I am shocked and i have to say disgusted with myself

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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Had the vet out today for what I thought would be routine yearly check, the cob having been signed off as fit and well last June.
She was this time last year borderline re her weight. That wasn't a surprise because she had only been backed three months and I wasn't doing a lot. It dropped off over winter as you would expect.

This year I have increased her work but so has her weight, overweight doesn't really cover how overweight she has suddenly got. That doesn't actually add up, but we have been doing about 5 to 9 miles a week, walk some trot, bit of jumping, lunging, loose schooling. I spent five days at camp and we didn't come back any trimmer!

I am to increase her work and if the fat doesn't start to shift we could have an underlying problem and the weight itself will start to cause her problems. Ems was mentioned apart from the obvious lami.
My saddle is struggling and its treeless that may give you some idea, if it doesn't the vet said horses have been put down carrying this amount of weight. Basically she needs to lose weight or I could lose her, yes that's plain enough.
 

Mary Poppins

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I feel your pain. The vet told me a similar thing last year about Ben. I was mortified that i didnt realise. Good luck in shifting the weight, its not easy and requires tough love.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Good God! I am amazed, she always looks lovely in pictures. And you do quite a lot of work, really, compared to me and Ziggy.

It is so hard to keep these native good doers ever remotely trim. I wish you luck!
 

Ale

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Feb 8, 2012
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I too was told my boy was too porky last year!

And agree it is very hard but at least winter is on the way so that will be advantageous to you

Its so rewarding when you get them slimmer and fitter :)
 

dragonfarmgirl

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Gosh, that is a shock but well done to the vet for being so blunt as to really get the message across !
Daisy has Cushings and is on strict diet and I couldn't believe how little she gets, just 7 kilos of hay, dry weight, then soaked and divided up, that's only 1.5% of her body weight and looks a pitiful amount even to my eyes. In her eyes it is CRUEL and HEARTLESS :-( She is very vocal, and totally miserable to the pint where I am about to move her to a new yard where she can have lots and lots of trickle feeding as opposed to 4 haynets which last 10 mins each.
It is very hard to see her so fed up (and listen to her complaining !) but it is crunch time and HAS to be done so I have had to toughen up for her sake :-(
Hopefully the diet will work and there be no underlying problem but it does sound like there might be considering how much exercise she gets.
Good luck xxx
 

squidsin

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Some people just have to look at a cake to put on weight so I guess horses are no different! You do loads with her but maybe that makes her eat more?!
 

Lottie86

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Please don't be too hard on yourself. Wishing you the very best of luck in shifting some of her weight or if there is an underlying issue that it isn't too difficult to get it under control. At least winter wil give you the best chance of getting some weight shifted xx
 

Vicki100

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Yes I had the same realisation today. I have been WAY to kind this summer and it really shows.

The saddle fitter was very nice and didn't offend me at all but did mention the ponies weight.

I feel awful. I have really tried in the last month or so to shift the weight but they are still podgy. Really hoping the winter will help them shift the extra pounds.

Feeling guilty and WILL not let it happen again next year :cry:
 

newforest

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I was expecting her to have to come in there and then, but the vet wants the exercise increased first, just in case I haven't done enough based on the September flush.

Its possible there is an underlying problem possibly ems, she does have some of the clinical signs and I have put her lethargy down to the excess weight and heat-i just realise how excess that was.

Dfg, I have a good relationship with my vet, blunt is best. I thought Cushing's was weight loss, my friends horse is dropping off but all are individual.

MP-was it you who clipped to shift some weight?
 
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Vicki100

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I have just done small clips in hope that it might help use a bit of the fat....and the fact they both are sweating like mad whilst being ridden...

Hopefully it will help a little bit! :cold:
 

Cortrasna

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Aug 5, 2009
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I agree NF - I am much happier that I know my vet will tell me it as it is - and not faff around sugar coating any issues. I did have this back in the day when Solly first became unsound. Although my vet didnt think him hugely overweight, he did feel if we could get him on the lean side of just right it would benefit him altogether.

So I really, really toughened up. I took him off grass completely and kept him in a paddock with literally nothing but clay and stones. I weighed his hay religiously based on his size and needs and fed his daily ration in four separate feeds in a small hole hay net. He had no other feed at all, just literally a mug of chaff with vits and min balancer in. I also made sure he did a good hour at least ridden work in walk every single day for several weeks. He was transformed and became much fitter and I was able to continue riding him for another couple of years, I am sure the reduced weight helped with that.

I know at the moment you aren't seeing any health problems, but like us, I think whatever is going on, healthy or not - keeping a trim weight always helps.
 

notpoodle

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oops, naughty cob not losing any weight!!

mind you, 5-9 miles per week is no work at all really. and probably nowhere near enough to shift any weight of a good doer. most people do that in one hack or one session in the school. to give you an idea ... mine did 25 to 30 miles a week most of the summer which still isn't THAT much eg one long hack at the weekend and several short ones in the week, plus one lesson in the school.

maybe she'll shiver some off in the winter?
 

Cortrasna

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Actually notpoodle has a very good point - even I and Dolly average about 5 miles per hack and on a good day it is more. Is there any way you can increase her work load, I know that is difficult with working and the days getting shorter.
 

Trewsers

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Don't be too hard on yourself - least now you are aware and can take action. I struggle constantly with our two. I weigh all their hay and never rug until its minus 10!!! One is retired and one semi so very difficult - I am sure you will do your best and shift it with exercise.
 

joosie

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Oct 28, 2004
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Yes, have to say I agree with Notpoodle too TBH. I think, without meaning to be rude, that people often over-estimate the amount of actual exercise their horse is getting as opposed to the amount of time they're being worked. Doing something every day or even twice a day doesn't necessarily mean they're working hard enough to burn sufficient calories. Although it seems you're doing a lot with her, the exercise she's getting doesn't actually sound strenuous enough.

