How long will it take for my horse to lose weight...?

MDB

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My extremely overweight PRE horse came to me malnourished and emaciated, but now seems to live off air. Does make me wonder what the previous owners did to her to keep her in such a state but that is by the by.
She has been overweight for about a year but I thought it would come off over winter. It didn't. Then I was set up for a fab summer of riding (hacking with a friend) with her on my other horse, but the other horse is out of action for the time being.
So I have worked really hard to get her to be able to go out solo. Every day worked and ridden for 2 weeks and we have just achieved a solo 30 min hack. I have one of those simple weigh tapes which i am not going to say what she has weighed in at because I am mortified. The farrier and vet think she needs to lose about 80kg and she is a narrow 15.3 horse. Not a chunky build.
She is on restricted grass grazing and maybe 2 flakes of hay a day. She gets half an apple after we ride and then 5 mins access to nice grass as a treat.. If I hack out for 45 mins to an hour 4 - 5 times a week, how long should it take to lose the weight??? Edit to add that our hacks are up and down serious hills and she lives out 24.7
 
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PorkChop

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Will he eat the hay soaked?

If he is coping with the workload, then I would definitely up his work if you can.
 

MDB

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I have never tried muzzling. Maybe I should. The grass in the paddock is so short it is virtually non existent. I guess she will eat soaked hay as she will eat hay that is out in the rain.
I have only been doing 30- 45 mins work in the field for only 2 weeks. And that includes mostly groundwork up until 2 days ago when we went out for our first 20 min hack. Today was our first proper hack with lots of trotting and cantering. Before that her last serious exercise was 3 weeks ago (1hr 45mins hacking with hills, trotting and cantering) and even then it was about once a week, if that, because of availability of another rider to come on the second horse. I know this is nowhere near enough, and it is why I thought that I simply HAVE to get her out on her own, so that I could get out 4 to 5 times a week doing some good hacking which is 50% hills. This would effectively be a 4 times increase in her previous activity level.
 
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sport horse

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If you soak the hay for a good 12 hours it will lose most of the goodness and just provide roughage to keep the gut healthy.
 

rabatsa

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I feed barley straw instead of hay to mine. The paddock may be bare but that is because the grass is eaten before you see it. Judge grass growth by how the lawn grows between mowing. Place feed at one end of the turnout area and water at the other to maximise moving in the field. A long thin strip is better than a square or round field.
 

Equi

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If you soak the hay for 12 hours make sure to change the water several times, otherwise it doesn't work.
 

eggs

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Grazing muzzle, less hay and regular exercise where her heart rate gets raised for at least 20 minutes (trotting and cantering)
 

Izzwizz

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My horse lives on fresh air and this year I have got him at a good weight for once in his life. He is muzzled during the day and in at night. Has high fibre for laminitics haylage, not because he has lami but because its the better one for fatties. He was 598kg in winter, I know this because we have proper horse weigh scales on the yard. He is now 556 kg, is 16yrs old and an ISH. I slimmed him towards the end of winter to prepare for the summer fields. He will have his muzzle on all summer and probably be in every night until around Oct when the grass is less sugary sweet. He is in regular work, hacked and schooled around 4/5 times a week. I feed him low cal chop mixed with a balancer for laminitics, low sugar etc, and also some stay power nuts for energy as he can lack oomph at times. It all seems to be working!
 

Leo Walker

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Mine never lost weight through exercise. The things that did work were keeping him on a nearly bare patch of land, feeding him tiny amounts of high fibre haylage and big buckets of chopped straw. No way you he have been getting hay if he had access to actual grass, no matter how short. Its only short because they are eating it down.

Could you set up a track system?
 

SEL

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Make sure your hacks have lots of trotting - 45 mins of trotting & cantering is when they begin to really use their energy stores.

I'm another who soaks hay. I fenced off a bit of my paddock last week and that us looking a very bright green today so my 'bare' patch is only bare because my 2 fatties are eating it!

I still can't find the ribs on my mare though....
 

