https://www.horseillustrated.com/horse-news-2014-11-try-this-riding-over-raised-poles/
 

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I would stop the lunging, small circles are really hard on draft horses. Their bulk makes it hard to be as flexible as a saddle horse.

I would keep her feed the same but add more exercise.
Trotting up and down hills is great. Take advantage of snow, it too creates a nice muscle building work out. Riding or pulling are good, just keep it challenging for her. It sounds like you have a good program, she just needs "more."

Here's a picture of our Belgian horse, he's 24 years old and still enjoys getting out for a ride. He is 17.2 hh and weighs about 1450 pounds (657.7 kg).

People who aren't familiar with draft horses find it hard to judge their body score because the neck, chest and shoulders are so much bulkier than their hindquarters. If you saw that thick neck on a saddle horse you would be correct to be concerned about extra weight. But for a healthy draft it's perfectly normal and part of their charm.
 

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I have never been able to get an accurate weight with a tape on a draft. Considering your mare is Irish (Draught I assume) X Shire I would expect her to weigh quite a bit more. How old is she? Under 6 and they tend to the lighter side but once they pass that age and bulk up then you see average weights for ID of greater than 1300lbs and Shires 1800lbs plus. Your current weight isn't even at 1300lbs.



Pictures would tell us much more about her current state. Knowing her age would tell us where she is at in her development.



My shorty Belgian at 22 years old, 17 HH (68inches) is an easy 1600 pounds. She's been weighed on scales. In work she bulks up and is 1800lbs. Her 18 HH sister who is 2 years older is 1800lbs. At her maximum in her prime she was over 2,000lbs. Horse in my avatar is 2,000lbs and is 18HH.



Drafts, even the mares, have broad chests and crests. Pasture condition their hind ends should still be wide with muscle but without the added bulk from active work will appear thin.



As said already - lunging is very hard on their joints. You'd be much better to vary the terrain and elevation. Deeper sands, snow, hills. A working trot will put more muscle on her. Add cavaletti work.
 

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Can you share pictures with us?

I don't think the circles would be helping too much either. For a big horse like that especially, small circles are hard enough for 'regular' sized horses. Even if you make the circles bigger, still, hills would be better for gaining muscle. I would focus more on hill riding. Hills build muscle. Up and down hills, even at a walk are good. As well as changing up her diet a bit. You can do serpentine exercises as well. But other than that, yes, keep the exercise going.
 

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Using a weight tape can be a challenge if it doesn't go up enough for draft weights. I put a string on the end of the tape then measure. Then add how much of the string was used and calculate approximate weight.
 

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Lost my reply. I found this online



My Weight Tape - Horse Measuring


Using a flat nylon lunge line with no stretch I came up with close to 1665 for shorty (85.5) which is close to what her last scale measure was and she has not fluctuated in size. I came up with 87.5 for my big girl which would be around the 1745 mark but she has lost muscle in the last couple of years. The horse in my avatar tapes between the 2010 and 2105 mark at 92.25.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Running doesn't build muscles, and lunging in a small circle is as strenuous as it is boring. Resistance training builds muscles, and gravity is a great resistance for a heavy girl, and it's free. Use hills, up and down, at the walk, and step over raised poles in the arena, 3-8 in a row, also at the walk at first, maybe at the trot later once she's comfortable getting through without tangling her feet.

Just imagine running 5k on a 20m circle - in order to gain muscle. It just doesn't work that way.

https://www.horseillustrated.com/horse-news-2014-11-try-this-riding-over-raised-poles/
I would stop the lunging, small circles are really hard on draft horses. Their bulk makes it hard to be as flexible as a saddle horse.

I would keep her feed the same but add more exercise.
Trotting up and down hills is great. Take advantage of snow, it too creates a nice muscle building work out. Riding or pulling are good, just keep it challenging for her. It sounds like you have a good program, she just needs "more."

Here's a picture of our Belgian horse, he's 24 years old and still enjoys getting out for a ride. He is 17.2 hh and weighs about 1450 pounds (657.7 kg).

People who aren't familiar with draft horses find it hard to judge their body score because the neck, chest and shoulders are so much bulkier than their hindquarters. If you saw that thick neck on a saddle horse you would be correct to be concerned about extra weight. But for a healthy draft it's perfectly normal and part of their charm.
I have never been able to get an accurate weight with a tape on a draft. Considering your mare is Irish (Draught I assume) X Shire I would expect her to weigh quite a bit more. How old is she? Under 6 and they tend to the lighter side but once they pass that age and bulk up then you see average weights for ID of greater than 1300lbs and Shires 1800lbs plus. Your current weight isn't even at 1300lbs.



