Tuesday, November 13, 2012

More On The Pudgy One

Thanks for all the suggestions and ideas on my "fat kid" post. I think I've decided to switch her over to the Enrich 32, which I actually already have, and monitor her for now. I'd rather do one thing at a time, I think. Plus, winter is coming and I just don't think four flakes of hay is a lot, so I'm not going to cut back on her hay just yet. I might ask the BO to give her one flake in the morning, I'll give her another one when I visit in the afternoon, and then they can give her two at night. She really doesn't have anything of value in her pasture, especially since she was swapped to different, smaller pasture that was eaten down when she got there. She has digestive issues when she has food to eat, so I hate to think what she'd look like with just two flakes of hay. I am, however, going to invest in a NibbleNet if I can figure out which one I need. The BO is quite thankful that I've decided to ditch the small hole net.

My goal is to start riding her again next week on a consistent basis. I am working my butt off trying to get our new house unpacked so we can have some semblance of normalcy there, and then I won't feel like I'm neglecting my new wifely duties by spending all my free time at the barn. So a change in feed plus exercise will hopefully equal a less pudgy pony. If the combination of those two things doesn't seem to help, we'll move on to plan B.

I've had quite a few people tell me my vet is overreacting and I agree with them to a point. Is she fat? YES. Is she obese and dangerously overweight? I don't think so... she doesn't have a cresty neck and she doesn't have any fatty deposits on her body. I certainly can't see ribs, but I can feel them with just a little bit of pressure. What has me a little worried is that two years ago, I was pouring the food to her and she was skinny. People kept telling me I needed to put weight on her, and I was working to add about 100 pounds of weight. Why was she such a hard keeper then, and she's such an air fern now? Have any of you had horses go from one side of the spectrum to the other like Lilly has? She has always had routine vet care and has her teeth floated once a year, so it wasn't an issue with chewing her food. It's just weird that she gets practically nothing to eat now and is so fat.

From what I read about IR horses, they go from being normal horses to fat kids that you just can't keep weight off. Lilly is twelve, and this is about the age where this kind of stuff starts happening. So while I'm taking a more cautious approach to the IR issue, I don't want to rule it out in case there really is something going on with her.

I will also be looking for healthier treats. I've been told that carrots are loaded with sugar (who knew?), so I need to cut back on those. She was horrified when I told her.

Say what?!
In other news, I trimmed her hooves yesterday for the last time until after my trimmer comes. I felt like I needed a "check-up" to make sure I'm doing everything the right way and that there's nothing else I should be doing that I'm not. She's coming to trim the day after Thanksgiving, so hopefully I'll get an A. It'll also make me feel better to know that Lilly's hooves are in the best shape possible for the start of her exercise program.

Noms, noms...

12 comments:

  1. I seriously LOLOLOLOL'd at that picture and the caption. Your words of worry sound so familiar. Not the exact words but the concept, of "is everything ok, is there something I am missing"...that sort of talk is the inner mind of a good horse mom. (someone just told me this) the fact that you think about these things, embrace new ideas other than "she's and easy keeper, thats all" means that you are aware, informed, and will continue to educate yourself on what the right thing to do with her is. You are a very responsible horse owner, pat yourself on the back! She is going to be just fine, because she is lucky enough to have you in her life. :)

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    1. Cindy, thank you for such kind words!! I really appreciate you saying that! I definitely try my best to do right by her... she is my world. :)

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  2. Dr. Eleanor Kellon has an excellent website about equine metabolic issues. She also runs a very helpful forum. Hopefully it's not an issue for you, but the info is good anyway. :D

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  3. After reading this post I had to go back and read the comments people posted yesterday!!

    All of the horses I am around get fed two flakes a day, three if they have weight problems or have a super high metabolism (younger thoroughbreds generally)

    In my opinion it might be good to see how she does on one flake in the morning and two at night (to help keep them warm!)

    But also, I do think your vet may have been a little dramatic! While weight is important, I think your girl is at the point where it's important to see she's on the heavier end of things and see what you can change, but I definitely don't think she's so pudgy you need to be concerned about much else!!

    I think what Cindy said was true! Your clearly a great horse owner for seeing her weight change, and doing something about it!

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    1. Thanks, Marissa! I just hate to cut back the hay since that's really all she's getting to eat, but perhaps the NibbleNet will help and we can cut her back just a bit and it won't seem like we're starving her.

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  4. I second what Cindy said. The fact that you keep on top of things and are quick to start thinking about options is a wonderful quality.

    Upon reflection, I have to wonder if your vet is quick to 'worry' about weight gain because she deals with a lot of horse owners who don't seem to notice or care that their horse is obese? Equine obesity is getting to be as much of a problem as human obesity and the vet may just be trying to make sure you are aware that Lilly is getting on the heavy side. It's always easier to stop the weight gain when they are a mere 50-75lbs. plump than when they get to be over 100lbs. overweight and have been that way for a few years. ;-)

    Up until last year, Moon was very difficult to keep weight on. From the time he was a yearling til he was a 12y/o he ALWAYS looked like he needed more weight. He was never skinny...like ribs showing or anything...but he just always looked too gaunt for his frame. Like Lilly, Moon has a pretty sensitive digestive system. Once I got a handle on that...he finally started filling up. This year, for the first time E.V.E.R. I had to cut back on his feed a little bit because in the middle of the season he started getting this little, old man belly on him. I was like, WTH? It's kind of funny when you realize that by mid-season, everyone else's barrel horses look like they came straight off the race track, all ripped and tucked up, and here's my horse getting pudgier and pudgier. LOL So yea, they can change in mid-life. I just tell everyone Moon is a 'late-bloomer'. Hahahaha

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    1. Thanks! And good point about the obese horses... I do know quite a few fat horses and their owners don't think their horses are fat. A little pudge is okay, but some of these horses are porkers. They probably think I'm a hypocrite since mine is fat too, though.

      I also hadn't thought about the digestive thing too... perhaps the ulcer supplement has actually made a difference for her and she's putting on some weight because of that. I was debating cancelling it because I didn't notice it making much difference, but perhaps it is...

      Maybe Lilly is a late bloomer too! LOL

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  5. When we bought Dee our vet expressed concern about possible insulin resistance based on Dee's fat distribution. Although we don't know for sure if she is or isn't, we try to err on the side of caution, keeping her away from possible triggers. It's not so bad since I don't think she needs all that sugar anyway (because feeding sugar to a hot breed just sounds so smart lol). Although admittedly it can be challenging in a boarding situation where you need to convince the BO that your horse maybe shouldn't be out in that lush pasture, or maybe shouldn't have straight oats (I've been at two barns now that fed straight oats to their horses). I think the biggest challenge, though, for me, is that I kinda like how they look when they're pudgy! *dreams of a little Thelwell Pony*

    I think it's great how you're thinking everything through so carefully. I'm quite sure Lilly appreciates it! And btw, I fed Enrich 32 for quite a while and think it's awesome, it's just a shame it's so darn hard to get out here.

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    1. Boarding definitely makes this situation even more complicated. The barn owners aren't always open to the ideas I come up with, especially if it means more work for them. My barn is a private farm and they just "board horses"... they don't run a traditional boarding barn, so they have normal jobs and do the best they can, but there are times I'm not thrilled with the outcome of a request.

      I'm glad to hear you've had good luck with the Enrich 32. I was really trying to keep Lilly off "grain" but if this helps, I'll make it work.

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  6. I would cut the hay back only if increasing the exercise, etc, failed to get her where you want her.

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    1. I think that's a good idea, Terry. That's going to be my plan... see how she does with the exercise and go from there.

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