Hello all! I'm looking for a little bit of advice about my lil potbellly girl..

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Mon

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IMG_1.jpg Hello Everyone! I am new to the forum, but have been reading it for a little while! I am a new owner of this little one, Élégante. Here's a bit of her backstory.. She will be 4 next week and came to me through my local riding school, who had recently bought her from a dubious character. She was schooled and socialised and then came to me for my 4 year old daughter, and they make a brilliant pair, I couldn't be more proud!

We've had her since early December, to begin with she was very nervous and distrusting in the stable (fine in the field) and seems to have had some bad experiences with hands. I assume she's been hit around. In four months, we seem to have totally gained her trust and she doesn't shy from anything and is obsessed with snuffling everything; me, my clothes, the chickens.. she's very sweet and very loving. She developed strangles in January and was very miserable, needed two rounds of antibiotics and has made an excellent recovery, but lost all of her top-line. She lives out, we have plenty of grass and she has access to hay, but eats very little of it. So, getting to the point, she has a lil belly going on. I'd like your opinions on her shape.. Small breeds terrify me as I'm constantly worrying that they're going to get too fat, founder etc.; and I have no point of reference as I've always had cobs and heavy-build horses. I know she has lost condition due to illness, but her tiny shoulder and big belly combination make me nervous! I also remember thinking, when I asked the vet about her condition after the strangles, that yes, her back was sunken, but she still had her belly. The vet didn't comment on the belly, but she was rushed. Can I have some opinions please?

My first photo, in the pink halter, is December, when she arrived. The other photos are from this week.

Thanks in advance!

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Mon

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Hi, thanks for your reply! She's up-to-date with her worming, I've had to worm and reworm both girls in January because my draft horse came to me completely infested. I've never seen anything like it (she was on her way to the butchery; they're supposed to be up-to-date with their wormers if they're going for human consumption. It was horrific..). Ellie has never shown any worms in her droppings either and I clean my fields pretty much daily so I'm very vigilant! Protein: she's not on anything except grass and hay so, given that the grass is still dormant here, she needs something extra. I'm in rural France and the way of keeping ponies here is very different to everything I've ever been used to! My previous horses were stabled at night, had feeds, supplements and haylage. Here, the ponies live out in the field with a bit of hay. It's a learning curve.. As for being in foal, I don't see why not. I was told that she was kept with other ponies at her original home, so it's possible. She also used to wriggle out under the fences at the riding school, and they do have a (magnificent) Shetland stallion, so there's a slim chance she got in with him. I've had a look at her teats but I'm none the wiser.. I spoke with my vet on Monday and she just advises 'watch and wait'!
 

chandab

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That last picture, you can kind of see her topline has fallen away. Lay your hands on her, how easy or hard is it to feel bone through the hair; check her spine, hips and ribs. Readily felt spine and hips means she needs more protein in her diet; alfalfa (lucerne) is a good source of protein.

Since there was a stallion at the riding school, and she was an escape artist, I'd consider that possibility.
 

Marsha Cassada

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Yes. Alfalfa is good protein. I think sometimes people are so scared of their little horses getting fat because of horror stories about founder that they err on the side of not enough to eat.

She looks like a very nice little girl! So happy to hear she is working out nicely for your family. What a lucky little horse.

If she were pregnant, would she be far enough along now to tell?
 

Mon

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Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my worries!!

I checked her this evening, her spine can be felt, hips not really and it appears that she doesn't own any ribs (I tried for a good while to find any under the fluff, but she's definitely got adequate padding over them!). I'll pass by the feed shop in the morning and get her some alfalfa-I love the smell of it too, so I can't wait! I am definitely a worrier about founder..

If she is pregnant, my vet roughly calculated that she'd be more than 6 months, if she stopped coming into season over winter. Hard to say really.. If I'm looking for pregnancy symptoms, I can find them; she's rubbing her rear on a poor young tree and biting her sides sometimes, but she could just have itches! She lies down a couple of times in the morning, often flat-out on the grass, but my big horse is usually stood dozing by her side, so it could just be their designated nap time.. I took some photos of her teats this evening but I don't know whether they're informative or if I can attach them here. She is loving all the attention though!
 

Cayuse

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How are her teeth? I bet you had them checked, but sometimes they are easy to forget when other health issues crop up. Could be she has lost a little condition from needing a dental float.

She is VERY cute ☺ and lucky to have found a home with you!
 

Mon

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Thanks! I think she's pretty cute too
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and she's just the cuddliest pony I've ever met. One of the vets checked them in Feb and said that they were fine, but I've not had the dentist out yet. It's probably something I should put on my list!
 

