The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:05 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1620
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Okay i will put my two cents in here.
Firstly I do believe that conformation/breeding plays a huge part here. Some horses are born on the front or back end. However we can do lots to encourage the bum to get bigger!
Nutrition is key. Not hard feed, what the horse would eat naturally (which would be 18 odd hours a day grazing small amounts of differing grasses and herbs). For most of us (without acres of land) we have to choose our grass feeds carefully. Where I live I have found oat hay the best source I can give my horse. Don't be fooled by the fact that your horse is grazing 24/7. If the nutrients in the grass are not enough he is not going to get muscled and will still need supplementing with hay. Grass (hay) must make up the bulk of the feed and the hard feed is purely there to give more energy for the work load required, not to put on weight. I truly believe the roughage (good quality) is what makes the horse.
Building bums can come from working hills and deep sand, wherby the horse has to use his bum muscles in order to move. This does not mean to take your horse out and make him do a 2 hour ride in heavy sand, but gentle short stretches on deep dry mud or sand, interspersed with easy going will certainly start to build those muscles. In winter when my horse is not so fit we will do hill road work. Walking hills is the most strenuous for a horse. If the horses diet only consists of hard feeds (including bulking with chaff), then he is going to use that energy to work and will have nothing left over for muscles and so it will be counter productive.
Some here feed lucern for really hard to weight horses. I have my own opinions on this, but for older horses it can be a way to keep the weight on. Obviously first choice for supplementation would be a mixed grass from a good source, but teff/oats and lucern will all be better than nothing if the grazing is poor.
So for me I look for weight/condition/muscling from my grass source and feed just enough hard feed (meal) to make sure he gets minerals/vitamins and a boost for work. I adjust his hay ration on an ongoing basis depending on the weather, time of year and what I physically see.
The quality of the hay also differs from different sources and so the amount depending on quality also comes into play.
His hard feed ration (twice a day) is adjusted only when I start to work more and feel that he needs more energy.
I unfortunately also have a small bum horse. It was the first thing I noticed when I bought him. Straight off the range at 3 and a half, his head was the biggest part!!!! His bum today does look more proportioned to the rest of his body but he will never have one of those impressive bums, it's just not in his breeding.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 2:44 pm
Posts: 1937
Location: The Hague, Netherlands
5 kg "paardenmeel" a day :D
Maybe call www.dommelschewatermolen.nl to find out if they sell it near you? Or I'll stuff up my car with it next time I see you :yes:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:13 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:03 am
Posts: 1351
Location: Washington, Maine USA
Man you have got to be nuts! Just kidding...

It's just that I spend my life trying to keep Lucy trim so she DOESN'T have an apple butt!!!!!

At times Jack loses weight and I feed him a low carb high fat feed, which there are many these days. Also, rice bran is really high in fat and I have been told that it is great for weight gain???

And yes grass is good for weight gain for some horses. Unfortunately here we have 'cow' pastures that are too rich for horses, especially mine, one being a draft and the other a founder case!

Also, as most of us here know, dental problems can interfere with weight gain. Jack has and probably always will have problems with his teeth, so I need to keep a really close eye on how he looks weight wise, as well as how he is chewing/grinding his food!

Brenda

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:47 am 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 2:40 pm
Posts: 4733
Location: Belgium
@ Bianca, thank you, but no where near.
We have to come out to you soon and then I shall take a bag from you (or more if you can miss it).

@ all: Of course Jamie's teeth where done and where fine considering his age (26 this month!), Ino won't let them be touched just yet so, I have to work on that (just as his hoofs). For now, I give them as much branches and hay to chew on as I can.

I had their dung examined and the worms would not be a problem either. I de-wormed them with Verm-X anyway.

The problem I am sure is 1. lack of grass and 2 this very heavy winter.

that is of course murder on an old horse's physique and Ino was getting again thin from not eating because of his stallion hormones.
But now he is gelded, he eats like an elephant! :)

Now, one of my pupils (Sandy, who reads on this forum) who has a holistic practisch told me to give the boys lactating mare food.
I found a nice enough lactatic mare muesli and started feeding that last week.
Jamie gets 2 buckets full and Ino half a bucket, Owen 2 scoops.

