I think we have it narrowed down to what may have caused Piney’s weight loss. I wrote my last post after I got back to the barn from the pasture and I hadn’t had a chance to look him over closely. Piney wouldn’t let me anywhere near him. He’s a jerk in the pasture and acts like he doesn’t know me. But when he is in a corral or smaller paddock he is a snuggle bug and will follow me around. Hubby brought in the horses and put Piney in a smaller corral where I was able to check him over more thoroughly. The great news is that overnight he seemed to have put on weight and looked 10 times better. I could tell he was feeling better by the fact he was calling out to his buddies (who never called back to him by the way). And the fact he looked A LOT better! My phone decided to freeze up on me and I haven’t been able to turn it on since shortly after I posted.
First off the bugs were driving him nuts!! So I’m sure he’s spent most of the calories he’s taken in by fighting the flies. He’s got pretty thin skin and is a bit of a drama queen about bugs. His long full beautiful tail is worn away. (Is that even possible to wear it away by swishing it too much?) It’s about half as thick and has been shortened up to his hocks. He swished it nonstop even after I dumped a bottle of fly spray on him. I would have left his fly sheet and mask on him but without someone checking on him a few times a day I figured it would be ripped to shreds and lost forever. When I get my own place (made ANOTER offer on a house btw) I’ll have him in full on fly armor. I HAVE to remember that for two years Piney was a living in a herd of WILD mustangs…I mean OTTBs. His herd and him roamed over 4,000 acres together. They didn’t have fly spray, or fancy fly masks, or a mom to give them kisses and cookies or even anyone to brush their hair and tell him how handsome he was. He was a horse, living as god and nature intended him to. Of course he looked like a ragamuffin when I got him. But wild horses look like that. He was also due for his wormer so I took care of that.
The second reason he was thin was he was dehydrated. We did the pinch test on his coat and it piled up. He drank a lot when I brought him up to the water tank. I’m not sure if he just doesn’t come up to the barn to drink or what his deal is. I seem to remember him being dehydrated when I got him too. It was harder to tell because he resembled a highland steer with a long shaggy coat. But when I put him in his stall for the night he drank like he’d hadn’t had water for days.
The third reason is something I don’t even want to write about. I feel it is my fault for not being able to check on him every day. Horses on the farm are horses. They live on a pasture with a barn to go into whenever they please. They have access to water 24/7 and in the winter they have plenty of hay to eat. They don’t have a whole lot of human interaction. But they get their shots and feet done when needed. The horses are living how I would like to keep them if they were on my property. The one thing I don’t like is that they have halters on in the pasture. The halter Piney was wearing as a bit too snug and rubbed his chin leaving a big yucky scab. I’m assuming that it caused him pain to eat so he didn’t eat as much as the other fatsos did. Had I been around to check on him more often this never would have happened. I don’t even want to write about this because I feel that everyone will scold me and lecture me about keeping a halter on in the pasture. I know that it’s a bad idea to do so. I don’t like him wearing a halter unless he needs one on for leading, grooming etc. I’m taking full responsibility even though I wasn’t the one who made the decision for him to be wearing a halter. He was the only one who had trouble keeping weight and I assume that it was because of the cut/scab on his chin. We decided that to be safe we would take the halters off the rest of the horses. I still feel like shit because of this whole thing. Had I been up there more often it wouldn’t have happened. But he’s my horse and I need to take responsibility for him.