I’m happy to say, progress has been made when it comes to Charm’s physique. She’s no longer so tubby with that awful hay belly.
I started taking pictures of her each week starting in March to document her progress. At first, it didn’t seem anything was changing. She seemed to look the same. By last week I saw a difference and now this week it was pretty obvious.
Here is her “before” picture.
We did a lot of trotting and also, her food intake was slightly cut back. The horses usually have round bales in the pasture that are covered with nibble nets. It’s definitely an all you can eat buffet, but the nibble nets help them not to eat as fast and eat as if they were grazing.
With spring coming and the pasture slowly coming in, they were fed a little less.
Here she is now.
(Sorry for the poor picture quality.. the iPhone doesn’t do the best in arena light. Also in this picture, you can see that her font leg is turning toward me slightly.. she was taking a step toward me.. so she’s not perfectly straight.)
As you can see, the belly has sucked up quite a bit and she just all around looks thinner. I am pleased that progress is finally being made since she’s been overweight for the past year. She’s defiantly an easy keeper and needs regular exercise.
I can also tell that she’s lost a few because of how my saddle is fitting her. I haven’t ridden in a saddle since February. When I put it on the back cinch was very loose. So she’s practically to her “fit” weight.. a little more and I will be able to tighten it up another notch.
Also, another thing to discuss is that Charm was having some pain issues the past 5 weeks. At first, I assumed it was PMS. Charm can get cranky. When I would place the bareback pad near her, immediately her ears would pin back and she would throw her head up. The pad is at most two pounds, so I was baffled as to what the heck was going on. Then clinching up also caused a reaction. Then while riding she wouldn’t like if I used my right leg (softly) for ques. After this happened a couple of rides in a row I was certain she was in pain. So I took it easy with her until she could be seen by the equine chiropractor.
We had our appointment recently and it turns out Charm was indeed having some issues. Here is her report card from the session.
I am not sure what caused her to be like this. The ice in the pasture was really bad this year. Standing on that day-to-day, along with the usual herd play/fight dynamic I’m sure it’s possible she either fell or was kicked.
After her adjustment, I noticed that her walk was more loose and rhythmic.
Now, this bring me to my next point. After addressing the saggy belly (which we’ve made progress on), now it’s time to overall tone and shape her body. Dr. Patty pointed out that she would like Charm to develop a stronger topline. From her poll to her tail is lacking muscle and tone. Also her stifles felt loose from sitting around most of the winter. So we need to strengthen those as well. My next missions is to help Charm move in a way that promotes her to use her stomach muscles and to create a round, strong, and fit horse.
This is were hill therapy will come into play. I want to encourage her to use her hind end and drive from the hindquarters. Not to pull herself along. Ideally, I need to help her rate her speed so going up is the same speed as going down. Also now that the ground is dry we will go on some nice trail rides too. So now we are at the next phase of this quest for a fit and healthy horse. I’ll keep taking pictures so you can see our progress.