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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's come time to really start working with my Morgan mare, Minnie, and our biggest barrier is going to be her physical strength and fitness. For some background for those who haven't read anything about her yet, she was rescued from a neglectful situation. When the rescue got her, she was 3-4 years old, and was a 1-2 on the Henneke Body Scale, with a foal at her side. I got her from the rescue at 5-6 years old, and saddle-broke her last summer. We focused on building her confidence, introducing obstacles, and long & slow trail rides. Then, I could only ride once or twice a week, and now I am finally in a situation where I can basically ride however often I want.

But, Minnie is very weak throughout her body when is comes to carrying herself. I have cantered her once, briefly, under-saddle and do not want to do so again until she is physically more fit. The other day I put her on the lunge to see where we are at (after two months of not riding), and she in unable to canter on the lunge. She is just too weak to hold herself together more than a few strides, and is incredibly choppy.

I want to make it very clear that I am in absolutely no rush, and want to take my time developing her body. I plan to work towards competing her in the coming years in dressage and hopefully low-level eventing, but am in zero rush. I would love advice on exercises, on the lunge and under-saddle, to help strengthen her for one day being able to canter under-saddle and eventually jump. I have never worked with a horse this physically weak throughout their body, and I would assume that the malnourishment and neglect put her a bit behind the other horses I have started and was able to strengthen myself.

The picture I attached is from last summer, just to help show her current condition. She doesn't have much of a topline, and has a tendency to be a bit belly-heavy.

I have access to normal arena equipment including poles, jump standards, and barrels. I have a roll of elastic exercise band coming in the mail to simulate an 'equiband' system. I am comfortable lunging, long-lining, utilizing side reins, and of course working under-saddle. I would love to know what you would do to strengthen her, and prepare her for cantering on the lunge, and of course more under-saddle work.
 

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do you have access to trails or hills? I mean, just long walks, on uneven ground will help a lot. Then long trots.


I don't know about the lunging with an 'equi-band". I'm not familiar with that. But, using poles to create places she must step up and over. backing her up, doing roll backs at walk or trot.

I think you have a good plan, all in all.
 

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Oh my friend, I have good news for you - this is my forte if there ever was one!

I have a penchant for liking big bodied horses. The downside of that? Holding fitness is not their strong suit.

First and foremost, lots of education on proper biomechanics is a must - that way you can understand the why's and how's to horses and their bodies and how to strengthen their muscles safely.

Gerd Heuschmann is an amazing teacher of this, and I highly recommend his books if you can buy them. (Balancing Act is my favorite but apparently out of print and very expensive!)
https://www.amazon.com/Tug-War-Clas...eywords=gerd+heuschmann&qid=1588975757&sr=8-2

I would start with three days a week at the walk under saddle. 20 or so minutes will be enough. First, work on Minnie getting forward off the leg, pushing from behind (the classical over reach) and walking happily forward. If she has leg aids, you can work in some leg yield either on the wall or across the diagonals. This is the time to begin introducing travers and renvers (https://dressagetoday.com/instruction/introducing-travers-and-renvers-with-hilda-gurney) for just a few steps to help supple and get her believing that she can reach under her body and move correctly.

This will begin the muscling process.

Add in trot next, and here is where I would absolutely encourage the use of the Pessoa Rig. I have just recently been using it for my hunter and the difference is astronomical. I went from a horse who could barely canter well for a few laps to a beefed up machine in about two months. 5 minutes will help her, just a few at the end of the ride (where she's warmed up!) to help her further.
With the trot the goals are the same as the walk. First establish a forward gait, proper body alignment and correct bend through turns then add in your lateral aids and lateral work (a leg yield is not a lateral move, just for some side information!)
When introducing shoulder in here, get a step or so of shoulder fore then straight. Making her hold a movement is not the goal here - it's engaging HER core so she can begin to move her muscling from her stomach to her spine.

Trotting will slowly increase. Even if you add five minutes a week, a slow progression will end with a sound horse.

