Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fat Camp for the BBW

So the vet in June, when she did teeth, said that Sherm's looking a little chunky, and I should watch it.

I agreed, and shared the story of the un-stuffing of the saddle to get it to fit him properly.  I said at that time, now that I can get a saddle on him, we are getting to work and will be working off that fat!

Well, I came home from my trip to Maine, having spent several days away from him and in the company of horses who carry a much slimmer physique, and I said, "Oh my god; he's fat!"  I was sure at that time that we'd get back to work and get him trimmed down.

Well, heat ensued.  As did haying, and a summer course, and a week off due to eye surgery.  We didn't get in nearly as much work as I was hoping.  At the same time, two geldings moved out of his pasture, so now Sherm was sharing three acres of grass with just one other horse.  In addition, one of the two horses who moved out was his best friend, Moon, with whom he ran and frolicked and romped.  Now he's alone out there with the old man who doesn't play with him at all. They're just eating.  All the time.

The Chocolate Chunk Pony

The vet at Cornell said he needs to lose 200 pounds.  I thought that was a bit much-- I'd estimated 100.  But they weighed him in at 1,135, a good 100 pounds heavier than I'd estimated with my weight tape!  So we were all on the same page; he needs to lose 200 pounds!
He's a 4, but heading for 5! Augh!

But just before his surgery and his week off for recovery, we were getting in some really good work under saddle.  He was working through his back, and pushing hard with his hinds-- we were experiencing a breakthrough!  So, fat though he is, we'll get there!

Well, his first ride back after surgery was a little fussy, he didn't seem happy.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt-- he'd been off for a week, so maybe he was tired/sore/out of sorts.  

But it didn't get better.  It got worse.

We played with bits a little-- he seems fussy in his mouth, and might have some final teething issues.  Found a bit in which he was least fussy.

But by the third day back, he started to pin his ears back and dance around when I put the saddle on his back.

Sonofabitch!  He's gotten too fat, or else he began to build some muscle tone under some of that fat (unlikely), and his goddamn saddle doesn't fit.  Again.  And this time there's no stuffing to unstuff.

He is FAT.  Dangerously fat.  Scarily into laminitis's neighborhood fat.

So.  Now we do cardio work, all that we can safely do without stressing his joints and his feet.  (New farrier was here last week, who also said he's fat, scary fat.  He helped us out with some good trimming, so his feet are fit for the work he must do.)  Trot and canter on the lunge for 30-40 minutes, or until he's puffing hard.  Five days in to this new program, and he's already better balanced in his canter, and he seems to like the work.

Oy.  It's always something.

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