Need Some Advice (long)

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gibsongrrl

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I need some advice on my underweight mini mare.

A little background. Sugar is about 5 years old. I sold her and my donkey a couple years ago, and ended up buying them back this past November. When I sold her she looked wonderful...when I got her back she and her donkey friend, Sparky, were pretty morbidly obese.

I was a little freaked because my Fjord pony almost foundered last year and I knew these guys were on the brink of founder. I fed them little grain, but gave them free choice hay and minerals over the winter. Well, I didn't realize what a picky eater Sugar was and she lost more weight than I wanted over the winter.

I'm ashamed that I did not catch it sooner, but now she is looking much better. I've found a feed that she loves, and I'm going to start adding a little whole oats (good idea?) to help put some more weight on her. I have started lunging her VERY lightly, as she has lost muscle tone as well. I can tell she is getting better as she is getting a healthy belly, but still weak in the topline.

She has been dewormed regularly, vet was out in the Spring and said her teeth were OK. HOWEVER...I do not think her teeth are OK. Vet is new and I just don't like her. So I do plan to call soon and have another vet come and do her teeth.

Anyway....I noticed the other day that something didn't look quite right about Sugar, that her neck sure looked skinny. And I am so sad to say that her crest has fallen. I have researched some threads on here and some of you say it can't be corrected, some say it has corrected itself. I don't show her, so I'm not worried about appearances, but I am so upset with myself for not catching all of this sooner. I THOUGHT I had caught it...but why did her crest fall? Malnutrition? If you could see my other horses....they are NOT malnourished.

So this morning I clipped her mane and braided on the offside, and I'm going to finish body clipping her this afternoon, so I can REALLY see what's under there.

Do you guys think I should roach her mane? I'd hate to, but if it might help, I'm certainly not above it. Her mane is going to grow back in incredibly funky anyway, thanks to my lovely clip job from this morning.

Do you have any other advice? She is not on pasture right now, but she gets 1-2 hours of grazing outside the drylot a day. I'm working towards putting them on pasture, but it will still be a few weeks away.

I'm feeding her the new Purina Wellsolve, lowstarch formula...approx. 4-5 cups a day (she LOVES it), with free choice hay (which she is picky about) and I think I want to add some whole oats. I tried adding BOSS, but she turns her nose at it. And I feel like she'll turn her nose up at beetpulp as well.

I'm getting ready to leave for work, but I'll be back on this afternoon. I don't post here very often, but I have learned a lot from reading here, and I would appreciate some input/advice.

Thanks so much!

Kristie Strange

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Magic

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A fallen crest can happen when a horse goes from being obese to a "normal" weight, or too thin. All of that built-up fat in the neck goes away and the stretched out crest falls.
I don't know that there is anything you can do, though braiding her mane to the opposite side will help it to not fall any more than it has.

I think it is wise of you to have her teeth re-checked by someone else. You could try beet pulp, it really does help with putting weight on the topline; if you do, just start with a VERY small amount added to her grain (I put the beet pulp on the bottom of the feeding pan under their grain) and if she starts to eat it, very slowly increase it. None of my horses liked beet pulp when I first started feeding it, but they quickly started to LOVE it, and they will chow it down all by itself.

Do be careful when you start them on pasture; I would personally very much limit their time on it, since they have been obese in the past. I have a mare that seems to be insulin-resistant and I will never allow her out on pasture full time again.

It sounds like you are doing a great job getting her back to where she needs to be; just be patient and she will gradually get back to the right weight for her. Good luck!
 

Charlotte

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It sounds like you are on top of everything in the feeding department. I have one suggestion for the crest. I saw it work once in a situation like you have....fat to thin then broken crest. Here is what was done. Before the horse was started regaining weight to get to the right weight for him the mane was braided to the side opposite where the crest was falling. Heavy fishing weights were tied into the braids and this pulled the neck up straight. I know a stretch hood was kept on the horse to keep him from shaking his head and flipping the weights over to the wrong side and making the breakover worse. I don't know the length of time this was done for. I just know I was shocked and amazed a year later and asked questions about the procedure. Apparently as the horse regained to his proper weight the fat in the crest area was distributed to be more balanced on both sides (or something like that)

Good luck with your girl.

Oh yes, don't try to use a neck wrap to fix a fallen crest. It will end up making the situation worse unless the horse is in braids and weights to keep the crest on the side you want.

