A concerning relaxed attitude to fat ponies...

Sophstar

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I have been the owner of a fat pony and like every one learn as you go through ownership of any horse and pony. My fat cob is no longer fat. In fact from the 600kg+ he used to be nearly 3 years ago he is now looking amazing with a trim waistline of around 518kg for his 15hh frame and along with my other pony, I can proudly say they are some of the slimmest at my yard. My little pony is slightly underweight but I am happy to keep him slightly below his desired weight until I need to put some meat on for winter. Cushings and proving to be lami prone, his waistline is watched daily. Both are reaping the benefits of their svelte figures especially with the old joints and they aren't struggling with the respiratory allergies quite as much this year. No they don't LOVE their routine of living in muzzles apart from an hour twice daily to nibble and roam round a bare paddock but it's working. Tough love has been the only option with muzzles being put on from late March.

What concerns me is the relaxed attitude people have with their fat and in 1 livery's case, grossly obese ponies. The youngster I have helped back is fat, but the owner continually says 'I know your fat but here have a tub load of carrots.' One livery 'yeh, the vet said she was fat but that's just her.' Another woman on our yard has 3 ponies on a lush 3 acre paddock, 2 of them muzzled on the odd occasion but her mare who is unmuzzled because 'she's her baby' can't canter she's so fat. How her pedal bone hasn't gone through her sole or her heart hasn't given in yet I'll never know. Yet this woman says daily 'They just don't have enough land. They are going to run out by winter.'

I don't mind my ponies having a healthy covering in the winter as they live out 24/7 but what makes people think it's ok to ignore a dangerous sized waistline?! On their ponies obviously!
 

Montyforever

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Drives me mad too, my welsh a is a little underweight but she's very prone to laminitis and is happy with lots of spark and eating plenty of soaked hay and id rather see her slim and happy than fat and crippled!
A few other horses on the yard are obese :(
 

Mince Pie

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Most of the people on my yard are pretty concious about weight. I'm just about to get a muzzle for my lad as he must be the only pony to put on weight after going on restricted rations and more exercise :eek: :rolleyes:
 

FreddiesGal

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I've always seen fat ponies as a form of cruelty. Horses -unlike humans- don't have to ability or choice to say "Right, I really need to watch my weight as it's unhealthy". A good friend of mine has a warmblood who is obese, yet she continues to let him gorge himself on lush grass because "he deserves it" - makes me so annoyed.
 

touchstone

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When they have to deal with laminitis and witness a pony in agony they might change their attitude. A shame the ponies have to go through that before some people pay attention though. :(
 

HazyXmas

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I was talking to a friend yesterday who's daughter is doing her PC 'B' test next week.

She was asking me about how i fed my daughter's 15.3 ISH 6 yr old who is BE eventing at PN level & we were comparing what we acutely fed (very, very little) with the VAST amounts that are recommended in the recently updated Pony Club manual that the girl is working/revising from. It's no wonder there are so many overweight horses & ponies around.

How are youngsters & people new to horses going to learn if these respected reference books are telling them to feed such huge quantities?
 

Sugar_and_Spice

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Unless they have a metabolic problem or have had laminitis in the past, I'm not bothered by seeing a fat animal in summer. Those with known issues I'd muzzle when out and bring in daily on soaked hay.

For those without these problems, I'll work any fatties as much as I can to try to keep the weight down, but that's as far as my weight control measures would go. So I'd be one of those with an overweight animal who doesn't seem bothered. I consider it detrimental to their quality of life to muzzle them and detrimental to my bank balance to keep them in.

Every fat one would be dieted in the winter though, using work, restricted food, clipping and minimal rugs. So they come out in spring a little underweight (meaning they can afford to put some on).

I think *some* animals on a weight management regime have an awful quality of life (depending on which exact regime they are on), and I'd rather see them living a little more happily even if it means they come down with laminitis at some point and need PTS. I don't mean I'd put an animal through repeated bouts of laminitis and treatment for it, that wouldn't be quality of life either. I mean I'd accept the animal was prone to laminitis and that the day they succumb is the day to call it quits.

I realise I'm in the minority amongst modern horse owners, who will usually prefer to treat any and every condition to keep an animal going as long as possible. I'm not heartless, I just don't consider: retirement, operations, endless months of box rest to treat laminitis/recover from colic operations etc, or a lifetime of severely restricted food, to be a reasonable quality of life.
 