Vodkagirly

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I know when you have a nappy horse its a battle to get out but 30 minutes isn't a lot. Lengthen the length, school, jog in hand. You need to get them moving. There is only so far you can cut feed before your tempting ulcers.
 

MDB

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I know when you have a nappy horse its a battle to get out but 30 minutes isn't a lot. Lengthen the length, school, jog in hand. You need to get them moving. There is only so far you can cut feed before your tempting ulcers.
Yeah. This is what i have read. unfortunately i cannot school or even jog in hand because i live on the side of a hill. They are both on a track already with a small paddock which just gives my lame horse a bit of a break by having more space. My fat horse constantly nags the lame one and pushes her around the track incessantly. Good for the fat one, not so great for the lame one. So having access to a small paddock means my lame horse geta a bit more rest.
I know 30 mins isnt a lot but it is only day 2 of solo hacking and she was extremely nervous on day 1. My plan is to build to an hour hack up and down hills, up to 5 days a week. Since she previously was b3ing exercised for 90 mins or so only once every week to 10 days this will be a massive increase in her exercise level.
 

Cortez

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Can you take her out twice a day? Or lunge once and ride later on (or vice versa). I have a rescue PRE who arrived looking like a hippo (he's a bocado horse, so deep anyway), so fat he actually rippled. It took me approximately two years to get him merely chubby. He's better than ever this year, but he's working reasonably hard, twice a day, and still getting just his pony-sized nets of soaked hay and strip grazing, in at night.
 

LadySam

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Another vote for twice a day if you can. I'm working with a young, pure Andalusian mare at the moment. She's not fat but she's a big chunky girl and weight needs to be watched. We're doing 2x a day at the moment to build up her general fitness, but it keeps the weight in check too, obviously. She gets a good schooling session with her owner in the morning and I lunge her for 20 mins in the PM before her dinner.
 

Tnavas

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MDB - I so feel your pain!! I have a Clydesdale and spend all my time trying to keep her weight in check, the fact that New Zealand had a very wet summer has meant its been harder this year to keep her weight down as the grass has not let up at all.

Usually I achieve her trim figure by grazing her on very short grass, in a reasonable sized paddock so that she has to move around (good for her figure) and gets to nibble all day (Good for her digestion) she just can't get big mouthfuls of grass.

Then there is the exercise level - she gets worked for at least 1hour a day with 45 mins being steady trotting. Her best year was when she was in training for the Clydesdale race at Christmas and was trotting around 15 miles a day.

It is a never ending battle - but oh so cheap to keep.
 

canteron

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I have got a bit of weight of my girl leaving her out for 12 hours at night and then for 12 hours having her in a very small paddock with soaked hay. The hay is soaked between 2 and 8 hours and it took a while for her to decide it was edible.

I personally believe that a horse uses up a lot more energy even mooching around a practically bare small field than being in a stable? I couldn't stable her anyway due to arthritis.
 

MDB

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Thanks everyone for your replies! So the general idea is that it will take time. Maybe I should cordon her off in a smaller paddock where she gets only soaked hay at night. Unfirtunately there is no way I have the time to work her twice a day. It would be great if I did, but my situation at present means that it is impossible as I have too many other commitments. In addition, i cannot lunge as our paddock is on the side on a hill. This has been part of the difficulty... the only way I can exercise is gst out and ride. I wish I had a flat area to lunge as it would be so easy. I tried lunging on the hill, which was fine at walk, but my fat horse who is already quite unbalanced was just all over the place in trot. Slipping and sliding everywhere, it was just too steep for her. It was a no goer. So i guess more restricted grazing and more exercise will be the key and see how we go with the weigh tape every week. She has lost 1.5cm in girth circumference in about 2 weeks. I am not very good at being patient with these kinds of things. ;)
 
