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Need help getting weight off him

Discussion in 'Metabolic' started by Star the Fell, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Star the Fell

    Star the Fell Well-Known Member

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    Mylo is CHUNKY,!!
    I actually think he always will be, but currently he is fat. I have him on very restricted grazing at the moment, which is fast becoming just mud. He gets 2 slices of hay at night and it is getting to the point where I will have to put out hay during the day.
    I can soak his night hay for around an hour or so, but I'm not there to do the daytime hay.
    He is out without a rug and I am trying to ride as much as possible with long trots. However in this weather, he can be too wet to ride and the school is also wet, meaning that lunging will ruin the surface.
    So what is my best way forward? Do I ride him even though he is wet? I have a sheepskin half pad if that makes a difference, do I rug him so he is dry enough to ride?
    Oh, and what do you think the correct weight for a 13.3 gypsy cob should be?
    I will discuss all this with my vet, but she's not due out until early October.
     
  2. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like you are doing everything you can in terms of management, just be careful not to fall into the trap of restricting feed intake so much that his body goes into starvation mode, where they hang on to every bit of fat for the coming famine ;) I found the trick is letting them eat plenty of 'low calorie' food and make sure they are getting everything they need nutritionally as if the body is missing just one thing it will signal the brain to keep on eating to try and meet that need. If soaking isn't an option and you have a consistent hay supply you could get it analysed so you know if soaking is really beneficial, you might find it is already low cal :) For Jess I also found longer rides work better for weight loss than shorter higher intensity ones.

    I don't like to ride a sopping wet horse if I can help it, but a good rub off the saddle area with a towel and standing in the dry for half an hour while I do other chores generally get's me by, once the weather is consistently wet I tend to chuck a no fill on. There is the argument that a no fill rug inhibits the horses ability to keep warm by flattening the coat, which I am sure is true to some extent, so I don't feel too bad that I am wrapping them up too much and it will inhibit their weight loss significantly.

    I wouldn't go too much on weight (unless you have regular access to scales), especially off a weight tape, do regular Body Condition Scores instead. Weight tapes are good for monitoring changes but both of mine are way off on the tape, Jess was 545kg on the tape the same day she was 602kg on actual scales :eek: and hank was 151kg on the tape and 120kg on the scales, so massive variation there and whilst I appreciate my 2 are both breeds/types not suited to measuring on a tape it did show me how far off they can be.
     
  3. carthorse

    carthorse Well-Known Member

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    I'd certainly soak his hay, and I'd weigh it too so you know exactly what you're feeding - you want his total intake to be 1.5% of his bodyweight if you're looking for weight loss & even if the field looks like mud I can almost guarantee he'll be getting something. If he doesn't know you're around is his head down picking? If you're going to go up & put morning hay out too then I'd put the night time hay in to soak in the morning & the morning hay in to soak at night, that way it gets a decent amount of time. Are you on a yard? If you're only up once a day could you put hay in to soak at night & ask someone to tip it over to drain in the morning?

    I do feed a low calorie balancer to make sure the essential vits & mins are there.

    I wouldn't have a major problem with riding a wet horse if it needs exercise, just blot as much off the saddle area as you can with a towel. Trotting is good, but if it's on roads & he's overweight be aware of the effect on joints & feet. And don't underestimate the effect of a good marching walk, they burn a lot of calories in that too & it produces far less concussion than trotting - you might find the trot less tiring though!

    I wouldn't like to guess what he should weigh but unlike Jessey I would use tape for a rough idea, and keep using it once week to monitor changes in weight. Overall I'd go more by condition scoring, but it's a useful back up & gives you a starting point to calculate rations.
     
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  5. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

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    I didn't mean I wouldn't use one, I meant weight tape's are good to monitor changes but not rely on it to give accurate weight (based on a weight you are told they should be)
     
    #4 Jessey, Sep 13, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  6. Lemme

    Lemme Well-Known Member

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    Tess is a 13.3 Traditional mw cob, at the peak of her showing she was 450kg on the weightape, not fat but muscled and fit, when she was semi retired then when she weigh taped at 450kg she was fat- we brought her down to 400kg on the weigh tape - she was lightly ridden, shes 27 now and has health issues and is 375kg and is underweight but we struggle to keep the weight on her despite access to grass, hard feed etc - the only exercise she has in the field. You don't give us her current weight or age, as Jessey says the weigh tape is only used as an indicator, but used as a guide along with knowing her and using your eyes and feel then you can get within acceptable parameters for the individual horse/pony. We go by eye If it looks like fat it generally is, a good run over with the hands to confirm, weight tape as a guider and go from there.