Fransurrey

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Unless they have a metabolic problem or have had laminitis in the past, I'm not bothered by seeing a fat animal in summer. Those with known issues I'd muzzle when out and bring in daily on soaked hay.

For those without these problems, I'll work any fatties as much as I can to try to keep the weight down, but that's as far as my weight control measures would go. So I'd be one of those with an overweight animal who doesn't seem bothered. I consider it detrimental to their quality of life to muzzle them and detrimental to my bank balance to keep them in.

Every fat one would be dieted in the winter though, using work, restricted food, clipping and minimal rugs. So they come out in spring a little underweight (meaning they can afford to put some on).

I think *some* animals on a weight management regime have an awful quality of life (depending on which exact regime they are on), and I'd rather see them living a little more happily even if it means they come down with laminitis at some point and need PTS. I don't mean I'd put an animal through repeated bouts of laminitis and treatment for it, that wouldn't be quality of life either. I mean I'd accept the animal was prone to laminitis and that the day they succumb is the day to call it quits.

I realise I'm in the minority amongst modern horse owners, who will usually prefer to treat any and every condition to keep an animal going as long as possible. I'm not heartless, I just don't consider: retirement, operations, endless months of box rest to treat laminitis/recover from colic operations etc, or a lifetime of severely restricted food, to be a reasonable quality of life.
You don't need to keep in or muzzle to control weight, though. Mine are on over an acre (two 12hh ponies) and I supplement the little grazing with two slices of hay each per day and one fibre-based feed. One is well covered, but certainly not obese (she's not exercised). The other is very svelte and I've lost count of the number of compliments this year on his fitness and condition for a veteran. Not detrimental to their QOL or my bank balance! Although I'm going to be controversial back and say that if it's your bank balance you're worried about, you're in the wrong game. ;)

Worth also considering that many horses will go to their late teens with no problems, but metabolism changes with age. Henry had mild laminitis at the age of 16, with no problems whatsoever before that. For the sake of a bit of leccy fencing or strategic fencing, I could have saved myself £400 in 2008!
 

Black_Horse_White

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Some owners with fat horses are not always to blame. I'm trying to get my boys weight down after 2 years of feeding by his previous owner. I'm slowing getting there but its been difficult. Unlike the owners you are talking about I'm very embarrassed about my horses weight, he just has a large belly. I must be the only horse owner that can't wait for winter so we can really start the diet. Because I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle so far with the grass.
 

touchstone

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I realise I'm in the minority amongst modern horse owners, who will usually prefer to treat any and every condition to keep an animal going as long as possible. I'm not heartless, I just don't consider: retirement, operations, endless months of box rest to treat laminitis/recover from colic operations etc, or a lifetime of severely restricted food, to be a reasonable quality of life.
Me neither, which is why I try to prevent laminitis happening in the first place.

A laminitic doesn't need severely restricted food - it needs plenty of the right kind of food and restricted grazing.

I would also say that muzzling during the day and bringing in on soaked hay IS taking measures to control weight, as is allowing them to srop weight in the winter, many owners don't. Although I don't muzzle my laminitic as she hates it, with a track system she lives out 24/7 with ample food and exercise and has quite a pleasant existence I think.

Maintaining a pony at the correct weight isn't cruel, but allowing an overweight pony to develop joint problems/laminitis/breathing issues and making work uncomfortable because of its weight is imo.
 

FionaM12

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Unless they have a metabolic problem or have had laminitis in the past, I'm not bothered by seeing a fat animal in summer. Those with known issues I'd muzzle when out and bring in daily on soaked hay.

For those without these problems, I'll work any fatties as much as I can to try to keep the weight down, but that's as far as my weight control measures would go. So I'd be one of those with an overweight animal who doesn't seem bothered. I consider it detrimental to their quality of life to muzzle them and detrimental to my bank balance to keep them in.

Every fat one would be dieted in the winter though, using work, restricted food, clipping and minimal rugs. So they come out in spring a little underweight (meaning they can afford to put some on).

I think *some* animals on a weight management regime have an awful quality of life (depending on which exact regime they are on), and I'd rather see them living a little more happily even if it means they come down with laminitis at some point and need PTS. I don't mean I'd put an animal through repeated bouts of laminitis and treatment for it, that wouldn't be quality of life either. I mean I'd accept the animal was prone to laminitis and that the day they succumb is the day to call it quits.

