new pic for a big belly problem.

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Active Member
Jul 14, 2005
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Brighton, Co
Ok, I jsut went outside and took this pic of Percy.

As I said before, we really didn't know much about him when we rescued him, except that he had had around 15 or 16 different owners and had been passed around alot. He's super sweet and loves to work and get out and go.

We think he's around 15 years old, and he's 32" tall. Someone once told me that he looks like he may be a falabala (sorry if I spelt that wrong). NO matter how good a shape he seems to be in, the belly doesn't go away. We've had judges comment that he simply is not in shape enough to compete, simply because he has a belly, they don't look at the rest of him.

On a side note, we had blood draw this last week to run a thyroid teest, but we haven't gotten the results back. My vet wanted to run it, because he isn't shedding.

As I said in the pervious post, any help or suggestions or comments will be much appreciated. Don't be afraid to hurt my feels, I want to do whats best for him and if that means I just need to learn to live with his big belly than I guess I will just have to, because I'm never getting rid of him. We love him too much.

thanks, Carrie

I dont feel his is conformationally correct enough to show, either.

Have you slowly started to work him? Longe him lightly in a round pen or hilly area about 15 minutes for a week, then up to 30 minutes and see how it goes.

Edited to add: He may have dwarf characteristics. He has a short neck and some leg problems. A large, bloated belly is also a dwarf characteristic
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(Sorry if this is repeated, I didnt look at the other posts)

I am still saying he has dwarf characteristics.. He has a short neck, and his legs have some problems..

I don't think that belly is ever going to go away

But, he is non the less cute.
I would never take him a halter type class, they would laugh us out of the ring. I know his conformation is bad, his front legs are pretty crooked. he doesn't seem to have any lameness issues beacause of it. He's passed vet checks at the shows with no problems.

He's actually in good shape. We do round pen work a couple of days a week, them we drive about 3-4 days. We work on dressage at least 2 days, he collects very well and gets nice and light on the bit. We do field work or distance work the other days. He trots out for abour 5-10 km and doesn't even breath hard or sweat much. He loves to jsut go and go. I've been doing the same type of conditioning schedule that I do with my large driving and jumping horses. We started out slow and short and have worked our way up to longer and harder times.

How do you tell if there are any dwarf type issues and what can be done about them?
Unfortunately there is no cure for these issues, but now that you say he has crooked legs I am pretty sure he is a dwarf. Little Bit (I think thats her username here) Makes these shoes called Magic Shoes. They help crooked hooves and other problems that relate. I would stop driving, especially with legs like those, it could harm him.
Like other people has mentioned he looks dwarfy to me. There is nothing you can do about it. It's genetic. However atleast he is loved and is used and sounds like he is in good health. I wouldn't expect that belly to go away either.
I won't say if he is a dwarf or just has characteristics. I will leave that to others. But I will say he is a cute dude! But, it is good to know that often dwarves have large bellies. Not because they are fat, but because the internal organs are often larger porportion wise than what is normal. It is the size of the organs that can contribute to a dwarf having a huge tummy.

Also, if you are dieting him, the may be part of the problem. Some minis actually get that "hay belly" from being on a diet. It is similar to what happens to kids in poverty stricken parts of the world. He may need more protein in is diet to help with trimming that belly.

And if his legs are crooked, take it easy on him as they won't hold up to the stresses as well as a horse with straight legs.

Anyway, if he is staying 100% sound and loves his work, then I wouldn't stop working with him. But I would definately watch really closely that he remains sound!
You asked how you could tell if there were Dwarf "issues".

Here are some Dwarf characteristics.

Crooked legs

Big head in porportion to body

Short neck, set low

Roached back

Pot belly

Hoof problems

Extremely dished head w/high set nostrils

Legs much too short for the length of body.

A horse that has at least 3 Dwarf Characteristics is considered a "Dwarf" by the Registry. I see all of these except for the last two in your guy, Carrie.

And, of course, you love him!
These "less than show quality" minis usually make the most lovable pets!

As others have said tho....I would definitely take it easy on the driving. A little bit is OK, as long as he shows no ill effects from it & seems to enjoy it. But I wouldn't overdo it. Even if he acts OK with it may cause lameness or arthitis later on. Don't think it's possible to lose that just accept it & enjoy him for the loveable little guy he is.
i suspected from the first picture you posted that he was could be a dwarf. And i agree with everything dona said. He looks so sweet and loveable!!! But that belly is not going to leave and honestly i would stop trying.

Think of it this way. Form follows function. Good driving horses have a good length of neck, good flexion at the poll, a nice big hip, strong straight legs, muscular chest etc etc. They have to have all of these thing in order to physically pull a cart (without harming themselves) and look good doing it.

Given his age and conformation issues If he was mine i would not drive him at all. I would just love him and play with him

If you want a competitive driving horse to show i recommend a gelding. I have seen so many nice driving geldings on the sale board at very reasonable prices.

dwarfism is an inherited trait and there is nothing you can do to change that.
Thank you all for your adivice and concern.

percy and I will probably continue to have fun driving and showing so long as he is willing to do it. He jsut seems to love it so, and really gets mad if I get out my other horse and not him. I don't figure he will ever be a national level comptition type horse, but he wins at our local level combined driving events.

Thanks again for all your comments, it helps me a lot and now I don't feel as if its his feeding or exercise routine that needs to be changed. And if a judge comments on it at a show, I'll just tell them its genetic and he's not really fat.
I had a pony that color that died so I think your horse is more than special, he's beautiful.

I don't know what he is or anything about it but just love him and enjoy him because he is perfect in your eyes as you are in his.

He's a winner all the way.

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