It looks like it's working and the muscles are starting to bulge out!

I'll keep you posted!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:48 am 
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Location: Belgium
Well, the mare mueslis working on Jamie for sure! It's like I see him gaining weight by the hour!

He feels good too, yesterday he made this high sqeek and then bucked and shaked like a foal!
I had not heard or saw this behaviour in a long time :D :applause:
Also he pushed Ralph aside ha ha ! Ralph looked utterly surprised :green:

Owen is looking better and better, but is still tired from the last asthma attack.

I am not sure if it is working on Ino, I still see ribs, but I think his buttocks are larger.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:15 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:24 pm
Posts: 1132
Location: Southampton, UK
Natalie wrote:
If you want a lovely bum on a horse get a Welshie!


haha! Oh how very true...both my girls have very ample bums...very huggable! :yes:

Despite the fact they are just about at the right weight they still have rather rounded bottoms....which makes them look chubbier than they actually are! :funny:

Sorry I can't help with the weight gain thing though,.....I spend my entire time trying to get mine to lose weight....chubby little monsters that they are! :D

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:34 am 
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Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 9:48 pm
Posts: 447
Location: UK
Quote:
The problem I am sure is 1. lack of grass and 2 this very heavy winter.


Yep! This very heavy winter.....has certainly taken its toll!

Karena is thinnest I have ever seen her after a winter, which is no bad thing cos she is laminitic prone and can be a very rubinesque horse in the summer - cos she is eating all the time!!

I also looked at my guys recently and thought aaarrrrghhhh! they have dropped off, look poor (ish) for what I'm used to seeing and have crappy coats. Mine have gone onto better pasture recently and are starting to pick up nicely. Little Shit was all rib bones and scraggy but he is looking sooo much better now (his owner doesn't feed him extras over hay/grass) so the grass is the major medicine.

Mind you Josepha..... 26 yrs old is certainly a contributing factor too. We have a 30 yr old on site and she's pretty thin too - the owner struggling to get the weight on.

As far as my own butt.....? When exactly did it do that???????? It used to be so pert! Sigh!!!!! But its got a matching belly!!!!!! I am a perfect Rubin woman!!!!!!!! :funny:

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 2:40 pm
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Location: Belgium
Hi :)

Well I too have weight I never had... sprouting saddle bags I am afraid so got to lay off the chocolate cake... but Ralph keeps baking it for me! :roll:
How can I resist???

Anyway, Don Jamie is really gaining weight! I have new raw feed, it is not hay, but hay in plastick. It is a little moist and smells like an italian salade!
Far better for Owen's lungs and I do not have to make it wet. I feed them as much as they can eat of it around the clock.

They like it better for they left their hay which I presented along side the new feed the first week.

Then Jamie gets almost two full medium tub trugs (!) of muesly for breeding mares, oak and lineseed-powder. He also gets a lot of carrots, apples and a bucket of pulp (no idea what to call it in English, its a sort of kibble which you put in a bucket with 2/3 water and swells enormously).
Also he gets al sorts of herbs, vitamins and minerals and is dewormed again with verm x.

And he has large branches of willow.

And last, since a month or so, he decided he does like rugs on afterall. Each evening he stands a long side a fleece blanket with blue tartan which we now call his pyajamas.
I put it on and it is very strange for me, that he actually wants this. I put a thin waterresistant rug over it. He then sighs and walks away again to resume eating. :)

Ino has gained weight, but not enough to my taste, but it is better, my vet says, untill he is clear from the anastatics anyway.

Warm regards,

Josepha

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:33 am 
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 5:52 am
Posts: 1852
Location: Taiwan, via NZ
I find with Rosie that it doesn't matter how much I feed her she doesn't put on weight.... until she's getting exercise regularly. I think a lot of the skinny stringy tb types are like that (like my husband too... ) can eat anything they like and not bulk up... have to have EXERCISE! With daily exercise Rosie's skinny butt bulks up to something quite pleasing within a few weeks... as long as the feed is enough at the same time. Now me and my horse are the "other" type... food makes us fat exercise makes us slim! :funny: Sue

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