How do you slim down?

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LostandFound

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Because I have no brains or self control, I seem to have a little butterball in my yard. There seem to be a lot of different ideas out currently on weight loss so I'm curious what has worked for you, and how long it took. I'm hoping to find out I have a nice little horse under there but I think it's too early to tell. As far as I know there is no underlying issue, just too much feed and no work.
 

Dragon Hill

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This time of year, most of them do look like little butterballs with their fuzzy winter coats. You'll have to put your hands on them to feel if they are fat or just fuzzy.
 

LostandFound

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There is no doubt. When I got him, I figured he was in the danger zone for being overweight. But a hands-on evaluation says that the hair was actually hiding the true extent.
 

dalvers63

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For weight control here, my guys go out on a dry lot (no or very little grass) and get all their hay weighed and portioned balancer and hay pellets. How much food do you feed? For my gelding (275lbs good weight), he gets 2# of hay twice a day along with balancer and a cup and a 1/3 of hay pellets. For my mare, during the winter she is also getting 2# of hay twice a day but only gets 2/3c of hay pellets. Any more than that and she will gain weight quickly. Come summer she will be cut down to 1.5# of hay twice a day and only 1/2c of hay pellets. I would suggest getting a good scale and weighing your feed so you know just how much you're giving every day.

In the end, it is just like us. Less food, more work :)
 

MaryFlora

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dalvers63 shared some great information.

If, however, you are unsure about where to buy a scale, I bought a kitchen scale at the local hardware store to weigh the feed, nothing hi tech but it works well.

By the way, I feel like such a hypocrite.....just sat down with tea and half of a candy bar when I read your posting title. 🤣
 
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Abby P

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Good advice given already! I'd just add - if you can see/feel any odd fat deposits (commonly a cresty neck, saddlebag-type deposits along the top of the rib cage, fat pads on the rump) then that's an indicator of metabolic issues so in addition to limiting quantity of feed you'll also want to totally avoid grass and make sure your hay and supplements are low in sugar/starch. If he's "just plain fat" then feeding the right amount should bring his weight down pretty easily. I'd still keep him off grass though - IME it's really difficult to get any weight loss when they're eating grass even if they don't have any metabolic issues. Muzzling could help but some of them get really, really efficient at eating through the muzzles.
 

LostandFound

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I'm hoping I don't have to go as far as measuring out hay. Some of what I'm reading says they are thinking that works against you now, but it's a pain either way. I tend to assume every mini or gaited horse has some sort of metabolic issue and limit grass so that part is easy. I didn't make him this way, he came here this way, so I'm not positive exactly what his situation was before. He does have a bit of a crest on his neck but he is a stallion so that may be a contributing factor.
 

Kelly

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They make these great hay nets nowadays that measures the hay for you. The small ones are about a pound of hay and the large ones are about 3 pounds of hay. They work great for me, measuring hay was such a pain until I got these….
 

Abby P

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I think it's true that stallions may be more prone to cresty necks for hormonal reasons, but also that it is still a metabolic indicator just like in any other horse. There's no muscle in that spot so a crest in any horse is fat filling in the fibrous tissue that is there.

As far as weighing hay goes - I can only weigh my nets when I fill them and I use big nets because I don't get to the barn every day. I have the 3/4" hole, half bale and full bale versions of the ones Kelly linked above and they have been great, slowed him down considerably vs. the 1" holes. So he basically has free choice hay, but there are only so many hours in the day and since he has to painstakingly free it from jail before he can eat it, it does reduce his consumption. :) And I don't stress that he is without hay, but I know from weighing them that on average he is eating in the ballpark of what is reasonable for him to maintain a decent weight.
 

Kelly

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Agreed @Abby P, I LOVE the 3/4 inch holes, they really slow those little piggies down! Yep, mine too get free choice hay, and have to get it out of jail first 🤣 before they can eat it. If I use the 1inch my ponies have a hay party! Hay everywhere!! 🤣
 

LostandFound

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I didn't realize how common it was for mini's to have to restrict hay so much. I'm still hoping I don't have to resort to that. I can't find someone to watch them when I go away that can figure out how to put a halter on, let alone hay nets or weighing feed. He has lost some weight already just being on a normal (for me) mini diet.
 

Taz

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I knew a large pony who couldn't be on restricted hay due to the boarding situation who had become obese. She didn't get ridden much either. The owner started making her run(loose) for about 20min a day and she slimmed right down. I find as long as mine do enough exercise their weight stays where I'm happy with it even if they get round bales for the winter.
 

Abby P

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You're probably fine then! As long as he's losing I would just keep doing what you're doing, and not worry about it.

FWIW I often only fill hay nets once a week. I fill enough nets to last him that long just in case I can't get there during the week, and then I have an extra half-bale one that I'll fill and leave in the feed room if I am out of town and my friend needs to give him more hay, she can just swap it out for an empty one. And I bring her back a bottle of tequila. It's a win-win. ;)
 

Marsha Cassada

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I am no help at all. I've considered having Midnight boarded somewhere with a strong-willed overseerer who can reduce feed and increase exercise, until she can get her weight down. I think I could maintain that weight, I just can't get her to lose. She has only lost #20, and isn't gaining, so I am sort of successful!
 

LostandFound

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Well, I think I got lucky. He has been here about a month, and although he is still plump, the before and after pictures show a huge difference. He is on a dry lot here, and getting some exercise. But for feed I'm just feeding him the same as the other one.
 

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