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Help with a hay belly!

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  • Help with a hay belly!

    So I have this wonderful full of life 22 yr old QH gelding. He is very rideable and shows no signs of slowing down. But he looks like a mare after having a baby. You know that look...low belly, hanging out the sides, really noticable from the front. I know he has lost muscle on his back and is out of shape from his previous owners( I have only had him 2 months) he was also quite underweight but still had some belly. He has been wormed and has a great coat. He gets a big flake of grass hay 2x a day and a scoop of Elk Grove senior stable mix 2x a day. Any sugestions on getting him in decent shape? Or do they always keep that belly?
    "To my Gub... Godspeed my friend, till we meet again." 1996-2007.
    Runway (Sasha) 2009 Zweibrucker filly by Redwine.

    "Silence is golden...and duct tape is silver."

  • #2
    what did you worm him with? I would run a powerpack through him, especially if he was underweight and (presumably) had a heavy worm load. If you already did that, then I don't really know what to say, had an aged gelding with the same problem as a teen that we kinda rescued and it took him over a year to get over his "hay belly". But he hadn't been wormed in 3 years. Good Luck!

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    • #3
      I will not comment on the health care aspect, because I do not know.

      Your horse sounds like my horse when I first started riding him. I know my horse had excellent care before me, so that was not an issue. He had been sitting for about 6 to 8 months and looked pregnant! He even lost weight with the increased work load, so you could see his ribs and still had the belly. It really took about a year of work to really not notice the belly.
      Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
      www.thesaddlefits.com
      Society of Master Saddlers trained saddle fitter

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      • #4
        Working will shrink it up (esp trotting) but it will take some time. I agree with the possible need for Powerpack for him. And might change from grass hay to alfalfa or alfalfa/grass mix to provide a little less bulk through the gut but enough to keep things moving.
        Colored Cowhorse Ranch
        www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
        Northern NV

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Interesting about the alfalfa instead of grass. I was assuming the grass was less caloric than the alfalfa. Am I incorrect? I figured he did not need so much protein in his diet, thought alfalfa would put on more weight.
          "To my Gub... Godspeed my friend, till we meet again." 1996-2007.
          Runway (Sasha) 2009 Zweibrucker filly by Redwine.

          "Silence is golden...and duct tape is silver."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by gubbyz View Post
            Interesting about the alfalfa instead of grass. I was assuming the grass was less caloric than the alfalfa. Am I incorrect? I figured he did not need so much protein in his diet, thought alfalfa would put on more weight.
            Alfalfa does have (usually) more nutrients per pound than grass hays.....so you would feed less and have less bulk in his intestines at any one time....less hay belly.
            Colored Cowhorse Ranch
            www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
            Northern NV

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            • #7
              Have you had his teeth checked? I've had that help on some of my old ones. Routine exercise is the best I've found for that though. Elk Grove is fantastic. Because of the crazy hay prices I've switched mine all over to being on EGM as their main diet, but get a thin flake of orchard grass per feeding because I like them to have hay too. They have never looked better, even the youngsters.

              Define a "scoop" of EGM? Is it one of the plastic ones, or the big silver ones?
              Making Your Ambitions a Reality at Secret Ambition Stables.
              Quality Welsh Ponies and Welsh Crosses bred for sport
              Facebook Page.
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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Dressage Diva it is the plastic quart scoop. I just had my vet out to vaccinate and he does need his teeth done, points, but not horrible. She basically said he is not fat, but because he has a bit of a sway back, that belly has to go somewhere and it goes down! She recommended just a good excersize program and hill work. Said once those ligaments are stretched, it is hard to get them back in place.
                "To my Gub... Godspeed my friend, till we meet again." 1996-2007.
                Runway (Sasha) 2009 Zweibrucker filly by Redwine.

                "Silence is golden...and duct tape is silver."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Besides all the health stuff, try doing belly lifts (push on his midline with fingers and have him lift back gently) and also set up cavaletti that you can lead him through. Change them around and raise them so he has to really think and lift his back to walk through. Hill work is also helpful. You can do much leading or ponying him while you get that "old man belly" under control. Have a good chiropractor do some work on him. He may never look 'normal' again due to stretching of ligaments, etc. but you can improve on the hay belly a ton with some gentle thoughtful work.

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                  • #10
                    One of my horses gets a hay belly if I feed a particular grass hay. Over the winter I changed hays and fed him a timothy/grass mix and he looks much better. Started giving the pony the grass stuff and not he has the hay belly. Fortunately, my hay guy just baled this years hay so I'll be getting a load tomothy and wont have to feed the grass hay anymore.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks guys, I will consider a different hay, and will do the belly lifts and work over cavelleti, I can't believe i didnt think of that! Lol.
                      "To my Gub... Godspeed my friend, till we meet again." 1996-2007.
                      Runway (Sasha) 2009 Zweibrucker filly by Redwine.

                      "Silence is golden...and duct tape is silver."

                      Comment

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