Help! My pony needs an exercise program..

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by Rising_Phoenix515, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Maybe I need better pictures due to his dark color concealing....something, but I see a big hay/grass belly, probably from being on pasture all summer, not a horse with an alarming amount of body fat. He needs more muscle (work), for sure, but his body fat doesn't appear to be alarming. He certainly could lose weight but 'such a chub'? That big hay belly can reduce if he's fed less bulk feed, being off pasture should help.

    Timothy/orchard grass might be alright for him, but given how small he is he may not need 15 lbs of it. What's his weight and girth measurement?

     
  2. Rising_Phoenix515

    Rising_Phoenix515 Full Member

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    Hello! Yes his belly is what bothers me the most. The belly and a bit of crest is really what makes him look so chubby to me. I was hoping being off the grass for about a month now his belly would have reduced more. I can feel ribs with a bit of pressure. He is currently 850+/- lbs according to a weight tape. If I feed less hay he will spend most of the day without feed and I worry about ulcers. He is the type that devours his hay even in a slow feed hay net. Maybe I could try doing several small feedings throughout the day in a slow feed hay net and reduce the hay to several pounds less?
     
  3. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I don't know. According to his current weight, 15 lbs of hay isn't excessive. When did you take him off pasture, because his grass belly won't disappear quickly. Said he was on grass 'all summer.'

    I actually don't see the 'crest' being that severely bad.

    You need to learn to look for patches of fat on the body itself, especially the shoulders and rump. And he doesn't really have those. So while i am absolutely sure he needs work an muscle, I'm not so sure he has laid on a ton of body fat, nor does he have the patches of fat that really freak me out. Maybe hands on would give a different impression, but, seriously. Just about every horse in the world could use more work and to have his ribs a little less well covered, but this picture in no way causes me to spill my coffee in my lap and scream. And a lot of pictures here do.
     
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  4. tlwidener

    tlwidener Senior Member

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    If he's already on reduced hay... you should really question why he isn't losing more weight. I would test the hay. He needs a low NSC hay. I would do both things you mentioned: use a slow feeder and offer many small meals. If the hay is over 12% NSC you'll need to either soak it or find a different forage.

    You are right to worry about ulcers, but there has to be a balance between keeping his gut happy and keeping weight off him. Teff hay is a good option if you can find it. Alfalfa could work.
     
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  5. Rising_Phoenix515

    Rising_Phoenix515 Full Member

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    I just checked my calendar and I pulled him from pasture July 6th. He had been on rich grass until that date. I don’t feel any fat patches on his shoulders or rump. Just a bit squishy over the ribs. His crest isn’t solid just kind of “wobbly”.
    When I pulled him from the pasture he just looked like a little pig compared to everyone else lol.
    Will continue to increase his work and hopefully tone up that belly.
     
  6. Rising_Phoenix515

    Rising_Phoenix515 Full Member

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    I’m sure the NSC of my hay is higher than 12%. The grass in my area is extremely rich. It’s hard to find much of anything except for grass hays and alfalfa. Will look into trying to find a lower NSC hay. That may be the problem.
     
  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    For heaven's sake. It's been 3 weeks!!!

    These things take months, not weeks!

    If he is on a weight loss program you should be measuring his weight with a weight tape.

    Measure every Sunday, and write it down. Keep track, don't go by your impressions day to day - ever. Measure. You want GRADUAL weight loss, nothing fast. And as I said, this one is a whole lot more about developing muscle and losing a small amount of fat. It's mostly about keeping him off pasture and keeping your saddle on him. You CANNOT be galloping after 3 weeks of riding! You would be barely out of the walk stage!
     
  8. Rising_Phoenix515

    Rising_Phoenix515 Full Member

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    :ROFLMAO: That’s the obsessive, worried horse mom coming out in me I suppose!
     
  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Holy Hannah.
     
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  10. Rising_Phoenix515

    Rising_Phoenix515 Full Member

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    Will start measuring his weight weekly. I guess I was wrong to expect to see any results in a month. I assumed I would see some “deflating” of the belly after removing him from pasture but will just need to be patient. Thank you for your suggestions :)
     

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