help me with my FAT horse guys?

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help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:23 am

We have 3 horses on a 4 acre field which for many years raised beef cattle - far from ideal, I know. They are having no hay and two of them look good for the time of year - lean but not thin. Dancing is FAT and I don't mean a bit plump I mean her back is like a table and I can't see her withers . She has only a very small feed daily of rolled oats and unmollassed sugarbeet and she only has this to contain the supplement for her arthritis (which is now completely under control).
I recently started adding flax oil as I have heard it may help her itchy skin and on researching this I got into nutrition and the fact that being fat or thin depends as much on correct utilisation of food as it does on having too much food, and that faults in digestion can be caused by lack of...something... Question
I wonder if anyone can help here? You all have slightly off-the-wall ideas (I mean that in the NICEST way, guys!) . Sydney I know is well educated in equine nutrition and Cyndi is the internet researcher par excellence
Why should one horse be fat and the others not? What can I do? confused
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by HorseHippie on Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:26 am

I feel your pain. My Lucas is the one who doesn't eat as much as the rest, seems to be the one who moves the most yet is the fattest little thing on four legs.

Interesting to see what others have to say.
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by Cyndi on Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:06 am

lol! You are too funny, FlorayG!!!

I think I will let Sydney take this one Razz I did google "balancing horse metabolism", or something like that, and one of the links that came up, besides books on the subject, was this; http://www.uckeleequine.com/articles/41/. Of course, it's the site of a company who makes supplements for stuff like this, but they do have a little article about it.

I give Fanny SIMMERdown, which is is a full supplement, and it is supposed to help horses lose weight...or at least not gain weight. It has cinnamon in it, which the link I gave you also suggests. I will have to do an estimate of Fanny's weight soon, to see how she's doing compared to last fall - she's been out of her supplement since before Christmas!! I ordered more from our local tack store a few weeks ago already and haven't heard from them yet!! I might just order it myself, online, or ask my trimmer to bring some out with her, since she's a sales rep for the company.

I suppose the advantage of living here is that with all the snow the horses' hay can be 'rationed'...although my preference would be to offer free-choice hay in a slow feeder. Hard for you to do when they aren't even on hay.

Maybe you could have Dancing's hair tested, to see if there are any hormonal imbalances or heavy metals that are causing the problem?

I wish you well. Please keep us posted.
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:49 am

See? I never found that site...

it says "imbalances can also contribute to excessive weight gain, fat patches, decreased energy, skin issues, allergic reactions" yup that's my horse - now how do I find out what her imbalances are?
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by Cyndi on Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:17 pm

My guess would be to ask your vet if it's something that can be tested (or hair sample?), or else just start her on a supplement for "metabolic imbalance" and see if she improves. I think the goal of these supplements is to bring your horse to a balanced state and maintain it.

From what I can see in my "research", any time metabolic imbalance is mentioned, it is in conjunction with laminitis, founder, Cushings or Insulin Resistence, so maybe getting a supplement or feed designed for this group of horses is the answer? Fanny gets a bit of oats with her feed (which the barn provides, but I want to provide my own for next winter), but oats is really a no-no for her. My homeopath suggests "Timothy-Balance" hay cubes, which are made about an hour or so from me! I didn't know they existed until now.
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by fin on Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:34 pm

How old is dancing? I had a beautiful pony and had had her from a youngster. Over one winter when she was 22 she got wierdly fat (lumps here and there and a fat belly) and was diagnosed with cushings. I treated it with agnus castus (recommended by my vet) which came in a liquid form named 'vitex' and it worked wonders. She almost looked normal while she was on it and never got that really bad curly coat. If you google agnus castus there's lots of information. It's not just for cushings so it may help Dancing. It's really unnerving when they come out of a severe winter looking fat. Hope you can help her.
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:27 am

Dancing will be 22 this year. She's not lumpy, just equally fat all over!
Yesterday it rained - this always exacerbates her itchyness and she had rubbed a coupleof patches raw again when I got to see her. I took her out for a walk and she was ravenously hungry, chomping at pretty much anything in the hedge that was vaguely green.

Yes I was wondering about insulin resistance. Trouble is, we don't have an 'alternative' type vet around here any more who would even have a clue what we are on about with this. My 'normal' vet suggests steroids. My homoeopath ( who used to be a vet, but is no longer registered as one) is still trying to figure her out. Also, how many doctors let alone vets have any idea about the effects of insulin resistance until it finally turns to diabetes?

