Advice for a Miniature Horse

Last post 01-03-2012 5:12 PM by Missyclare. 10 replies.
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  • 12-30-2011 1:15 PM

    Advice for a Miniature Horse

    I've got a couple of questions about my mini (who is not actually a mini, because he's two inches higher than the maximum allowed :) ).  Lately I've noticed that he seems chubby, and because he had laminitis about five or six years ago (with the previous owner), I'm careful about his weight.  But when I feel over his ribs, I can easily feel them.  I know his hair has something to do with it; but it just seems that his hips and shoulders are a lot wider than they used to be, and is neck seems to have a little excess fat along the crest.  Is it possible for him to be putting fat in these areas and not over his ribs?

    If I determine that he is fat, I run into a new problem.  This horse is overreactive, and not suited for children to ride.  I've been messing around with trying to drive him, but with that he is even more overreactive.  Anyone have suggestions as to how to get weight off a horse that you can't do anything with?

    And lastly, this horse--thirteen years old--has been acting "old."  Whereas normally he preferred never to stand still (aka Mr. Hard to Catch, Mr. Run Rather Than See What That Bit of Plastic Is, etc.) now he is much more laid-back--which is great--but I also noticed yesterday that he had a little trouble getting up after laying down to roll, and he no longer rolls all the way over to get both sides.  Instead, he gets down on one side, rolls, gets up, gets down on the other side, and rolls.  He also doesn't handle the cold quite as well as he used to--he can handle it but he's more likely to shiver now then when I first got him, at ten years old.  I don't see how he could possibly be getting old yet--he's only thirteen and has never done much except be a pasture ornament and scare kids by running away with them.  So I'm wondering.....do I need to change something in my management?  Do I need to consider him a senior horse now, and take care of him accordingly (ie, put him on Senior feed, blanket him in cold weather, etc.)?  I would love to hear all the Miniature Horse advice you've got for me ;)

    "99.9% of horse problems come from either a lack of respect or fear--or both." ~Clinton Anderson
  • 12-30-2011 4:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Advice for a Miniature Horse

    I have 2 mini donkey jennies. They were overweight when I got them and I was watching what they ate but they were still tubby. Then a new vet--new to me, not new to vetting :)--suggested soaking their hay to take the sugar out of it. I now soak their dinner and they are looking much better. One of them was laminitic, and the soaking was good for that, too.

    I don't know enough about minis to guess on what might be troubling him, but I'd certainly suggest a vet visit to check him out. But even before the vet comes over, if the mini is shivering I would put at least a sheet on him.

    Is he a stallion? That could account for the cresty neck even when the ribs are easy to feel. He also might have started getting arthritic, which might have slowed him down and made it hard to move as he used to. A vet or chiropractor visit sounds called for. I'm sure others have ideas, too.
    Megan


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."

    Anonymous




  • 12-30-2011 6:39 PM In reply to

    Re: Advice for a Miniature Horse

     The barn I ride at once bought a horse that kind of had what you describe on your Mini. She had these pockets of fat deposites at the same places you described on your horse, but you could feel her every rib. We discovered it was because she wasn't getting the right nutrients in her feed. So we put her on our regular hay and added some vitamins and minerals and worked with her regularily and she evened right out. Where we live it can get pretty cold, so we like our horses to have just a little fat layer over their ribs to help keep them warm- but that's only for winter; with your mini having trouble with laminitis in the past, I don't know if that would be an isue or not.

     

    In my small experience with mini's, I've noticed they're just like anyother horse. The only thing is they're smarter, and a lot harder to find someone capeable of handling them because they're so small (at least with riding- anyone can get their respect and work them on/from the ground).

    I don't know if that helps at all, but I hope you find a solution and I wish you luck!

    Seven Days Without A Horse Makes One Weak ~ Author Unknown

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! ~ Phillipians 4:13
  • 12-31-2011 5:17 PM In reply to

    Re: Advice for a Miniature Horse

    BlueRoanMustang:
    We discovered it was because she wasn't getting the right nutrients in her feed.

    I'll bet that's his problem.  He gets free choice hay (only because the others do, too, and because I don't have a permanent means of separating him) and although it's decent hay, it's not the absolute best.  He only gets a tiny, tiny amount of grain (this too, only because the others do) and no vitamin/mineral supplement.  I thought he was doing fine without it, but I'll put him on one and see if that turns him around.

    He's not a stallion; but he's pretty hard to lunge and work because he'd much rather be somewhere else.  I guess I could pony him, though.  And the idea of him having the beginning stages of arthritis makes a lot of sense, too, because he's still as spooky as he used to be, just not quite as quick or athletic, and I imagine that the extra pounds on him are adding extra stress (since he's gotten chubby he's seemed slower).  I'll have my vet check him out and let me know.  That would explain his resistance to getting his feet trimmed, too (not to mention that he's already put into an uncomfortable position because of his small size).

    Thanks a lot for all the advice!!

    "99.9% of horse problems come from either a lack of respect or fear--or both." ~Clinton Anderson
  • 01-01-2012 6:20 PM In reply to

    Re: Advice for a Miniature Horse

    By the way, will just a sheet (no fill) be good enough for keeping on him to keep him from shivering, or should I go to a medium-weight (around 180-240 g, and taking into consideration that he has a thick winter coat)?

