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So my mare is a 21 y/o TWH. She has been sick for months now. The vet thinks we finally have gotten her over it. I’ve been asking about her weight but my vet says she looks good for a horse her age. I’ve never owned an older horse before and before this sickness she had been an easy keeper. My vet recommended 2lbs of nutrena essential k and good quality hay. She has been on this for about 3 months now. To me she doesn’t look very fit, but my vet says she looks fine. So I thought I would just come here and get some other opinions. Thank you all!!
 

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There's a difference between being 'fit' and having a good weight. She might not have a lot of muscling if you haven't been working her, or if she stopped getting the same amount of protein while she was sick. That said, she looks fine to me weight-wise, and it doesn't look like she's lost a lot of muscle either (but I'd have to have hands-on to really tell that.) If you're worried about body condition, consider checking out the Henneke body condition scoring chart. That should help you determine if she's between a 4 and 6 - which is acceptable. I don't see any ribs, which is good so long as you can easily feel them. I don't see a lot of spine in her back, and it's pretty flat without being overweight - that's good. All in all, she looks about a 4.5 to 5 and that's perfect, particularly if you plan to start working again.

I noted the way she was standing though - are her toes a bit long and her heels run under? Might want to make a separate thread about that and have us take a look. = ) Cheers, she looks lovely!
 

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She looks good no ribs showing, no backbone or hips showing. Beautiful mare you're good care shows.
 

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Hi, having only the one pic, & her colour makes it harder too, cannot be positive but she looks a good weight to me, not light on.

It does appear that her 'topline' could be lacking - is her spine protruding at all? Agree with Feathers tho, the way she is standing makes me think she is uncomfortable... somewhere somehow. So yes, while I don't think 'fatness' is an issue, 'fitness' & body issues may well be.

While a good vet may be... a good vet, unless they have specialised, they may not have much good knowledge about body issues, so I'd be inclined to look for a chiropractic vet or otherwise specialised good bodyworker to come check her out personally.
 

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So my mare is a 21 y/o TWH. She has been sick for months now. The vet thinks we finally have gotten her over it. !!
Agree she looks to be of good weight, her coat appears healthy, but she does look to be standing uncomfortableness.


What was sick from? It had to have been serious to take months to recover and that, in turn, can affect body condition (muscle loss). Was her top line like the picture before she got sick?

In this day and age, 21 is still young:). The TWH in my avatar was about 22 when that pic was taken (2017).

I thought I might lose him in 2012 when he was diagnosed as insulin resistant. His insulin numbers were three times the normal high, and he foundered to where he would have likely been PTS'd 25 years ago.

Meaning, your mare still has a lot of good years:). What she can do with those years depends on the sickness you have been rehabbing her from and the residual effects of that sickness. But for now, her weight and coat health look very good:). Hooves could use some help,however:)
 
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I noticed the way the horse was standing as well, but she's a TWH. Isn't that sort of normal for them?
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So my mare is a 21 y/o TWH. She has been sick for months now. The vet thinks we finally have gotten her over it. !!
Agree she looks to be of good weight, her coat appears healthy, but she does look to be standing uncomfortableness.


What was sick from? It had to have been serious to take months to recover and that, in turn, can affect body condition (muscle loss). Was her top line like the picture before she got sick?

In this day and age, 21 is still young:). The TWH in my avatar was about 22 when that pic was taken (2017).

I thought I might lose him in 2012 when he was diagnosed as insulin resistant. His insulin numbers were three times the normal high, and he foundered to where he would have likely been PTS'd 25 years ago.

Meaning, your mare still has a lot of good years:). What she can do with those years depends on the sickness you have been rehabbing her from and the residual effects of that sickness. But for now, her weight and coat health look very good:). Hooves could use some help,however:)
She was diagnosed with 3 airway infections. One of the 3 was extremely serious.. I with I could remember the name... but it took s lot of rounds of different medication and trips to the vet to get rid of it all. She is actually still on Dexamose now.

