Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Shots

Despite the weather, is it officially fall here in NJ.  The horses all had their fall shots and physical this week.  Spider passed with flying colors, of course.  The vet was very impressed with Vinny's condition and vigor (I showed her the gate he mangled last week).  He doesn't look or act like a 28 year old horse. And then we got to Matilda.  Matilda did not pass her physical.  The words "overweight", "potential for founder" and "diet" were used a lot.  The vet actually thinks she's gotten fatter since the spring. Ouch.

The prescription: more exercise and a grazing muzzle.  Matilda only gets hay and grass, but that is still too much.  Her current "exercise program" only involves walking around the pasture and giving the kids lead line rides a few times a week.  It's just not enough.  On the 1-9 Henneke body condition scoring system, Matilda is somewhere around a 20. Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but she's definitely obese.

I haven't gotten the grazing muzzle yet.  I know that's going to go over like a lead balloon and I'm honestly sort of dreading it.  I have started her on an exercise program, though.  She is now getting lunged for 15 minutes at trot every day.  That's a lot of work for a very fat pony, I'll increase it as she gets more fit. She isn't terribly thrilled about it, but I explained to her that it was better than the grazing muzzle (or laminitis).
Matilda says, "This exercise stuff is for the birds! I'll be chillin' on the deck if you need me."

In other news, I'm taking Spider to a schooling show this Sunday to do 3rd Level Test 1.  That should be exciting, we haven't been to a show since last May.  It's just a schooling show, and it's at a friend's farm, so I'm not too worried about making a complete ass of myself.  As I've gotten older I find it nearly impossible to take shows too seriously, anyway.  You can't condense hours of training into 5 minutes in a show ring in any sort of meaningful way.  The test will be whatever it's going to be and there will always be another show.  At this point in the game, I'm just happy to be riding down centerline... score be damned!


  1. Can't wait to hear about the show - good luck!!

    *Fluffy pony* ;D

  2. I sympathize with Matilda. Chance and Tucker are on sparse rations and just keep the weight on. Easy keepers are hard to manage and she is not exactly the size for you to ride.

    Have fun at the show! That's my motto. I gave up worrying about my score, but usually set just one objective to accomplish each test. If I managed that, I left the arena happy.

  3. Awwww poor little roly poly Matilda. It seems to be a bigger issue with ponies, trying to manage their weight. I help a girl with her mare sometimes and where she keeps her mare there is a pony that is wider than he is tall. No one seems to care that they are potentially killing this pony. I try to tell them but they do not listen.

    Anyway, good luck on your show, but yes...mostly go have fun!

  4. Poor little Matilda, I have a simialr problem with my little Poppy Poppin. SHe is meant to be a companion for Sam but she is locked up n a very large dirt yard for about 22hrs a day. I also find soaking hay for an hours and drying it helps a lot with her weight. I don't think she likes it but I tell her all about laminitis and how she doesn't want it. I also lunge her a few times a week or sometimes I will lead her off Sam. At one stage we got upto being able to trot for 10min, walk break for 2min and trot for 10min when leading off Sam.

    I envy you not getting worked up about shows, even traiing days. Sam and I competed last weekend in a dressage competition and even though we have improved out of sight at home I rode so badly at the competition, resorted back to all my old habits due to the nerves!!!!!

    Good luck at the training day though! Sounds like fun!


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