Pictures would tell us much more about her current state. Knowing her age would tell us where she is at in her development.



My shorty Belgian at 22 years old, 17 HH (68inches) is an easy 1600 pounds. She's been weighed on scales. In work she bulks up and is 1800lbs. Her 18 HH sister who is 2 years older is 1800lbs. At her maximum in her prime she was over 2,000lbs. Horse in my avatar is 2,000lbs and is 18HH.



Drafts, even the mares, have broad chests and crests. Pasture condition their hind ends should still be wide with muscle but without the added bulk from active work will appear thin.



As said already - lunging is very hard on their joints. You'd be much better to vary the terrain and elevation. Deeper sands, snow, hills. A working trot will put more muscle on her. Add cavaletti work.
Can you share pictures with us?

I don't think the circles would be helping too much either. For a big horse like that especially, small circles are hard enough for 'regular' sized horses. Even if you make the circles bigger, still, hills would be better for gaining muscle. I would focus more on hill riding. Hills build muscle. Up and down hills, even at a walk are good. As well as changing up her diet a bit. You can do serpentine exercises as well. But other than that, yes, keep the exercise going.
She is a 9 year old girl. Sadly i don't have access to any hills. Well i do, but there is 8 km there and it's a long trip. Plus it cost a lot for riding pass to get access to the forest. So i will see what there is money too by next month.

Does anyone know how i can improve her balance. I have had a "i know about horses" person on her and i can see it myself. THat she has no balance at all and the right size it much worse then the left. When we do lunge, her head is almost outside the ring itself and when we do left lunge she turned her head in my direction. And that explains her extreme pulling when i have lunge rope on her before i started using a roundpin.

I'll do the poles tomorrow and Do a 4 on one side of he hall that is raised and then 6 on the other side that is just laying flat.
And we have a woodmade hill like thing too. I'll use that too.
I won't be trotting the first few times ?

And i'll drop the lunge, and yesterday when i washed her and her fur was flat. I could see i should not work her anymore, she is big around her stomach. But she is not fat anymore!
 

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Is she pregnant? A big belly I have learned comes from worms, poor feed, hay and babies. The draft cross at our barn is the same height and weighs more than your girl. He is very fit and well muscled with some padding. I would be worried if my horse was not balanced and call the vet. I think it is more translation and you mean something else maybe? It could be she is being resistant. Working over poles teaches them where to put their feet and that they actually need to lift them instead of shuffling along. What did she do before you bought her and how long have you had her? Maybe she is a one sided cart horse or only got worked in one direction or has an injury that makes her favor one side. You could try ground work exercises and flexing to help.
 

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I missed if you are riding her. There are lots of great trotting exercises you can do with elevated trot poles or cavalettis. It can also be done while she is on the lunge line(not done on a circle though) while in hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I missed if you are riding her. There are lots of great trotting exercises you can do with elevated trot poles or cavalettis. It can also be done while she is on the lunge line(not done on a circle though) while in hand.
I am having trouble riding her probably, because i am really out of balance myself. So when we trot i keep slowly gliding off to either right our left. i tried lunging to improve that, but lunging as some said. Can damage more then doing good.

Today we started our little pole training with some lowered poles and elevated. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Is she pregnant? A big belly I have learned comes from worms, poor feed, hay and babies. The draft cross at our barn is the same height and weighs more than your girl. He is very fit and well muscled with some padding. I would be worried if my horse was not balanced and call the vet. I think it is more translation and you mean something else maybe? It could be she is being resistant. Working over poles teaches them where to put their feet and that they actually need to lift them instead of shuffling along. What did she do before you bought her and how long have you had her? Maybe she is a one sided cart horse or only got worked in one direction or has an injury that makes her favor one side. You could try ground work exercises and flexing to help.
No worms to be find, and feed is the highest quality you can get here. It's tested too :D
No babies either, she has only been on Mare paddocks for the past 2-3 years i have had her. And have had vet on her, and she only have few homunes problems but she is getting madicine and this is her last month. But that should not be the reason for big stomach say's doctor :)

I don't have many nor good pictures of today, but the picture without feathers is from when i got her from the riding school. Where she was used as a machine. Riding 3 hours a day no breaks at all. And almost no feeding. And on that picture she is getting to her weight. But it's more then 1 year old now.


And here is some pictures taken 2 weeks ago ish.



We do this a lot, hehe
 
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