Listen to HER body, if she's balky to work through something at the walk she's probably sore from the previous work.
At this point in her life days off aren't going to be a problem. If she's sore, she's going to not get a lot from the ride, and it'll make her sour to work.

If poles are used I'd only work on one at a time, not walk, trot, or canter poles yet. Getting her to pick up her feet is good, but she will get discouraged if she can't do it.
You are her champion right now, her #1 cheerleader. She walks a lap pushing properly with a swinging back she gets a million pats and a sugar cube.

Small progress will EVENTUALLY get you far!

It's just like rehabbing an injury, slow steady progress will come out with a healthy animal.

All the work at the walk and trot will help the canter. I'd eat my hat if you told me after a few months of working on those two gaits individually that she couldn't canter a lap. Just as you don't start out running in a full sprint, you'll be shocked at how far jogging (in this case walk and trotting) will get your fitness.

After that I'd work on trot sets, pole work, cantering, trail riding, etc. That all comes later. I wouldn't even ride her much on hills yet - maybe once every two weeks if you have the access to them.

A months long process this may be, but you train a horse once and you don't have to go back fixing missing pieces later. Even the best horses have training holes due to talent. I've ridden high level jumpers that couldn't canter a straight line. My hunter couldn't either when he got to me at 6... I've ridden horses who had no clue what a leg aid is, what consistent rein contact is.
The time here is going to pay off in SPADES down the road.

Good luck.
 

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My favourite part of rehab.

I do track heart rate and respiration. Here's a good link about those and more.

https://horses.extension.org/temperature-pulse-and-respiration-in-a-horse/

I do check, too, as the horse exercises.

Here's a link from Oklahoma State:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sou...FjALegQIBBAB&usg=AOvVaw1dWTkmCZD35VY5xAQgrmso

Overall, I start slow and increase. If there are no lameness issues (sounds like your mare doesn't have any) I ride.

Without knowing your horse, the best guess i can make is walking for a couple weeks, varying the speed, before adding faster gaits.

She's a lucky horse to have you. Have fun bringing her back to work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
do you have access to trails or hills? I mean, just long walks, on uneven ground will help a lot. Then long trots.


I don't know about the lunging with an 'equi-band". I'm not familiar with that. But, using poles to create places she must step up and over. backing her up, doing roll backs at walk or trot.

I think you have a good plan, all in all.

I unfortunately have zero access to any sort of hills - the joys of living in the lower peninsula of Michigan once again. Even uneven ground will be difficult to find, now boarding in the middle of farming country. I haven't explored the area too much yet, so hopefully I can find roads to ride to that have some sort of incline to them!

Also, an 'equi-band' is an elastic set-up that is marketed for conditioning horses. Lauren Allport is an equine therapist and popular youtuber that uses the set-up on her young or weak horses, and it is used to help stimulate the muscles throughout a horses body.

http://equicoreconcepts.com/concept/
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh my friend, I have good news for you - this is my forte if there ever was one!

I have a penchant for liking big bodied horses. The downside of that? Holding fitness is not their strong suit.

First and foremost, lots of education on proper biomechanics is a must - that way you can understand the why's and how's to horses and their bodies and how to strengthen their muscles safely.

Gerd Heuschmann is an amazing teacher of this, and I highly recommend his books if you can buy them. (Balancing Act is my favorite but apparently out of print and very expensive!)
https://www.amazon.com/Tug-War-Clas...eywords=gerd+heuschmann&qid=1588975757&sr=8-2
I was hoping you would chime in!

I have ordered the "Tug of War" book you linked - luckily I love reading in my downtime and am excited for this book to arrive! I have been reading "Training Strategies for Dressage Riders" by Charles De Kunffy, and am always looking for new books. Such a shame that "Balancing Act" is out of print - I will keep my eye out on the tack pages I watch... Maybe someone won't know that their book is worth $600+...

