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Re: Ribby Horse

Don't just looks at ribs to assess condition score.  There are about 8-9 areas you should check out---neck, withers, shoulder, topline, ribs, tailhead, hip bones, pinbones, etc.  There's a complete description on my website under How to Condition Score Horses.  Anyway, quite a few horses will look lean in one place, but have plenty of cover overall.  Look at each area and if the ribs are the only area without alot of cover, don't worry about it.  Alot of horses are like that, youngsters are notorious.  I see tons of babies that are pig fat, but the owner is still feeling ribs and practically burying the poor thing in grain.
Susan G
----- Original Message -----
From: Kristene Smuts
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 12:18 AM
Subject: RC: Ribby Horse

Hi guys

Reading the recent thread on feeding, I have another question that has been bugging me the past few weeks.  This year was my stallion's first season and we've been doing a number of 30 km rides.  A few months ago, I upped his food as he'd started looking a bit thin around the haunches.  He's always been ribby, but I wanted to cover his hip bones more and fill out his rear end, and hopefully in the process cover his ribs a bit more.

Well, he got 3 times his normal ration for about 2 months in which he did fill out.  He's on 11% concentrates, good hay day and night, and I added sunflower oil cake, which is high in fat but low in heat.  He started looking real good, especially compared to the hunter TB in the yard - my big mistake in trying to compare the two.  BUT, he still was very ribby.  His ribs never really covered, no matter how much weight he put on in that time.  Anyway, he had a bit of a holiday during this time, after which we had a slight argument which resulted in me not riding for 2 weeks again.  Why?  Too much energy, not enough work.

Concentrates were cut again, but the cake was left in.  He hasn't dropped too much weight yet, especially because we haven't really started working for next season yet - an outride here and there has been the most we've done.  But when we are riding, we do good work.

So my question is this : are some horses just ribby by nature, no matter how much weight they carry elsewhere?  Or is there something I'm missing?  His energy level is very good and we normally fight the first 10 kms or so - he recovers amazingly quickly when we come in.  He is back to rideability by about 2 days after a ride, so he bounces back well.

I'm planning on going for 80 kms next season which starts end January, and I don't want to discover only then that I should have been doing something to help him.  But I have a suspicion that I'm paranoid about his ribs ;-))

Oh, one other thing - we don't have beet pulp here yet, so unfortunately I can't use the wonder food and have to use what we can lay our hands on right now until the new factory is built (thanks Cindy for letting us know - I'm starting to save up for when we can start buying!!!)


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