HELP -- need expert advice on fat mini

Discussion in 'Miniature Horse Forum' started by Joannr24, Nov 14, 2010.

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  1. Nov 14, 2010 #1

    Joannr24

    Joannr24

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    Hi,

    I have had horses for 16 years but only recently acquired my three minis. I have a 3 year old 34" mini that was given to me in May. He tapes at 350 pounds. The vet and I are very concerned. I don't want him to founder. He currently receives about 1/3 of a flake of grass hay three times a day. That is all he eats. He is very energetic. I try to get him out and round pen him or let him run in our huge arena at least every other day and every day if I can. When I work him in the round pen, he gets winded after about ten minutes. He has a very heavy coat and I live in Tucson.

    Is there anything else I can do? Is there a better type of exercise to help lose weight?

    Any help would be appreciated. I love this little guy but just can't get this weight off him :-(
     
  2. Nov 14, 2010 #2

    MiLo Minis

    MiLo Minis

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    Our club, the Miniature Horse Club of Ontario, did a very interesting little clinic a few years back on weighing your Miniature Horse. We used several methods of ascertaining weight - a proper scale, a weight/height formula, body condition scale, a standard weight tape. The weight tape was consistantly grossly inaccurate and most often showed them weighing much more than they actually did. I would suggest that perhaps you could find a livestock scale somewhere and get an actual weight on your horse - he is likely not quite so fat as you think. You can see the results of our clinic on the website www.mhco.ca - Clinic Notes - #10 Weight method comparisons

    I find people that come from a full size horse background look at Minis and have a hard time seeing their true condition. I think it is the different view point than that which we have of full size horses because I know when I looked down on my 17 hand thoroughbred mare I thought WOW she is wider than she appears from the ground much like my Minis are broad when I easily look down on them. [​IMG] Some Minis also get such a huge coat at this time of year that it is hard to guage their fitness.

    How does his body feel? Can you feel his ribs with some pressure or are they completely buried? Does he have fat lumps and bumps on his butt, neck or thighs?

    You really can't reduce his feed intake any more than you have without risk - horses need a minimum of 1% of their body weight in long stem fiber per day and 3% is usual. IF he does actually need to lose weight I am afraid that your only option is to exercise him more. If it is warm enough where you live to clip or partially clip I would to make cooling out easier and then gradually increase his workouts as he increases his fitness level. If he gets winded easily perhaps you should slow his gait. It took a while for him to become overweight, if he is, and it will take some time to get him back in good condition.

    The other thing you may want to look into is his metabolic state. He could perhaps have an underlying condition that is keeping him overweight such as a thyroid condition if your vet hasn't already ruled that out.
     
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  3. Nov 14, 2010 #3

    Ashley

    Ashley

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    I agree that weight tapes are often wrong. I suggest posting a pic for others to see.
     
  4. Nov 14, 2010 #4

    Carolyn R

    Carolyn R

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    A weight tape is very inaccurate on minis. This min weighed in at approx. 360LBS and weighed in on a scale at 160ish LBS.

    This was what he looked like when the photo was taken as a 29" yearling.Deffinately not a massively rotund mini.

    [​IMG]

    Without photos and being able to place hands on the mini, it is hard to say, but issues can range from being overweight, to lacking nutrients, needing more protien to get rid of what looks like a fat belly, cushings, a thyroid issue.......pictures may help, but if he is that hairy, only a hands on feel for tone will do.
     
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  5. Nov 14, 2010 #5

    Marty

    Marty

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    I tested out three weigh tapes at the vet hospital when doing research and also used t heir scale. Wow two of them are way far off. The last one is off about twenty-forty pounds. I think you need to back off and be careful of the exersizing. You can't take a horse that is out of condition and put him into a hap-hazzard every other day round pen session. If he is getting winded at ten minutes every other day that is not a good sign. Instead, I would change that up to only 5 minutes every single day. Walking and easy trotting. Doesn't sound like much but beter to tread softly. Then in a week, increase it to ten minutes daily. He should be ok and not get winded so badly. The following week you can bump it up to 15 mintues and don't push until you feel he is getting into condition. Good luck.
     
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  6. Nov 15, 2010 #6

    Eagle

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    All I can say is take it very easy with the exercise as you can very easily over do it with these little guys. As Marty says try doing a small amount each day and build it up very slowly, from experience I can tell you that this is very important.

    Try going for short walks, starting slowly and moving on gradually to a brisk walk. My stallion loves walking past the neighbours.(checking out any future girlfriends)

    Pics please
     
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  7. Nov 15, 2010 #7

    Charlotte

    Charlotte

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    I am really glad to see this subject come up as the weight tapes can be very dangerous for minis.

    A number of years ago we had a little mare in for emergency C-section. This clinic didn't have a scale and used a tape to get the horse's weight. We realized their weight estimate was probably 50% high. They were going to use this weight to calibrate her anesthesia dosage. [​IMG] If we hadn't had previous experience with weighing miniatures on scales and if we hadn't told them their estimate was way off the little mare would have likely died from overdose.

    Bottom line, don't trust those weight tapes.

    Charlotte

    p.s. Sorry, I got side tracked from the original question. If you are in a warm climate and the horse has a heavy winter coat he may be overheating quickly when forced to exercise. If he has good shelter and your winters aren't severe you might consider doing a blanket clip on him. This would allow him to dissapate heat, but still give him sufficient insulation from cold.

