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Re: [RC] Newbie with a Concern - Truman Prevatt

The trend 15 years ago used to be "run 'em lean and mean." That trend started to change as some found their horses tended to do better with a little more weight. Then the pendulum seem to swing the other way. Today I think you see more of a variety. You sure don't see as many overly lean horses as we used to.

In reality I think the issues if the optimal weight is dependent on a lot of factors and it is going to vary from horse to horse. You hear human athletics all the time comment that they have an optimal weight. That optimal weight may appear to others to be "skinny" or it may appear to be "fat" but it is what works best for the particular individual. That's something each rider has to work out.

I know when my mare was in her prime I could not keep the weight on her. At one point I went to three feedings a day. She was on pasture 22 hours a day. The only time she was up was when she was eating her rations. I was adding calories any way I could from alfalfa to corn oil to even cracked corn and rolled barley added to her feed. She was lean but not too lean and I never had a problem with her. She 28 for 31 (50 mile plus starts) and 6 for 7 in 100 mile starts. She wasn't really skinny but given her lean lanky build and height to start with I am sure there were people who thought I was starving her.

My advice is to start out slow and learn everything you can. You have some good vets in Texas - ask them. They will be happy to give you their advice. However, at the end of the day you need to find the optimal weight for your horse. It will be different for your horse than my horse.


Janeene wrote:

I just attended my first endurance ride this weekend (the Texas Tango), and I had a great time as a volunteer. The ride was well-organized, people were extremely helpful and friendly, and it was just an overall great experience and it definitely motivated me to get more involved (I'm planning to do a 25 at next month's Armadillo). Here's my concern: the number of what I consider "skinny" horses I saw at this ride. Now, I know that human marathon runners are lean and sometimes downright skinny, but, if I had seen some of these horses in someone's pasture, I would have called a rescue to report neglect. To be fair, the top riders and their horses were not guilty of this; for the most part, their horses looked lean, but in good flesh and well-conditioned. The first-time riders seemed to all have horses in good weight. There were, however, a very large number of horses that just looked downright underweight (ribby with toplines prominent and hipbones protruding). What is up with this?&nbs p; Is it due to overconditioning? Underfeeding? Stress? I really am getting hooked with this sport, but I want to do right by my horses. I would love to hear some feedback from you guys....

Thanks in advance!

Janeene in Central Texas
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[RC] Newbie with a Concern, Janeene