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Discussion on Hay Belly

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Vicki
Member
Username: Horse4u

Post Number: 23
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 11, 2005 - 8:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My mare looks really great, except for her belly.
She gets ridden 3-4 times per week either on the trail or in the ring. She has been on pasture all summer and now she has free choice hay. She gets fed 8oz. Triple Crown lite, 3 ozs hoof supplement, minerals,a squirt of oil and a handful of grass forage (to make her think she is eating and to keep her busy so she doesn't take the other horses feed). She loves to eat. Some people say she looks great, others say she is fat. She has a lot of energy, good shiny coat, is happy and willing. Without the hay belly, she would look fit. She is only 14'2, so it probably looks even bigger. Should I be concerned? If so, what do you suggest? I would not give her any grain at all, but she is out in the pasture and would go beserk if the others ate and she didn't. She will charge right through an electric tape to get to food.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 13890
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 12, 2005 - 8:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

You do not judge horses by the size of their belly because fat is mainly stored on the body not in the abdomen, for more on judging horses conditions see, Care for Horses » Particular Situations & Procedures » Weight, Condition, and Eventual Height Estimation.

To reduce the belly size you need to understand a bit about the physiology here and it is not done by reducing concentrate. As long as the forage is plentiful she will adjust her intake to meet her energy needs. The body responds by giving her plenty of room in the gut to process the large amount of forage needed to meet her daily needs. As long as her overall condition remains good you do not have anything to worry about.
DrO
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Vicki
Member
Username: Horse4u

Post Number: 24
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 12, 2005 - 9:49 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

DrO

Thank you! I read your article in nutrition and found it very helpful. From your response, I would take it that I should continue with what I am presently feeding her.

Would you suggest any changes?

I do love this website! Whenever I have a problem this is where I come to ask my questions. I know I will get answers from you and others who are experienced in what's best.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 13893
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 12, 2005 - 11:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the kudos Vicki,
Because we cannot examine the horse, the decision must be based on your observations and judgement and that is what we really try to do, educate you on what to look for and how to judge it. If after studying the article on judging condition you are happy with your horses condition then you should not make changes after all what you doing now seems to be getting a very good result. As to changes it depends on what you find. The article on Care for Horses » Nutrition » Equine Nutrition an Overview of Feeding Horses will explain how to adjust feeds to get to the desired condition.
DrO
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