Moving yard/getting pony fit

Joined
23 February 2014
Messages
94
Hello!
I've been lurking in the shadows reading posts for a few months but haven't actually posted before.

I share a dales pony called Benn and next month he's moving from a private yard, to a small livery with lovely facilities, so that Benn can be schooled regularly, and hopefully (fingers crossed) get the right kind of training to move us from local showing to county level.

Benn is rather tubby with a body condition score of 3/4 weighing 478kg (on the weigh tape - could be more or less on a weighbridge!) . I'm fully aware that he's too heavy for his height (14.2hh) and was wondering if going on the walker every day as well as being ridden 4 times a week would be enough to shift his fat?

He's currently out in the day (weather permitting) in at night with unsoaked hay and a small scoop of D&H High fibre nuts. I've heard that soaking hay can beneficial to weight loss - what sort of time should it be soaked for? I've heard 20 minutes to 24 hours?!

I look forward to your replies!
:)
 

cobden

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Joined
14 February 2006
Messages
120
Location
Lancashire
Hello and welcome. Not much help other than to say I have always found it is easier to shift weight off tubby natives by upping the exercise rather than just restricting food, so working him plus using the walker is a good idea. As for soaking hay, if it is to help him diet you will need to soak it for a fair few hours to remove the nutrition - a quick dunk won't be enough. Good luck getting him slim for spring :)
 
Joined
23 February 2014
Messages
94
Thank you cobden for your reply! What sort of work do you think will be beneficial, we do a lot of hacking, but I was hoping that once we have a school to use that I'd use that a bit more! Would lunging be beneficial?
 

cobden

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Joined
14 February 2006
Messages
120
Location
Lancashire
I tend not to lunge so much but thats personal preference - I also find that the kind if hacking I do hasn't made much inroads with porky welsh ponies (although no doubt it did increase general fitness as it is quite hilly near me). What I found worked with mine was introducing faster work, which because there were few places to canter out hacking meant doing it in the school. So basically trotting and cantering for longer until they are a bit out of puff, building it up gradually - which also helps with rider fitness. Or boxing up to farm rides or places where you can hack but get out of walk. There are lots of books on the subject, or I'm sure you will find some good references if you google/search the forum :)
 
Joined
23 February 2014
Messages
94
I tend not to lunge so much but thats personal preference - I also find that the kind if hacking I do hasn't made much inroads with porky welsh ponies (although no doubt it did increase general fitness as it is quite hilly near me). What I found worked with mine was introducing faster work, which because there were few places to canter out hacking meant doing it in the school. So basically trotting and cantering for longer until they are a bit out of puff, building it up gradually - which also helps with rider fitness. Or boxing up to farm rides or places where you can hack but get out of walk. There are lots of books on the subject, or I'm sure you will find some good references if you google/search the forum :)
Brilliant thank you :) I'm currently sat at work and rather bored so will have a look about!
 

Shay

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Joined
17 August 2008
Messages
7,346
As you are sharing the pony do make sure to check with his owner before you do too much! Using the walker will increase cardio fitness but do little or nothing to shift weight. You don't say how much you are feeding so there might be scope to reduce the calorie content by feeding denser or lower quality feedstuffs. But there does come a point beyond which you cannot go as horses are trickle feeders and need to eat. You could research interval training if you have suitable facilities. Or lots and lots of hacking with hills!
 

Angus' yard

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Joined
28 December 2012
Messages
175
The quality of grazing and whether hay is fed in the field will make a big difference too. We have a fatty who appears to be losing weight now (early days) as the grass is gone in his field, he is naked and only has hay and a token feed at night. He also likes eating the straw in his bed, sometimes in preference to his hay, which is good news as it is lower in calories than his hay.
 
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