Feed advice

NooNoo59

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Here we go another feed question! I have a just turned 7 welsh section d, he is on reasonable grazing, he comes in during the day with a haynet and has a small scoop of hifi molasses free chaff with a supplement for calmer and digestion. He is worked 5 to 6 days a week, 3 sessions in the school 2 hacks and 1 lunge. I try to keep the schooling to 30 minutes and the lunge to 20. He is carrying a bit too much weight from the summer grass, but he doesnt seem to have much energy. I am wondering if he is getting all he needs from his diet or would benefit from a balancer. I trying to give him enough work but he still seems to struggle with stamina, any ideas?
 

Annagain

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Have you had him a whole year yet? Does he lose weight over the winter and perk up as a result? Getting him really lean and fit could help but on the other hand he might just be a laid back character. My old share horse was like this. It made no difference how fit he was, how much weight he was carrying or what feed he was having, he only ever gave the job in hand just enough energy to get it done and it always felt like he was ready to give up at any second - the only time he showed any real enthusiasm was when jumping, he'd perk up no end then - for him anyway, by which I mean his ears were pricked and he didn't fall back to trot the second I even think about slowing down. That's as much as you ever got from him!

I'm not a big fan of feeding to create oomph if they're already on the chubby side. In my experience it doesn't perk them up, it just makes them fatter.
 

GrassChop

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Mine loses motivation massively if I school more than twice a week but out hacking she is a dream. I now keep it to one schooling session, one lunge and two hacking now. Schooling is always 20 minutes usually and lunging 10 minutes. I feel more than that would just be too much of going in circles personally.
I'd definitely try mixing it up a bit more before trying different feeds.
One thing though, is he getting any salt/electrolytes?
 

TPO

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I'll be *that* person 😳

You can't feed for fitness and if he's overweight he needs to lose that weight and build fitness. That's when he will find his "omph".

What you've described Is "light work" although the feed companies do a good job of convincing us that every horse needs fed and that they are in harder work than they are.

A good vit/min balancer (Progressive Earth Pro Balance is my go to) with a handful of chaff and salt sounds ideal.

Once he's at an ideal weight and fitness level that is the time to assess his "omph" requirements.

Perhaps review a fitness plan for him and make sure he is working on hacks. Time/track your trotting and catering sessions and ensure he is working and in front of the leg. Excellent if you can monitor heart rate and recovery times too. That's where you'll first see improvements in fitness
 
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NooNoo59

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Hacking is tricky as my hacking companions pony is semi retiring and a lot of people at the yard I dont feel safe with as they only think about themselves which doesnt suit me or my horse. I am doing my best to up the hacking. Point taken about school work.
 

eggs

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Being overweight would certainly lead to a lack of 'oomph'. To get weight off you need to get their heart rate up when being exercised so a sustained period of trotting and/or cantering- just walking doesn't do it.

I agree with TPO that what you describe is light work. Back in the day our ponies would hack for 4-5 hours at the weekend and school holidays with as much cantering as we could do (basically anything that wasn't roadwork) and would get a bit of chop and a handful of pony nuts and even then the Pony Club DC would say we were over feeding them!

I would concentrate on getting the fitness levels up before looking at feed.

A lot of people say their horses don't like schooling but more often it is that the rider doesn't really like it either. If your school is big enough you can certainly do interval training in it. Another good method to keep it interesting is to have lots of raised trotting poles and use them in different patterns.
 

Amymay

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Hacking is tricky as my hacking companions pony is semi retiring and a lot of people at the yard I dont feel safe with as they only think about themselves which doesnt suit me or my horse. I am doing my best to up the hacking. Point taken about school work.
Does he not hack alone?
 

Winters100

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I am with TPO, if you get him fit and slim you may well see a big hike in energy levels. Also I don't really count hacking as exercise, unless you have somewhere that you can do it at speed or a lot of trotting up hills. For me a day when they only hack counts as a day off, because all I am asking for is walk, trot and gentle canter.

Would it be possible for you to move him twice a day, or if you can't get someone else to? Maybe your friend whose horse is retiring? I find that to keep mine fit they need twice a day, and days off are once in ten days. The second exercise session is usually an easier one for them, loose schooling, lunging or hacking, but they get at least one proper session a day.