I would start with three days a week at the walk under saddle. 20 or so minutes will be enough. First, work on Minnie getting forward off the leg, pushing from behind (the classical over reach) and walking happily forward. If she has leg aids, you can work in some leg yield either on the wall or across the diagonals. This is the time to begin introducing travers and renvers (https://dressagetoday.com/instruction/introducing-travers-and-renvers-with-hilda-gurney) for just a few steps to help supple and get her believing that she can reach under her body and move correctly.

This will begin the muscling process.

Add in trot next, and here is where I would absolutely encourage the use of the Pessoa Rig. I have just recently been using it for my hunter and the difference is astronomical. I went from a horse who could barely canter well for a few laps to a beefed up machine in about two months. 5 minutes will help her, just a few at the end of the ride (where she's warmed up!) to help her further.
With the trot the goals are the same as the walk. First establish a forward gait, proper body alignment and correct bend through turns then add in your lateral aids and lateral work (a leg yield is not a lateral move, just for some side information!)
When introducing shoulder in here, get a step or so of shoulder fore then straight. Making her hold a movement is not the goal here - it's engaging HER core so she can begin to move her muscling from her stomach to her spine.
I will begin the walking process tomorrow. The last thing I worked on before winter was beginning to introduce lateral work on the ground before transitioning it under-saddle. She is a particularly nervous mare, and I think more time walking under-saddle will help with her confidence, especially once the lateral work 'clicks' in her head.

I have started looking on the tack pages for a Pessoa system - I unfortunately can't afford a brand new system, but see them for sale pretty often. Until I find one I will continue getting her used to the side reins and 'equiband' knock-off, just to have a starting point to jump off of. Have you ever worked with using Vienna reins? The concept behind them sounds like it would work well with her, and provide her a bit more guidance than side reins.

Trotting will slowly increase. Even if you add five minutes a week, a slow progression will end with a sound horse.

Listen to HER body, if she's balky to work through something at the walk she's probably sore from the previous work.
At this point in her life days off aren't going to be a problem. If she's sore, she's going to not get a lot from the ride, and it'll make her sour to work.

If poles are used I'd only work on one at a time, not walk, trot, or canter poles yet. Getting her to pick up her feet is good, but she will get discouraged if she can't do it.
You are her champion right now, her #1 cheerleader. She walks a lap pushing properly with a swinging back she gets a million pats and a sugar cube.

Small progress will EVENTUALLY get you far!

It's just like rehabbing an injury, slow steady progress will come out with a healthy animal.

All the work at the walk and trot will help the canter. I'd eat my hat if you told me after a few months of working on those two gaits individually that she couldn't canter a lap. Just as you don't start out running in a full sprint, you'll be shocked at how far jogging (in this case walk and trotting) will get your fitness.

After that I'd work on trot sets, pole work, cantering, trail riding, etc. That all comes later. I wouldn't even ride her much on hills yet - maybe once every two weeks if you have the access to them.
Lucky for miss Minnie, she usually makes the call whether we work or not on a certain day. I spent many months earning her trust and working to draw her out of her shell, and I will do anything to avoid creating a work-sour horse.

I will likely continue having obstacles sprinkled throughout the arena, as that is the part she seems to enjoy right now. Hopefully the obstacles will give her a little break in-between correctly walking.

A months long process this may be, but you train a horse once and you don't have to go back fixing missing pieces later. Even the best horses have training holes due to talent. I've ridden high level jumpers that couldn't canter a straight line. My hunter couldn't either when he got to me at 6... I've ridden horses who had no clue what a leg aid is, what consistent rein contact is.
The time here is going to pay off in SPADES down the road.

Good luck.
Thank you for all of the advice - it will definitely get put to use. She's a few years behind in the riding department, but I plan on having her until she is retired. We have plenty of time to get out and do the 'fun' stuff, and I would definitely rather use the next couple of months getting her strong, rather than burning her out young.
 
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I haven't used Vienna reins when lunging, only side reins and the Pessoa system. I love side reins for training work - especially on stronger horses or horses who need to learn respect and proper contact (they can't fight themselves forever). Pessoa is way more about general strength.
Side reins and the equiband will work in a pinch, but I don't understand the use of it under saddle.

