Harriet if you ever meet a Highland pony you will see the living proof of a good doer! I have one in particular who lived out with a bib clip, no rug (field shelter), 2 or 3 flakes of hay a day for a whole winter and still had a back which looked like a table top in spring. I am sure they could be fat on the proverbial concrete.
My Quarter Horse "good doer" is plumping up just on dormant grass and no exercise except her displays of high spirits (see Mature Rider..."idiot"). Her dorsal stripe is hidden in a newly formed "gully". She gives new meaning to my trainer's tactful word:
The reason I was asking about Good Doers is.
My horse is Part Bred Arab/Connemara and believe it or not is quite portly, he was real fat when he came to me and is now slightly slimmer. He is now being fed Denghi Good Doer and baileys top line condition cubes.
The thing is lately there seems to be a change in his attitude. He is not worked hard but lately in the school he just cant be bothered, even leading him around he has become very laid back, not that Im complaining because he was quite fizzy so I cut his cubes by half and gave extra good doer chaff. Last night in the school whilst we were doing trot he just stopped dead as if to say I've had enough of this. I dont just go round in circles all the time and he is only schooled twice at week at the moment and gets hacked at the weekend. Its really weird just when I thought we were starting to get somewhere he throws another spoke in the wheels. I've only had him 4/5 months and he had done nothing before I got him.
Do you think its his diet - or do you think maybe I should stay out of the school and change his routine to see if that will give him his sparkle back?
Any advise greatly appreciated
What's he like to hack out? Any different to the school work? It does sound like he's a bit bored with the schooling, but if he's the same out hacking, then it could be something else. If he hasn't been schooled much before he may not be able to concentrate for long periods and you may be better off schooling for very short sessions then recapture his interest by going for a hack. In fact, if you're working on basic schooling, you could do much of this out hacking and retain his interest. Or you could try introducing new elements into his schooling, like pole work or working him from the ground. With his breeding, he's likely to be quite bright and need constant new stimulation to keep his interest.
On the other hand, if he's showing the same behaviour out hacking, then I would definitely look at other possibilities. I doubt it's diet - but why on earth are you feeding him conditioning cubes if you want him to lose weight?! I'd suggest you switch to something like high fibre cubes or cool mix, or cut hard feed altogether and just feed good doer and a mineral supplement!
Have you checked his back and tack? If he didn't do much before you had him, he may well have changed shape with work (especially since he's lost weight) and the saddle may not be such a good fit - this would explain the sudden stops in trot and reluctance to go forwards. By the way, a horse with an uncomfortable saddle may only show problems in some situations - if he likes hacking, he may put up with the discomfort for the pleasure of going out. If he's bored with schooling, he'll be less tolerant.
He could be aneamic (can't spell!) fi you have reduced the feed he may not be getting enough vits and mins, I would swap to a mix designed for good doers. There is a very good tonic for aneamia called Red Cell, it might be worth asking your vet to do a blood test if you've ruled out any other causes, ie. boredom and suchlike