Monday, August 3, 2015
Weight and the Colonial Spanish Horse
Too much hand wringing goes on over how much weight the Colonial Spanish horse can carry comfortably. I understand. I was once as ignorant on the topic as the rest of the horse world. People cite non scientific studies and old wives tales to come up with formulas to answer the question.
There have been no meaningful studies on the issue regarding Colonial Spanish horses. Without such studies we are left to simply rely on evidence from practical use. As I began this post it struck me that there are few pieces of evidence better than my experience with these horses.
Over the past seven years I have ridden Carollas, Shacklefords, Choctaws, and SMR Colonial Spanish horses several thousand miles--- in 2011 over one thousand miles just on Tradewind. These rides are mostly trotting and gaiting, with significant cantering, with various amounts of walking thrown in, depending on the experience level of the people that rode with me.
None of these horses have experienced any back or joint problems over the years. Every single one of them was carrying well over 20% of their weight every time that I saddled up.
Though there is a great deal of concern over this non issue, the horse world continues to ignore the real health crisis caused by weight. That is carrying too much weight around every second of the horse's life.
Equine obesity is an epidemic. Founder was rare when I was a child, now it is viewed as simply a regular part of a horse's life. I do not know of any breed more susceptible to damage to their health from obesity than the Colonial Spanish horse.
Consider the Corolla. These horses have rafter hips and high spines. Some have wide pin bones. When one forces these horses to become so fat that they have flat backs, or even worse, gutter backs, one is maintaining the horse in an unsafe manner.
If a Corolla carries the body fat percentage of a halter Quarter horse it is not healthy. Secotan, shown above, is at her ideal weight. Her spine rises high above her back muscles and her hips rafter off beautifully.
Though at a fine weight, she could lose more weight through hard riding and be even healthier.
Obesity kills horses.
Consider this--the number two reason that adult horses are put down is founder. It is only second to colic. The number one cause of founder is an infusion of simple carbohydrates in an over weight horse.
We can pretend that our horses are healthy and happy by keeping them fat. We can also pretend that we are good parents for allowing our kids to spend every moment possible sitting in their rooms playing video games.
I am too old to play pretend games.
If you love your horse don't kill it with sugar.
Posted by Steve Edwards