I realise I'm in the minority amongst modern horse owners, who will usually prefer to treat any and every condition to keep an animal going as long as possible. I'm not heartless, I just don't consider: retirement, operations, endless months of box rest to treat laminitis/recover from colic operations etc, or a lifetime of severely restricted food, to be a reasonable quality of life.
I agree with this. Mollie's a bit fat, but she's got no known health problems and is sound. She's an anxious mare and I think muzzling and the other measures mentioned above would add to her anxiety and affect her quality of life.

She's out in a field with not much grass, she comes in most days and has a handful of food, just enough to put her suppliments in, and a little hay. She doesn't work very hard but is ridden often.

I am concerned about her weight, but at the moment, not enough to want to change a routine which suits us both.

Here's a very recent photo of my fatlass:

 

Cortez

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Frankly I'm a bit amazed that people think it's OK to have fat horses, and for it to be reasonable to let them be fat and then just PTS when they get laminitis. A fat horse is poorly cared for, just as a thin horse is. Most horses are fat because they are overfed and underworked: feed less, or manage their grazing and provide the correct level of work, THAT is responsible, intelligent ownership and horsmanship.
 

FionaM12

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Although I'm going to be controversial back and say that if it's your bank balance you're worried about, you're in the wrong game. ;)
Maybe, but I'm 56, on a low income which isn't about to change and if I hadn't returned to horse owning now, I probably never would.

I will make sure Mollie's well cared for, but on at as low a cost as possible. I dodn't exactly worry about my bank balance, but I do have to keep a close eye on it.

Mollie had had a pretty poor life before I had her and is having a pretty good time on a shoestring budget with me, I believe. :p
 

FionaM12

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Frankly I'm a bit amazed that people think it's OK to have fat horses, and for it to be reasonable to let them be fat and then just PTS when they get laminitis.
I don't think that's quite what's being said. I certainly wouldn't let Mollie get obese (I don't think she's very fat) and as I say she's sound. If she showed any sign of suffering I'd have to change her routine.
 

touchstone

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I agree with this. Mollie's a bit fat, but she's got no known health problems and is sound. She's an anxious mare and I think muzzling and the other measures mentioned above would add to her anxiety and affect her quality of life.

She's out in a field with not much grass, she comes in most days and has a handful of food, just enough to put her suppliments in, and a little hay. She doesn't work very hard but is ridden often.

I am concerned about her weight, but at the moment, not enough to want to change a routine which suits us both.
The thing is though that by tackling any weight issues before problems arise your mare can continue with a normal routine, if she develops health issues she will have them for the rest of her life, surely prevention is the lesser of two evils. :confused:
 

HaffiesRock

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My Lami pony is kept just a little bit thinner than i'd like for her own benefit. By no means is she underweight but she is fit, well and happy. A girl on my yard (who I must add left a couple of weeks ago due to there not being enough grass) keeps her sec D at what I would describe as obese. The poor girl wobbles when she moves, and they used to accuse me of cruelty for starving my pony! x
 

LifeofRiley

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Sugar_and_Spice I agree with your sentiment for those unlucky few who have a poor quality of life. Being stuck in a stable 24-7 permanently for weight management is no quality of life, for example. However, there must be a balance. If you know your horse is prone/succeptable to laminitis it's wholly irressponsible to allow it to continue with no weight/grazing control. Personally, I'd rather take precautionary measures (even in an seemingly otherwise healthy horse) than have to deal with the heartache of putting a horse down just because I didn't do anything about it. IMO anyone who is prepared to let a horse get Lami or fat enough to cause other health issues and needs to be put down should not have a horse at all!! My pony has Cushings and Lami and is on a strictly controlled diet. I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I let things lapse and allowed him to get another bout of Lami. He has a good quality of life IMO - he is muzzled for 12 hours and turned out without it on limited grazing with his best friend. He can no longer be ridden, but gets lots of love and cuddles and he is happy. He also looks the best he has ever done in 25 years. Incedentially my other horse is muzzled at times to prevent him getting too fat also.
 

dafthoss

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Because for some people its not an issue until they are crippled with their pedal bone threatening to fall out their foot.

Sadly its all to common, mine was muzzled and I was told he didnt need to loose any more weight despite him being fatter than I would like as its the way he is bulit, no its fat!
 

CBFan

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Yes, I am amazed by this too... and thoroughly disgusted at the same time.

I was at equifest at the weekend and was horrified at the size of some of the Welshie youngsters. There were a couple of welsh D yearlings that looked like 5 year olds. albeit a bit short! The fat was clearly visible across the whole body. gross!! ... and you guessed it, they got placed.