    Restricting the grazing for some types does not always mean you can guarantee the weight loss, much depends on how big a paddock they are running in, are they in company, the time of year and weather conditions, age can be a factor too, ours are all natives and in spring/late summer even on restricted they can put weight on in a postage stamp area, that's when the exercise for us is a biggy, by reducing their grazing area you restrict movement so they don't need as much energy so what they do get is converted to fat for future use - sometimes we find its better for them to run together in a bigger area where movement is encouraged and up exercise if you can, we try not to feed this years hay, our hay supplier always keeps back some of last years for us, if we have to feed this years then it would be soaked if possible, its not always over winter if they are on the hill.

    We try not to rug as generally over winter they are turned away but we have to for some , rug of choice is a no fill, we hope to keep Gem going this winter so she will have a no fill on so she can be ridden on good days, again only having before or after work or weekends and only the fields and roads to use is a factor.

    Ours are fed daily throughout the year on Happy hoof molasses free with suppliments, reduced in summer and upped in winter, although Tess is now on the same throughout both as is Charlie as he is on restricted and on hay - both are under their desired weight, managing the poor doers is much more difficult for us than the others- years of tweaking their management has at last formulated a regime for them. Tess and Charlie both have health issues which is making weight management difficult - the opposite to yourself.

    As all our ponies are managed then we don't believe in them carrying extra into the winter and they will lose it, we often found that was not the case and they came out fatter than when they went in and you were on the back foot in spring, although in Tess's case this year I would be happier with a few kg extra than how she is now.

    Do you have access to be able to long rein ( I note you have school access but the weather is an issue for lunging)on a quiet lane - if so the a good session daily even if ridden can help burn the calories off and turn that fat to muscle, but I wouldn't be reducing intake further as you can risk long term health issues by restricting too much.

    A pic would be good..........
     
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  7. MrC

    MrC https://m.facebook.com/MrKiasLife/

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    I would clip and rug lightly, up the exercise as much as possible and feed accordingly.

    I do agree with the starvation thing. What I did with Stella was I put a big haynet mixed with straw inside another and tossed it into the field for her to throw about and eat. The size of it would have you going OMG if she was standing stationary eating it as it would have been gobbled but because it rolled around she couldn't just find a bit and eat constantly from there like if it were tied up.

    I also clipped her out year round and rugged accordingly :) she got spillers lite balancer year round as well infed oats etc he nighty before and day of comps to make sure she had enough energy for what I was asking and she was always a nice weight for a fit double native cross :)
     
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  8. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    I have a constant battle to keep my horses weight down. When I first got him he was a condition score of 5 and my vet read me the riot act to reduce his weight. He lost 180kg over a 6 month period (he is a big 16.1hh shire x tb) and since then I have kept it off but it's not easy at all. He is out on really good grazing (a 20 acre field which is very lush) so for years I used a grazing muzzle for all his turnout time (he lives out overnight). He then came into the stable for 6 to 8 hours and had a soaked haynet (soaked for about 3 hours). He hasn't had any hard feed at all in the last 6 years and is clipped out in winter and only very lightly rugged when it is raining and/or windy. I don't like leaving him without food, but the grazing muzzle was great as it meant he couldn't gobble the grass down, and he always has some hay left in his stable.

    What has really worked for us is giving him as much exercise as I can possibly manage. We are lucky that we have a big floodlit school which doesn't flood, and we have miles of off road hacking so can go out when the weather is poor. Over the last 2 summers I have ridden for about 2 hours per day when I can, and this has meant that I haven't had to use his grazing muzzle at all during this time.

    My vet says that he is sure that Ben would test positive for EMS so I need to treat him like he has it. As I have managed to keep the weight off him I haven't had him tested because the vet said that he wouldn't medicate at this stage, although this may change as he gets older. The real problem for me is that he is on such good grazing. If I really couldn't manage his weight then I would have to move him from the lush grazing onto something much poorer, but as I love my yard so much I have found a way to make it work. If your grazing is much poorer you may well find that your horse will lose his weight much more easily.
     
  9. Star the Fell

    Star the Fell Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all for the great replies. He is 6 and weighs 440 kg on the weigh tape, in May last year according to the vet report he was 390, so I am aiming to get him back to that.
    I only go up in an evening, someone else turns him out for me and I don't want her to have to start messing round soaking nets for me. When I drive past on my way home from work he does have his head down eating.
    The aim eventually is to set up a track system, but the field needs draining properly first. More money.
    I can bring him in for half hour to partially dry, so will do that. I will also get him clipped out, another good idea!!
     
