No Saddle, Now What?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Twistedbeauty, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. Twistedbeauty

    Twistedbeauty Full Member

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    I'm in search for a better fitting saddle for my mare, but in the meantime I don't have a saddle to ride her in. I was planning on slowly bringing her back into work and get her less fat and try to put some muscle on her. What are some alternative ways to help her get back into shape? So far, lunging/free lunging hasn't gotten me very far. She's incredibly lazy (more like incredibly smart) on the ground and will NOT go any faster than a 10 foot power walk (even with the excessive plastic bags, whips and smacks on the ground, tapping on her behind.. am I too soft? Sometimes I feel I should be more demanding). She's getting the hang of lunging but she does this really.. slow.. sleepy.. feet dragging walk. I would be happy if she just power walked for 5 minutes, it's something. She's more energetic and willing everywhere else, in the pasture and under saddle, but it seems like she's figured out she's smarter than me. I would hand walk her down trails and roads.. but there have been some really suspicious things happening around town and it's a bit scary (maybe I can just circle my yard multiple times??). Is there anything I can do?
     
  2. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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    Do you have hilly terrain where you can take walks with her? That is always a great way to get a horse in shape, even at the walk.
    Is she used to being ridden bareback or maybe in a bareback pad?
    Re. her behaviour o the longe line: it might be that she has a problem with keeping her balance and the tighter circles make it hard for her to move faster.
    When was the last time a vet / chiro has seen her? Maybe she is out somewhere and is hurting...
    If that has been ruled out it sounds a training issue. She doesn´t respect your commands.

    ETA: what suspicious things are happening? Anything that would prevent you from trail riding?
     
  3. gaitedboomer

    gaitedboomer Senior Member

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    As someone who has ridden bareback my entire life ----- get on her without a saddle ---- you only need to walk/trot ---- it will teach you a lot more about your balance and center of gravity than you could imagine :tiphat:
     
  4. PonyNuts123

    PonyNuts123 Full Member

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    Lunging over jumps. If she is lazy, although this may seem cruel, You may want to use a whip, Dont just threaten her with it, but don't flog her either. If she doesn't speed up when she is told, whack her gently on the hindquarters, Just enough fo her to get the message that your not to be messed with. When I got my horse, he was really underweight and I was told to do a lot of small jumps and raised trotting poles at a canter on a lunging rope. THis was recommended my a physio, vet and farrier. Worked well for me :) But may be different for an overweight horse. Most people think If they use a whip, there horse will be scared of them or dont like them, but it's the other way around. Its what lea mares did if the cheeky horses disrespected them. They would punish them and then wit for them to come back.
    2. What suspicious things are happening
    3. Is she shoed? And if so when has she last seen a farrier?
     
  5. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Don't lunge her. It is boring and hard on the joints. You see how enthused she is about it, right? Now think about how excited you would be if asked to just go around in circles.

    Lazy horses need stimulation. Take her out riding trails with other horses. Buy a breast collar and saddle pad with rings to attach your breast collar. No stirrups, as you don't want your pad turning sideways. Go ride. Make life interesting for you both.
     
  6. ibsammy

    ibsammy Senior Member

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    This is terrible advice. Please don't follow this.
     
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  7. mooselady

    mooselady Senior Member

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    If this is true, it’s scary, these are people who should have your horses health at the forefront, too have all 3 suggest this course of action, it’s kind of beyond belief..
     
  8. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I would suggest you insist. Make her go. If she is sound and healthy (except for being overweight) she needs to move it move it.

    She needs to move in all 3 gaits at least for 15 minutes to gain any fitness, and at least 3 times a week.

    She will also need her calories restricted. Cutting her calories like 20%-25%, including pasture, will help her lose weight.

    The calories come from things like fresh grass(pasture has a lot more calories than most people think, most of the time), concentrated bagged feeds, beet pulp, grains and richer hays, though any hay has calories and any hay needs to be cut back on. Try weighing her feed and reduce the weight on all feeds by 25%.

    If you feed a concentrated/bagged feed, keep in mind that each company 'dilutes' the bagged feed so that you must feed a minimum amount to get the horse the recommended amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, etc.

    Most companies state a minimum amount for each of their products. If the horse becomes too fat on that minimum amount, so goes the logic, you must switch them to a different concentrate feed that has fewer calories per pound(or a product where the minimum amount is less, or something).

    But....keep in mind that the horse's overall diet may cause vitamins, minerals, even protein, to be present in adequate amounts, even if you feed less of XYZ bagged feed, even if you feed less than the minimum. It's a good idea to figure out what the total diet provides, and go by that.