YouTubers make me wary of products, especially in the equine industry. Sometimes they don't know the WHY behind something and that leads to people using things incorrectly.

Really with the Pessoa you're paying for the name... it's the haunch piece and ropes with snaps, really. I'm working on finding a cheaper alternative (I've been using my coach's haha) for my farm at home.

I hope you'll love the book! Gerd is an amazing writer and lecturer, just don't want him ride... he really does not do well with the application process.

If you're a reader and like correct, classical dressage read everything by Paul Belasik. I adore Paul, have had the opportunity to ride with him and talk to him through one of my mentors and he really does know and understand the correct way horses go. Amazing horseman.
 

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The best conditioning schedule I've ever done for my horses is slow and steady, taking place over 4-5 months. It's actually quite similar to the one @Interstellar has outlined. Not only gradually building strength, but getting a good handle on controlling the horse longitudinally and laterally before introducing speed and longer duration. I find this leads to a fit horse that is happiest to work.

I actually start mine off on the ground with in hand work and showing the horse how to move into the bit from engaging the hind end. Mine is a bit different, but I think arttoride on youtube explains something similar. I do this until the horse is comfortable stretching down to the bit for at least the long side of the arena and easily able to move back to it when asked forward again. I then proceed to build on this for 5 min before every ride and introduce such things as shoulder in or leg yield.

Then I move to walking undersaddle focusing on creating a balanced and forward walk. Here I will also work on lateral movements and speed changes with a long-low frame, as well as a shorter frame when collecting. I introduce the trot very very slowly, asking for what few strides they can hold in a balanced trot, building this as they are able to hold longer.

During this time I may designate a ride or two as a trail ride/hill work. Alternatively, you could do pole work. I am not a huge fan of lunging often, but it can be useful here and there over poles for <20min at a time.

When the horse is comfortable and fully willing to trot balanced on their own for a longer time, then I start introducing the canter the same way the trot was introduced with only 1-4 strides initially.

Interstellar brought up a great point about not pushing the horse in training and listening to what she is telling you. I think this is often where people go wrong in training and horses can pick up tension related issues, which are both counter productive in training and in building the proper muscles. It is much better to quit early, on a good note, rather than later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I haven't used Vienna reins when lunging, only side reins and the Pessoa system. I love side reins for training work - especially on stronger horses or horses who need to learn respect and proper contact (they can't fight themselves forever). Pessoa is way more about general strength.
Side reins and the equiband will work in a pinch, but I don't understand the use of it under saddle.

YouTubers make me wary of products, especially in the equine industry. Sometimes they don't know the WHY behind something and that leads to people using things incorrectly.

Really with the Pessoa you're paying for the name... it's the haunch piece and ropes with snaps, really. I'm working on finding a cheaper alternative (I've been using my coach's haha) for my farm at home.

I hope you'll love the book! Gerd is an amazing writer and lecturer, just don't want him ride... he really does not do well with the application process.

If you're a reader and like correct, classical dressage read everything by Paul Belasik. I adore Paul, have had the opportunity to ride with him and talk to him through one of my mentors and he really does know and understand the correct way horses go. Amazing horseman.
I am ordering a 'Waldausen Lunging System' that is a knock-off of the Pessoa system.
https://www.bigdweb.com/product/waldausen+lunging+system.do
At $55 instead of $235, I am feeling much better about buying it. I will let you know how it is once I have my hands on it!

I had the chance to ride last night, and creating a quality, forward walk will take some work. I did, however, take the time to begin teaching lateral leg aids to help work towards the relaxation I would like. Minnie has never been in an indoor arena, much less ridden in an arena off property, so a lot of the ride last night was showing her that the walls weren't going to attack her. By the end, she was beginning to bend into the corners, and started to give me bits and pieces of a round circle.