    I have yet to find a vet who can accurately judge a mini's weight when they are in winter coat.
     
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  8. Nov 15, 2010 #8

    Becky

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    Ditto what the others have said.

    I agree with that! The vets in my area generally ask me what a horse weighs before they medicate it. I am thankful that they do as I am probably a lot closer in my guesstimate than they would be.

    While the vets generally over-estimate the weight of a mini, I've seen a few way under estimate. I had a horse come in for evaluation for training some years back. During the winter months so the horse was in winter coat. I could see that the horse was a rack of bones under the hair, yet the owners vet told him the horse was fine and not to change his diet. The horse was starving!
     
  9. Nov 15, 2010 #9

    disneyhorse

    disneyhorse

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    My vet is pretty good... he uses a weight tape on all horses before administering anesthesia but he said that the more "extreme" the horse is (large or small) the more inaccurate the weight tapes become. He's a big advocate of taking the horse to a scale, and always asks me how much I think my little ones actually weigh.

    That said, be patient with the weight loss. It will take some time! If it could be done quickly, humans would rejoice too!

    Andrea
     
  10. Nov 15, 2010 #10

    rabbitsfizz

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    By persistent fiddling around I have now got my weight taping down to a science and am correct to within a couple of pounds. Having said that, and having converted your 350 lbs into 158 kgs as I am now metric(!) I can tell you that I would not be overly worried if I had a 34" 3 year old that weighed that much. As I measure to the withers that would put your 34 " animal nearer to my 36" animal and I shudder to think what she weighs at the moment!

    A fat mini that is active and fit has no more problem than an over weight human and I know loads of fat people who are fitter than me!

    Honestly, so long as it is not life threatening, and you horses weight is not I would not have any problem with it.

    Long story short, your Vet is incorrect when he says this is hugely fat, it is not. Please do not keep you animal short of fibre, that is the quickest way to give it colic. If you are feeding grain, by all means stop doing so, but you are down to the minimum amount of fibre for safety, so please be warned.
     
  11. Nov 15, 2010 #11

    HGFarm

    HGFarm

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    I would say if you can SEE that the horse is very overweight, then I would cut back on grass hay and add some protein in the way of alfalfa. That might get rid of some 'belly'.

    If the horse is really really fat, I would have blood work done to see if the horse is insulin resistant or thyroid or both. If the horse has low thyroid, I dont care what you do, the weight will not come off.

    I used cinnamon with GREAT success to get weight off. I mixed a TINY bit into the soaked beet pulp and slowly increased it over a couple of weeks to a teaspoon a day. This was after blood work was done by the vet though.
     
  12. Nov 15, 2010 #12

    shorthorsemom

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    I posted the forum not too long ago about my new "fat" mini. He had a HUGE belly but I noticed that he did not have weight over his topline. It was suggested that my boy was underweight rather than fat and that I should add protein to his diet. I started giving him some 30% triple crown supplement to his grass hay diet and he lost the belly and started picking up weight over his topline. He looks so much better now. I also give him remission daily.

    Just letting you know that some people can think they have a fat horse because of the huge belly when indeed the horse is missing something. Cutting back the rations isn't always the choice, but changing what you feed according to your horses individual needs can really make a change. I also have a dry lot for my minis and that way I don't have problems with grasses storing sugars etc. I am very careful about their pasture time and feed more of a controlled diet. [​IMG]
     
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  13. Nov 16, 2010 #13

    HGFarm

    HGFarm

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    Great info.... is that stuff from Triple Crown a pelleted feed or what is it? Sounds like good stuff. That was what my thinking was about changing some of the grass hay to alfalfa- more protein. The horses usually lose that fat belly and the weight is much more evenly distributed over their body, especially the top line.
     
  14. Nov 16, 2010 #14

    Becky

    Becky

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    T/C 30% is a protein/vitamin/mineral supplement. You can read more about it here Triple Crown 30% Supplement

    I feed Progressive Nutritions Pro Add Ultimate Supplement

    Both are pelleted supplements designed to feed with hay with or without grain products. Excellent products in my opinion!
     
  15. Nov 16, 2010 #15

    rabbitsfizz

    rabbitsfizz

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    What's the deal with cinnamon? I have seen that said before, does it really work and, if so, why?

    Oh and I weighed Willow, my 34" (US) mare, and she is in good condition, possibly in foal but it will be a late foal if she is, and she weighs 147Kgs...which is, translated, 324 lbs. She is not fat. She is not "work fit" either, she is a broodmare going into the winter, in winter weight.
     
  16. Nov 16, 2010 #16

    Reignmaker Miniatures

    Reignmaker Miniatures

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    Rabbitsfizz, cinnamon helps balance blood sugar/insulin levels so that sugars are burned as energy instead of stored as fat. It is fairly well documented now for use by people (one of the many 'health food' type things one can try to take off unwanted pounds)It won't make a huge difference but sometimes every little bit helps.
     
  17. Nov 16, 2010 #17

    RhineStone

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    Do any of you use the weight tape calculation table? Someone in our mini club shared that a number of years ago because it was in some mini publication. The original table was taken from World Equine Veterinary Review, Vol. 3: No. 3: 1998. That is what I use. I retyped the chart and hang it in my barn. You measure the horse's girth with a dressmaker's tape and then go to the chart to see what the weight is. Supposedly when they figured the chart, their sample horses were very close in actual weight to the chart. Has someone done a better study since?
     

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