Advice on this mare??

SatansLittleHelper

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Just wondered what peoples opinions of my friends mare are weight wise..?? She lives out 24/7 and is currently not in work. She is a pure bred Breton Draft horse, 15.1hh and 15 years old. Her ribs are easy to fell without having to dig your fingers in. She is only fed a light balancer with a handful of Top Chop lite and hay/grass. We want to fetch her back into work (she is a happy hacker). We have no school etc but can do road and hill work, she is incredibly lazy if allowed to get away with it and also has a habit of throwing her head down and snatching the reins. She is ridden in a full cheek french link. What would be the best kind of exercise plan for her??

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Moomin1

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It can be very difficult to tell with heavy draught horses, especially just from a pic, but I would say she looks overweight and lacking in muscle tone.

I would start with gentle hacking and some hill work at walk and a little bit of trot and build it up slowly.
 

Honey08

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She looks more "soft" to me than particularly fat, she is on the fat side, but not stupidly IMO. I would do a couple of weeks of walking, start at half and hour and build up perhaps ten minutes each day, then start introducing short trots over the next couple of weeks, building up the length of trot.. You can include some schooling in the fittening work even without a school, asking her for halts and half halts, and leg yielding etc.
 

STRIKER

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I dont think overweight, she has a belly but thats usually gas not fat, definitely lost muscle, so do the hacking and unless she is being fed hay or has some grass in field i would up the feed with the increase in work. She may be a heavy type of horse but they are bot designed to look like race fit tbs, their rump should still be rounded without the dip between the two quarters, hers is very lean, her neck has nothing on it. Just my opinion.
 

Under-the-radar

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Agree with Moomin - this isn't a great picture to judge condition, but it does look like she is lacking in muscle.

Start off with gentle hacking, and build this into a good stanking walk - laziness is not permitted! ;). I very much believe in having my horses walk out in a really good marching walk - not necessarily rushing as such, but making sure they use themselves properly when they are walking. I don't have a school at home, and my mare is very much similar, but you most definitely can work on this just out hacking. Just because you are out hacking, it does not mean that your horse shouldn't be working! I use every hack I do to loads of transitions, within and between paces, direct transitions, lateral work - but obviously don't expect all this from your mare overnight. it will take time for her to get to this level of fitness

As Moomin says - build it up slowly :)
 

JDH01

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My advice would be the traditional road work plan for bringing hunters back into work. Walk 10minutes the first day adding 10 minutes every day until you are walking for 2 hrs, it sounds boring but actually only takes 2 weeks if you ride every day which this plan should have. At the 2 hour stage add trotting for very short periods and ride for an hour. Build up trotting over next 3 weeks within the hour, week 6 start short canters. It takes patience but works.
 

Pearlsasinger

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My advice would be the traditional road work plan for bringing hunters back into work. Walk 10minutes the first day adding 10 minutes every day until you are walking for 2 hrs, it sounds boring but actually only takes 2 weeks if you ride every day which this plan should have. At the 2 hour stage add trotting for very short periods and ride for an hour. Build up trotting over next 3 weeks within the hour, week 6 start short canters. It takes patience but works.

This.

I have a similar but bigger Draft mare who was massively overweight when I bought her and was on a diet for the first 2 yrs, much to her disgust!
Your friend's horse looks to still have plenty of shoulder muscle but very little on her back end. She has obviously been dragging herself round the field on the forehand, so will need to be ridden from the seat and legs to get her to move her weight back but it will take time.
As for the throwing her head and snatching the reins, she is probably uncomfortable in her mouth. These horses have very fleshy tongues and not much room in their mouths, so need a thin bit to be comfortable. I would try a NS bit (mine hacks in a Universal but schools in a Tranz) or a PeeWee, which has side pieces to help with steering and has the added advantage of not needing to be an exact size.
 
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