I felt that it would help her to trot a bit, so we did one big figure-eight around the arena at the end of the ride. It was a good test to really see how she felt about the scary walls, and she was confident around the entire loop. She began to 'bobbing' her head into 'relaxation' - if that makes any sense to anyone but me - but isn't quite confident enough to drop her head and really drive from behind. I'm confident that will come with time though.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Then I move to walking undersaddle focusing on creating a balanced and forward walk. Here I will also work on lateral movements and speed changes with a long-low frame, as well as a shorter frame when collecting. I introduce the trot very very slowly, asking for what few strides they can hold in a balanced trot, building this as they are able to hold longer.
This will be our biggest barrier - she knows nothing of 'long and low' work under-saddle. The last trainer I worked with would begin teaching 'long and low' at the trot, and use those skills to obtain it at the walk, so this is working a bit backwards for us. The biggest thing working against us is the lack of relaxation we have at this point, as she is still pretty green, and has always been a very anxious horse since I've gotten her.

I look forward to receiving my 'Pessoa' training system, as I believe it will be the first step to teaching her how to use her body on the ground, and eventually translate it to under-saddle.
 
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I'm not a big fan of using devices to hold a horse in a position. My reasoning being that if they don't have the strength to move naturally, it will be even more difficult to begin holding positions they would not naturally do. This can set you back since it can cause more muscle soreness, tension and spasms (if you've had spasms in back muscles you know how long they can last and make everything else tense up too).

Long walks are really great, and add to fitness much more than you can imagine. Make sure you allow for recovery after any more strenuous workout, of at least a day. Otherwise the soreness can build up and cause areas of muscle tension/spasm.

You've had some good advice, and I would like to ask if you've added any diet supplements. Starved horses can have muscle loss from Vitamin E deficiency and may need higher doses than usual (3,000 IU or so) for a prolonged period. My rescue horse would develop muscle weakness if I did not give her Vitamin E daily. Magnesium can also be extremely beneficial for horses needing muscle development.

Finally, this is more of an "extra" but with my current TB I've seen a lot of improvement in his muscle development since I started him on an amino acid supplement a couple months ago. I give him Equinety.
https://www.teamequinety.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm not a big fan of using devices to hold a horse in a position. My reasoning being that if they don't have the strength to move naturally, it will be even more difficult to begin holding positions they would not naturally do. This can set you back since it can cause more muscle soreness, tension and spasms (if you've had spasms in back muscles you know how long they can last and make everything else tense up too).

Long walks are really great, and add to fitness much more than you can imagine. Make sure you allow for recovery after any more strenuous workout, of at least a day. Otherwise the soreness can build up and cause areas of muscle tension/spasm.

You've had some good advice, and I would like to ask if you've added any diet supplements. Starved horses can have muscle loss from Vitamin E deficiency and may need higher doses than usual (3,000 IU or so) for a prolonged period. My rescue horse would develop muscle weakness if I did not give her Vitamin E daily. Magnesium can also be extremely beneficial for horses needing muscle development.

Finally, this is more of an "extra" but with my current TB I've seen a lot of improvement in his muscle development since I started him on an amino acid supplement a couple months ago. I give him Equinety.
https://www.teamequinety.com/
As for the feeding and supplements, Minnie spent nearly a year on a Magnesium supplement while getting her accustomed to being handled. Before being on Magnesium, she was out-of-her-mind terrified of interacting with humans. Now, she is just on a good quality ration balancer, Gro'n'Win. I have had my eye on a Vitamin E product from HorseTech, their Vitamin E-5000. Each serving has 5,000 IU of Vitamin E, but it runs at $50/month. I'm not against supplementing her Vitamin E, but I am transitioning from being a college student to a real adult, and am monitoring spending very closely. Same for the amino acid supplement, I'm not against it, but where things are added other things need to be taken away that I am spending on.

I personally don't have anything huge against devices, as long as they are used properly. I plan on being very strict with the time that they are used, and I know I will be reaching out to Interstellar on fit. Beyond side reins, the 'equiband' and now the lunging system, there are no other devices being used with my horses, and absolutely none are used under-saddle.

