September 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm
This topic has been beat to death but I want to hear what Smartpakers have to say!
My older mare has always wanted to run around with her back hollow and she has high withers to make matters worse. A couple years ago she lost the ability to eat hay and lost a lot of weight before we figured out to supplement her with alfalfa cubes. We had her working in the right direction until a barn owner just stopped feeding my horses while I was busy getting married. Thankfully she is now up to a good weight but her topline is absolutely atrocious.
I’m trying to take her on hilly trail rides at least once a week and plan on some trot poles and working on long and low. She’s on SmartCombo Senior and starting this month I also added Tri Amino (just in case she’s lacking the ability to make muscle!)
What has worked for anyone else in the past for building a topline? We’re super against the odds with her age (26), not to mention her arthritis. If there is something else I can be doing, though, I want to do it!September 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm
My gelding is 27 and his back is also hollow/sinking with higher withers. I don’t think there is anything we can do—I have a thick saddle pad so the saddle doesn’t cause problems but I think the topline is gone. I try to keep his weight even so that if he lays down he is able to get back up without a lot of added weight. My horse has never been “weighty” but of slender build. He looks good except for his back. Pasture 24/7. You could try some suppling and collection exercises to maybe help your horse round her back and collect herself but if it’s sunk, it’s sunk. Age, there is nothing we can do about it.September 6, 2013 at 10:01 am
Oh I know I’ll never be able to go without a bump pad! (Oh wait, I never could!) I’m just concerned about the lack of “meat” on her back. We use so many pads when I ride that she shows no discomfort but it just looks so bad! But again I don’t want to pack on the pounds because she is arthritic. The oldies are a crazy balancing act.
If you close one eye and hold a hand over her midsection she looks great though! HahaSeptember 6, 2013 at 10:36 am
I think the “meat” may be gone too. You don’t want the added weight of fat anywhere else since she has arthritis. Just brush gently in that area when you groom so you don’t hurt her. My horse’s “meat” is gone from his wither area to shoulder so I use a soft brush there. You may also want to talk to your vet to see if there is a supplement or something you can feed her to bulk up that area. I also have been riding bareback to give his back a break from the saddle.September 6, 2013 at 11:11 am
I’m interested to see what the Tri-Amino might do for that area. She is on Nutrena senior which has guaranteed levels of lysine, methionine and threonine but for $13 I figured it was worth it to try the Tri-Amino too.
There’s a supplement that I found that is “guaranteed” to put a topline back on your horse… for $105/mo! The only things on the analysis for it were the amino acids. I will have to write back if I see any results with my cheaper route in the next couple of months!
A bit off topic, but my mare’s withers get rubbed horribly from her blanket in the winter. She can’t eat hay so she has no way to produce body heat between meals so there’s really no way around blanketing her. Do you blanket your gelding and have similar issues?September 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm
Does your blanket fit well? There is a way to measure for a blanket on the net…you can google blanket fit. Yes, I blanket my horse in the winter. My gelding is 27 and has no chewing teeth left. I have to give him hay cubes soaked in lots of water. He scarfs that down. I fix the cubes in a 5 gallon bucket. You could try that. You can feed cubes per the bag instructions. I mix timothy alfalfa cubes. I don’t feed per the bag cause my horse gets complete feed also so the hay has to be adjusted. I do give him more cubes in the winter than summer. Right now he is getting cubes once a day and usually at night since he can’t eat grass either. Wads it up and spits it out. Another thing about blankets, I have soft ones. I used a canvas one once and it rubbed terribly. You could try adding some lambswool/sheepskin padding across the wither area. You can get that from a fabric store and then have it stitched onto the blanket. Add enough so it goes down over the shoulders or at least to the top of the shoulders and then back far enough to cover part of the back spine or wherever she is getting rubbed. You might also consider a what I call “sleazy”…..horse pjs…..it is a stretchy thing that goes over the front end, between the front legs and covers the shoulders, lower neck and goes half way down the back. Fastens under the belly. That helps a lot too. Not real expensive. Less than $30. Comes in different designs. I have a black one and then a cheaper orange one. I like the black one as it is heavier than the orange one and the black more expensive is holding up better than the orange one. There are some hints in my SmartPac magazine…”High withered horses look for a high-neck cut and for shoulder rubs, try the V-front closure offered on many Horseware Ireland blankets.” These are just suggestions to help you get started before it gets cold.September 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm
She gets alfalfa cubes in the winter to make up for the lack of grass. Weight isn’t a problem in the winter, it’s just that she has to stand around with an empty tummy while my chubby 7-year-old munches on hay all day.