I have asked a couple people including my farrier about her stance and they say it’s just her breed. Ofc her being my first TWH I don’t know better.. but I will definitely look more into it. I have attached a couple notebooks photos. The last one is from about 3 weeks ago.
 

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Your mare is a bit underweight but she has been sick, and being sick it takes a toll on the horse and their appearance.
She could use some weight, yes but she is not skin and bones either.
She has lost muscle tone and with that topline...but they both can come back once she is cleared for riding and exercise to begin.
Ask your vet to outline a exercise routine for her and remember to go slow when returning to work...
As she increases her work load you may need to increase her hay and feed fed so she gains and builds her endurance, muscle and strength again...slow and steady a return to what she was works.
She looks healthy with her gleaming coat and shiny appearance even though she was ill...a testament to her having a caring owner who took care of her no matter what!!
Enjoy her, she has many years left of fun riding times together.
:runninghorse2:....
 

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I noticed the way the horse was standing as well, but she's a TWH. Isn't that sort of normal for them?
No, not to this degree :)

While Walking Horses do have a tendency to NOT stand square, there's a huge difference between standing "comfortably un-square" and "uncomfortably in-square".

Also, they are not prone to stretching out, as the OP's mare appears to be, unless something hurts. It's possible the mare has developed some ulcer or other issues from the long-term use of the serious meds she had to be on.

The OP's mare looks "uncomfortably un-square" to me. I think she could really benefit from a quality chiropractor who also does acupuncture:)

This is my other TWH, Rusty. The pic was December, 2017, making him 23-1/2 years. He is standing about as square as Walking Horses like to stand, unless I tell him to "square up". He is standing square, underneath himself, front and back as he should be. Even though one hind hoof is slightly ahead of the other it's healthy slightly ahead:)

He is only a tad bit splay-footed (toes out) but varying degrees of splay-footedness do indeed exist in the Walking Horse gene pool.

IMHO, both the OP's farrier and the vet are not clear as to what constitutes normal for a TWH and what does not ------which leads me to worry about how this pretty mare is getting trimmed.
image.jpg
 
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Your mare is a bit underweight but she has been sick, and being sick it takes a toll on the horse and their appearance.
She could use some weight, yes but she is not skin and bones either.
After seeing the last pics, I disagree with above - she is indeed a good weight.
 

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I forgot to add the mare is naturally high hipped, which would lead some to believe she is thin. Being high hipped is predominant in some of the Walking Horse blood lines. Those high hips likely won't disappear unless she is so over weight, that metabolic issues would be a concern:)

Rusty, above, has Generator in him. They can be a high hipped horse. Rusty is high hipped but the amale of the pic is wrong to see them. He could also stand to lose about 40# and those inherited high hips would be much more prominent:)

Do you happen to have her papers? My first thought at seeing her was that she puts me in mind of the Shaker line. She is old enough that breeders were still using some portion of the foundation stallion's name in the foal's name. The name "Mack K" is also seen in the Shaker line:)
 
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After seeing the last pics, I disagree with above - she is indeed a good weight.

She is not "skinny" but she is a bit underweight and under-muscled.

This is why I say that... {I'm using the picture by the hay bale feeder}
When I look at her I see a loss of the fat pad she should have in the wither area, that is not a "muscle" area but a fat pad.
The point of her shoulder is seen to much, it should be covered more with fat and then added muscling.
Her tail-dock is visible and her rounded butt is lacking. She is flat in appearance when you look at her hindquarters. She also has concave flanks but this is accentuated by her common hind-end stance.
Her sacroiliac joint is also to noticeable and even on horse with poor conformation it is not normally so bony if they are proper weight {I know I own one who is poorly built}

She could use some weight, not a lot but some.
Not knowing how tall she is, I would guess about a 100 pounds maybe a bit more...the hardest 100 pounds to put on and keep on a horse recovering from illness of any kind.