This new thread came about because I am reading 'The Diet Delusion' by Gary Taubes - it's about human diet but the principles are the same. Why are some people fat and others thin? Lots of reasons and rarely to do with eating too much (if any of you are trying to lose weight I recommend it! lol! )
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:11 am

OMG I just have discovered some seriously scary stuff - I have to get Dancing off that grass today. She IS showing all the fat patterns of metabolic syndrome.
Here is the website www.safergrass.org
Yet again, we come back to the old problem that land owners are more interested in the state of the grass than in the state of the animals on it. Only last weekend my yard owner said he is planning to plough and re-seed one field as it is full of weeds and no grass. That is the field I keep my horses in all summer! Sometimes I wish I had been able to stay at the last place where 5 horses had 7 acres of total rubbish that had not been treated with anything for over 20 years and they had to work hard to get enough to eat Rolling Eyes
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by Cyndi on Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:55 am

FlorayG, I might just add that book to my library!! LOL My husband has such good metabolism (weighs the same now, at almost 44 years old, as he did when he was 16), I hope he passed that on to our kids. I, on the other hand, am always battling with my weight (have fluctuated between a size 6 and 10 over the years) . My homeopath said that my metabolism may need some tweaking. Unfortunately, I've had to stop taking all my supplements as they run out because I just couldn't afford them anymore (I'll bet I was spending $300 per month!!). So now I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

I know what you mean about farm owners being more worried about having lush grass than forage!!! That gets me so angry!! Don't these people read up on horse health, and how "lush" grass isn't ideal??!! Mad Especially for easy keepers.

I've got a bit of a 'battle' on at the barn right now with water supply. The horses get water at night in their stalls, but they don't get fresh water during the day. They are expected to eat snow! So I have started going out to the barn mid morning and giving them water. The mares line up, with Fanny being the first one to the bucket until the alpha mare pushes her away. Yesterday when I was there, the barn owner was cleaning stalls when I watered the horses. I commented (in a FRIENDLY way!!) that the three female horses lined up for water, yet Harry, the gelding, didn't. The b.o. shrugged and said something like, "Yeah, he doesn't need water.", or something like that, and then he said that I was "SPOILING" the mares by giving them fresh water!!!!!!! Can you believe that??!! I'm "spoiling" them by giving them a necessity??!!!! Before I left, Harry DID drink some water. AH-HA!! I will continue to provide water until it's warm enough that the water won't freeze during the day. It wouldn't be hard for the b.o. to walk out to the barn a couple of times a day and offer fresh water! What puzzles me is that he's had horses for 30 years, yet he still doesn't know the importance of water consumption in the winter? He should count himself blessed to have never experienced impaction colic at his barn over the years.
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:29 am

Years ago, stabled working horses were led out to water only twice a day. I think if increased water consumption would have increased their capacity to work the bosses would have made the stable boys lead them out more often. Wild horses generally drink once a day, because they have to leave the water to look for food. Dancing hardly ever drinks water and on the rare occasions I keep her in overnight she drinks nothing, even if she has dry hay, and she would never drink when we were competing endurance even after 30 miles. Kitty, on the other hand, drinks from every skanky puddle we pass.
ON THE OTHER HAND...we don't feed horses like wild horses and we don't work them like the Victorians did. Who knows who is right?
oooh... Embarassed sorry ...thats Gary Taubes book got into me - he's debunking a lot of 'received wisdom'...and Empowered Horses...who knows what the horse wants? Are they drinking to be polite because you have offered? That's what a dog would do.
Anyway you're not doing any harm by it, and very odd the comment that you are spoiling them - does he expect them to line up and demand water with menaces if you don't show up one day?

By the way, is the US size 6 and 10 much larger than here? only here, a size 6 is practically anorexic and size 10 is what most women dream of! Laughing
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:40 am

oo - I said 'on the other hand' twice...I need 3 hands for that...ooops Embarassed
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:29 am

Here's what I'm doing - keeping her in a night with soaked hay and letting her out with the others during the day but wearing a muzzle. I HATE doing that but I can't think of a better option, if anyone can please let me know!
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by Cyndi on Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:12 pm

I'm sorry I can't help you, but I am interested in hearing how she fares with the muzzle. I'm wondering if I will have to put one on Fanny this summer. If Harry gains 100 pounds over the summer, what will Fanny gain??!! I wouldn't want her to have it on all the time though, so I will probably have to make two trips out to the barn per day. I'm not sure if I can depend on the b.o. to help me with that. He might think that the muzzle is not needed, etc.. Knowing Fanny, she will run away when she sees the muzzle. She had one for a few days last year while at Veronica's, but I don't know how long for sure.

