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 Post subject: The weight...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2015 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:58 am
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Location: Germany
I am sometimes worried about Frodurs health, especially because of his weight.
In July, we moved to another stable, because I felt that he was getting dangerously fat in our old stable. (This was one of two big reasons.) We moved to a stable with icelandic horses who don't need a lot of food (except for one of them - this really shows again that horses are individuals) and I thought he would lose some weight there.

In fact, I know have the feeling that his fat depots in fact have become bigger, not smaller!

Before, he had 24h on the pasture and in the winter time also 24h hay, in addition to the pasture. Now, he has 24h stray and a really meager pasture in the summer time, with some new grass every day. Besides that, he gets some oat and some herbs. In winter time, the horses will have 24h stray and 2 times a day hay, but no pasture.

How can it be that his neck looks even fatter now? (It seems to make no difference at all if he gets much pasture or not - if I knew that before, he could also have stayed on the 24h pasture...now he won't have any pasture in the winter time and I think he won't like that :sad: )

I'm worried that he will get sick (EMS or laminitis or something like that), but I also don't want to reduce the food even more than I already did, because that is so stressful for him. Difficult situation...

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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:00 am
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Location: Scotland
I just give them the amount of food that they ask for . The field that the horses mainly live in has very little grass , so for the second half of the year if the horses want grass they just ask too , either going to the other field , by waiting (or leading us ) to the top gate , or they ask to go down to the dell by standing ( or leading )us to the bottom gate :smile: . With hay i simply adjust the amount depending on if he is hungry in the mornings ( as we give them hay each night) In the spring and summer we generally tape off some of the main field so that the grass can grow , and move the tape fowards abit each day , so they get an amount of grass each day - if they want more they simply tell us :) .

I must say that for me the weight thing isn't that much of an issue. To me it feels that I have to decide between a happy life for my horses (i.e. living together as a herd, not being too hungry) and a healthy life in terms of fitness. As I feel that I cannot have both at the same time, my prefernece is clear. Perhaps they will die a few years earlier because of that, but for me quality of life matters more than time. :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 6:05 pm 
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Location: Germany
Ali, that's exactly my opinion, too :thumright: If I had to decide, I'd rather have him happy and confident than slim. But sometimes I'm afraid of these bad illnesses like EMS or laminitis.

But today, I managed to shift these fears away and he could eat as much grass as he wanted to on our trip outside, and even some acorns, which scared me again because I learned that these acorns are "food for fattening", but he was so determined about this and absolutely wanted to eat some so I let him look for them in the autumn foliage and he had lots of fun searching them :funny:

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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:00 am
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Location: Scotland
Avaris wrote:
Ali, that's exactly my opinion, too :thumright: If I had to decide, I'd rather have him happy and confident than slim. But sometimes I'm afraid of these bad illnesses like EMS or laminitis.


It is very interesting though that Mr and Bug are not particularly over weight , even with the unlimited assess to food that they can have . According normal feeding guidelines that the vets and people give out , Bug is definitely supposed to have Laminitis by now and also Mr i suppose ;) . But both Mr and Bug are completely healthy and they manage how much they eat very well .

I suppose it is really just that they stop eating when the are full , because they know that they will always have enough food , so they do not need to eat all of it now . Or that is at least my hypothesis for it :)


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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:58 am
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Location: Germany
That would be my favourite solution, too - but I already tried this for about 1 year and unfortunately it seemed that Frodur would not stop eating when he should be full...he just gained more and more weight with 24h access to hay and luscious pasture. So I thought that our current stable might be a good compromise. The pasture is open 24h, but they only get "new luscious" grass once a day when we move the fence a little bit further. Plus 24h access to straw (instead of hay). And in the wintertime, they will have 2 or 3 times a day a meal of haylage or hay, and 24h access to straw. So basically he could eat all day long, but without getting too much of this "fattening foods", at least that was the plan...

I now decided to wait a few more weeks/months to see how his body will change during wintertime.

But I'm not sure what to do regarding the extra food. At the moment, he get's 2-3 hands of Aspero, which is a mixture of finely chopped straw, hay and herbs, and about 0,5 liter of black oats. And a mineral feed of course.
Does he really need 0,5 liter of oats...shall I continue to feed this or not...many people are shocked to hear that my wild horse gets oat, but others also think that oats is very good for all kind of horses... :huh:

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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:13 pm 
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Location: Dresden, Germany
Why does he get oat? I have never heard that it's good to feed oat (but often that it's the best thing you can give IF you have to feed grain), but then I am no food expert at all. I am surprised about the 0.5 liters as well - that's half of what Titum gets, and with him this seems to have a major effect in terms of making it possible to keep his weight at an acceptable level - without it he started to turn into a skeleton, now that he is getting older.

I guess my horses get similar amounts of grass as Frodur (putting the fence further once a day) but minus the straw and for everyone except Titum also minus the oat. And still SumPiBa are quite fat, but I cannot reduce their food intake even further, so for us being fat is something we can't change without compromising the way I want them to live (as a herd, access to food all day).

That said, I often wonder whether being overweight has really turned into such a HUGE and serious problem nowadays or whether many horse people just have enough time and energy so that they can create and sustain this worry for themselves. In my area, horses don't seem fatter than they used to be when I was a child, but back then almost nobody was worrying about it, and nowadays it seems like there hardly is a horse who can survive without a grazing muzzle or other means of limiting their food intake. Most people are really scared about their horses getting ill. Sometimes I wonder whether this trend would also have emerged if there was no internet, or whether horses would have kept on being animals who can live without massive human intervention, just like other animals. And I am curious whether in another twenty years cows and sheep will wear grazing muzzles and get all kinds of special food as well.

