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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

February 1, 2010

This evening was hill work with some trotting intervals

Chose a hill that was about .33 miles, we powered up it at her big working trot. She wanted to break gait (that old bugaboo creeping out) but I corrected her and put her back into the trot every time it happened. She was working good based on the huffing and puffing. Soon as we get to the top, I'd turn her around and walk back down and we'd power up again. The terrain is kind of half crusty frozen so traction wasn't too bad. It will be worse when it actually thaws out. The entire session was five miles of up and down, with intermittent flats. We are still moving slow averaging about 4.5 mph though she'd like to gallop the whole thing if she had her way. I'm itching to do a long slow ride if the weather cooperates this weekend. A little sore from my hike yesterday, but not nearly as bad as I expected. I feel gratified that I'm getting exercise even if it is at Granny speed :) It is still pretty cold, but the sun was out and the wind was tolerable.

Phebes is dropping weight, so she will have the next three days off to put down some groceries before the next long ride. We sure struggle with weight, I can't get rid of mine, and can't keep her's on. If I don't ride at all she fills right out, but as soon as we get up to three times a week the weight just drops off. She eats a lot, she's wormed regularly, her teeth were floated less than a year ago and no feed dropping, I think she needs a third feeding perhaps, but not sure how I can work that in on my current schedule. I'm also supplementing fats. So R&R for Tues, Wed, Thurs, and some performance feed are on the menu for this evening. ~ E.G.


  1. I know I sound like a broken record, but I really would look into probiotics. It coudn't hurt.

  2. I'm not sure why she's not holding her weight. I think grass and pasture time is so absolutely essential to horse health that I cannot stress it enough. When horses don't get that then hay is the next best thing. She needs so much that she has some left over in the morning. (don't just do two flakes morning and night because that is okay for some it's not for others) It's probably the saddle bred in her, he he! I don't know, but if your adding fats don't add anything except flax seed oil or freshly ground flax seed. Corn, soybean, and wheat germ oil are all high in Omega 6's which are not good for horses. (yes they may gain weight) But it will cause inflammation in the body. Which is you and your horses biggest enemy. She looked the perfect weight when I saw her.

    For your weight I may suggest one thing. It's not even exercise. Stand up all day! Stand up as much as possible at least. And never sit or lie down to watch tv. Just a tip I heard and thought I'd pass along.

    Pro and prebiotics may help as well. I have used them. Especially after deworming and even trailering or strenuous training.


  3. Michelle,

    She isn't thin "yet" but if she dumps anymore weight we will be too thin like last spring. She gets half a bale of hay to munch on during the day, and another rack full each night when she is stalled (to conserve body heat and not burn extra calories, and to dry out her feet at least once a day), she is getting Horse Shine which is Ground stabalized Flax, 3 #'s of beet pulp daily, and 4 #'s of hi fat/ low starch feed on non-working days, and on working days I add 2 #'s of additional feed that is performance feed. So no shortage of groceries for this girl! In fact, we have trouble getting her to eat it all as she gets full. Always hay left over, and takes her most of the evening to clean up her p.m. ration.

    Maybe I can increase the performance ration on work days and cut the low starch back a little? It is hard to balance because if she gets too carbohydrate loaded she starts having emotional meltdowns and behaves too hot to handle. She does well on the low starch, but hard to keep her fattened up!

    I may need to try some probiotics just to see.

  4. Some other ideas:

    Aside from a digestive aid like DynaPro, you might consider some out of the box ideas to help her manage her stress....

    *B1/Thiamin - I had great luck with this when Doc was younger - lots of info on this for horses that are excitable and stressed when away from home - which believe it not, Doc was a nut case when he was younger. We don't need calming agents now, we need the opposite.... :-)

    *Rescue Remedy or Relax from Dynamite (I have no personal experience to share here, but have read a lot about these and have a bottle of Relax you can try. Can't hurt.)

    *Miracle Clay for ulcers. Almost all horses who are in captivity have them to one degree or another. I had great results with using Miracle Clay for Doc's ulcers. He hasn't had his ulcer symptoms since I've moved him to his latest boarding stable, so I even have some of this for you to try if you want. You can dose your horse before you ride and before feeding.


  5. Lida,

    Do you know if Relax from Dynamite tests positive? (or are banned by AERC?)

    On a happier note I've unlocked the combination for a drinking horse...RIDE SOLO. It seems to be the other horse that worries my poor unsocialized filly :( On trail by ourselves she happily lets me know she wants a drink. Isn't that WEIRD?

  6. Sounds like you are feeding her enough hay. So many people don't.

    I agree with Lida. I think it may be stress. I think she's stressed being stalled. I know you say you need too. But I don't think it saves calories for HER. (I'm not telling you not to stall her) I'm just saying it's something to consider. If you don't have enough property, you can't, I understand. And that may not be it at all. It's just all I can think of. (I have that type A personality and if I were stalled even for half the day I'd go nuts.)But horses aren't people.

    I have 4 arabians and my 3 riding horses don't get any grain. My yearling does. But the other 3 we ride very regularly, even in winter. I don't really have a weight problem with any of them. I am not even giving them beet pulp right now. I have just the opposite problem with them in the spring and summer they get a little too fat.


  7. Michelle,

    She actually does alright in her stall unless I put her up too early, then we have issues. That is the only dry place she has to lay down and rest and she does!

    Her emotional issues have to do with leaving home (road riding, training on trail, rides) she just melts away as she shuts down wanting to eat like she should. Soon as she lands on the terra firma of home, she will start stuffing her little face again.

  8. I have a hard keeper as well--not a "fretter" at all, just a big horse with a big engine that needs a ton of fuel (i.e. the difference between driving the little Ford Ranger and driving the 3/4 ton Dodge).

    Here are some tricks I've learned:

    Teach horses to travel calmly and eat in the trailer by putting another horse alongside in the trailer who is a calm traveler and a big eater. Horses will copy each other. On her first trips away from home, I borrowed the calmest, fattest horse to go with my horse and show her "how it's done." We had no kicking, no pawing, no vocalizations--just a lot of munching and some dozing.

    Blankets will conserve body heat so there's no calories going to keeping the horse warm. We've had a mild winter, but I still blanket my big mare.

    Find out what she likes to eat and feed more of that. I had one horse who was indifferent to beetpulp but loved hay. Different horse loved beetpulp. If you feed them their favorites, they'll eat more.

    Oil. I use corn oil, Susan Garlinghouse says it's okay.

    Extra feedings. For one hard keeper I had years ago, I would feed as soon as I got up in the morning, and then some more right before I drove away to work, and then again as soon as I arrived home and then again right before bedtime. That's extreme, obviously.

    Good luck!