I've worked for and been around many trainers and owners that slap every gadget on their horse, and I've seen the balls of anxiety those horses turn to, not to mention the physical problems some of them have (plus, I would say none of those horses carry themselves correctly, either!). I have all the time in the world to develop my horses, and am very mindful of the lasting impact that my decisions today can make on my horse a year or 10 years from now. I would rather have a sound-minded, strong-bodied horse than anything that I've ever seen others create by their rash impatience.
 

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Just like side reins, the Pessoa won't hold the head into a position if fitted correctly. It encourages horses to stretch down into the contact and shows them that the contact is A) forgiving and B) consistent. It takes the guess work out and allows them to really begin to train themselves.

I don't like tie down's, chambons, or other pieces of tack that I cannot control. I have been educated on the use of draw reins and use them in my program as a martingale I can control for flatwork. I do not advocate their use nor do I see them as tools to quick fix things. I also like them on babies because I have a quicker stopping rate for those 'just in case' moments.

Slightly off topic, but that's my take on 'gadgets.'

I think the Pessoa is super useful and have seen how well it does for horses who need fitness. My hunter doesn't even jiggle anymore, he's all muscle which has never happened before for him. Totally love the Pessoa.
 

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This will be our biggest barrier - she knows nothing of 'long and low' work under-saddle. The last trainer I worked with would begin teaching 'long and low' at the trot, and use those skills to obtain it at the walk, so this is working a bit backwards for us. The biggest thing working against us is the lack of relaxation we have at this point, as she is still pretty green, and has always been a very anxious horse since I've gotten her.

I look forward to receiving my 'Pessoa' training system, as I believe it will be the first step to teaching her how to use her body on the ground, and eventually translate it to under-saddle.
In my opinion, working on the basics of balance (rhythm, straitness and suppleness) first in a contact the horse feels balanced is much more important that what frame your horse is holding. In fact, that is more what my groundwork portion is about - getting the horse in the right position to be able to work nicely over their back. I've never really taught long and low to the horses I've worked with, but it comes naturally as the horses learn how to properly carry them selves. I'd recommend focusing on these...First, focusing on rhythm, seat responsiveness and forwardness. Then, working on straightness. I prefer working horses off the rail for this as I feel it is a more accurate representation for their training. Be aware of when she is drifting and dropping shoulders and correct them. Also, keep her thinking - I like to do the opposite transition to what the horse wants to do, so if they are dropping the shoulder left, I'd turn right. You can work on suppleness simultaneously, having your horse bend around the ribcage and balance into the outside rein, making sure to do lots of changes in direction.

You could start long and low at the walk or trot really, depending on the horse, but I prefer to start at the walk because if you are having problems there, then you'll most likely have problems at the trot too, but not always depending on the gait quality. I'd work your horse in the contact they can maintain balance with currently and when you feel they are balanced enough, into contact and listening to your seat to come back, then give your elbow gradually forward a few inches for a stride (encouraging hind end with a driving seat or some leg) or two and see if they move forward and down with the bit. Don't worry if the horse doesn't do so, just pick up a gentle contact again, correct any crookedness/speed changes and ask the horse to move forward again to the bit. When your horse shows even the slightest move forward and down to the bit, pat them, reward, and I'd even consider ending the ride there to really drive the point home.

At first, the horse's attempts of reaching for the bit may be very subtle - as little as putting a slight bit more weight into the bit. You need to recognize these attempts and reward accordingly for greater progression. Think of each as a building block to the long-low frame, which takes both strength and adequate balance to maintain for a number of strides.
 

