Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ribs? What ribs?

Calypso is fat and she keeps getting fatter. She's our one air fern and I can't seem to get her feed adjusted right! The mare is getting almost nothing in feed. She gets a large handful of oats and pelleted feed just to keep her busy while Chief is eating. She has put on mucho poundage since they have been out on pasture eating the lush grass they eat all day long! Her neck is getting cresty, you almost can't find her spine and there is definitely no feeling any ribs at all on her. She is definitely our one air fern. The other two look great.

Calypso just can't be fat. She has the typical tiny quarter horse feet on a really straight shoulder and upright pastern: Her fatness is laminitis waiting to happen.

I keep trying to convince Robert that he needs to ride her more and work some of the excess flesh off her, but it's looking more and more like her exercise program is going to fall to me. Which I really just don't have time for, between riding Gabe and keeping up on all the farm and garden work that needs to be done. He rides, but he is very much a weekend pleasure rider...and would really prefer just to have his horse fit and ready to go every time he rode. I guess I'm going to have to find time to git 'er done, even if it's just a 20 min. ride every other day in the beginning. I would put her on the longe line, but, in her current state of fatness, I'm afraid the confinement of circles on the longe would do her legs more harm than good. She needs lots of straight, easy lines to begin with until she's fitter and less fat. Ugh. I need to go from a full-time job to a part-time job just so I can get and keep these horses fit!

I'm considering a grazing muzzle for her just to see how that works out. Does any one have any experience with a grazing muzzle? Brand/style recommendations? How do you fit them? Any advice on how well they actually work and if they are worth the expense? I need her to eat less grass, but I also don't want to starve her to death or confine her away from the other two during the day.


  1. Just discovered your blog!

    The Best Friends muzzles are the best I've found - I have a TB/WB cross mare who has developed a case of laminitis (no rotation thank heavens!) and I'm considering that for her to be able to graze with the herd. Exercise is definitely good for fat horses - with all the rain and cool weather we've had our grass is too lush and we've got lots of fatties.

  2. Yes, grazing muzzles do make a difference. We have an Appy/Arab who looks at food and practically blows up. She's been in the grazing muzzle when out on pasture for the last month and has lost weight.

    There was a great article in Equus recently about how to properly fit a grazing muzzle, complete with pictures of right and wrong. I did a quick search online but didn't find it, but it may be worth tracking down. The one we use on the mare attaches to her halter and fits very nicely.

  3. Kate...welcome and thank you for the muzzle suggestion. I read your blog and noticed you just posted about the same topic...too much grass...too fat horses. Mine can't keep up with the grass growth either...I've already mowed ALL the pastures four times each and the grass still keeps coming. The biggest bonus though: All the mowing has darn near eliminated the weeds I've been battling, including a few patches of that horrible curly dock.

    Jackie...I need to find a good fitting article because I've never had to use a grazing muzzle before. My luck, I'd fit it wrong and she'd starve to death. That might take awhile, but it would happen to me.

  4. You are right, limiting the grass is the answer. Can you put her in the dry lot part time? I haven't used grazing muzzles myself but I know they work.

  5. Oh Jenn, I have the same problem with Ladde. He's such a pork chop. I worry about him foundering too because he's such a big guy anyway. He has a ridge down his back, no ribs, cresty neck and a lumpy butt!! Yikes!! My hubby doesn't ride very often, and all the exercising seems to fall back on me. Hard to keep up with it all. We have too much grass too. I've been trying to put them out in the AM and back out on the dry lot for the rest of the day with just a smidge of hay at night. *sigh* Nothing's ever easy is it??