I am of the opinion that it is far easier to keep weight off than to get it off so I manage my horse to keep his weight at a constantly healthy one. I notice within a day or two if he puts any weight on and thus it only takes a day or two to get it back off again.

This winter I hope he drops enough so that he comes out of winter with his ribs slightly visible. that way he has some room for gain without me worrying too much. Horses are meant to come out of winter skinny after all... in preparation for the lusher spring grass - it's natures way. We tend to do the very opposite of what nature intended and thats where we get into trouble.
 

FionaM12

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The thing is though that by tackling any weight issues before problems arise your mare can continue with a normal routine, if she develops health issues she will have them for the rest of her life, surely prevention is the lesser of two evils. :confused:
I can see that, and her coming in some of each day and being in a field where there's very little grass is my attempt to control her weight.

However there are issues with her wearing anything on her face so I think a muzzle would cause distress. Seperation from her herd also causes her distress. Managing her stressful personality is as important as her being a bit chunky, despite eating almost nothing and being ridden/lunged every day. :)
 
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Cortez

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Very many people tell me their fatso's "eat nothing" and "live on fresh air", when plainly they eat PLENTY, otherwise they wouldn't be that overweight! It takes a lot of experience to know how to feed - it took me a very long time when I changed the sort of horses I keep from young, growing warmbloods and TB's, to fully mature, working Iberian, Friesian and other "good-doing" types: I'm afraid I overfed at the start and had very chubby partners for a while. Now I feed what would starve a warmblood, and have well-covered horses that work very hard and look great - fit, muscular but not wobbling with fat.
 

Goldenstar

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I agree with this. Mollie's a bit fat, but she's got no known health problems and is sound. She's an anxious mare and I think muzzling and the other measures mentioned above would add to her anxiety and affect her quality of life.

She's out in a field with not much grass, she comes in most days and has a handful of food, just enough to put her suppliments in, and a little hay. She doesn't work very hard but is ridden often.

I am concerned about her weight, but at the moment, not enough to want to change a routine which suits us both.

Here's a very recent photo of my fatlass:

I would not be able to sleep for worrying if one of mine was that size .
But I see fat horse heaving themselves and their riders around the roads round here all the time, it's seems to be the norm on some yards.
I bought a fat horse a couple of years ago since it went to fat fighters it's over 100 kilos lighter and it's one has got rid of its nasty skin issuses obliviously all fat related it's joint are no longer puffy it's wind problem is no more it's temperament is now cheerful it's like a different horse.
 

Clodagh

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Appalling to say just let them get fat then shoot them if they get lami. And I am the least fluffy bunny person around!
Remember even though your fat horse doesn't have lami she almost certainly will get joint trouble from carry all those extra pounds.
Mine two's weight fluctuates between winter and summer but never to obese, lean in winter (I can see their ribs come March) and rounder in summer (can only feel ribs). Thats as much as it is allowed.
 

bryngelenponies

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I was at equifest at the weekend and was horrified at the size of some of the Welshie youngsters. There were a couple of welsh D yearlings that looked like 5 year olds. albeit a bit short! The fat was clearly visible across the whole body. gross!! ... and you guessed it, they got placed.
This unfortunately is the norm for Welshies and it horrifies/upsets me each time I see it happening. A friend of mine took their 2yo D filly into a class- needless to say she was the only one who looked her age as the rest looked like adult cobs. Not only was she put at the bottom of the line but the judge actually informed the handler that the filly wasn't fat enough! No wonder obese ponies will always be higher placed in shows if that's the attitudes of the judges. Seeing the weight people keep their show cobs at (without any thought for the animal) makes me so angry, they can't go around the ring without huffing and puffing wobbling whilst they do it. But of course it's all muscular topline :rolleyes:
 

nikCscott

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Its not just horses although I'm sick of seeing Sec A's X Hippos on the end of a lead rein!

I over heard a discussion in the hair dressers the other day about how the vet had told this lady her dog, who was with her, was obese (poor lab X waddled) but she said it was cruel to put it on a diet, vet 'had even suggested clipping his coat to help him shiver some weight off'- she then went on to say how barbaric that was!

I spoke quietly to my hair dresser that I thought it was a good idea as we do the shivering thing with horses. The lady over heard and said I shouldn't be allowed to keep animals! I told her she was more than welcome to visit my 3 horses and 2 dogs of varying breeds and sizes that are all fit, healthy and correct weight. And that IMO if you take on an animal you agree to maintain its health in all ways including not letting it get fat!
 

