"Smile! It keeps your brain from falling out when you're frustrated!" - Clinton Anderson (Downunder Horsemanship)

"They say boys never grow up, their toys just get bigger. I say I never grew up, my 'My Little Ponies' just got bigger!" - Me

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weight Games

With all the wedding stuff going on over the last 3 weeks, I really haven't had time to do much with my horses other than run down to the barn, feed them, make sure no one's hurt, clean their feet out, and head home. I just haven't had time to pay attention to all the little details like I normally do. (I'm usually a pretty fussy horse mom!) But with the wedding and honeymoon behind us, I finally have a week of getting back to normal and spending a little bit more time with my furkids, and what do I discover......

Leave the furkids alone for 3 weeks and their weight goes all over the place!! I have fat, I have skinny, and I have slightly plump! Maybe not as noticeable to the eye, but the weight tape tells no lies!

I never used to weight tape my horses much, but about two years ago I started weight taping all three of them regularly to prove a point to the barn owner where I board, because numbers don't lie. And since then, I have continued to do so fairly often and kept a notebook logging dates and weights of all three of the furkids. Which has been handy, because now I have an idea of where they should be in the summer and where they should be in the winter, and have a better idea of when they are gaining or losing weight before I really notice the weight gain or loss.

Really taking a look at the furkids this week, I knew Wayne looked skinny, and the girls looked fat, so last night it was weight tape time.......

Cody, I'm not too worried about. Yes, she's plumped up some, she's got a crease down her back, but we're coming into winter, and she's at the weight she was going into the last two winters, so no big deal there. She's within her normal weight range, so she's my slightly plump girl.

Lady, well, she's always fat. All she has to do is look at food, and she gains weight. Some of it is just her broodmare belly that makes her look pregnant even when she's not. Not much we can do about that. Six babies in a row starting at age 3 doesn't do much for a girls figure. Before the whole craziness of the wedding kicked into full gear, Lady was at a pretty decent weight for Lady. But then she went from a pasture with little grass, to lots of grass, and went from being ridden 3 or 4 days a week, to 1 day a week, and boy has she turned into a butter ball!

I decided to ride her for a little bit last night, and at first I thought someone had bit her by her shoulder while I was brushing her out because she had a swollen spot there. But then I took a step back and really took a good look at her, and no, it wasn't a bite mark, her fat pads are all filled in. Nice fat deposits on both shoulders, around her tail head, and nice cresty deposit on her neck. My next clue was having to let my cinch out a hole, which I've never had to do with her since I bought this saddle least year. Oh Lady, you silly girl.......

So after our ride, I hauled out the weight tape, and yikes, Lady is "30 pounds" heavier than she's ever been over the last two years, even when she was at her fattest on spring grass!! No wonder she was huffing and puffing after only trotting two laps around the arena! I want her a little heavier going into winter, but this is just a little too heavy, especially when the fat pads are showing! And that's all grass! Because she only gets one pound of grain a day right now (soon to be a half a pound), just enough to mix her joint supplements in to get them down her. Thankfully the grass is getting eaten down fast in that pasture, so that will definitely help, and getting ridden more now will help too. So I'm not too worried about her, she'll slim down a little. But turn my back for a while, and she definitely got rollie pollie!

Wayne is the one I feel really bad about. Since he's individual turnout, the grass in his pasture is limited. In the summer there's usually enough grass to support him, but with fall coming on, the grass is getting less and less. I've been giving him some soaked hay cubes morning and night to supplement the dwindling grass. But looking at his weight, it's obvious the grass ran out at some point, and the hay cubes he's been getting aren't enough to keep his weight up. He's definitely skinny. Not horribly so, but he definitely needs to gain some weight before the snow flies. I feel bad, I should have paid closer attention over these past weeks. But he's up to his winter ration of hay cubes now of three square meals a day, so he should be fat and happy again by the time the snow starts to fly. Poor old man.

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