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Tnavas

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Thanks everyone for your replies! So the general idea is that it will take time. Maybe I should cordon her off in a smaller paddock where she gets only soaked hay at night. Unfirtunately there is no way I have the time to work her twice a day. It would be great if I did, but my situation at present means that it is impossible as I have too many other commitments. In addition, i cannot lunge as our paddock is on the side on a hill. This has been part of the difficulty... the only way I can exercise is gst out and ride. I wish I had a flat area to lunge as it would be so easy. I tried lunging on the hill, which was fine at walk, but my fat horse who is already quite unbalanced was just all over the place in trot. Slipping and sliding everywhere, it was just too steep for her. It was a no goer. So i guess more restricted grazing and more exercise will be the key and see how we go with the weigh tape every week. She has lost 1.5cm in girth circumference in about 2 weeks. I am not very good at being patient with these kinds of things. ;)
Keep her on the larger area with very short grass and stop feeding her the hay. She doesn't need it. Restricting the area she can move around in defeats the object, smaller area = less movement = less weight loss.
 

Kezzabell2

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My horse sounds similar to yours. I've had to start bringing him in during the day. He does on the Walker 4 morning a week for an hour. I hack him 3 days a week and lunge 1 or 2 times. He gets 2 feeds of a handful of top chop zero and top spec senior light balancer. Then he has a oat straw net in his stable. He's lost 42kg since Jan. Having put on a few lbs in the last 5 weeks since going out in the summer paddock
 

MDB

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Keep her on the larger area with very short grass and stop feeding her the hay. She doesn't need it. Restricting the area she can move around in defeats the object, smaller area = less movement = less weight loss.
Ok... large area with very short grass. No hay. Hacking 5 times a week, including hills, trotting and cantering. Got it. 😊
We have just finished a 1 hour hack, had to walk down the first 20 mins. It is quite steep. But then trotting and cantering back up the hills. This is our longest solo hack so far. She did great. I am hoping I may start to see a difference with her weight in a few weeks.
 

Tnavas

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I wish I had a horse walker - my girl would live on it - We've had a really wet summer and autumn and the grass has not stopped growing, and we are no in early winter - she is bigger now than when she was in foal!
 

MDB

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I wish I had a horse walker - my girl would live on it - We've had a really wet summer and autumn and the grass has not stopped growing, and we are no in early winter - she is bigger now than when she was in foal!
I hear you Tnavas. It is a constant struggle. i guess these things take time. My fatty has now lost 3cm on her girth circumference in about 3 weeks and it is definitely easier to do her girth up. She doesn't look that different visually so I suppose that indicates just how overweight she is. Nevertheless, we have now done 5 hacks in one week. Some fast, some slow, taking it easy to build up her fitness. Started with half an hour and now up to an hour. The good thing is that I am loving all this riding. Just as well! ;)
 
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My horse lives on fresh air and this year I have got him at a good weight for once in his life. He is muzzled during the day and in at night. Has high fibre for laminitics haylage, not because he has lami but because its the better one for fatties. He was 598kg in winter, I know this because we have proper horse weigh scales on the yard. He is now 556 kg, is 16yrs old and an ISH. I slimmed him towards the end of winter to prepare for the summer fields. He will have his muzzle on all summer and probably be in every night until around Oct when the grass is less sugary sweet. He is in regular work, hacked and schooled around 4/5 times a week. I feed him low cal chop mixed with a balancer for laminitics, low sugar etc, and also some stay power nuts for energy as he can lack oomph at times. It all seems to be working!
. My Welsh section d mare is 14:1 and weighs 497 is this to fat the carrier did say she is abit fat but I had to isolate for early 3 weeks so hasn’t been ridden
 

blitznbobs

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I got my cob a bit slimmer with work and stabling for 12 hrs out of 24… then he went lame and had 2 weeks off and we were back to square one… oh for a skinny horse!
 

Ambers Echo

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Yes old thread but always relevant!! Dolly only lost weight once muzzled. Exercise was not enough despite eventing regularly all season and working 5/6 times a week including hard fast work and sustained fitness work. It’s amazing how much grass they must get from a ‘bare’ field
 
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