Holly doesn't look so hot

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Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2002
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Timmy is only 3 1/2 weeks old and he's already pulling Holly down. She has not bounced back into her lovely figure at all. I really thought she would. Her body looks crappy like she's been a broodmare for years and she is only 5 years old. 1st foal. She always had a nice little bod on her but now, oh yuk. I'm not worried, and she is certainly not starving, she just looks nasty.

As a matter of fact I have pouring the grain and hay to her, plus they are out on grass daily. Her backbone was trying to come up on me so I put her on three feedings a day and I make sure she has grass or hay in front of them all the time. This may call for an earlier weaning than I planned during winter if she continues to fall apart on me. She is up to date on de-worming etc.

My question is I am wondering if once Timmy is weaned, if she will then bounce back?

Do you think it's ok for me to lunge her lightly to try to put her body back in place for her or am I wasting my time?

Our mare, Chica, is in the same condition. She looks terrible - we have upped her hay and grain also - she has a plump belly but her backbone is showing. I look forward to hearing what responses you get. As we are wondering about Chica also. We plan on weaning her colt the 1st of October, he will 4 mos old then.

Looking forward to reading responses to you on this.

Edited to also say - we have even wormed her again thinking this may help her condition. So far it hasn't. She was up to date on everything to begin with but just thought this might do some good.
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Well I'll tell ya: three weeks after I gave birth I looked like heck in a handbasket too and I never bounced back........maybe it just runs in my family
I think she will just need a little more time. You asked about lunge line exercise...I think it would help. In order to pick up your butt to move your back feet your tummy and back muscles have to do a little work. She might welcome a little time away from her busy boy. I wouldn't do long sessions, just a few minutes each way would probably help.
Is she getting beet pulp?

I know that helps some of mine that get that post partum dragged out look.

She'll probably look fine in a few months' time, once Timmy gets to eating other foods and closer to weaning.

Also worming was mentioned, have you used something that gets tapeworms, too?

Like Zimectrin Gold?

Best wishes on this!

Liz M.
Personally, and I have a mare in the same condition, I just weaned her colt. I have increased her food. She is being pulled down because she isn't getting enough. Sometimes its hard to keep the weight up on the mares after foaling , you might try feeding her something like Equine Senior by Purina to help her along. It is very easily digested.

Good Luck,

I would not be lungeing a mare with foal at foot- gentle exercise under saddle when appropriate is acceptable but not that early!! Try to think back- how would you have felt if a couple of these people off the TV shows came waltzing into your house three weeks after you had Dan and started taking you to the Gym and dictating what you could eat!!! Get her out on grass as much as is humanly possible and feed her as you are doing. Once Timmy is weaned there is plenty of time to play with the mare. Once my mares are broodmares I do tend to leave them alone and not mess them around- I can just imagine how they would react to my attempting to "get them into shape" but I do realise your priorities are a little different. I would be looking at weaning Timmy Tim Tim at around 3 1/2 - 4 months - the later the foal, the earlier I wean. Is he eating a feed of his own yet?? If not this is one thing you can start that will greatly help the mare. I have all my foals in on their own in the round pen by his age- eating a fair feed of their own without help from their Mamas. You have the advantage of already bringing them up each night- so you can tie Holly up and give Junior a bowl of his own. I use a hanging manger for the foals as their little necks do no stretch to the floor so well as an adult and having the feed at an easy to reach height will encourage them to eat more. My weaned foals very quickly lose all that "puppy fat" they piled on whilst nursing and eating, so there is no need to worry unduly about a fat foals.

We had a mare like that a number of years ago. She was also a maiden mare. Nothing seemed to help her until we switched her over to a senior feed. She was also out on grass 10 hours a day. She did not need the senior feed while nursing any of her other foals, just that first one.
Marty, I've found that just like people, some of my mares get their shapes back and some don't..But I can't imagine trying to exercise a mare that is still nursing a foal...
I have a mare that was pulled down by a foal this year that was also a 5 year old.. She has had 2 other foals without suffering this problem in the past, but this year I really could tell.. I suspect it was due to the fact that the grass just never came in this year "like it has in the past", so she was not able to keep up... I gave her grain and a large tub of hay ay night, and there she was.. skinny mini in the morning! -It was as if it was all going right through her. Now her foal has been pulled off of her for four weeks (pulled at 4 months old) and she has bounced back 110%... As a matter of fact, I have just got done with a 5 day double dose of safeguard with her, and she has never looked better. ( no more backbone-nor more ribs) Now I am keeping her off of grass at night, because she is holding her weight so well,.. she will get heavy if I dont.
If she's been dewormed and not having any teeth problems, then she simply isn't getting enough calories to maintain her weight and feed a foal too! Does she eat well? I know you're not a fan of alfalfa, but I highly recommend it to put/keep weight on in addition to what she is already getting.

My broodmares are mostly dry lotted and their diet is Progressive Nutritions' Alfalfa Formula Diet Balancer, alfalfa pellets and alfalfa/orchard grass or bermuda hay. Plus some pasture time, but not much to eat in the pasture. They are fat as ticks! I always DOUBLE what they are getting to eat after they foal. After all, there are now two!
If she were mine, I'd be sure both her teeth were not in need of floating and be sure she was well de-wormed, then I'd start given her "lunch" or snacks if she gets 3 meals a day anyhow of an equine senior complete feed. That senior stuff is formulated to make it easy for a horse to get all the calories and all the nutrients out of it. I like both Purina Equine Senior and Blue Seal Vintage Senior.

We've had good luck feeding our broodmares senior grain. Depending on their needs we've given them anywhere from 2 to 6 cups twice a day.....plus orchard grass hay and some grazing time.


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