    "99.9% of horse problems come from either a lack of respect or fear--or both." ~Clinton Anderson
  • 01-01-2012 7:47 PM In reply to

    Re: Advice for a Miniature Horse

    If he's got a thick winter coat I would think just a sheet will do it. What are the low temps at night? My mares haven't had anything on at all this winter, and the temps have gone as low as 29˚. They just get extra hay on cold nights, and they're always out in their paddocks when I feed at 0500, often the coldest time of night. They're not cold: if they were they'd be in their stalls. Horses are much better at holding in their body heat than we are b/c they have such a huge body mass. It would be different if he was clipped, but I doubt he is. But, if he has a thick coat and he still shivers it may be something else. Try the sheet and see how it does, then try a mid-weight turnout (200g of fill) if he still shivers. If he needs the med-wt blanket, make sure the vet knows of that, also, he when gets checked.
    Megan


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."

    Anonymous




  • 01-02-2012 11:48 AM In reply to

    Re: Advice for a Miniature Horse

    Our low temps are really weird this year.  We're having a relatively mild winter; but last week the lows at night were in around the thirties, and this week they're down in the teens (typical northern MO weather).  He hasn't shivered quite as much this year as last year.

    The main thing is the wind, and he has a big, open barn to go into, but because the hay's outside and his buddies can handle the cold better he doesn't go in very often.  So I'll try a sheet and see how he does.  Thanks for the advice!!

    "99.9% of horse problems come from either a lack of respect or fear--or both." ~Clinton Anderson
  • 01-02-2012 1:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Advice for a Miniature Horse

    As I cleaned stalls this morning I was thinking of your mini's cresty neck. It had just occurred to me that a cresty neck on a horse who is not overweight can be a symptom of insulin resistance. That is definitely something the vet will see when he/she checks the mini. If he IS insulin resistant you need to change his feeding, the vet will tell you what you need to do. And a vet visit should be made ASAP, as IR is nothing to ignore. IR may be the basis of all of the problems you described.

    Also, if the temps are in the teens WITH wind I'd go with a med-wt turnout. A wind of 20 mph can drop the temp by 10˚. The sheet will be all you need--it'll be a wind breaker--if it's in the 30s, but in the teens I'd suggest more. I don't know how humid MO is, but if it is humid that will make the temps feel even lower.
    Megan


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."

    Anonymous




  • 01-03-2012 12:13 PM In reply to

    Re: Advice for a Miniature Horse

    The laminitis in the past is good warning of IR. The fatty crests are also symptoms of Cushings which he is old enough to slip into. Soaking the hay is a good first move. Using a slow feeder will make the job easy for soaking, (30mins) hanging and done. No nothing added to the diet in the form of bagged feeds. High iron is another problem. Glucosamine in joint supplements promotes IR...just about everything does, unfortunately, even Vit C. Strip the diet right down and re-build it with balance. I would get the hay tested and just supplement the things to fill the holes to find perfect balance. No grass (but must move, so muzzle them), no apples, no weeds, no carrots, no treats, no grain. Call in the vet and discuss this and about getting a ACTH blood test done to find out where your insulin/glucose is...may need Pergolide to address it. (now called Prescend) Also check the thyroid levels. Being this way depresses the thyroid, slowing metabolism and making it harder to lose weight and crests no matter how much the exercise. Avoid the dex suppression test. It can elevate him into instant laminitis...sensitivity confirmed the hard way. Shivering and unable to regulate body temperature is also a sign of depressed thyroid. His coat should be doing a great job by itself. Pain is also depressing and it may be going on in his feet and should definitely be checked, trim balanced and stayed on top of. At this stage, I honestly think this your problem is at and where these steps must be taken. Start by calling in the vet and get tested.

    Ponies differ from some horses as having the thrifty gene. In the wild, in the face of starvation, its the pony that will survive, but in the face of lush pasture, its the pony that will suffer first because of it, minis included. Provided he's sound, I would pony him, as you have a feeling that this will work for you. Drag him along and ignore the complaints and soon he'll be looking forward to these adventures. Every step he takes in excercise, takes him away from all this. Excercise and balanced diet will completely take him away from all of this if things haven't been complicated by Cushings. Then he'll need help. So drag the younger one along too, cause you don't want him to end up in this diabetic boat as well. If not sound, put on padded boots, find the comfort and keep moving anyway.

     Go here for cutting edge research on this problem and all the right help as well....even on how to educate your vet if you need it. Its quite a journey, but your minis degree of suffering and length of life are at stake. I do believe you have arrived on this doorstep. Best wishes.

     http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/EquineCushings/

     

     

  • 01-03-2012 1:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Advice for a Miniature Horse

    I have been wondering about IR....he definitely reminds me of the pictures I've seen of IR horses: chunky, with especially cresty necks.  I will definitely have him checked.

    "99.9% of horse problems come from either a lack of respect or fear--or both." ~Clinton Anderson
  • 01-03-2012 5:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Advice for a Miniature Horse

     PS. About the blanketing and the shivering. Have faith in the hair coat's ability to keep warm. They have 17 different layers of loft they can extend it to when needed. The only time the coat won't work for them is if they are in wind, clipped or blanketed and this does not include rain or snow. Could be that he has opted to stand there and shiver, rather than move to create heat because of low grade laminitic pain, which doesn't have to be currently under way. It could be soft tissue damage hurting from past laminitis....called winter laminitis. Hoof boots and success with shipping boots for adding extra warmth and promoted blood flow helps.   Just saying, the shivering could be a choice he himself has made. 


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