“You sometimes hear the old saying, ‘Fat is the best color.’ This means, of course, that fat covers a multitude of conformation faults and therefore looks good~ especially to the less discerning horseman.”
~Eleanor F. Prince and Gaydell M. Collier
I have never heard of this saying before (again it come from my new book: The Gigantic Book of Horse Wisdom) but it sure fits my fat little pony. Not that I agree with it. I hate a fat horse, I really do. On the Henneke Body Score I would like to see horses between a 4 and 5. Some like to see horses up to 6 and really that is probably the best for Corrie, but is a bit fat for my tastes.
When I say Corrie is fat, I mean fat. She is at least a 8 if not a 9 on the the Henneke Body Score. She does not even hold it well, she looks to have swallowed a box; typical of a brood mare. Corrie is an air fern, as some would call her. The worst I have ever seen actually.
I am a bit worried about her. She is on a grass pasture, well eaten down pasture. I also give her 1 cup of sweet feed with vitamin and joint supplements. That is not enough to make her fat. Plus she gets worked everyday. Not hard, but at least 30 to 60 minutes of walking and trotting. That has made no difference in her weight. None of the other horses are as fat as Corrie, even though she is the only one worked every day. We pulled her off of the pasture and put her on dry lot. When she comes here she will be on dry lot and a few hours of pasture with a muzzle.
While looking into this problem I have been doing a lot of reading about thyroid dysfunction. If you subscribe to The Horse (which is free) you can get this article on thyroid dysfunction. Summed up it says that it is really difficult to diagnosis a thyroid problem in horses and that it is really rare anway. It goes on to say that there are a lot of reasons that a horse could be having symptons that look like a thyroid dysfunction and that treating a horse for a thyroid problem when it does not have one could have the opposite effect we are looking for. Great.
This is another great article on feeding the fat horse. Again subscribe to The Horse. This article goes on about fat mares in particlar. It puts everything in persepective. Ponies were designed by nature to untilize feed very effectively. One thing that this article mentions is that just limiting the feed can often back fire. Horses need to graze, they are built to eat, but ponies need to eat really low quality feed. They even suggest feeding some straw. Never even thought of straw as a feed but now that I have Corrie I might add a little to her diet. I also want to get a few small mesh hay nets.
So many horse are overweight, I really take Corries weight seriously. Hopefully we can get this under control soon.