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Adding topline, not necessarily weight?

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  • Adding topline, not necessarily weight?

    I was wondering if you can weigh in (no pun intended!) on some ways to add topline but not a lot of weight.

    Backstory: elderly cushings pony, has gone from skeleton to lovely in about 6 months. Has been a challenge given that she cannot have a lot of sugar. ACTH went from 90ish (don't know the number, she wasn't ours when first tested) to 30.

    She is currently eating 1/2 scoop TC senior, 1/4 scoop timothy pellets, 1/4 cup omega horseshine, 1/2 scoop tri-amino, 1/2 scoop of Smartflex Senior, and a 1/2 scoop SmartDigest. Yes, she's on a ridiculous amount of supplements! This is pm. In the am she just gets 1/2 scoop of TC senior.

    She looks great, IMO. Especially given where she started. However, her topline still needs to fill out, and her hips. I wonder if this is just old age, or do I need to get to working on it.

    Looking on her from the side, you wouldn't really notice it. But up close it bothers me a tiny bit. She is a small framed horse to begin with, and to me its exaggerated by the bony topline.

    Here is our blog with photos, you can see her progress, and please feel free to comment or make suggestions!

  • Original Poster

    ETA: I HAVE noticed a difference since starting the tri-amino. I'm wondering if I should just up the dose a bit?


    • #3
      i believe as an Elderly equine, there is not much you can do to get her topline to look great. If anyone has suggestions, i would also be interested to hear..


      • #4
        I'd try upping the dose a bit on the Tri Amino.
        Last edited by grayarabpony; May. 6, 2013, 09:48 AM.


        • #5
          She is currently eating 1/2 scoop TC senior, 1/4 scoop timothy pellets, 1/4 cup omega horseshine, 1/2 scoop tri-amino, 1/2 scoop of Smartflex Senior, and a 1/2 scoop SmartDigest. Yes, she's on a ridiculous amount of supplements! This is pm. In the am she just gets 1/2 scoop of TC senior.
          I'm curious as to how big the scoop you're using is and the weight of the pony. You may not be giving the pony adequate vitamins/minerals, which could contribute to the lack of the top line. Bumping up the tri-amino could be helpful, but there is only so much a supplement can do. Long/low type top line building workouts will help, but ultimately the pony's age is likely the reason for the lack of topline.
          come what may

          Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


          • #6
            What a cutie!
            With my guy, what has helped was:
            - walking over cavalettis (start low then you can raise them after a couple of weeks, then progress to trotting.) I did this daily about 5 times each way x 3 times a day.
            - Belly lifts (scratching their belly til the lift their back and withers) Again 3 times a day, a few seconds at first and progress to where they will hold it for 10-15 seconds.
            - walking up hill, and backing up hills. Again, start slow a couple of steps and build on that.
            - 1 scoop of Tri-Amino.
            All those only take a few minutes a day and have made a big difference in my horse.

            PS: I wanted to add that those exercises where recommended by my chiro/vet and that she has seen the horse 4 times in the last year to help with his issue and has commented on how much better and stronger he now looks.
            "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


            • #7
              Are you familiar with any of Dr. Hilary Clayton's work?


              • Original Poster

                My feed scoop is 3 lbs. So 1 1/2 lbs 2x/day of TC Senior.

                The supplement scoops are typically 1 oz. I asked Smartpak and they said to half the dose since she is only about 400 lb.


                • #9
                  Thanks for posting the link to your blog. I remember you posting the link a few months back and looking at it. That grin right before she looks into the stall is to die for! Soooo cute!!!!

                  Nothing to add about the top line, sorry


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks, we are in love. She is such a blessing.


                    • #11
                      Wow, look at her!!

                      To be honest, I wouldn't do anything else. She has come so far in really, a relatively short period of time (less than a year from sickly skeleton to now) - think about all the other parts of her body that have had to heal (internal & external). So I feel like if topline muscles *can* come back from the atrophied state they were in, they will. Gentle under saddle work will help, also.

                      But it might not be possible to make her "filled out" unless you put her into solid work - and at her age, even that might not work. (Then you get into the question whether long-atrophied muscles can come back ever - if she was untreated for a long time, it's possible that they will never be truly full and round.)

                      I guess I'd stick with what you're doing because she really looks great. For the -saddle work I'd just be sure she had a well fitting saddle and if necessary, a pad that will help cushion. Since your dd is so tiny, I think that should probably be fine.

                      Well done! What an amazing transformation!


                      • #12
                        I have had good luck feeding 3,000 to 5,000 IU's of Vit E (no selenium)

                        <Edited to say I just looked at your pictures - such a cutie!! And for a pony the IU's would be less but I do think it would be very helpful>

                        This is the brand I use - https://kppusa.com/all-products/elevate-ws/

                        The liquid is better but if you cannot feed that they do sell a powder.
                        Live in the sunshine.
                        Swim in the sea.
                        Drink the wild air.


                        • Original Poster

                          Aw, you guys are making me blush! She's been a true labor of love. I've so thoroughly enjoyed watching her transformation. And she's a doll with my daughter. And can jump to boot! Watched her free jump for fun in the pasture, that was cool.


                          • #14
                            Have you considered adding Enrich 32 to her diet? It is a protein supplement to add to her feed. You need a decent amount of protein to add muscle. I use Tri-Amino also along with Smart Muscle Endurance but they make a Smart muscle Mass also. I bet the addition of a pound a day of Enrich 32 to what you are currently doing would help.
                            "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope


                            • #15
                              I don't think it's impossible for her to improve that topline. I have a 33 year old horse that bounced back from starvation at 27 and her topline is beautiful still. I would exercise her and keep feeding her like you are .

                              Angel last summer (32):

                              Here she was at 27:

                              This is how she looked after only 8 months after quality nutrition:


                              • Original Poster



                                • #17
                                  She looks AWESOME. Wow. Good job!!

                                  I don't think you'd be out of line to just be happy with how far she's come, but if you DO want to try more, a full scoop of tri-amino won't hurt her, and might help. I find it SO useful for exactly what you're looking for.

                                  I think the suggestion of Vit E is also interesting. I supplement all of mine, unless they're eating a good supply of growing grass, as it's one of the first things to degrade in hay. Elevate WS is a wonderful product, but costly, and since you're not dealing with a horse in a potential Vit E crisis (like a neuro horse, or one with EPM) the all natural vit E capsules from Puritan's Pride are certainly an option to try, and considerably less expensive.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Thank you all so much for th quick responses!


                                    • #19
                                      I agree with upping the Tri-Amino to a full scoop. I started Boy on it last year to help him build muscle and had great results.
                                      Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                                      Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                                      "Once you go off track, you never go back!"


                                      • #20
                                        FWIW, I've been using pure Lysine and getting the same results on another horse - though she is already fit, I noticed a lovely bloom. It's very inexpensive too. But the Tri Amino covers all of the muscle builders, so I would also up that as well!