I was thinking about a padding scenario. The only place she rubs is the very top of her withers but I’m afraid even with a sleazy the pressure would still be there. Schneider Saddlery has blankets that are supposed to provide wither relief but I’m a little skeptical!September 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm
Maybe if you could find some really leafy hay, she could munch on the leaves. I’ve done that before. Or give her hay cubes throughout the day. As far as padding, you are just gonna have to try something and see if it works. You could attach extra padding to the sleazy instead of sewing it into the blanket. These are all just suggestions and you need to use what works for you and your horse.September 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm
Again, maybe you should measure blanket fit. Maybe the blanket is too tight around the front end??? I did that once..had things fitting too tightly and was not good…loosened things up and everything worked out much better.September 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm
Our dentist says she will never be able to eat hay again. Her teeth are so smooth they’re like glass. When she tries to chew she can’t get purchase on it to break it down. She doesn’t even try anymore though sometimes she will toss the haynet around. (Hey! Give me my soaked senior and alfalfa cubes! I don’t want this!) She’s going to be living with us this winter so we will be able to give her more frequent meals during the day though. I am just so paranoid about her being cold at night I don’t want her going blanket-less.
I am going to fiddle with a few different sized blankets now that we are at a boarding barn and can borrow some to try on. I hope someone has a high necked blanket so I can try that out. These are the turnouts I’m looking at that have the wither relief: http://www.sstack.com/horse-blankets-and-sheets_waterproof-turnout-blankets_vtek-v-free/stormshield-vtek-marathon-bellyband-turnouts/September 6, 2013 at 1:53 pm
Just a suggestion….if you are going to try someone else’s blanket on her, tie/pin/secure an old sheet around your horse first so you don’t transmit stuff between horses. The store tells you that when you buy a new blanket and may have to return it for incorrect fit. They don’t want any dirt on the blanket and you certainly don’t want stuff from another horse on your horse and vice versa. Again, google blanket fit and see if there are any suggestions there. You don’t want the blanket so tight that you can’t get your hand in there but you don’t want it so loose that a truck will fit. Good luck!September 6, 2013 at 10:33 pmPiaffeNPassageTopics Started: 0Replies Posted: 25
Can you get anything higher quality then the Nutrena? Triple Crown? ADM? Buckeye? Progressive?
If she is getting enough of her aminos, I’d first be tempted to see a picture of her condition…
Might be lack of *proper* exercise…
Might be a selenium/Vitamin E deficiency…
Owned by Imperious 1997 ArabXFriesian GeldingSeptember 9, 2013 at 9:26 am
Nutrena is about the best we can get without special orders. I’m just covering all my bases with the amino acids but she definitely gets enough Vitamin E/selenium. (Though I REALLY wish someone would care enough to make a senior horse NRC!)
I’m 99% sure you are right about the exercise because she is coming off an injury (which occurred in the pasture just as she was getting back to work after gaining the weight she lost last year. Of course.) I just wanted to sample the Smartpak audience to see what seems to work for them as far as nutrition/exercise. As soon as we get our Bowen therapist out and she OKs her for work (the vet already did but, again, covering all my bases with my old girl!) I want to get her back into some, as you say, proper exercise.
What do you suggest? I’ve heard it all, from hill work to long trotting to trot poles to backing up hills. It seems like everyone has ONE thing they want to do for topline but I want to mix it up.September 10, 2013 at 4:29 pmcowgirl160Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1
I would HIGHLY recommend Progressive ration balancers. I’ve seen horses on the grass formula ration balancer do really well. It really helps with their topline and just keep weight on in general. Unless its pretty much impossible for you to get, I would definitely look into getting a couple of bags to try.October 15, 2013 at 6:23 pmkharasmaticTopics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1
My horse gets rubs on her withers very easily, and this blanket has solved the problem for her. It has a “cutback” design so the blanket does not rest on her withers. I also think she loves the added coziness of the belly band!
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