What she could use is conditioning and muscle-building and she would look absolutely incredible a animal...she is pretty now, but incredible when she recovers the last bit of her health and muscling.
I don't know anything about what walkin was referring to with regard to large prominent hip bones...
I saw some areas where fat should be and just not enough there yet...she was pretty sick it sounds and sick horses often and commonly lose weight and muscle.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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People are just too used to seeing over fat horses these days(And dogs and humans...) Horses should NOT have noticeable 'fat pads'. This indicates overweight & commonly IR! She is well covered but just not overweight.

Her sacroiliac joint is also to noticeable and even on horse with poor conformation it is not normally so bony if they are proper weight {I know I own one who is poorly built}
This is true for *some*. Absolutely not for many though. Many a horse, due to body issues & atrophy has its spine sticking out - or lacks *muscle* behind the wither or such - but is fat. Many times i see this because owners keep piling more feed into them thinking they're skinny.
 

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She is decently "covered" but that is where we differ.
I read a optimum Henneke score differently that you.
I don't like "fat" horses but I do appreciate the finishing bloom put on them in correct amounts and locations.

I just agree to disagree with you that this horse needs to have a finishing bloom put to their body.

:runninghorse2:...
 

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People are just too used to seeing over fat horses these days(And dogs and humans...) Horses should NOT have noticeable 'fat pads'. This indicates overweight & commonly IR! She is well covered but just not overweight.

This is true for *some*. Absolutely not for many though. Many a horse, due to body issues & atrophy has its spine sticking out - or lacks *muscle* behind the wither or such - but is fat. Many times i see this because owners keep piling more feed into them thinking they're skinny.
^^^ So agree with this we are to used to seeing fat horse's. So when one is a good weight we think they are thin needing more weight.
This mare is at a good weight put more on her ,she'll be tipping the scale to being over weight.
 

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She could use some weight, not a lot but some.

Not knowing how tall she is, I would guess about a 100 pounds maybe a bit more.
..the hardest 100 pounds to put on and keep on a horse recovering from illness of any kind.

:...
1. I am sorry to disagree but your words of "---not a lot but some---", followed by "--- I would guess about 100 pounds maybe a bit more-" is asking to put this horse into the realm of developing metabolic issues.

That is a gross and unrealistic amount of weight to put on any horse, unless it's Henneke score is 3 or less, depending on its height.

2. Unless they took after their Morgan ancestor, Maggie Marshall, Walking Horses, for the most part are a SVELTE-built horse..

3. My usage of the phrase "high hipped" is just that --- some TWH blood lines have naturally high hips. When the horse I posted above, was in condition and being ridden all the time, his hip bones were very prominent because that's who he is by birth. His ribs were appropriately covered and he was well muscled.

In the picture above, when he was 23-1/2, he is a good 40# pounds over weight and still is, because I can't ride anymore.

*****
I stand by my comments to the OP that I think the mares body weight is good, I would not want to see her any thinner going into winter but she is of good weight and her coat shows she is getting great care.

I hope the OP can find a good body worker who knows acupuncture as I am sure the horse has some pain or discomfort issues at the very least.

OP, if you are still reading along on your thread :). This is the horse in my avatar. I took this picture today. He is not standing on level ground but he is pretty square, all things considered. I thought I would lose this horse last spring in a bad hail storm.

He was already dealing with a fractured sacrum from a 2007 accident. Last spring he not only refractured the sacrum, he dislocated a vertebra.

When I texted the hump over his sacrum to the vet, she was afraid she was looking at PTS'ng him. The hump is still very prominent but not in this picture. I have to do red light and massage pad therapy on him several times weekly.

He also lives with ongoing hoof issues from founder in 2012. Even though his insulin numbers are in normal range, the fat pads are still there. I can feel his ribs without much effort. The vets would like him a bit thinner but they let it slide since his numbers are low. He is not to gain anymore, however:)

My point is, this horse is never 100% comfortable but his eyes are bright, ears always forward and full of tricks. so I keep spending money on a highly qualified hollistic vet who does chiropractics and acupuncture. She saw this horse every two weeks from last spring until recently.

He has a certified therapeutic farrier who has him in custom shoes on the back to help ease the burden of his issues.

