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I am rehabilitating a horse that was very underweight. He's a thoroughbred about 16.2hh. He has a lot of energy and when I lunge him, he is happy to trot and canter. His diet consists of mostly #1 alfalfa, rice bran oil, and coconut oil. Recently I put a saddle on while lunging and he was even more enthusiastic. Is he still too thin to ride? I am 5'8" 120lbs. I should also mention that the more he's worked, the more weight/muscle is put on. The pictures with the saddle are from today and the one without is the first day I got him.
 

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I'd wait a bit longer, his back looks like its still too weak for a persons weight. He is looking better though.
 

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I agree with cowgirl. I'd wait a little longer and get some more weight on him but also once you start working him, the muscle he will gain will make up for some weight and he should fill out nicely!
 

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I have a horse very similar to yours, I'd wait until he's filled out a bit more, he needs to have the strength to carry a rider, otherwise you may do more harm than good. He looks lovely, you'll just have to be patient, it's worth it in the end! :)
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i would wait, we have a friend who has a horse just like this he is a little more fat though, the only time he's been ridden so far was bareback for 10min and he was fine!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for the input! It gets tricky when you see him everyday, he's improved so much, and many people are in your ear. My main concern was his topline, glad to know it is a valid concern :)
 

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I wouldn't even be lunging him at this weight. I would turn him out, feed him up, and give him time to get good. At this weight, ALL his calories should be going either to getting fat, or getting food (as in grazing). Lunging is using calories that he shouldn't burning up at this stage.
 

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I have to vehemently agree with Chiilaa at this point. That horse is still very thin and should have to worry about absolutely nothing except how far his face is buried in feed. I wouldn't even think of riding him now, he's still basically nothing but skin and bones. He has no muscles to speak of so riding him now really could hurt him.
 

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How come he's getting rice bran oil and coconut? Does he get grass hay/grazing too? If not, I'd cut back on the alfalfa & replace it with grass hay & also feed a nutritional supplement that will balance his diet.
 
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