Body Conditioning

With our own horse to manage, we are now giving more thought to how to maintain healthy weight and muscle mass. When aiming to build muscle back up, it can be difficult at this time of year to balance with keeping spring grass fat at bay! We have resorted to strip grazing, just to be sure that she is not eating all the best picks of the grass at once, and while rain is scarce, to reserve some of the lush grass for the weeks to come. The track system, a great idea which I still stand by(!), has gone on hold for now, since discovering we have a field tape destroyer! 😀

She is on daily lo-cal balancer, with a lo-cal chaff and varied succulents, but this hard feed is a minimal addition, while the grass is still calorific and full of ample protein. Keeping up her daily exercise, even if just a brisk walk or in-hand work is important to keep fat from depositing from any calorie excess. We weigh-tape her regularly, and are starting to keep note of her body condition scoring. We also keep a check on any heat in the hooves and any increased digital pulse, since laminitis is such a huge risk in any horse.

It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks and months whether this weight management is working – every horse is so different, and we have already made regular (but gradual) changes. The picture below shows her 1 week after her arrival onto her new pasture and the beginnings of work:

1

Below is 4 weeks after arrival. 2 things I am pleased about here – lack of significant weight gain despite her rich grass paddock, and the improved posture of her currently slightly stiff hind end – I’m hoping she is relaxing into her work and routine and feeling a little looser at this stage :). Still a long way to go on muscle build, but with her hacking and hillwork now increasing, and with the start of some schooling work, I’m hoping to see some positive changes in that respect over the next few weeks!

4 weeks

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