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[RC] Feeding "moderately overweight" pony - Betsy Thomas

Hello again,

So, I've had my Pasture Puff Pony for about six weeks now. In that time my kids got the flu, I got the flu, and I had to go visit relatives for a week. But now we seem to be over all that. Pony has been ridden lightly (walk with a little trot, totaling an hour or so) most days during this time.

She is a 13 year old BLM mustang, who I bought as 14 hands but I just tried to measure her yesterday and I'm not sure she's that tall. I'm putting her at a 6.5 or so for body condition score (vet described her as "moderately overweight") and she has very little muscle tone. I taped her yesterday at 880 pounds. She has been in better shape during her life, but she's never done endurance.

When I got her she was on a flake of grass hay morning and evening, and about a pound of beet pulp (Farmer's Friend ShowSweet) soaked and fed sloppy for lunch. It seems to have a lot of sugar in it (it smells so sweet) and seemed sort of excessive once I got her, so I transitioned her to having a few pounds of grass hay and 12 ounces of LMF Super Supplement for lunch instead of the beet pulp. She used to be on pasture at her old place, and now she is in a small stall/ paddock. The hay she gets for breakfast and dinner is low-quality timothy, probably about 10-12 pounds total. Then for lunch she gets 2-3 pounds of high-quality orchardgrass and the LMF Super Supplement. I don't have a scale at the barn but I practiced holding hay on my bathroom scale. I have a deli scale for the pellets.

This poor pony is so out of shape. I rode her yesterday for a total of 5 miles. After 4 miles we averaged 3.8 mph but the last mile she was SO TIRED she barely moved, and we finished up averaging 3.5 miles. I have a GPS but no heart monitor yet (it's on my Christmas list) and I have a stethoscope but by the time we walk out the last mile and head back to her paddock/stall, she's pulsed down.

So, my question is, is the feeding regime okay for now? I had figured not to feed her any more until the fat was better. She has a terrific hay belly, but I'm looking more at the fat over her tailhead and twist and her crest. She has a nasty crest. I wonder if she might end up cushingoid when she gets older, she just has "that look". I don't see any patchy fat right now, though. My worry about the hay belly is that her feet, while they are round and pretty nice, are on the small side. (As the farrier put it, she's on the small side too so not to worry. But the tummy is horse-sized!)

She has a thick but not cushing-ish coat right now, and we live in California. Many people at our boarding stable clip and then they have a blanket service where a Nice Lady takes off the blankets in the morning and puts them back on in the evening. It gets wam here during the day but the temperature drops a lot at night. I'm considering going the clip-blanket route but just not quite organized enough yet.

Getting her fit enough to do an LD seems like such a huge undertaking right now, but at least if we ever get there I can think about how much progress we made.



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