“Feeding accurately to the gram''
Bianca Hekker: “When I bought Lobke, she was defenitely not skinny. We really had to start from scratch. For a long time, she did not get any exercise and only needed to look pretty in the pasture. I thought it was important to exercise and train her in the right way by the help of a trainer in order to make her lose weight. That is why I started with the weight loss program from Pavo in collaboration with the GD Animal Health.
With regard to feed, it was ‘trial and error’ to discover the correct amount. First, we had the nutritional values of the roughage analysed. The hay was really good quality. When I moved Lobke to another livery stable, I had their roughage analysed too. It turned out that this hay was more nutritious, so we had to adjust our scheme. We really adjusted everything accurately to the gram.
It was recommended to divide the portions of roughage into preferably 6 meals a day. We could not achieve that. We started with 4 meals and had to make that 3 later on. I would get everything ready and weighed out, so that it was easy for the staff to feed her”.
Not in the pasture
“During the weight loss program, Lobke was not allowed to go in the pasture. She was kept in a clay paddock. We still do not have her out in the pasture. We have recently moved and in the near future, I am planning on stabling her at home. I intend to turn her out in the pasture then, but will limit the hours.
When I bought her, Lobke only has been in the pasture. This means every exercise was extra exercise. I lunged and rode her a lot. We gradually increased the intensity and duration of the exercise. At one point, she was losing weight too quickly. I could notice that also in her temperament. Lobke really is a sweet mare, but she became cross in that period. When we measured her and noticed that she was losing weight too quickly, we adjusted the feed."
“During the measurements, we found out that she was losing weight too quickly."
“I noticed that the measurements with the measuring tape did not always provide accurate information. Sometimes Lobke had grown a lot or she had lost a lot of weight. That is why we had her weighed on a scale once a month which provided us with really accurate information.
After approximately 6 months, Lobke had reached a good weight. Now, I no longer weigh her but I feed according to what I observe. Three months ago, we moved to a new house and for a while I did not have time to exercise her as usual. I immediately adjusted her ration to that. If she works less, she needs less feed. In the beginning, it took some effort to find out what was good for her with regard to feeding but I am so happy that I made the effort and persevered”.