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Shetland and Crest

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  • Shetland and Crest

    We bought our first pony earlier this year, a 4 year old Shetland cross. He's 12 hands and was pretty waspy when we got him. At first we limited his grazing to an hour in the morning and a few in the evening but after he adjusted to our pasture the vet suggested we turn him out longer and then full day for a while. He's since filled out nicely, he's really looking gorgeous. He didn't have much muscle on him either so I've been exercising him several days a week (can't ride him but we do ground work) and he really doesn't have much fat but is building muscle. The one area he does have fat is his neck... he's beginning to build a decent crest and it's really worrying me. Right now, he's getting an hour of grazing in the morning and an hour or two at night, and during the day he's in a grazing muzzle. Should I go back to keeping him stalled during the day, or exercise more, or what are your thoughts?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    A photo or two would be helpful - straight on side view. You say "he" - I'm assuming he's gelded?
    ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by 4LeafCloverFarm View Post
      A photo or two would be helpful - straight on side view. You say "he" - I'm assuming he's gelded?
      He is a soon to be gelded stud! But it's definitely fat on the neck and not muscle... It not visible but is palpable. I'll take some photos this evening!

      Comment


      • #4
        Ah! Well since he's a stallion, that could account for a thick/cresty neck and in Sheltands it's not unheard of in mares, geldings and stallions. But pictures will be helpful, as I'm simply assuming from the description you provided.
        ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

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        • #5
          Stallions obviously get way crestier than mares or geldings.

          If you are worried about IR and impending founder look at his overall.body score. Does he have fat pockets near his tail and on his withers? If he is obese and cresty you have an emergency situation.

          I've heard tell that the crest can change texture when laminitis is imminent, I think it's blow up and get harder, but have not seen IRL.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
            Stallions obviously get way crestier than mares or geldings.

            If you are worried about IR and impending founder look at his overall.body score. Does he have fat pockets near his tail and on his withers? If he is obese and cresty you have an emergency situation.

            I've heard tell that the crest can change texture when laminitis is imminent, I think it's blow up and get harder, but have not seen IRL.
            He doesn't have fat pockets anywhere else, luckily! I will take updated photos tonight and post them. Thank you!

            Comment


            • #7
              If his weight is where you want it to be then maybe don't let him have grass without a muzzle on.

              I was always thankful that I didn't have pasture when my kids had their Shetlands. It was hard enough keeping them at a decent weight with just 2x a day hay.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Here Are some photos. Please bare with me, I’m uploading from my phone

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                • #9
                  I really don't see a cresty or overweight pony there.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Me either. Maybe a little more muscle tone needed here and there, but then, he is just 4. He's a cutie.
                    ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Check out Katy Watt's website on grass and laminitis - www.safergrass.org. Usually fructans peak during the day due to sunlight, so you are grazing your pony during peak sugar. And sugar concentrates in the tip of the grass during the day, and you are grazing on short grass, so again, lots of sugar relative to fiber. Long grass will have the same amount of sugar in the leaf, but way more fiber in the stem, so long grass is usually better to graze than short grass. I'd have the pony out overnight in a grazing muzzle the whole time rather than during the day.
                      "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Since he looks pretty much fine and you say you are feeling the fat rather than seeing it, what might be going on is that you are feeling the normal loose connective tissue that’s in the top part of the neck? The spine of the neck in a horse is much lower than most people realize; they think it’s right under the mane (based on how most people paint horses for skeleton Halloween costumes, for example), but it’s really right above the trachea. There’s a dense band of firm non-muscle soft tissue called the nuchal ligament that (more or less) goes from the base of the head to the withers that’s under the mane, a broad squishy area of soft connective tissue and wimpy muscle (and fat, but *some* fat is totally normal), then the spinal column and the major muscles, then the trachea. I think you might be feeling that broad squishy area?

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                          Check out Katy Watt's website on grass and laminitis - www.safergrass.org. Usually fructans peak during the day due to sunlight, so you are grazing your pony during peak sugar. And sugar concentrates in the tip of the grass during the day, and you are grazing on short grass, so again, lots of sugar relative to fiber. Long grass will have the same amount of sugar in the leaf, but way more fiber in the stem, so long grass is usually better to graze than short grass. I'd have the pony out overnight in a grazing muzzle the whole time rather than during the day.
                          He's actually only allowed an hour of full grazing in the morning and an hour or two late in the evening, as we are trying to avoid the peak sugar periods. He gets super restless being stalled during the day and then gets aggressive, so having the grazing halter on all day has been a good compromise.

                          The grass is to my ankles, would you consider that short?

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Toblersmom View Post
                            Since he looks pretty much fine and you say you are feeling the fat rather than seeing it, what might be going on is that you are feeling the normal loose connective tissue that’s in the top part of the neck? The spine of the neck in a horse is much lower than most people realize; they think it’s right under the mane (based on how most people paint horses for skeleton Halloween costumes, for example), but it’s really right above the trachea. There’s a dense band of firm non-muscle soft tissue called the nuchal ligament that (more or less) goes from the base of the head to the withers that’s under the mane, a broad squishy area of soft connective tissue and wimpy muscle (and fat, but *some* fat is totally normal), then the spinal column and the major muscles, then the trachea. I think you might be feeling that broad squishy area?
                            That might be it. I've been known to be a little paranoid so I am probably worrying about nothing. Thank you!

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by CanteringCarrot View Post
                              I really don't see a cresty or overweight pony there.
                              He definitely isn't overweight anywhere else, II was only worried about his neck beginning to crest, but I feel much better after talking to you guys. Thank you!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by 4LeafCloverFarm View Post
                                Me either. Maybe a little more muscle tone needed here and there, but then, he is just 4. He's a cutie.
                                He does need more muscle! He's actually built up a lot in the last few weeks,, so I am happy with that and will try to stop worrying about him so much.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  You are right to keep monitoring him, though. Little fellows can put weight on fast!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    After seeing the pictures I would keep him eating as you already are. He needs his unmuzzled grazing time. I wouldn't want him any thinner.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by WildestDandelion View Post

                                      He's actually only allowed an hour of full grazing in the morning and an hour or two late in the evening, as we are trying to avoid the peak sugar periods. He gets super restless being stalled during the day and then gets aggressive, so having the grazing halter on all day has been a good compromise.

                                      The grass is to my ankles, would you consider that short?
                                      Did you look at the website? And yes, ankle length is short grass. Sounds like the pony needs some training too, if he is "aggressive."
                                      "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                                        Stallions obviously get way crestier than mares or geldings.

                                        If you are worried about IR and impending founder look at his overall.body score. Does he have fat pockets near his tail and on his withers? If he is obese and cresty you have an emergency situation.

                                        I've heard tell that the crest can change texture when laminitis is imminent, I think it's blow up and get harder, but have not seen IRL.
                                        You don't see it. You feel it. If you grab the middle of the neck and you can't move it from side to side, stop all hard feed immediately, they are not far from foundering.
                                        It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                                        Comment

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