    Example - most horses are like yours - easy keepers who easily gain too much weight and need to be on a 'program' of exercise and calorie restriction. And indeed, most of those horses are mature adults in light work and their nutritional requirements very often can be met entirely just through hay or pasture alone. Many adult horses in light work, that are easy keepers, only need hay and a little pasture and a plain salt block and all their needs can be met - they may even STILL need calorie restriction even on that program.

    On the other hand, hours of hay, hours of pasture PLUS concentrate feed PLUS only light work, may be entirely too many calories PLUS be 'overkill'('money down the drain') in the vitamin, mineral, fat and protein department as well!

    As a result, many of the horses my vet sees are overweight*, and wind up having metabolic problems like insulin resistance or laminitis.

    So what many people do is, maintain their easy keepers with a small amount/time on pasture, a restricted amount of hay, and 'just to be sure,' a vitamin-mineral product or a low-calorie ration balancer (vitamins, minerals, protein, usually, and one chosen that is compatible with their hay and pasture) PLUS exercise.

    Restricting pasture time a little doesn't usually do it as they just eat faster. Her pasture time will probably have to be cut way back. Muzzles don't always work either as many horses either take them off or 'learn to eat around them.'

    It really is extremely serious when a horse gets so fat and doesn't want to move. The animal could be developing laminitis or other metabolic problems. I would consider it an emergency. I'd start insisting she move out on the longe line, and hand walking her and try to work up to an hour at least 3 times a week, gradually increasing from 5 minutes over several weeks.

    *Many vets tell me, "Oh I gave up long ago on the weight thing. You tell people their horse is overweight and they just get mad at you and call a different vet." That's sad....but I also find some vets simply are way too lax on this and actually tolerate quite a bit of overweight in horses("Oh he's fine" is said way too much). There is a scoring system for rating a horse's weight, but it doesn't seem to retrain most peoples' 'eye for fat' so easily. Using a weight tape also helps, if you put it consistently round the horse in the same way each time. I'd also keep in mind that many owners confuse a big belly full of hay with 'fat'. A big belly full of hay isn't such a bad thing. The trouble is fat packed onto the body - the rating scale is all about learning to feel and see that fat packed onto the body. Vets I talk to often say things like, 'there doesn't seem to be any in-between. We see horses that are really overweight and going metabolic, and we see horses that are really starved and thin and have very inadequate nutrition in all areas.'

     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    If your horse really was underweight it's hard to imagine any decent, educated horse health provider of any type, telling you to do lots of anything, let alone lots of jumps, even small ones, and especially not trotting poles at a canter while longeing.

    If they did tell you to do that, I don't think your horse was so underweight, those are things one does for a horse lacking in muscle, and those were suggestions to build muscle.

    Even if a horse was at the right weight and looked plenty muscular I STILL would not just suddenly start doing 'lots of jumps' and cantering jumps on a longe line. No matter what. I'd do trot poles on the ground, and do about 3 passes, and that's it, the first time. I wouldn't suddenly start doing ANYTHING at 'lots of.' In training with a pro we were taught to count EVERYTHING - you start out doing TWO CIRCLES in one direction and TWO CIRCLES in the other direction - a total of FOUR circles. Next time you do one more, next time one more....everything gets counted and added slowly, in steps.

    If the horse really was really underweight, what that means is that both fat and muscle are lacking. Severely.

    In other words, his ribs and hip bones would have been clearly visible, jutting out, he would look like one of those horses on a video for a horse rescue, every rib sticking out, and he would need to rest and gain weight, with perhaps just walking in hand a total of 15 minutes a day, perhaps not even that, depending on how bad it was, until he had regained some fat and muscle.

    As far as making the horse go when he doesn't want to, it's important to see if there is a reason other than laziness causing that before getting too whip happy. If a person gets too gung ho on all this 'respect' and 'meaning business' stuff he can often miss some really important things, like the horse has some serious health issue that is causing him to not want to move around.

    Even if the horse IS just fat and lazy and disobedient, 'Rome wasn't built in a day', meaning you can't fix that in a week. At first I would just ask that the horse be obedient and trot about TEN steps, he might be totally gassed after that. Nothing gets hurt quite as easily as an overweight out of shape horse.

    The overweight horse often is very out of shape and injury is a really serious possibility if one tries to do it all at once.

     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
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  10. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    No real point till she loses weight on saddle hunting.

    Idk what's making her fat, but get on that. Grazing muzzle, hay net etc and no grains.

    Ride her bareback or get a pad. I wouldn't round pen her or lunge her for exercise as the amount you'd need to do to slim her down is hard on their joints.

    Get her health under control stat though and fat is not healthy. Lots of walking and trotting. Use a crop if she's not getting going, but certainly make sure she's healthy enough (vet) as we don't have pics to see how fat she is. Get out on trails etc, have fun, but take it easy in this heat. Fat, no stamina and heat is not a good combination. Slowly build her up over weeks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
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