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Taking weight off the obese horse

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  • Taking weight off the obese horse

    As anyone who looked at the pics of my giveaway ponies knows, I have some really fat horses. I have two geldings in particular that REALLY need to lose weight before they founder or become insulin resistant. I am now in a position where I can dry lot them. So how do I start feeding them? I plan on giving hay with a handful of SafeChoice and maybe some Remission to help with the weight loss but how much hay. Hay will most likely be bermuda or bermuda/bahia mix. These guys are so fat that I can't really do much with them as I dont have a saddle that will fit. If you want to see how fat, go to Giveaways and look in my thread and follow the links for pics.

    For more info. These guys are air ferns. One is a haflinger, the other is a haflinger/POA cross.
    I'm a second hand Vegan. Cows eat grass. I eat cows.

  • #2
    If they are that obese, you don't need a saddle yet anyway.

    As always, talk to your vet- but I'd think about 10-15 lbs. per day of soaked hay and a vitamin supp like SmartVite Easy Keeper.

    For exercise, start a hand-walking program. Put a halter and a lead on one and start walking. Start with 10 minutes a day, 7 days a week. If you can do it twice a day- even better. Add a few minutes each week. If the horses are quiet and friendly with each other, you can do them both at the same time.

    After you've got a solid base on them at the walk, you can start trot on the longe line. Once you've done that, you're ready to think about a saddle (or bareback).


    • #3
      I battled this same issue with my mare. We had abundant pasture and nothing worked. She was so wide we were in a wintec wide with the xxx wide gullet plate. We moved in late sept of 2010 and she is on a 1-2 acre dry lot. I feed her for what her weight SHOULD BE. She gets 2 feedings of alfalfa hay morning/ evening ( alfalfa is what we have here). By late spring of the following year ( 2011) she was at a normal weight and has maintained it ever since. I never starved her but fed her like a normal horse. Weight loss was gradual and she looks great.


      • #4
        When I need to do tough love, I figure out the horse's IDEAL weight, then feed them their forage (which is all they will get for calories!) on about a rate of 1 to 1.5% of their ideal weight (so, say they SHOULD weigh 1000lb, they'll get 10-15lb A DAY). It IS tough love, but that's what you gotta do. Small hole hay nets or slow feeders, small amounts throughout the day. Skip the SafeChoice. Unnecessary calories. Feed a vit/min supplement like the Smartvite to provide the nutrition they need. They will act like you are killing them, as I am sure they live to eat, but you gotta be the meanie.

        Once they've slimmed up, you can feed them closer to 2%, but I would keep a close eye on them. I've yet to have to soak a fattie's hay, but I know that some really do need it.

        I like the walking in hand, or if they ground drive, ground drive them around the property.

        It takes some tough love to really get the weight off a fat horse. Good luck! Don't fall prey to the sad eyes!!!


        • Original Poster

          They both should weigh between 500-600#, so that would work out around 5-6# of hay per day. I actually had the haflinger at a fairly decent weight in a small paddock with very little grass but I had to turn him out due to water issues. Hand walking sounds good. We can both lose weight. With the price of hay, I'm not likely to fall prey to sad eyes. I'm trying to sort horses around so I can group them according to feeding needs, put the old guys together that need more feed and tlc, young fat geldings that don't need much, etc.
          I'm a second hand Vegan. Cows eat grass. I eat cows.


          • #6
            Originally posted by wireweiners View Post
            They both should weigh between 500-600#, so that would work out around 5-6# of hay per day. I actually had the haflinger at a fairly decent weight in a small paddock with very little grass but I had to turn him out due to water issues. Hand walking sounds good. We can both lose weight. With the price of hay, I'm not likely to fall prey to sad eyes. I'm trying to sort horses around so I can group them according to feeding needs, put the old guys together that need more feed and tlc, young fat geldings that don't need much, etc.
            Correct 5-6# hay at most and if neither horse has metabolic issues I wouldn't worry with soaking the hay.

            Also, if you buy hay in bulk that all comes from the same field same cutting the best thing to do is have the hay analyzed and build your supplement mix off of that.

            Also, light lunging could be helpful too along with hand walking just to mix it up some.


            • #7
              My two 5-600 lb ponies always split a 4-5 lb flake of hay in the morning and another at night if they were drylotted.