Fat ponies

Native Lover

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#1
Earlier this summer I got told off for having fat pony :( it was by a showing judge :( I have had them on a track and shut off several field to save for the winter grazing. I am planning not rugging the fatter ones and letting them live on the grass as long as possible during the winter. I am thinking of rationing the hay so they are slimmer going into spring next year.

It was Eva that was commented on partly due to the weight I was last winter I didn't ride her :( but I have now lost 31 lbs and looking for a sharer for her to do some faster work that I cannot give her I prefer slower riding and hacking till I lose a more weight. I am planning on riding her this winter but will feel cruel not this rugging her this year.

Next year will shut off more paddocks during the Spring and Autumn to allow more grass to grow for the winter. the no rugging and less hay over the winter I am hoping will all help with keeping their weight down.

They are all over weight except for Faye and Lunan :( :( :(They all live out 24/7..I have no stables and try very hard not to give them to much grass.. but my farmer insists on slurring it every year :(

What would you suggest to help me keep my ponies weights down??
 
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newforest

She's not fat, she's too short :-)
Mar 15, 2008
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#2
For me mine is 10kg over going into Autumn, people forget Autumn and start talking of winter. Its not here yet, but you can prepare for it.
Mine is clipped and she about to lose a bit more hair! She isn't getting a rug until I really need to. The clip is to stop her sweating excessive when worked, not weight loss though. A cold horse just eats more.
My totally acreage for the year between mouths is a whopping 45! That's just how it is.
My vet's recommendations was not to restrict her grazing but to increase the workload.
Be careful re fast work as you could have ponies that are too fit for you to manage. The best way mine stays trim is trotting, polework, grids, lunging, longreining. Teeny jumps I am not talking sj but gymnastic jumping, get them working. We canter but probably only a few circuits.
 

Trewsers

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#3
Appreciate how hard it is keeping weight off. I had no idea really because J was a tb and always worked but then when we stopped riding them both as much the weight piled on. I find it hard with madam as she just can't do what she used to. I just ride her daily, use double nets and let the sheep help keep the grass down. Could you borrow some woolers? They are great hooverers!
Lets hope for a cold sharp winter - and less grass!
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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#6
If needs be then muzzle them & make the track narrower. Can you borrow some sheep to keep the grass down more? Or if not how about getting the lawnmower out?! I'd look at lunging them for more exercise, and when you do ride make the walk a good brisk one.
 

popularfurball

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Jul 18, 2005
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#7
I agree with the no rugs - she is a fell pony, designed for this climate :)

It's not easy - I keep thinking "maybe I'll hang their lightweights outside incase... But then I remind myself how happy they were Nekkid last winter!
 

Flipo's Mum

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Aug 17, 2009
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#9
Do you provide ad lib hay? I definitely wouldn't rug, you've got hardy ones that don't need it. I don't start feeding hay until mid December and stop early march time. We ration hay and only feed it twice a day and now have slow feeders to help even more. Best thing I swear by though, is a bale of straw in the field to stave off the cold, keep the inner furnace burning, but I'd be careful feeding it if I felt the horse was a colicker.
 
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Native Lover

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#10
Do you provide ad lib hay? I definitely wouldn't rug, you've got hardy ones that don't need it. I don't start feeding hay until mid December and stop early march time. We ration hay and only feed it twice a day and now have slow feeders to help even more. Best thing I swear by though, is a bale of straw in the field to stave off the cold, keep the inner furnace burning, but I'd be careful feeding it if I felt the horse was a colicker.

I give them loads of hay in the winter..but I do like the idea of a bale of straw in the field keep the central heating working ;);) might make a slow feeder or half a dozen lol
 

eml

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#12
May sound cruel but from your description definitely no rugs unless they are clipped and no hay unless the ground is frosted or covered in snow. We winter most of our natives and retired horses including TBs out, rugged if needed (mainly the older TBs) Our grass is good and they go into winter fat as nature intended so we only hay when they cannot get to the grass. Last year everyone was in for 4 days as the snow was so thick it was impossible to get hay or water to them otherwise. They were all glad to get out again!!
 

domane

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Jul 31, 2005
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#13
Albi turned 5 this summer and has suddenly filled out. He's not gone upwards but out in all directions, his front legs seem further apart and he's just generally larger, which is wonderful. But difficult to gauge how much of it is permissable for his age and how much is weight gain - and there definitely IS a bit of extra padding there! I can't see any fat pads on him and he's not cresty so it will be interesting to see what he drops over winter and what shape I am left with. The others all look good. Joey has dropped a girth size already since his summer of pretty much nothingness and his fitness is improving daily.
 

