How to diet a fat cob

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30 August 2021
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I have a cob which I’ve had for a month, he came barefoot - my farrier said let’s do front shoes and see how he gets on - well he is struggling so I’m not riding as much as I’d like - im waiting for backs to put on so I can exercise him more. Food wise he has a large field - ive tried to make smaller with an electric fence which he is terrified of it and is difficult around it so ive taken away. He is stabled at night with a small hay net with small holes, we have a turnout paddock too but Ive read you shouldn’t leave without feeding for too long as can cause ulcers - but I don’t know how long is too long….. what would people suggest to get the weight off? Thank you.
 

windand rain

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25 November 2012
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7,866
Oh dear not good start. Firstly you need to put the fence back and restrict his grazing secondly only feed food with a combined sugar starch level of 10% or preferably less. Why can't you ride is he already laminitic shoes will only make it worse not better. If already laminitic he needs to be in a stable 24/7 with a deep shavings bed and limited movement until he is sound. He should be on no more than 10kgs dry weight of soaked hay again preferably less. He needs very restricted movement for 30 days after he is sound off all drugs. He needs a vet as an emergency to provide the correct drug regime. Hay should be soaked for no less than 1 hour but preferably 6 or 7. If is sound with no trace of laminitis properly vet diagnosed he needs steady walking for a build up time then a few hills and then trotting but he does sound like his feet are the issue and need treatment first
 

sbloom

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14 September 2011
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I wonder why the farrier didn't say "let's see how he gets on barefoot" - sounds like he might be rather anti barefoot. Shoes are not 100% the work of the devil but they do mask the slight discomfort of low grade laminitis which is more common than you might think. If he is unsound he should not be ridden. Definitely have the vet check him, and treat him as laminitic in the mean time as windand rain has said.

I would do some training to help him get used to the fence, see what you can find on here, if you search. Maybe clicker training or something like that, not my area of expertise. Ultimately you may find that the grass is a real issue, for now he almost certainly needs to be off it, we've had a mild autumn so sugars will be high.

4 hours is the limit to not be with food. Have you soaked the hay? Please do read up as much as you can about laminitis, there will be a post of posts on here, and there are FB groups, you're going to need to get up to speed fast, don't panic, you're not in crisis yet, but you need to take action.
 

tiga71

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8 May 2011
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735
I give my good doers a mix of hay and barley straw when they are in. Barley straw gives them something to much on but not as high in calories. I'm not sure about it if the horse is laminitic, so best check with your vet. My vet is happy for mine to have it but they are not laminitic, just good doers.
 
Joined
20 February 2009
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W. Yorks
We give our good doers plain oat straw chaff to give them something to eat when they have finished their hay ration, which is split over the time they are in. Not that ours are in very often, these days, they live out and that keeps their weight in check.
 
Joined
16 February 2009
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Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
Is putting a Track system up an option for you??

We put in a Track on vet's advice as my radically obese mare just wasn't losing weight on Strip-grazing alone.

May I respectfully suggest you get your vet to look at your cob and just maybe take some bloods - to establish there is no issue which may be causing the underlying obesity. Ask your vet to condition-score the horse and ask for a specific management plan for your horse. Your vet may recommend a reducing diet; with mine, it was to feed 1% of bodyweight over 24 hrs which was radical, very much so, but had to be done. Please don't do the 1% diet unless on veterinary advice; the normal way to reduce weight is to go for a 1.5% - 2% of bodyweight diet.

Please accept what I'm going to say, but you will HAVE to take your horse off that amount of pasture! I am serious. I've had to deal with laminitis and it is no joke. Right now your horse is in imminent danger of developing a life-curtailing disease - i.e. laminitis, and Yes I AM trying to frighten you! Your horse needs to lose the weight. Which is why I say you need the vet to come and take some bloods to establish what you are dealing with and how you might best manage the weight-loss.

My vet said the "ideal track" for my good-doer was either a dust-bowl or a mud-bath. Those were his words.
 

Gloi

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8 May 2012
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7,042
If he is a hairy cob type you can do a trace clip and not rug and he will use more calories keeping warm. Do make sure he has somewhere to get out of the wind if need be though.
 
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