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I have had my eye on a Vitamin E product from HorseTech, their Vitamin E-5000. Each serving has 5,000 IU of Vitamin E, but it runs at $50/month. I'm not against supplementing her Vitamin E, but I am transitioning from being a college student to a real adult, and am monitoring spending very closely. Same for the amino acid supplement, I'm not against it, but where things are added other things need to be taken away that I am spending on.
It could still be very helpful if you gave a half serving of the HorseTech E, which would cost $25 a month. Maybe more affordable?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Really with the Pessoa you're paying for the name... it's the haunch piece and ropes with snaps, really. I'm working on finding a cheaper alternative (I've been using my coach's haha) for my farm at home.

I finally received the 'Pessoa' system in the mail, the Waldausen Lunging System, from Big Dee's Tack & Vet supply. Looking at it, I sure wish that somewhere just sold the bum piece and hardware separately, since I would much rather buy my own rope from a local marine store. The quality seems pretty good, but there is a lot of little pulls along the rope, but with saving almost $200, I'd say it was worth it.

I'm going to try it on the horses hopefully tonight, otherwise tomorrow. I have begun looking at how different people adjusted it differently on different horses, and am starting to think about what would work best for each horse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It could still be very helpful if you gave a half serving of the HorseTech E, which would cost $25 a month. Maybe more affordable?
I've begun shopping around for alternatives - I'm thinking I will order something soon. SmartPak teased me with a 50% Smartpak supplement coupon yesterday and I was prepared to buy a few months supply, only to find out the coupon was only for their pre-portioned Smartpaks. I can't bring myself to spend that much money on making more single-use plastic trash. I'm waiting and watching for a better deal through Smartpak.
 
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I just came in on this thread and apologize for not reading everything.

1. I know HorseTech is very expensive BUT when it comes to supplements, you get what you pay for:). Sadly, I received a letter (in the U.S. mail:) from them apologizing for having to raise prices again due to an increase from their suppliers. No product of integrity is ever going to be cheap again.

I buy a few things from them and don’t always feed the exact recommendations.

I do feed their recommended amount for their HighPoint vit/min supplement for grass fed horses. I’ve been feeding it since late 2014. It has amino acids in it.

I feed HorseTech’s “GutWerks” probiotics at 2/3’rds the recommended amount for both horses and it works much better than Probios at their full amount.

I feed HorseTech's “BioFlax” to my IR/Cushings horse at their recommended amount.

I feed HorseTech’s “Natural E-5000 to where each horse receives 3000 IU daily.

2. Amino acids. I agree on finding a quality amino acid combo. I have read good,things about Equinety and also Tri-Amino.

There are amino acids in HorseTech’s vit/min supplement so I have never added any to my IR/Cushings horse’s diet - until recently.

Everyone knows Cushings ravages muscle on a horse. I discovered completely by accident the “apparent” benefits of L-Citrulline for my IR/Cushings horse. How I discovered it, is a long story that I will spare you.

We all also know how lousy Cushings horses shed out and how unthrifty their physique looks. Joker was diagnosed with Cushings in 2019 and has been on 1/2mg daily of Prascend.

I took this picture May 12th. He still has some shedding to do but his coat and physique have the look of a normal healthy horse, except for the edema & arthritis over his fractured sacrum. I took the clippers to that hair as it grows thick over the injury - don’t laugh:)

His muscle structure did not look this good before I started him on the L-Citrulline. He is coming 25 and doesn’t look like his ACTH numbers were three times higher than they should have been last year.

01E70762-95CC-475C-B082-C3A9D2778475.jpg

My point is the L-Citrulline appears to have helped with both coat quality and muscle recovery for him, which he never had much muscle before he got sick.

My disclaimer is this is purely anecdotal based on my experience. L-Citrulline converts to L-arginine in the body. I could have bought L-Arginine but I prefer not to.

There are no in-depth credible studies for this amino acid regarding horses; only a few suppositional paragraphs here and there. There are, however, a lot of credible studies as L-Citrulline relates to human in both Type II diabetes and muscle recovery in athletes.

Joker weighs ~1,125 pounds. I started him at 500mg of L-Citrulline daily and worked him up to 1000 mg daily. 1000 mg will be the max but it’s not cast in stone:)

I know you’re coming out of college and money is tight - especially now with this Covid19 garbage, but sometimes spending more on quality products means spending less over the long term.