Please notice that he is standing miraculously square, while grazing, for all the Heck he has been thru.

He is a Walking Horse from the old time plantation pleasure lines, so he is built more like his Morgan Foundation ancestor, Maggie Marshall.

He is far from thin, yet his hip bones still protude. He has lost some muscle plus it's who he is:). I'm not putting weight on his insulin resistant self in the hope of seeing those hip bones disappear and vets from two facilities would kill me if I did:)

Don't worry about those hip bones on your mare:). I also wouldn't worry too much about the top line, if it doesn't recover. Keep your mare at the weight she is but watch her going into winter:)
image.jpg
 

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She is decently "covered" but that is where we differ.
I just don't understand that you agree she is 'well covered' but still reckon she needs (a whopping) 100 lbs. My major concern with horses is their health and adding that much(or anywhere near) weight to a 'well covered' horse, wanting to see fat pads is way over and above 'putting on a finishing bloom' as you call it.

But then, maybe I am a little more concerned than I need to be, as in my work, in my experience, I tend to see all the problems caused by overweight beasts. And as I've said to others, it's *chronic* 'good condition' that's really bad for animals, not so much just short periods of overweight between regular periods that use up excess fat stores & 'reset' the metabolism....
 

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loosie....
Did you enlarge this picture and really look at the horse closely and critically?
I did.
I also showed another person who is a vet tech/equestrian when you kept questioning what I see...maybe I was wrong.

I asked them to put their thoughts in layman terms not professional terminology for ease of my understanding.
They also agreed the horse is covered but not optimum with "bloom" to her.
You don't look at just ribs and belly.
There are many shadows on this animals build and that just as in human pictures, animals also can look heavier than in true life.
They pointed out her hind quarter is pointed, not softly rounded.
Fat pad at the wither is not softly blended to her entire wither bone.
Her shoulder point is visible.
The tailhead is seen as is the hip juncture and individual bones of the sacro joint shadowed.
Yes, you can see her spinal processes and should as she carries her weight in her belly with no muscling apparent.
But her tailhead bone is seen and that is not seen on a horse with optimal good weight.
Her hindquarters where they should be slightly rounded top of rump either side of the spine/tailhead appear hollowed.
The tech said she also would love to see her with her mane moved to expose her neck or pictured from the other side as she thought you would see some "scrawny" for a variety of reasons, the weight loss and muscle lacking.
Was also mentioned what appears to be a concave flank.
The horse has a very weak topline and no muscle sculpting. Ribs are covered but they also cover easily in some and other areas are at a deficit.

She read about the hip presentation from walkin and said from a picture there is to much guessing on that but her hip points do appear "high", but she also is not squared, stood up well either. The ground sure does not look level as a true evaluation needs.

I guessed on a weight amount still needed....
This is not a small horse and is of good bone thickness.
I only know when my vet critiqued my one horse who resembled this, was told 100 pounds to soften and the full bloom to shine forth. :|

Like I said, I agree to disagree.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and what they like in a animal.
You may prefer thinner, someone else bulbous fat pads...
I prefer my horses to not be "fat" but have a softer look to their angles than this.
To me, this horse is a solid 4 on the scale, nearly a 5...just a bit more flesh added and then work on the muscle delineation as she continues to recover from her illness.

I also do not agree that it is good for a horse to play the weight scale to reset their metabolism. Phooey...
A horse who is maintained year round at a consistent correct weight lives a healthier existence than the one who fluctuates from the fatter scale to then dropping to the thinner side of the equation.
I prefer my horses to hold a constant correct weight...something the barns I worked at, managed and kept my horses at all worked diligently to maintain our horses weight levels to correct amounts year-round.
As I said, agree to disagree.
And I'm done.

Jay19...my apologies for taking your thread to such a discussion point.
I hope your mare continues on the road to recovery.
She is obviously a well loved and cared for animal by her appearance.
I hope you both get many years of riding pleasure together as she returns from illness to her spectacular self. :smile:
:wave:...
:runninghorse2:...
 
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