Kite_Rider

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May 18, 2009
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#14
Definitely agree with the no rugs, although be prepared to be told how awful and cruel you are! Straw is Belle's saviour in the winter and as much exercise as you can manage.
 

Mary Poppins

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#15
I have the best good doer in the world - he honestly lives off fresh air and still gains weight. I ride every single day with lots of fast work, jumping and lots of hour long lessons/clinic etc. He gets no hard feed, no hay in the field, his small stable haynet is soaked for 3 hours, he is muzzled for all turnout between March and September - yet as someone described today 'he has a good covering on him and his ribs are very hard to feel!'. He is now fully clipped apart from his legs but is still out naked. I woke at 5am worried about him shivering, but as soon as I got to the field in the pouring rain and driving wind this morning he was happily sheltering in the trees, still toasty warm around his vital areas and happy as anything. It's like he just doesn't feel the cold at all.

My plan is to keep him naked all winter but when I reclip it will be a blanket or a trace for the colder months. I don't know what else to do to get the weight off him apart from stabling him for long periods with no food, but this doesn't sit right with me.

You have to treat horses as individuals but if you feel that yours can cope without rugs then that will certainly help. Ultimately you have to make sure they burn as many calories as they consume so either up their exercise or cut their food.
 

Gimp

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Jan 19, 2005
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#16
Im not sure I support clipping a horse for weight management, I dont think its fair to full clip ie technically remove all their natural protection from the cold and leave out in the elements. Its a different story leaving un rugged and left to their own defenses. If your riding him that much are you sure its not more muscle rather then just fat ! Surely he must be pretty fit? Theres a huge difference between a fit and a fat horse
 
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Mary Poppins

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#17
Clipping and rugging all depends on the horse. I agree that many horses couldn't cope with it - my friends horse was shivering when even wearing a medium weight rug so had to have a heavy weight on. If I put a heavyweight on Ben he would be pouring with sweat. I saw for myself that he was perfectly warm enough naked in the rain this morning - he doesn't need to be rugged.

I do agree with clipping for weightloss if you have a horse who can manage it. I have heard all comments about being 'cruel' etc. etc. but at the end of the day it is far crueller to have a horse develop laminitis and EMS due to being too fat, not to mention all the strain it puts upon his joints.

And yes, he still does have fat pads. In the whole swing of things, one hour work a day just isn't enough exercise to keep his weight at bay. He has got muscle but he also has fat. I need to take him hunting on a regular basis really but I am far too scared to do that. Our regime works for us so that is what we will stick to. It is only October after all and despite the rain it was 10 degrees here last night - not exactly freezing.
 

Native Lover

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#18
Lunan is clipped a chaser clips and rugged on the days when the weather is bad but he is in full fast work... I am sure Eva and Melody would cope with work at a slower pace and live out unrugged?????? just to keep them ridden. I wont clip them and leave them unrugged .

I am going to make a few slow feeders hopefully that will keep the weight at bay ...Lunan is fed extra for the work he does and is brought in to be fed, so rationing his hay would be fine...
Belle, Mr Darcy, Sweep, Storm and Shakira live out rugged with hay for support...

Faye is also brought in for a feed and rugged due to her age and her breed she is a 29 year old IDX and is now losing her teeth so harder to keep the weight on her... She has add lib hay over winter to keep her weight.
 

carthorse

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#20
The other thing is how much room does your track system allow them? I understand the theory of it keeping them moving, but is it letting them have too much grass? Maybe the real fatties would be better off on a small patch that they grazed down to near bare earth, they may move less but they'd eat less too - at the end of the day I'd get thinner eating 1000 calories & burning off 100 than eating 2000 calories & burning off 200!
 
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