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[RC] getting a formerly fat 13 year old mare ready for CTR - long, sorry!!! - Jennifer Adam

Hi -
I need some advice! I would like to do some CTR before attempting my first 50. However, my mustang is not a good CTR horse. I think she'll do just fine in endurance, but she doesn't really have that easy-going cooperative personality that a good trail horse should probably have. We're working on it.

But - my mom's horse is a wonderful trail horse. Goes through, over, under, or around anything. Loves people - doesn't mind vet check stuff. She has a decent trot, but she's gaited so she is a joy to ride. I was told she was a Saddlebred, but I finally got her papers from my mom and she's actually a registered Spotted Saddle Horse. (With only one spot! hah!) She's 13 and a little plump - vet and I call her a full 6 on the body condition scale. Her legs and feet are great - she's barefoot and isn't ouchy at all even over gravel and rocks. Her RHR is 32 or 34. The thing is, the lady my mom got her from had actually "rescued" her from an over zealous owner who fed her grain rations with no exercise. Apparently this poor mare was really really fat. The owner did not cut her feed or work her, she just put her on thyroid medications thinking she had insulin resistance. Then this lady developed diabetes herself and could no longer care for the mare. (This owner was not the original owner, thank goodness. The original owner or breeder had apparently conditioned her pretty well and used her as a trail horse at one time). So anyway...the lady we got her from took her home, consulted a vet, did a bunch of bloodwork, and basically put her in "fat camp" to get her back in shape. We had a pre-purchase exam and she checked out sound. No laminitis issues (amazingly enough) and other than being a little stiff on one side (which I have since worked out) she passed the exam with flying colors. No insulin resistance or anything like that.

So...is there likely to be any lingering physical issues from her fat days that should keep me from doing CTR with her? She's only being ridden a couple of miles a week right now, so obviously we would have some conditioning to do. How much would be appropriate for her age and the fact that I really only want to do some easy CTR for my own experience?? I've been doing lots of research on bringing along young horses, but I'm not real sure what changes I should make for a mature mare. At one time she had some respectable trail experience (the lady we got her from said she had done a 20 mile ride, but that's been three years ago I think.)

Any input would be greatly appreciated!
Jen Adam

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