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Exercising fat horse on limited time

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  • Exercising fat horse on limited time

    Thanks in advance for any ideas or advice. I have a quarter horse gelding, Cody, who is about 70 pounds overweight. He currently has an abscess in his foot, but the vet says after it heals completely, he is to be put on an exercise regimen of jogging in the round pen, free longing or under saddle, at least three times per week. I work full time, and I am gone from 7:30 am until 5:15 pm Monday thru Friday. The horses are fed at 6:00 am and again at 7:00 pm (ish).....Cody only gets a handful of timothy hay pellets at each feed, due to his weight. The only time I will have during the week to work him is about 7:30 or 8:00 at night. Will it hurt to work him so closely after a meal? Since he eats such little bits, I was thinking maybe the old "wait one hour after feeding to work the horse" rule might not apply in this case. What do you all think? He and my other 3 horses come in to eat, but are left to roam pasture the rest of the time. Our pasture is NOT rich, so the vet says grazing not alot to to worry about. We do put a grazing muzzle on him sometimes, but it's NEVER wet, which tells me he is not drinking while wearing it. I left it off today. Anyone have any suggestions as to how to squeeze some extra exercise time in for him? I am thinking of jogging him in hand a bit, since I need exercise too...LOL!

  • #2
    If you're just giving him a handful of pellets, he will be fine.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


    • #3
      If you're gone all day, how do you know the muzzle is never wet?

      I watch mine splash and drink, and this time of year, 5 minutes later the muzzle is bone dry again.

      I'd keep the muzzle on him during the day, or at night, either one, at least, while he needs to lose weight.

      He's eating more in forage in the 30 minutes before you take him for a walk, than he is in the 5 minutes before ,so yes, take him for his exercise right after eating
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


      • #4
        Your fine. As a matter of fact if I get to the barn and suspect that my horses have not had any hay or grazing in a while I will give them some hay cubes or some hay before or while I tack up.

        It's the large grain meals that you need to worry about.


        • #5
          I have a fatty also and he hates regular lunging, he thinks it's boring. So what has been the most effective and quickest way for him to get fit and drop pounds is bag flagging or free lunging in a huge pasture. My area is 4-5 acres. If your horse knows how to lunge it's simple to teach this. You will also get some exercise as you walk or jog around directing your horse. Just add a white plastic back to the end of your lunge whip and teach him that when you shake it, it means GO, eventually you can teach signals to walk, trot or canter, gallop . You can direct him to change direction, change leads, etc. Sometimes I carry a paper feed bag and shake or kick it for noise to make them move out. My horses loves this. It's like a game to them. If it's hot or humid I hose him first to cool him because they will sweat. Remember to give frequent breaks so as not to overheat or overwork them. I always hose afterward too as a comforting reward, along w/ a carrot or asmall treat. If you can do this for 10-15min. 3X week, your horse will really get into shape.
          Make sure your footing in your pasture is safe and no holes.
          Good Luck.
          "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


          • #6
            I too feed alfalfa pellets before riding. About a pound of them. He'll be okay.
            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


            • #7
              Do you have any nearby "horsey' teenagers? Perhaps you can round up a teen to ride him one or two days a week WHILE you are taking care of the others. That would take some of the pressure off you, could add a day or so to his overall exercise program.
              We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for the advice! LOL about the wet/dry muzzle. Forgot to clarify, DH is "semi" retired, and checks on the horses throughout the day.
                I think I'd like to ride him myself, as he CAN be a handful when he sets his mind to it, and I've trained him from the ground up, so I am really the only one who rides him for more than a simple "pony ride". I'll find a good time after the heat of the day, and work him for a while. Thank you for all the input! I THOUGHT he would be ok after such a tiny tiny meal, but my horses are my babies, and I take NO chances with their health and well being. Once his hoof is healed, it's off to the gym for Cody! LOL


                • #9
                  I had great luck hiring a kid to hand walk my overweight Perch cross. She got $5 to walk with a purpose for 30 minutes a few times a week. Sometimes that's all he got but she would also do this after a ride which gave me more time to move onto my next task. She liked walking him and the pay was a bonus so she would show up on off days or sometimes stay 10 minutes late to do more. He lost a lot of weight, more than I'd ever gotten off any horse in a short time. Don't underestimate walking! And pretty much anyone can help you with that!


                  • Original Poster

                    Hey, great idea, Win! I have no neighbors, and no kids that I trust around my horses.....except me nieces that live out of town. Hmmmmm.....food for thought, though!