I don't think 5-9 miles walking is very much at all. I used to walk 20 miles a week just getting to and from school! We have very big fields and I think the horses who live out probably walk more than that just going to and from the river to drink. And regardless of the distance, they have to be really marching on, consistently, for it to be a fat-burner. In reality most people doing walk hacks don't ride them on at a decent enough pace to really burn calories. As well as aiming to do more miles if you can I'd also try to increase the amount of trot included, starting with short bursts and building up to 4-5 minutes at a time. TBH I would be trying to get her out of breath at least once per hack. Same goes for the lunging/looseschooling, try to increase amounts of trot and canter and get her out of breath.
 

newforest

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Mounted games by candlelight. :smile: seriously though I do love mounted games as does she so I can include this-like tommorrow!
I wonder if in fact I haven't done enough, which is why the diary will help. One 40 minute session last week was lunging and in hand lateral work, which is good but not weight shifting is it, the lateral I meant.


To increase the hacking I will get fitter as still have to lead, that's fine, whatever it takes to shift these deposits. If I can shift that it will look like I stuffed up as oppose to ems, I would rather stuff up than have an illness.
I do hang my head in shame for it to have got to this and I haven't notice. Lesson learnt. Joosie you're not being rude, I agree I don't think I have been doing enough to burn anything off.
 
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Cortrasna

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I do hang my head in shame for it to have got to this and I haven't notice.

Well don't hang your head too low - I for one will happily own up to making much bigger errors of judgement than yours! :wink: Go easy on yourself, at least you are happy to rectify things, a lot of people just whinge that their vet or whoever has got it wrong and Neddy is just perfect as they are.:smile:
 

devonlass

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Is there a reason you are relying on exercise alone rather than limiting intake NF??

Only as the owner of a ridiculously good doer I have found exercise alone is rarely enough unless you are doing serious amounts of it most days.

I have to muzzle mine,have tried everything else and with good grazing vs his ability to gain weight on fresh air it is the only thing that has worked enough to make a real difference.

Last year he was on restricted grazing,no hay,no hard feed and i was still muzzling up until november,to give you an idea of how 'weight challenged' he is to put it politely *rolls eyes*

This year has been quite good for us with it being so dry,grass has only been normal rather than stupidly good,but i have still had to muzzle periodically and that's with hacking 2-3 times per week and some school work most weeks.

Don't beat yourself up,native and cob types are very hard to keep trim in most domestic circumstances and here in Devon with it's warmer temps and fertile soils it's almost impossible.
 

joosie

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To be fair to yourself though NF, it can be difficult to notice weight-gain (or other physical changes that happen gradually) in a horse you see every day. Sometimes it takes someone else to make an observation before you realise. I think most of us have been in that situation at least once!
 

Mary Poppins

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MP-was it you who clipped to shift some weight?

I did lots of things to make Ben lose weight which I will briefly outline. Just to say, I felt as dreadful as you last year. I was really looking forward to the vet coming to tell me how lovely and healthy Ben was and I was gobsmacked when he read me the riot act and in no uncertain terms how my horses health was at serious risk.

So, to shift Bens weight I did the following:

1. Blanket clipped him and turned him out naked all winter (he lives out overnight and comes in for 6 hours during the day). His clip was first done in November and re-done in January. He has a rainsheet on during the worst of the snow but other than that he lived out naked. I had to face lots of criticism from some fellow liveries who told me how cruel I was being, but my vet explained that horses heat themselves from within. As long as he has some kind of forage to eat in the field he will keep his internal heating system moving and can always run round to get warm. I asked about him shivering, and he told me that shivering is good for a fat horse because it means he is using energy and burning up fat. I never once saw him shiver anyway. My vet told me that he often comes across very fat shetland ponies and he always recommends that they are completely clipped out and turned out naked.

2. My grazing muzzle has been a godsend. He has been wearing it everyday since March and with the grass still so green I have no intention of taking it off anytime soon. He is turned out for 18 hours a day and always has it on.

3. Ben comes in for 6 hours during the day, and he gets a small soaked haynet. The haynet has small holes to stop him scoffing it down and i soak it for about 3 hours. For Ben, that is enough to remove the excess calories but not remove all the goodness.

4. No hard feed at all. Ever! He probably will never have a hard feed again in his life!

5. Exercise, exercise and more exercise. I have to ride Ben for a good hour everyday. On weekends I try to ride him for 2 hours a day in the morning and evening. While we have the odd 'plod' day where we just walk, the vast majority of his exercise is high intensity, fat burning work. We have about 3 schooling sessions a week where he trots and canters (increasingly in an outline) for a good 45 minutes. We jump twice a week for about 40 minutes at a time. He finds this hard work but good fun. I aim to lunge him once a week. The rest of the time we hack across the fields, but I always include a couple of very long canters to get his heart rate going and burn some calories. He could easily double his workload and still not need any extra feed.

The most important thing I have learnt is not to listen to other peoples opinions. Some people still cannot believe that I don't feed him, some are horrified that he is still muzzled. I am the only person on the yard not to rug.

Ben has now lost in excess of 140kg, but what is scarey is how easily he puts it back on. A few weeks ago I experimented with removing his muzzle during the daytime and he put on 20kg in 5 days! I am always going to have to be very careful with him. Some horses as just exceptional good doers. They are very difficult to manage and as I said before, you need to treat them with tough love.

Good luck, you can shift the weight and you will do.
 
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