I really don't mean to belittle anyone's worries. I just think it's so interesting how perceptions change over time, and wondering how much of that is really necessary, and how much of it is functional for the humans involved.


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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:58 am
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Location: Germany
Romy wrote:
Why does he get oat?


I started to feed oats when he lost all his energy during changing the coat. I was worried ( ;) ) because of his sudden listlessness and lack of energy, and a friend of mine suggested to try oats before worriyng too much, so I tried this and it seemed to help. But now, he's bursting of energy again and doesn't seem to need it anymore, so I decided to stop the oat now. I honestly didn't know that oat is used to feed horses fat, I always thought that barley or corn are used to do this (or some dubios mueslis). A friend of mine has an arabian gelding who needs "tons" of corn and muesli to keep his weight during wintertime. As I'm writing this, it just comes to my mind that she also feeds him some oat, though...
Three of the six icelandic horses of our herd also get oat, so this seemed to be quite normal for these kind of horses (I couldn't find ANY word for "leichtfuttrig", sorry :blush: ) so I decided to give it a try.

Well, now he'll only get his Aspero + mineral feed and I am quite sure that he will keep his energy and joy, and that this lack of energy was just because of the warm winter coat plus the warm temperatures which he had that days. It was really warm, around 18-20°C, and he's a horse that cannot handle warm weather as good as cold weather. (Just like me :funny: )

And I can observe if this will change anything regarding his body and weight. But the more I think about it, the more I guess that it will indeed.



Romy wrote:
That said, I often wonder whether being overweight has really turned into such a HUGE and serious problem nowadays or whether many horse people just have enough time and energy so that they can create and sustain this worry for themselves. In my area, horses don't seem fatter than they used to be when I was a child, but back then almost nobody was worrying about it, and nowadays it seems like there hardly is a horse who can survive [...]



THAT thought came to my mind, too :yes:

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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:33 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:04 am
Posts: 23
If they get fat in summer and thinner in winter I believe that is not such a big problem, that is what their bodies are "made for". But if they stay fat in winter because their humans are afraid of them not being round enough, well, then they start fat into the grass season - maybe that is what makes them ill? I am just thinking about one of our cats who lives outside of our house, she always manages to get really fat when winter comes and when spring is near she loses weight, and she is the most healthy and beautiful cat I can imagine!

This summer I was really happy for my older mare to get a bit fat because last winter she really got way too thin... my little shetty got so fat this summer, she looks as if there was a second shetty inside her - she needs to loose weight just because she can't move very well if she stays that fat :blush:


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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:49 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:58 am
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Location: Germany
Sounds logical to me. I was already wondering if Frodur might have this urge to get fat in autumn a little bit more than our other horses because of being a half wild horse - or he just loves to eat :funny:

It is funny and very interesting to watch him choosing what to eat when we are outside. You could think he's just eating everything that's near his mouth, but when having a closer look, you can see that he clearly chooses several things while avoiding other things. He likes to eat the leaves of an oak tree, and the fruits from the hawthorn, while he's not interested in all the other trees at the moment. And when grazing outside, he's very picky with the places he want to graze. He made me see how many different types of grass we have outside. Oh I think I'm getting off - topic :funny:

Do you want to share a picture of your shetty?

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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:22 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:04 am
Posts: 23
Avaris wrote:
I was already wondering if Frodur might have this urge to get fat in autumn a little bit more than our other horses because of being a half wild horse - or he just loves to eat :funny:

Maybe a bit of both? ;)

Yes, it is fascinating, we have some appletrees on one of our pastures and the first time the horses were crazy about the apples we could not take away fast enough but very soon their interest weakened and they (well, mostly Lilly, my Shetty) started to be very interested in acorns... it changes with the time of year doesn't it?

Well, yes, it is the little red pony making the weird face :funny:
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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:58 am
Posts: 227
Location: Germany
Oh she looks gorgeous - so much character :love:

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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:51 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:04 am
Posts: 23
I hope when saying "character" you don't actually mean "fat" :D :funny:


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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:58 am
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Location: Germany
Hahaha :funny: No I don't, really. I meant that she looks like a person who knows exactly what she wants to me. (Character isn't the right word, I guess, since being shy or withdrawn is a kind of character as well).

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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:04 am
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This is getting a bit off topic but yes, she absolutely is! :love: But I also know what she wants: Food! Lots of food! :hap: And a good scratch as she has sweetitch. And sometimes she also likes to see if her weird human wants to play with her (which means: lots of food! :funny: ) She accompanies me and my "Old Lady" Lyn since 5 months now and I think we will have tons (haha) of fun together!


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 Post subject: Re: The weight...
PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:58 am
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Location: Germany
Today, after 3 days of absence because I was ill, I found out something :funny:
Frodur and at least two other geldings are eating SO many acorns that you can even see some parts of the paring in their droppings! :ieks: I hope he will stop that soon. Today they get a new pasture with much more grass on it (I'm not sure if I like THAT, though), which also has some acorns, but maybe they will concentrate on the new grass. I hope.

Well, it's the last two (or so) weeks with open pasture so I guess the horses shall just enjoy their grass :smile:

But he doesn't get any oat in his extra food anymore since 3 days. (Tons of acorns must be enough :D )

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