I would love to be able to provide Fan with enough exercise to help keep her weight manageable. Harry doesn't get any exercise during the summer, except maybe the occasional ride by the b.o., so if I can keep Fan busy with walks down the road and so on, maybe we can keep her looking good. As long as no new stallions come and occupy the front paddock, I hope to use it for riding and setting up poles and such.

Oh...on the water topic... Someone else once told me that horses don't drink all that often in the wild, and I do agree, but you also make a good point about our horses not living like they would in the wild. Most horse magazines around here always have articles about winter watering this time of the year, and how important it is. I think it's due to all the dry stuff they eat in the winter, and maybe because it gets so cold here that the snow isn't wet and heavy enough to provide adequate moisture. I'm guessing Wink

You know the saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."? Since the horses are eagerly drinking what I'm providing, I'd say they are thirsty, so I'll keep "spoiling" them Razz
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:43 am

Yes I think what I was trying to say about the water was that it won't probably do them any harm to not have it - that doesn't mean they won't appreciate being offered it or that they are not thirsty! Wink

The muzzle is horrible and I hate it. I put a bit of bread in the bottom when I put it on and she always falls for that trick. You need one that is quite deep and comes a long way up the face otherwise most horses can get them off. The biggest problem is that it's not fair to leave them on 24 hours - horses have to scratch etc., so you have to put your horse somewhere where there is no food while it is off. Best of a bad job, really
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:45 am

P.S Also remember you can take a horse to water but a pencil must be lead... Twisted Evil
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by HorseHippie on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:05 am

My guys get water twice a day in the winter and I do see them eating snow throughout the day. They seem to be doing just fine. Keep spoiling them Cyndi!!!
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:32 am

Day 10 of the Big Fat Diet ( I sound like Ant and Dec) and my horse has lost ...no weight at all. Although she IS much more lively so feeling better I think. Why no weight loss? In the last week Kitty has lost so much weight I am going to start feeding her hay from today. Chees why is it never simple?
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:58 am

Latest - I have found an equine biochemist who actually knows what she is talking about -am ordering some stuff from her www.thunderbrook.co.uk she thinks Dancing has a leaky gut wall caused by some exposure to toxins and is leaking molecules from her lungs and intestine into her main system where they are treated as invaders -hence the infammation and allergic response. Oh, I so hope she is right...more money spent... study
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by Cyndi on Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:38 am

Wow! Wouldn't it be nice if this biochemist is right, and that Dancing can get back to being her normal self? I know what you mean about the money, so hopefully it is money well spent this time around (our horses are worth it, so there is no "wasted" money...but it does add up).

Keep us posted! Will look up the link you attached.

~C~
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:10 am

I took Dancing for a short ride yesterday and she was well weird - didn't want to go at all, had very little energy and absolutely refused to go up the hill. Crying or Very sad She seems OK otherwise.I'm getting the new stuff this weekend and of course will keep you posted
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:32 am

Good grief I hope this was coincidence and not this new feed she has been on for 36 hours - I took Dancing out for a short ride yesterday and she shied 3 times. (That's about as many times as she usually shies in a year).
One was really funny, there was a 6ft length of bramble lying on the path and she stepped on it and it moved and she went "SNAKE!!!!!OOOOHHH!!!"affraid and I said "it's a bramble you twonk its moving cos you're standing on the end" and I SWEAR she looked round at me embarrassed. Laughing
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by lightertouch on Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:21 am

Lol They can do the funniest things!

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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:24 am

hey Lightertouch that's your horse in a Boett blanket yes? I haven't put Dancing's on yet this year - I just know she will trash it being so itchy. Any ideas? As the current itch problem isn't caused by midges, putting the blanket on won't help alleviate it. on the other hand, the sweet itch itch will also start soon *sigh*
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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by lightertouch on Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:39 am

How about putting a rainsheet or something over it to protect it for the time being? Perhaps by the time it gets hot, you'll have cracked the current itch?

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Re: help me with my FAT horse guys?

Post by FlorayG on Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:23 am

This weekend I saw her several times rubbing her ribs up against the barbed wire and have found bloody scratches on her sides where she was doing it. I feel so sorry for her and yet she seems to be better when I ride her, she doesn't have to stop and scratch, I think the main itch has moved from her back to her ribs.
On a brighter note, she is at last losing weight. she wears a muzzle in the field 5pm to 7am and is in with one section of hay during the day. You would tihnk a horse could barely live on that at this time of year but it seems to be enough, she is only losing weight slowly.
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