Charlotte
 

gibsongrrl

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Magic and Charlotte, thank you so much for your replies.


I did body clip Sugar this afternoon and am pleased to say that she's in better body condition that I expected! Again, her topline is very poor and her neck is super skinny, but you can't see her ribs and her belly looks good.

I did make a very bad call, and I roached her mane. I have no business with a set of clippers. lol. Poor thing looks like a skinned rat. After I shed a few tears I promised her that I'd never take a set of clippers to her again. EVER.

The fallen crest isn't too terribly bad. Maybe roaching the mane will help. I had braided it to the offside, but it was already flipping over and the donkey likes to play with her too, so it would have been hard to keep that up. (I'm just trying to make myself feel better about roaching off her beautiful mane.)

I'm hoping with exercise and better nutrition, that her topline will fatten back up a little and perhaps it will correct itself.

Here's a photo. She wouldn't let me clip her legs. I thank the good Lord above that hair grows back.

I just need to hide her from public view for a couple weeks.




-Kristie
 

MyBarakah

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I think you are being WAY too hard on yourself! But it shows how much you REALLY LOVE and care for your horses!
Obviously you are doing a wounderful job on the care of your horses!! Your mare does look good for being very fat! She just needs some topline and to get in shape. I would try adding some beet pulp (soaked) like what was mentioned before. I swear on the beet pulp, it does WOUNDERS!!

Hats off to you!!
 

gibsongrrl

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Do you think I should try the beet pulp instead of the oats? I didn't buy the oats today because I wanted to wait and see what you guys said.

We have beet pulp shreds with molasses where I work. I'm willing to try anything.

Thank you!


-Kristie
 

Magic

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Oh, roached manes look even worse when they are growing out, lol! Not to make you feel worse, sorry. I've had to roach a mane when a mare rubbed most of it out, and as it grew out she looked just like an Icelandic.
At least this way you should be able to train the mane over to the side you want it to go, right?

Beet pulp and oats together make a well-balanced meal, they are a good compliment to each other mineral-wise, so you could feed both. Or just feed a commercial feed that is already balanced with vitamins, etc. Your girl is looking good, she is obviously on her way back to being "just right"!
 

Keri

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Well, I've been researching stuff since I've had problems with my gelding. I found that overweight minis can become insulin resistant and cause their toplines and such to fall. Maybe have the vet do a little bloodwork on her to check her glucose levels just to be on the safe side.
 

gibsongrrl

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Thank you so much!

I wanted to mention also, that I do not plan on putting them on pasture full-time. But I would like to be able to put them out for a couple hours a day. Right now I let her graze the grass that is trying to take over my riding ring. She's good about staying in the yard, too, so sometimes I just turn her loose if I'm working in the garden. I can't let the donkey run loose though as for some reason he likes to go in the woods!

She is really loving this new Wellsolve feed, and she's been so picky up until now, I may keep her on this a little while longer and see if she continues to improve. And if she does I'll likely just keep her on it.

I was feeding her TC Lite over the winter and apparently I just wasn't giving her enough.

I know the mane is going to be horrid when it starts to grow out. She can be a punk rock pony, like my Fjord.


Thank you all again for the replies and advice. I really do appreciate it.

-Kristie

Oh, roached manes look even worse when they are growing out, lol! Not to make you feel worse, sorry. I've had to roach a mane when a mare rubbed most of it out, and as it grew out she looked just like an Icelandic.
At least this way you should be able to train the mane over to the side you want it to go, right?

Beet pulp and oats together make a well-balanced meal, they are a good compliment to each other mineral-wise, so you could feed both. Or just feed a commercial feed that is already balanced with vitamins, etc. Your girl is looking good, she is obviously on her way back to being "just right"!



Well, I've been researching stuff since I've had problems with my gelding. I found that overweight minis can become insulin resistant and cause their toplines and such to fall. Maybe have the vet do a little bloodwork on her to check her glucose levels just to be on the safe side.
Thank you, this is good advice!

I was warned not to drop her weight too quickly, that it could cause health issues. She was such an easy keeper previously I certainly didn't think this would happen. The donkey, he still looks pregnant!

I guess it would've helped to have known what the folks that had them were feeding them. It was such an odd situation on getting them back (long story...I'll spare the details)...I really didn't have a way of asking.

-Kristie
 
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