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Need advice on building muscle

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  • Need advice on building muscle

    Hello all,

    I purchased Wee Willie, a Belgian QH cross gelding at the Unadilla sale on 4/15/11. Approximately 300 lbs underweight, rain rot covering his back and rump, in need of a dental, and a lot of muscle wasting in back legs (vet suggested that he had probably been kept in a small enclosure and not able to move around much).

    Since arrival we have taken care of the teeth issues, cleared up the rain rot and Willie has gained approximately 200 lbs. He is feeling better every day. Getting much easier to pick up his back legs to trim and pick his feet. For the first 6 weeks he was walked around quite a bit, backwards and forwards in order to stretch/build muscle. I recently started trotting him in hand for short periods of time and he has now gained sufficient weight to carry a rider, but we have only been walking.

    Willie has not laid down since his arrival - until yesterday. He decided to lay down out in the pasture to sun himself and couldn't get back up. Thank god Barn Owner was home and saw him from the deck of her house. He was down, panic and struggling for about 30 minutes. Took 3 people pushing, pulling and dumping buckets of cold water on him to get him up. Very scary situation. He was exhaused and dehydrated when it was all over. Barn owner thought I would lose him.

    Willie has been drinking, eating, pooping and peeing normally since this incident yesterday afternoon, however, he did spend the rest of the afternoon and evening in his stall so he could be checked on thru the afternoon and evening. Not happy to be left in the barn.

    My question - which I have a call into the vet - How can I build up rear legs muscles quickly without compromising his weight gain? He still needs about 100 lbs and I don't want to work off all we have gained. He is currently on 2lbs Safe Choice, 1 lb TC Senior, 1/2 cup corn oil, MSM, 2 lbs Haystretcher twice a day and free choice quality hay. He has good pasture available to him as well, but he's not a real big hay/ grass eater (which is why I give him haystretcher). I have also questions into the vet about giving Legend or Adequan injections as he does have arthritis.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated - I really don't want a repeat performance of yesterday's event.

  • #2
    This horse hasn't laid down since April? Seriously?

    The fact that he's already gained 200lbs, is strong enough to take a rider, but can't get up on his own leads me to think that this may be neuro related.

    I think you have some bigger worries here other than just putting some muscle on him.


    • #3
      More TC Sr, drop the SC. 5,6,7,8 lb TC Sr.

      I agree this isn't a "need to build muscle " issue. Thus is major arthritis or a neuro issue
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


      • Original Poster

        Arthritis in hocks was diagnosed in vet visit

        Within one week of Willie's arrival, he did have a complete exam with his vet. I told her that he hasn't laid down and her response was due to muscle wasting (most likely from being kept in small enclosure) and arthritis in hocks he most likely would not lay down unless he felt confident that he could get up.

        She did not mention anything about any neuro issues at exam, however I will bring it up when she returns my call.

        As for decreasing SC and increasing TC Sr, I can do that, however he is already on 6 lbs of grain per day and 4 lbs of Haystretcher....just didn't want to overload on grain. 6lbs seems to be a lot, and it takes him forever to eat it now.


        • Original Poster


          This is when I first got him, pic kind of shows concave leg muscle instead of convex.


          • #6
            I'd also do a bit of research into PSSM/EPSM if I were you. Best of luck with him.

            I had a mare many years ago who had some significant hock arthritis, and who had been kept in a standing stall prior to my ownership, who would never lay down. She sat her big white bottom on whatever ledge was available (the collateral damage to water buckets was immense,) or leaned against things, like the horse in Cat Ballou...


            • #7
              The nice thing about TC Sr is that it's quite low in sugars, about 11%. This makes it quite safe to feed in larger amounts
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


              • #8
                Originally posted by atr View Post
                I'd also do a bit of research into PSSM/EPSM if I were you. Best of luck with him.

                This was my thought as well. IF he's tied up in his life it's entirely possible for muscle loss to happen as a result.
                Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                Northern NV