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RARGHHHGRGRRG! She's too thin now?! I just can't win!

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    RARGHHHGRGRRG! She's too thin now?! I just can't win!

    So, I'm sure some folks remember my thread awhile ago on my mare getting fat on a nearly forage-only diet. I made some changes to her diet, upped her exercise, and the pounds just melted away.

    Now, the other day, the stablehand (who I do really value his opinion on MOST things), said that she was beginning to look skinny. It's hard for me to tell, because I see her every day. But then I stood back and took a closer look while she was playing in the outdoor. When she runs, walks, or turns, you can see her ribs. When she is standing still, you can't.

    I don't have to press on her sides at all to feel them, just running my little plastic curry over her coat I can feel the ribs. Is that a bad sign, or what?

    I am usually fighting to keep the weight OFF my mare, so I'm kinda floating into unknown territory now.

    So, COTHers, input please! From what I described, does she sound too thin to you?

    If so, what would you suggest? The stablehand wanted to up her grain, but I said no. She has a sensitive stomach, so I don't want to add weight through grain. I'd rather do it through cubes, maybe complete feed, oil, something like that.

    Here is her current diet:

    AM: 10 lbs alf/grass mix hay
    1 cup oats and multivit

    PM: 10 lbs alf/grass mix hay
    1 cup oats

    Snack: 4 lbs alfalfa cubes, raspberry leaf, and Tractgard. I've just recently upped the cubes to 4 pounds, after discussing her weight with the stablehand. I figure a little extra of cubes at least won't hurt anything.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

    #2
    My pony is about that weight right now, and I don't think she's too thin. I wouldn't want her to lose any more weight, but her weight no doubt has nowhere to go but up.

    When you're used to seeing a round horse, it can be disconcerting to see angles.

    Comment

      Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
      My pony is about that weight right now, and I don't think she's too thin. I wouldn't want her to lose any more weight, but her weight no doubt has nowhere to go but up.

      When you're used to seeing a round horse, it can be disconcerting to see angles.
      That's very true.
      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

      Comment


        #4
        Food is not equal to love. For broodmares, being slightly under conditioned increases the likelihood of conception. Thus I would put forward the idea that you should not add to her diet, but try and increase her muscle. If she drops weight with increased work, up her calories slightly till she stabilizes. You want fitness, not fat.

        How I wish I could apply this to my own body!
        Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Penthilisea View Post
          Food is not equal to love. For broodmares, being slightly under conditioned increases the likelihood of conception. Thus I would put forward the idea that you should not add to her diet, but try and increase her muscle. If she drops weight with increased work, up her calories slightly till she stabilizes. You want fitness, not fat.

          How I wish I could apply this to my own body!
          Interesting, so you think I should just work her more, or?
          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

          Comment


            #6
            I would work on specific muscle building exercises, NOT stamina. Trot work, caveletti, hills, etc. She could also lunge in loose vienna reins to build up her topline. Trotting builds muscle, cantering builds endurance.

            If your current work outs for her are endurance based, I would actually cut back on that and change it up some.

            Without seeing the horse in person it's a cr*pshoot, but that's my best advice.
            Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

            Comment

              Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Penthilisea View Post
              I would work on specific muscle building exercises, NOT stamina. Trot work, caveletti, hills, etc. She could also lunge in loose vienna reins to build up her topline. Trotting builds muscle, cantering builds endurance.

              If your current work outs for her are endurance based, I would actually cut back on that and change it up some.

              Without seeing the horse in person it's a cr*pshoot, but that's my best advice.
              Lunging, cavalettis, and any sort of training aid is out, we're rehabbing at the moment and all of those things are forbidden as per vet.

              We also don't have hills here in central IL...
              Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

              Comment


                #8
                For someone who obsesses over her horse so much, why would you get into a tailspin because a barnworker makes a casual comment? There's nothing wrong with a horse being lean and even a little ribby, NOTHING. If you like how she looks, how she feels, and are satisfied with what she's eating, stand your ground. She's YOUR horse, YOU know her best, and everyone else's observations (including mine!) aren't nearly as valuable as your own best judgment.

                No doubt if you go changing things now based on one casual observation, in 3 months you'll be lamenting that she's fat again. Let it be.
                Click here before you buy.

                Comment

                  Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                  For someone who obsesses over her horse so much, why would you get into a tailspin because a barnworker makes a casual comment? There's nothing wrong with a horse being lean and even a little ribby, NOTHING. If you like how she looks, how she feels, and are satisfied with what she's eating, stand your ground. She's YOUR horse, YOU know her best, and everyone else's observations (including mine!) aren't nearly as valuable as your own best judgment.

                  No doubt if you go changing things now based on one casual observation, in 3 months you'll be lamenting that she's fat again. Let it be.
                  It wasn't a casual comment, we had a full discussion about it. I do stand my ground on things, as noted by the previous thread about her being fat on forage. Did I do exactly what some folks said? Nope.

                  I even noted here that I did not do what the stablehand wanted, which was to up her grain. I DID stand my ground, thank you very much.

                  And you know what? I can obsess over my horse all I want. Don't like it? Too bad. I'm getting a little irritated that you poke at me every thread about that. It's not funny or cute anymore, if it was even meant to be in the first place.
                  Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Oooooh-kay. You're reading a whole lot into what I said, but if it's offensive to you I do apologize. Will refrain from commenting in the future, sorry! Might check into some skin-thickening somewhere along the line though, jeez.
                    Click here before you buy.

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                      Oooooh-kay. You're reading a whole lot into what I said, but if it's offensive to you I do apologize. Will refrain from commenting in the future, sorry!
                      If you want to add input on the subject matter, I'm all for it. You're a good resource and really knowledgeable, to be sure. But making comments on how I fuss too much over my horse, I obsess, etc, etc, is not appreciated.
                      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
                        I don't have to press on her sides at all to feel them, just running my little plastic curry over her coat I can feel the ribs. Is that a bad sign, or what?
                        I'd say maybe she's a wee bit too thin. Not "wow, she needs some weight" thin, so much depends on what she *really* looks like (can you get a good picture?). But easily feeling ribs like that, unless you're talking about a really hard working 3DE horse or something, sounds a wee thin. And, I'm one who strives to keep them on the lean side, so it's not like I like to see 'em Hunter Fat

                        Here is her current diet:

                        AM: 10 lbs alf/grass mix hay
                        1 cup oats and multivit

                        PM: 10 lbs alf/grass mix hay
                        1 cup oats

                        Snack: 4 lbs alfalfa cubes, raspberry leaf, and Tractgard. I've just recently upped the cubes to 4 pounds, after discussing her weight with the stablehand. I figure a little extra of cubes at least won't hurt anything.
                        If you've recently upped the cubes to 4lb, I'd give that a couple of weeks - you might be surprised.

                        If she'll eat more hay in the am and/or pm, see if another couple of pounds each feeding helps - likely will.

                        If she still needs a bit more, try 1/2lb oats each feeding, 1lb total a day. That's not a lot of sugar in the grand scheme of things. 1c whole oats is roughly 1/3lb, so it's not like you're adding TONS of oats to her current diet.

                        That's where I'd go.

                        OR, instead of any of the above (beyond waiting to see what the 4lb cubes does in a couple/three weeks), add either straight lysine, or Tri-Amino. It may be a matter of not enough lysine and methionine. Odds are not hugely in favor of that, due to the hay and a-cubes she gets, but it's still possible. Lack of sufficient quality protein can cause a "weight" issue.
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment

                          Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by JB View Post
                          I'd say maybe she's a wee bit too thin. Not "wow, she needs some weight" thin, so much depends on what she *really* looks like (can you get a good picture?). But easily feeling ribs like that, unless you're talking about a really hard working 3DE horse or something, sounds a wee thin. And, I'm one who strives to keep them on the lean side, so it's not like I like to see 'em Hunter Fat
                          I will try and get a picture, I've been basically dodging rainstorms the last few days at the barn, so no real down time to get decent pics.


                          If you've recently upped the cubes to 4lb, I'd give that a couple of weeks - you might be surprised.

                          If she'll eat more hay in the am and/or pm, see if another couple of pounds each feeding helps - likely will.

                          If she still needs a bit more, try 1/2lb oats each feeding, 1lb total a day. That's not a lot of sugar in the grand scheme of things. 1c whole oats is roughly 1/3lb, so it's not like you're adding TONS of oats to her current diet.

                          That's where I'd go.

                          OR, instead of any of the above (beyond waiting to see what the 4lb cubes does in a couple/three weeks), add either straight lysine, or Tri-Amino. It may be a matter of not enough lysine and methionine. Odds are not hugely in favor of that, due to the hay and a-cubes she gets, but it's still possible. Lack of sufficient quality protein can cause a "weight" issue.
                          How long do you think it'd take for the additional cubes to 'show up' in her physique? I don't want to load her up too fast, as I know adding weight too quickly isn't a good thing to do. But I'm not really sure how long to expect, normally.

                          Do you really think Lysine or an AA deficiency could be an issue, considering the alfalfa in her diet?
                          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
                            I will try and get a picture, I've been basically dodging rainstorms the last few days at the barn, so no real down time to get decent pics.
                            Tell me about it - my new saddle finally arrived *last* Friday, and it's been raining every since

                            How long do you think it'd take for the additional cubes to 'show up' in her physique? I don't want to load her up too fast, as I know adding weight too quickly isn't a good thing to do. But I'm not really sure how long to expect, normally.
                            I'd say within 2-3 weeks you should be seeing a difference. I'd try to consciously not feel ribs more than once a week, as you can be fooled into thinking there aren't changes.

                            Do you really think Lysine or an AA deficiency could be an issue, considering the alfalfa in her diet?
                            Well, it does indeed depend. Not all alf has enough, not all grass has enough for sure, 20lb of hay isn't a WHOLE lot, and if it's more grass than alf that keeps things a bit lower.

                            But, straight lysine is super cheap, so it's an easy thing to try I'd still give the alf cubes a couple of weeks - change things one at a time
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                            Comment

                              Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by JB View Post
                              Tell me about it - my new saddle finally arrived *last* Friday, and it's been raining every since


                              I'd say within 2-3 weeks you should be seeing a difference. I'd try to consciously not feel ribs more than once a week, as you can be fooled into thinking there aren't changes.


                              Well, it does indeed depend. Not all alf has enough, not all grass has enough for sure, 20lb of hay isn't a WHOLE lot, and if it's more grass than alf that keeps things a bit lower.

                              But, straight lysine is super cheap, so it's an easy thing to try I'd still give the alf cubes a couple of weeks - change things one at a time
                              I'll definitely keep the alf cubes at 4lbs then, thanks for the advice!
                              Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                              Comment


                                #16
                                I have nothing constructive to add except that I feel your pain! My mare went from hay belly fat to a wee bit thinner than I like to looking like a bloated tick in the span of a few weeks. All of March I felt like one day I'd be upping her feed, then the next I'd be debating getting the muzzle out. I swear it's this time of year with the changing seasons, shedding, incoming grass, etc.
                                Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                                Comment

                                  Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Texarkana View Post
                                  I have nothing constructive to add except that I feel your pain! My mare went from hay belly fat to a wee bit thinner than I like to looking like a bloated tick in the span of a few weeks. All of March I felt like one day I'd be upping her feed, then the next I'd be debating getting the muzzle out. I swear it's this time of year with the changing seasons, shedding, incoming grass, etc.
                                  Could be! I'm glad somebody sympathizes.
                                  Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    if all of us worried as much over 50 lbs here and there on every horse represented on this board, we'd never talk about anything else.

                                    Normal spring variations. Feeling ribs are good. I loathe fat horses. I'm the fat one around here, somebody has to look good naked, and it ain't me

                                    ease up, Sub.

                                    Comment

                                      Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Would anyone else like to contribute?
                                      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Is she sort of a bigger type of horse (stocky). My QH goes from fat to a little too lean very easily and for him its all about quality forage and really have figured out not so much the grain he eats. He looks the best on good grass and timothy hay.
                                        http://community.webshots.com/user/jenn52318

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