Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Pig Horse"

Junior's been riding fine. His rhythm is back to normal at the lope and he doesn't seem to be resisting my corrections. Maybe he was a little sore somewhere. Wouldn't surprise me since he runs around like a fool in turnout all the time. I've been riding every other day or so and not too hard since the humidity is nasty. I rode for about an hour last night because it was cooler and the breeze was really nice.

KAT had finished a lesson, I rode by her, and she said "Wow, your horse might need to go on a diet." I had to laugh because I haven't yet asked her to tell me what she thinks of his body condition, but I guess I didn't have to. I do respect all of your opinions that he's not overweight, but when you can feel (or not feel as the case may be) his ribs and you can see that he's getting a positive crease at the top of his tail, and can see the crest on his neck and feel it, it's harder to tell. I looked at the body score chart and then had KAT go over the spots on him and yes, they are all rather too fleshy. He's a nice square horse so I think he hides it well, but once you get your hands on him it's more apparent. I should have taken my need to drop the girth a hole on the off-side (so that I had enough to tie!) that we were getting tubbier.

So we'll be going on a little bit of a diet, just for a bit. He seems to hold his weight really well over the winter since I pamper him with blankets, but I'll increase it again as soon as the grass is gone. Then perhaps next summer I'll slightly drop his feed when the grass comes in so that we try to maintain a steady weight instead of this up and down we've had for the first year. We were feeding him 2 scoops when he came home, but his previous owner's scoop must have been smaller than ours (yes, I KNOW you're "supposed" to weigh it) because he ballooned quickly. Then we dropped him to one and he maintained well at that until the summer grass came in. I know this yo-yoing isn't healthy so I'll try to manage it better. Going to weight-tape him tomorrow. If he doesn't improve I might start pre-bagging his feed. It's not a step I want to do since I'm paying for full care, but if I have to I will.

After my ride last night a mom and her little girl who had just finished their lesson came over to give Mighty (the stall next to Junior) a carrot and the mom told me "My daughter calls your horse Pig-Horse!" "Oh, that's.....nice." "Yeah, he's always sticking his nose out of the stall so we can feed him carrots!" "Yes, well, that's his trick. He begs." Kind of makes me want to put a sign on his stall that says "Please do not give Junior any treats!" since I give him lots of carrots myself, but I don't know if that's really part of the problem or not. But now that I think of it, if even a quarter of the lesson students give him treats you know, because he sticks his nose out (see my video "Junior wants a Cookie"), that's like 5 more treats a day, plus what I give him, plus what Max's mom gives him. That sounds like a lot.... I will have to consider this. I have a lesson on Thursday and I'm going to ride in my English tack. He's been doing nicely at extending his trot and at my last lesson KAT said "Wow, if he can do THAT at a show you'll be in the money for sure!" IF is such a frequent word for us!

1 comment:

  1. haha, I love the comment about the "pig horse" reminds me of Possum. Maintaining weight through the seasons can be hard to do and also depends on the weather. My rule of thumb is to always keep a close eye on them, adjust grain to hay/grass ratio and also to account for physical activity. it can be a balancing act for sure, but it seems like your right on top of it. Junior looks healthy and happy and that's the biggest thing to take into account.

    Good luck on your english lesson, you can channel some of my english rides cause that's all I do hehehe.