Magic Marker Miniatures

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Hard to tell especially if she has had foals before.

Since she could possibly be over five months, you may be able to feel baby. If she lets you, wrap your hands around her belly. Your hands will meet in front of her bag. Lay your hands flat against her belly. You should be able to feel bumps and flutters. Works best about 15 minutes after she has eaten.
 

Ryan Johnson

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Welcome to the forum Mon,

Im another that would agree to more protein in her diet. Before you start adding anything to her meal regime, you must get her teeth done. Her teeth very well could be the reason she is lacking topline, not being able to chew her feed sufficiently.

That udder is definitely one of a mare that has had a foal before. If she is a maiden mare then I would be thinking she could very well be pregnant.

Keep us posted on her progress
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Mon

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Thank you all so much for all your advice; I knew this form would totally rock! I have contacted a dentist so hopefully both of my babies will have lovely smiles and perfect mastication soon. I did think Ellie had fairly long teats going on - I have no point of reference with my big mare, Samba, as she's had at least 4 babies and gravity has taken its toll somewhat.. I did have a light-bulb moment when I remembered that I scanned her registration documents before I sent them off to change the ownership details, so I looked up her reproduction history and there's no registered foals, but she could have had an unregistered one. I also did some digging and found some contacts for an old owner, but he's not answering the phone right now so I'll have to try later. I'm slightly weirded out by the thought that my lil one could have already had a foal; she just seems too much of a baby herself! MMM - thank you for the tip, I'm going to go and give her the biggest belly hug now and see what I can feel..
 

Ryan Johnson

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Keep us posted and ask away any questions
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Keep an eye on her udder, to me she has either foaled before or she could well be pregnant.

Has anyone else ever seen a maiden mare with an udder like this ? Ive only ever known non pregnant maiden mares nipples to be pointing towards each other ??
 

Mon

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Hello all. I have been quietly following the forum and observing my girl and her boobs for three past few weeks and driving myself mad. Well, this evening we have white liquid from her teat. Could it be anything but milk?! She is being an absolute darling this week, very cute and cuddly.

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Magic Marker Miniatures

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Can you take a picture broadside and from behind at her level.

The head on picture is a little off but her stomach does look lopsided, indicative of being in foal.

If she has foaled before, getting fluid from her nipple is not always a telltail sign.

If she is pregnant and over 6 months, you should be able to see movement. Either at her flank or right in front of her bag.
 

Mona

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When you look past the belly and look at the hind legs, you can see she is standing at an angle, so the "lop-sidedness" may not be as much if pic was taken straight on.

Mares can and will often have a clear fluid, but I have never seen it just "leak out". Judging from only that one photo of her teats, I would hazard a guess that if she's in foal, she is not in the "imminent" frame of her pregnancy.
 

Mon

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Thank you again for your replies! I finally contacted her old owner and he reckons she's never foaled, but also couldn't help me with whether she's been in the company of a stallion, so I wasn't too confident in him. She doesn't look so wide from behind today. I have taken a thousand photos today, but none of them are spectacular-the combination of blazing sunshine and black pony has made things difficult! I'm not going to complain about the lovely weather though, very overdue here! As for the liquid, it was very much white, but I didn't pay too much attention to the consistency of it or anything. I was just a bit shocked. Today, we have had another new and slightly gross development-sorry if anyone is eating. She is dribbling a poopy liquid down herself. It's on her teats, down her legs, in her tail. She has had very normal droppings, no diarrhea, but has been letting out little farts along with a couple of drops of the accompanying liquid. I gave her a good, gentle wash this evening and she tried to bite me a couple of times, which isn't her usual style at all. Other than that, she's still being very cuddly and happy, taking lots of naps, flat out on the ground, but that's nothing new for her and it has been very warm today. Thanks again for any insights! Mon x

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Magic Marker Miniatures

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Yeah it is hard to tell with the pictures from behind. If she has never had a baby, she could be hiding the pregnancy.

If she will let you, put both hands around her belly. Your hands should lay against her belly in front of her milk bar. You may feel a flutter or a small kick if pregnant. Works best if you do it around 15 minutes after she has started eating.

If she is further along than 5-7 months, you should be able to see foal movement.
 

Magic Marker Miniatures

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Also the watery liquid with poop may be the green grass. The grass is coming in and the sugar level may be higher. Of she is not used to the grass, it may giving her the loose stools.

We have most of our horses out on pasture year round. I noticed one of our yearlings had soft stools. It was due to the grass coming in.
 

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