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  10. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

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    This kind of comes back to what I was saying about weight tapes, he was 390kg measured how? if that was the vets best guess then aiming for 390 on the tape may not be so realistic...... I had Allen and Page come out for a consult, their nutritionist brings a battery powered weigh scale with them, which gave me a good starting point and now I use a tape to monitor fluctuations from that point. Also they show you how to do a BCS :) and give you a free bag of suitable feed or a voucher :) and it was free!
     
  11. Lemme

    Lemme Well-Known Member

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    At 6 he will be still maturing - he may have been 390kg on last years report as a 5 yr old but that may not be right for him now as he comes into his frame - has he a thick coat on yet? all mine look bigger that what the tape says thanks to their ever thickening coat and I can still feel the ribs on all of them under it - so much so led me to a full tape on all of them at the weekend, none are over our expected, infact 3 are on or just under our norm. I wouldn't be cutting him down anymore just increase the exercise and tone him up you might well be surprised as his shape changes, I take it he is an MW cob bone wise? not a LW?
     
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  12. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    I don't take too much notice of the actual number on the weight tape, I only use it to monitor if he is going up or down around his girth area. Many weight tapes don't actually bare any resemblance to the actual weight anyway. I much prefer condition scoring.
     
  13. newforest

    newforest Opinion, a view not always based on knowledge.

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    Mine is 14hh and her ideal weight is about 470kg on my weigh tape.
    She came out of winter 465kg and is currently about 480kg on the tape. The tapes are possibly inaccurate, but they give you a increase/ decrease guide alongside your condition score. I don't need to use the tape to see she is carrying too much right now but it's given me that guide.

    I have no control over my grazing. If we get told to move fields we do. All told she can have access to forty acres over the year. She isn't rugged, or on hard feed.

    Does lunging ruin the surface of a school? I haven't ever been told off for doing it in the school or carefully in the fields. Unshod so maybe that's why.

    If she is soaked I will dry off with a towel/ cooler while I do odd jobs.
     
  14. Star the Fell

    Star the Fell Well-Known Member

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    The surface on my school isn't brilliant and at the moment he is shod. Shoes are coming off in two weeks, so after that I will be happier lunging for 20 minutes or so in the school.
    It really makes a difference to the surface when they are shod, my friend had a lesson yesterday and there is now a deep groove round the outside! I excpect I'll be the one to rake it out too!
    I took some photos last night for you all to see how chunky he is, but can't upload them as they are too big.
     
  15. Star the Fell

    Star the Fell Well-Known Member

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    Photos from tonight
     

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  16. newforest

    newforest Opinion, a view not always based on knowledge.

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    I would measure the bone and remeasure the height. Then you can access roughly where the weight should be.
    My guess is you have a very similar build to mine as she is Shire.
    They have a wider lower pelvis which gives them that apple bum. But that it should be a fat one. But it's something some people try to get thin.

    Ps are your legs in proportion. I will be so jealous if you have long legs. Ours are better suited on a 12hh pony. :D I read somewhere cobs should have short legs but still it makes her look even fatter! :p

    Pps where is his diary. Would love to read all about him.
     
  17. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

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    I don't think he looks too horrific from those shots, a full body/neck/head/legs shot square on from the side with no mane on his neck would make it easier to tell :)
     
  18. Lemme

    Lemme Well-Known Member

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    Tess 2012.jpg From Photos 2 & 4 then I wouldn't be worried, the first shot is not kind to him is it - but from his stance may be deceptive - you need to stand him up square , take the mane over and get a shot that way - is there any sign of a crest? its difficult to tell with his mane over it. he's very much like our Tess to look at - or at least when she was a youngster - not now like most aged inactive ladies she's sagging south:) No offence to anyone - but I am quite happy to admit I am.

    Photo above is Tess in 2012 22 yrs young still very lightly worked approx. 420kg on weightape
     
    #17 Lemme, Sep 14, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  19. Star the Fell

    Star the Fell Well-Known Member

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    Haha stand him up square??? Just about manage to get him to stand still for the time to take a snapshot. He is a proper fidget. He has no crest but has a good layer of fat over his ribs. Glad no one thinks he is too bad.
    Will start a diary after our first lesson on Saturday
     
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  20. Lemme

    Lemme Well-Known Member

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    Look forward to the Diary - I love a Traditional cob, their nature is generally to die for - don't miss the keeping clean for showing though :)

    I find taking the photo in the field the best way of getting a good shot if they are fidgets - we train for showing in hand so ours have to learn to stand correctly and stay in that position until asked to move inspite of what is going on around them, we are just training Gem, shes getting there but it takes a lot of reinforcement .
     
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