Please help...extremely overweight mini!

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LB27

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I have 2 mini mares around 3-4 years old. One has become very overweight and I don't know what to do! They receive Miniature Horse and Pony feed and a couple of flakes of grassy hay every day. I've read that I should cut out grain but I've also read that they need the extra nutrients in it! Some people say to feed alfalfa and others are adamant that you should never feed a mini alfalfa!

They are kept on a dry lot but the last few weeks I've been letting them out on pasture for a couple hours a few days a week. I worry about cutting back their hay or pasture because then they seem so bored just standing around looking for food. They eat their hay so fast.

Thanks for the help!
 
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Hi there! Do they get any exercises done with them? Not just playing in the paddock but actually taking them out and working them? Whether lunging or jumping or going for a walk, etc? Honestly I would say not to feed them grain unless they are being worked, OR are hard keepers which doesn't sound like they are. What kind of grass hay exactly? If not high quality, they can become fat. Some people get confused with "hay belly" and "fat". And where are you located? As spring is here in Oregon, grass is very high in sugar and can cause weight gain super quick. I would limit grass intake, stop feeding grain, and maybe see about better quality hay


Post pics and we can help determine!
 
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chandab

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You can try a slow feeder system of some sort to slow down their hay eating.

How big are they? How much pony feed are they getting? Have you weighed their hay? Not all flakes are the same; some bales have 5# flakes, some only 2#, others heavier.

Can you share a picture?
 

Ryan Johnson

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I have to agree with the above, Id be removing them from pasture immediately, spring grass will bring with it high increases in sugar. Id also be removing all grain until the weight has been reduced. How much do your minis weigh?, this should really be calculated as to how much food they should be fed.

If you have a chance , post some pictures , its better this is brought under control before laminitis becomes an issue.

Cheers
 

Marsha Cassada

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The slow feeder hay bags are great. I got mine from Hay Chix, but there are other good ones. I think they would be fine without the grain for several weeks while you get things under control. The hay is more necessary.

Any way you could take them for a good walk a few times a week?

I had a very overweight one and it helped a lot when I lunged him at a brisk trot for 10 minutes or so every day.

Kudos that you noticed there was a potential problem!
 

JMS Miniatures

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Horses don't necessarily need grain. Yes they need some type of vitamins and minerals but you can find that in a good quality vitamin/mineral tub. I would also go ahead and dry lot them and I would also weigh their hay. As far as alfalfa goes you can certaintly give minis alfalfa but its more for minis that need the extra fat and protein like breeding, performance, and young/senior horses.
 

Miniv

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Agree that minis don't need grain (unless they are breeding or being shown and exercised)....A supplement hand fed will do. If they are on pasture part time, they can be cut back a bit on hay too. Weighing your flakes of hay will be helpful.

Have you done the "touch test" to check their weight? I never trust just eyeballing. (A skinny horse you can tell by looking.) But, I like to run my hand over their ribs and backbone.......If you have to really press through flesh to feel bone, then yes, they are overweight. If you feel bone with gentle pressure, they are good. But, if you feel bone without any pressure, they are too skinny....and usually you can see their backbone sticking up too. What can be confusing is when you easily feel ribs, but they have a belly and ARE NOT Pregnant.......This means they are lacking protein in their diet.
 

Katrina

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I'm not really sure about your hay, but that seems like a lot. I feed a good quality orchard grass. My minis get about 1/3 of a flake twice a day. They are on a dry lot. I only use mini and pony grain to mix with their sand clear, and if it's super cold outside but in a very small amount. They do have a salt/mineral block available at all times. I was feeding more hay than that and the vet told me to cut it in half because they were to fat. So this amount keeps them at a good weight. I was told a good rule of thumb is they should finish their feed (hay) in 2 hours anything much over that and they are being over fed.
 

chandab

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This thread is 5 years old, by now the OP has probably figured out the diet.
General rule of thumb is 1.5-2% of bodyweight in forage daily. So, a 250# mini would get 3.75-5# forage daily for maintenance. For gut health, and to minimize chance of ulcers, having forage available at all times is ideal; but many equines can not have that much forage or they become obese, using slow feeders to slow them down is a good choice.
 

Susan

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This thread is 5 years old, by now the OP has probably figured out the diet.
General rule of thumb is 1.5-2% of bodyweight in forage daily. So, a 250# mini would get 3.75-5# forage daily for maintenance. For gut health, and to minimize chance of ulcers, having forage available at all times is ideal; but many equines can not have that much forage or they become obese, using slow feeders to slow them down is a good choice.
This thread is 5 years old, by now the OP has probably figured out the diet.
General rule of thumb is 1.5-2% of bodyweight in forage daily. So, a 250# mini would get 3.75-5# forage daily for maintenance. For gut health, and to minimize chance of ulcers, having forage available at all times is ideal; but many equines can not have that much forage or they become obese, using slow feeders to slow them down is a good choice.
I’m curious what age horse you’re referring to. I have 2 yearlings and since they’re growing was advised to feed Purina Mini and Pony feed along with about 5 lbs of Timothy grass per day each. As they’re not growing as rapidly I’m concerned about giving them so much. Any input on when to back off of so much food before they get fat? They’re about 200 lbs and 33”.
 

GraceandPoppy

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So I haven't read all the replies but here are some suggestions! You can feed in a slow feed hay net to make the hay last longer and maybe not have to feed them as much. Also, try giving them more exercise if they don't get much. Another good thing is to cut off grain but give them a maroon mineral block (you can find them at Tractor Supply) which will provide them with all the minerals they need. `If they have access to a lot of grass you can use a grazing muzzle. Hope this helps!
 

Abby P

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Actually the red salt blocks are not that helpful for horses - they are really meant for cattle. For a typical grass hay diet, a ration balancer as Chanda suggested is a better choice because it adds the minerals that tend to be lacking in grass hays without a ton of extra calories. If you need to seriously limit calories then there are also some forage balancers that are just mineral powders (no calories) that you can mix into soaked hay pellets or something really low-calorie.

But definitely agree on the small-hole hay net and limiting grass for easy keepers!
 
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Dragon Hill

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I (and my horses) like the natural salt rock. Even with ration balancer, most horses like to have something to lick.
 
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chandab

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As to salt, they should all have access to plain white salt always, preferably loose.
 
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Abby P

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Definitely! Didn't mean to suggest no salt at all. I actually add loose plain salt to my horse's ration balancer just to make sure he gets at least a certain amount especially in winter.
 

GraceandPoppy

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Yes I agree about the ration balancer and the plain salt too. But I just wanted to add I got my red block from Tractor Supply by DUMOR and it said for equines. So, some are made for horses but it really is a preference!
 

JFNM miniatures

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I give about 1-2 teaspoons of loose, plain salt to my horses with their grain rations because I find they don't lick the salt blocks. This way, I know the exact amount of sodium they get per day and don't have to worry about a year-old dusty salt block in their stalls. ;)
 
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