Far as SmartPak is concerned — their original concept of little paks is great for boarded horses. I don’t like the company as I think they have become way too big for their britches. I would worry some of those newly invented paks aren’t quite exactly what they are supposed to be.

I hope this is helpful to you:)
 

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I just came in on this thread and apologize for not reading everything.

1. I know HorseTech is very expensive BUT when it comes to supplements, you get what you pay for:). Sadly, I received a letter (in the U.S. mail:) from them apologizing for having to raise prices again due to an increase from their suppliers. No product of integrity is ever going to be cheap again.

I buy a few things from them and don’t always feed the exact recommendations.

I do feed their recommended amount for their HighPoint vit/min supplement for grass fed horses. I’ve been feeding it since late 2014. It has amino acids in it.

I feed HorseTech’s “GutWerks” probiotics at 2/3’rds the recommended amount for both horses and it works much better than Probios at their full amount.

I feed HorseTech's “BioFlax” to my IR/Cushings horse at their recommended amount.

I feed HorseTech’s “Natural E-5000 to where each horse receives 3000 IU daily.

2. Amino acids. I agree on finding a quality amino acid combo. I have read good,things about Equinety and also Tri-Amino.

There are amino acids in HorseTech’s vit/min supplement so I have never added any to my IR/Cushings horse’s diet - until recently.

Everyone knows Cushings ravages muscle on a horse. I discovered completely by accident the “apparent” benefits of L-Citrulline for my IR/Cushings horse. How I discovered it, is a long story that I will spare you.

We all also know how lousy Cushings horses shed out and how unthrifty their physique looks. Joker was diagnosed with Cushings in 2019 and has been on 1/2mg daily of Prascend.

I took this picture May 12th. He still has some shedding to do but his coat and physique have the look of a normal healthy horse, except for the edema & arthritis over his fractured sacrum. I took the clippers to that hair as it grows thick over the injury - don’t laugh:)

His muscle structure did not look this good before I started him on the L-Citrulline. He is coming 25 and doesn’t look like his ACTH numbers were three times higher than they should have been last year.

View attachment 1009641

My point is the L-Citrulline appears to have helped with both coat quality and muscle recovery for him, which he never had much muscle before he got sick.

My disclaimer is this is purely anecdotal based on my experience. L-Citrulline converts to L-arginine in the body. I could have bought L-Arginine but I prefer not to.

There are no in-depth credible studies for this amino acid regarding horses; only a few suppositional paragraphs here and there. There are, however, a lot of credible studies as L-Citrulline relates to human in both Type II diabetes and muscle recovery in athletes.

Joker weighs ~1,125 pounds. I started him at 500mg of L-Citrulline daily and worked him up to 1000 mg daily. 1000 mg will be the max but it’s not cast in stone:)

I know you’re coming out of college and money is tight - especially now with this Covid19 garbage, but sometimes spending more on quality products means spending less over the long term.

Far as SmartPak is concerned — their original concept of little paks is great for boarded horses. I don’t like the company as I think they have become way too big for their britches. I would worry some of those newly invented paks aren’t quite exactly what they are supposed to be.

I hope this is helpful to you:)

I really appreciate your insight - I agree that quality products are a much better investment than alternatives. I have absolutely no problem spending the money on the good stuff, as long as I have the money for the good stuff. I am pretty set on ordering the Natural E-5000, as it seems like the best vitamin E product on the market. Plus, I love HorseTech, my old boss fed their products to her horses and were also a local retailer for HorseTech 'back in the day'. She did offer to use her discount that she has to order me products, so I may reach out and see if that is still on the table.

Looking at the HorseTech website, their SportWerks product really catches my eye for the future, when I am actively competing again. It has a bunch of good stuff in it but at $140/month...ouch.

The Nutramino product looks tempting as well. I think I will reach out to HorseTech and see what they recommend.

I am also curious as to where you get the L-citrulline.
 
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