I am afraid that to me 20 minutes on the lunge or 30 minutes in the school does not sound like nearly enough. You need to use sustained hard work if you want him fit. With my good doer I also often take him alongside one of the others for a 3rd exercise session, or leave him in the small grassless paddock with wet hay in a small holed net for a few hours while I deal with the others. He has ad lib hay in the box, but soaked and in small holed nets, and his feeds are about 1/6 of what poor doer gets. The good thing is that if you can drastically up the exercise then you should be able to let him have hay all night without worrying, and he will no doubt feel so much better for losing some weight.
 

NooNoo59

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Hi back again! even though I am working on the fitness thing, I also think he has grown again, yesterday he didnt even have the energy to trot up a hill behind another horse, he is fit enough to do that! I am looking at my riding and seeing if there is anything I can improve upon, got someone else riding him tomorrow to see what they feel, but I wonder if he is getting the nutrition he needs as a still growing horse from the feed he is getting? Someone also mentioned electrolytes and red cell. Thoughts?
 

GreyDot

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Definitely try electrolytes. I have a very fit horse who has dropped energy over the last month and was feeling more like a riding school horse at the end of a long day than the 11 year old he is. I've always added salt to my feed, but tried him on electrolytes and the change has been amazing. He is now squealing at the start of work, which is lovely to hear :) There is not much goodness in the grass right now, so he may be feeling flat from that as well.
 

poiuytrewq

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This is a pretty soul destroying issue isn’t it! I can sympathise op.
I’m exercising 2 mares, both massively over weight and impossible to motivate. I have to lunge and school and tbh 3 months in we’ve all had enough. They are not loosing much and are just becoming more and more sluggish to ride.
Agree with the above, if you can up the hacking, especially if you have some nice hills around (although your Walker may not thank you for that 😂) it will help no end.
 

TGM

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Hi back again! even though I am working on the fitness thing, I also think he has grown again, yesterday he didn't even have the energy to trot up a hill behind another horse, he is fit enough to do that!
That's a bit worrying, could there be something else going on? Possibly low grade laminitis (given he is overweight) or other foot pain (if in more than one hoof may not look obviously 'lame'), hock problems etc.? Or as said above something like an incorrectly fitting saddle. It is one thing not wanting to work in the school but most horses are keen to keep up with another horse out hacking.
 

NooNoo59

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Lami did cross my mind but no heat in feet and moves well even though its laboured! Shod every six weeks. Saddle checked 5 months ago due a check, this is done every six months as he is still growing. Will be interesting to see how he goes with my friend who is riding him later she has longer legs than me, but be interesting as to how she things he feels.
 

NooNoo59

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This is a pretty soul destroying issue isn’t it! I can sympathise op.
I’m exercising 2 mares, both massively over weight and impossible to motivate. I have to lunge and school and tbh 3 months in we’ve all had enough. They are not loosing much and are just becoming more and more sluggish to ride.
Agree with the above, if you can up the hacking, especially if you have some nice hills around (although your Walker may not thank you for that 😂) it will help no end.
I would like to up the hacking but my back has been painful so have been not pushing it but am still hacking and when at the weekend he couldnt even trot up a hill its just as hard work as the school, I dont want him jumping out of his skin but just a little bit more energy, the only other time I have experienced this was a pony I had with Cushings, but this pony is only 7 so could he have that??
 

windand rain

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At that age I would be suspiscious of EMS but cushings is possible. He needs to be lean as in see ribs on the turn lean we are all to used to seeing obese animals. I would also be inclined to expect low grade laminitis due to EMS
 

NooNoo59

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Booked saddle fitter. Friend rode him today felt the same as I do but she has long legs so gave him a few boots and he was better so she is going to work him once a week for a bit and we will see if there is an improvement. My instructor says this can happen with young horses they can reach a stage and then plateau and back off. He is youngest I have had and was hardly broken when I got him and he is my first native so this is all part of an extremely steep learning curve! At 62 I should be knitting and wearing shawls!!
 
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