Goldenstar

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Its not just horses although I'm sick of seeing Sec A's X Hippos on the end of a lead rein!

I over heard a discussion in the hair dressers the other day about how the vet had told this lady her dog, who was with her, was obese (poor lab X waddled) but she said it was cruel to put it on a diet, vet 'had even suggested clipping his coat to help him shiver some weight off'- she then went on to say how barbaric that was!

I spoke quietly to my hair dresser that I thought it was a good idea as we do the shivering thing with horses. The lady over heard and said I shouldn't be allowed to keep animals! I told her she was more than welcome to visit my 3 horses and 2 dogs of varying breeds and sizes that are all fit, healthy and correct weight. And that IMO if you take on an animal you agree to maintain its health in all ways including not letting it get fat!
Don't get me started on fat Labradors I have had them all my life and have never had a fat one it's appalling the size you see them .
 

FreddiesGal

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I really don't see how maintaining a horses weight will break the bank balance?

My boy is muzzled as he has just moved to a new field..imagine how fuming I was when a horsey friend went to the stables without asking, and took off his muzzle because "he looked sad".
 

LollyDolly

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Most horses are fat because they are overfed and underworked: feed less, or manage their grazing and provide the correct level of work, THAT is responsible, intelligent ownership and horsmanship.
One of the biggest problems with horse owners is people who overfeed and underwork, it drives me crazy! I see people on my yard who ride maybe twice a week yet the horses feed bucket is half full of feed! And then they go on to say how fizzy their horse is!?
It doesn't just cause weight issues, but it also causes behavioral issues. I've known a few 'mental' horses who just needed less food (and no competition mix!!), hay instead of haylage and more exercise.

My boy (native) is a good doer and I must admit that he lives on 'fresh air', he is schooled 4/5 times a week and hacked once a week yet he only has 4 hours daily turnout in a bare paddock, two reasonable haynets (of hay obviously!) and just the bottom of his feed bowl covered with high fibre mix as a little token.
He did get a bit chubby at the start of this summer but all it took was a quick paddock change to something with less grass and he is back to normal again now, he is chunky due to his breed but he is certainly not overweight!
Although he does have a rather large prophets thumbmark on his neck which I call his cellulite :D
 

LollyDolly

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Don't get me started on fat Labradors I have had them all my life and have never had a fat one it's appalling the size you see them .
I work in Pets At Home so you can imagine my view on dog obesity!

I also get sick of seeing fat Caviler King Charles Spaniels :rolleyes:
 

guesstimation

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I really struggle with my boys weight but that is due to exercise, when I am ill I can't give him the exercise he needs, I keep looking for sharers but not many light adults wanting to ride a inexperienced Dartmoor! I worry all the time about it, just because he's had no health issues now doesn't mean he won't as a result in the future. He's muzzled and copes fine with it, I take it off when new horses are introduced so he isn't at a disadvantage. He is supplemented to ensure he gets the right vits and mins. He is currently unmuzzled on restricted grazing which is nice to see, I hate muzzling him but needs must.

If I just left him to it and didn't worry as he's not yet had laminitis afterall I'd just be asking for trouble. Laminitis can build up over the years, you may not have it for 5 years but those 5 years of allowing a horse to be fat will take its toll until one year it suffers, bit like humans and a bad diet just because you eat lots of bad things and do no exercise doesn't mean you will suffer tomorrow but give it a few years and you're likely to!

Luckily he's just come back from 5 weeks schooling livery looking better and I really hope I can stay well and keep up his work!!

I don't understand why you would keep a horse overweight just because it currently doesn't have any issues, surely prevention is better than cure, and letting it get laminitis so it's happy is wrong. Horses weren't designed to live the way we keep them, they don't know what's best for them it is therefore our responsibility to ensure we manage them well and not create issues for them.

I did have a horse that got obese and got laminitis (last I heard the other day she is well and being ridden, I've not owned her for 3 years), I learnt a lot from that it's just sad it took that for me to realise just how important weight management is. Also her recovery was not cheap! She was insured but I had to move to a livery yard, have box rest etc and it took nearly a year to fully recover, would have been cheaper to keep her at a good weight!

Personally I now feel it is crueller to have an overweight horse than an underweight one and I wish more was being done to step in on owners with obese horses.

You see it in dogs too - they can barely walk sometimes but that's ok...!
 
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