From Endurance to Dressage
Eat Up, Speedy G!
I've owned Speedy since he was a gangly three year old. He was all hips and withers back then. As he grew up, he filled out and eventually started packing on some pounds. He's always been a relatively easy keeper without the need for much in the way of supplements. He looked so good that quite a few people at a 2015 late fall show doubted me when I explained that he was indeed a purebred Arabian and not a warmblood/Arab cross.
Throughout 2016, Speedy lost a fair amount of his muscling when we struggled with an intermittent lameness. Then, in the summer, we moved to the ranch where we are now. With our current arrangement, Speedy gets turned out from dinner until breakfast. His daytime paddock has a cover, but he can go in and out at will during the night. So even when it rained over the winter, he had shelter at night.
By about January, I started expressing some concern to the ranch owner. Speedy was getting kind of ribby under his winter coat, something I've never seen him do before. We discussed his hay ration and agreed that he was getting pretty much all he could eat already. I increased his beet pulp and rice bran a little bit, but he never put the weight back on.
By spring, I could actually see a faint outline of ribs and his hips started to jut out a bit. As the weather warmed up, I was confident he would start packing on some pounds. He didn't. So by the beginning of May, I started to really worry that he might have a metabolic condition that was preventing him from gaining weight.
I had another conversation with the ranch owner expressing my concern with Speedy's weight. He was getting all of the alfalfa he would eat, I was supplementing with beet pulp, rice bran, and Platinum Performance, and yet, he still wasn't gaining back his pre-winter weight. I told her that if I didn't see some kind of change by the beginning of June, I was going to take Speedy in to the vet for some blood work.
Through our discussion, she pointed out that Speedy might simply be burning off more calories in his night turn out than we realized. At our last barn, where he lived for five years, Speedy had a large stall/paddock that was about 24 by 36 feet, generous by most standards. He had a small track worn into the ground where he paced and circled, but it wasn't big enough to walk miles. His current turnout is.
With that explanation as a possibility, my worries began to dissipate. We hatched out a new plan: she would feed a morning ration of a pound and half each of rice bran and LMF Gentle Balance (I may switch this out for a different formula when the bag is gone). In the afternoons, I would feed 3 - 4 pounds of beet pulp and another pound and a half each of the rice bran and LMF. That would all get topped off with his Platinum Performance.
A week later, I am already seeing the tiniest bit of padding starting to develop. He's getting a good eight pounds of supplemental feed daily in addition to all the alfalfa he can consume. I am giving him until the end of June to put on a bit more weight. If I don't see it, he's definitely getting some blood work done.
I wish I could simply walk off my excess pounds!
5/29/2017 12:17:35 pm
This is my favorite type of post, over the years, because aren't we all a little extreme when it comes to body condition?
5/29/2017 04:51:26 pm
Actually, Lytha, I took it as a compliment that they thought he looked part warmblood. I took it to mean that he was muscled up nicely. :0)
5/30/2017 12:41:51 pm
He's never been a hard keeper before. I think he is just burning off every calorie I stick into him! My feed store doesn't have a ton of choices, but I'll see if they have the one you mentioned.
5/30/2017 06:36:29 am
There is almost nothing more frustrating than trying to get weight on a horse! At least Speedy is a good eater... sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right combo of things that work well for him. Best of luck!
5/30/2017 12:43:18 pm
He eats, but he's burning off more than he can consume. We're just searching for the most calorie dense combination. He simply gets full on hay but burns it off too quickly. It's a good thing he's not a hot horse!
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: