Fivla’s Diet Regimen

There is no denying that little Fivla is a heffalump and this is not good for her health.  I am worried.

I thought the Fat Fighters Field would be enough but, in retrospect, I think more drastic action is needed.


So, with Waffle as her companion in the fight against flab, Fivla said goodbye to her friends and came home.


They live in a stable with a small soaked haynet for company.


This is severe horse dieting is a severe learning curve for me.


Fivla has a three times a day fitness routine.  She can walk energetically or trot around the outside of the indoor school.


Waffle was unimpressed.


There was no motivation so Floss motivated.  Waffle looked into that bucket every time he went round.  It is there to collect dripping rainwater.  The contents never once changed into chocolate cake.


This is a necessity.  It may appear unkind but if it saves Fivla’s health, then it is essential we all stick to this.  Waffle will not stay long.  He will be swapped out for the next fatty after a few days.


Fivla has never been this fat.  The cresty neck looks horrid and has to go.  I am scouring the internet looking for information.  Apparently I need to feed her 1.5% ideal bodyweight in soaked hay.  Does anyone have any idea what her ideal bodyweight would be?  She is 36″.


I may be wrong, and please correct me if I am, but this evening we have put Fivla and Waffle out for an hour in the starvation paddock so they can have some fresh air and a little grass.

I can’t decide if Fivla is lame or just poddling.  She is the same on both reins.  First I think it is her front left and then when she changes direction, it looks like her front right.  She doesn’t find it difficult to walk and happily walks and trots around the school (unlike Waffle who grumbled every inch).

What to do.  All advice and suggestions gratefully received.


15 thoughts on “Fivla’s Diet Regimen

  1. Liz Reid

    That is one very fat pony Frances. She looks to be up over the 300 kilo mark or around 700lbs. Way too heavy. She needs to shed a good 200lbs at least.

    Do you have a normal dressmaking tape measure? That can help you in determining her healthy weight.
    A normal 60″ tape measure converts to 600 lbs Depending on her build and height, them she should get down to a healthier 600 or less.

    Hope this helps you. Good luck. I have a paddock full of mares who do what Filva has done, so don’t despair. She is not beyond help and restricted grass and plenty of exercise will do her wonders. Is she harness trained? Can you get a harness on her? If so, then long rein her until she gets warm and sweaty, that will help alot.

  2. Anita

    Do you know how to check for a pulse in the feet? If there is a thumping pulse, I’d worry it is early laminitis, and an oral or IV dose of DMSO is in order, and continue with anti inflammatories.

  3. Linda K

    I remember a photo of BeAnne in a basket on Fivla. Perhaps she could be pressed into service once again while BeAnne is recovering, for some extra exercise, and fresh air for BeAnne.

  4. Nancy

    I think the exercise regime is good, and also watching what Fivla eats.
    She doesn’t seem unwilling to do exercise, so I hope it will be good for her in the end!
    Good luck! We are rooting for her diet to work!

  5. Anne

    Dont forget sugars normally are lowest in grasses in the morning (before 10am) rather than late afternoon (or they are at least on the other side of the world!).
    Maybe a grazing muzzle as well, though I havent had the heart to use one.

  6. Georgina Edwards

    Hi, I also have a 36″ Shetland who likes her food!! I rescued her through the Blue Cross and they suggested her ideal weight be about 185kg or slightly less if possible. Rosie can look at a blade of grass and put on weight so she is on a tiny paddock and I give her a little soaked hay twice a day just to keep her from trying to get out all the time. I would never have believed that monitoring weight and keeping weight down would be so difficult and I really understand your situation. Best of luck, you are definitely putting the effort in to get her weight down so I am sure it will pay off. I love your blog and check it every day and am thrilled that BeAnne is getting better.

  7. Heather

    First of all, Fivla has the loveliest sweet face!!

    My portly 37″ (heavier boned) mini weighs 375 as determined by my Veterinarian. He is not as overweight as she is, but then again he has not had foals either to contribute to the big belly look she has. My guess is that your girl is is 400-450 lbs.

    Consider a grazing muzzle for her pasture time. My guy does not mind his at all and it has been a lifesaver in allowing him 5-6 hours of pasture time everyday. I live in an area of incredibly rich, lush grass and horse folks here just accept that we are unable to pasture our ponies 24/7 or they founder. I eye your beautiful and sparcely rugged Shetland hills with envy!!

    I have also used the Remission Supplement by Animed with good results. It is specifically for the fatties and has magnesium that helps diminish the cresty neck and fat pads.

    Good Luck!

  8. Vivienne

    I have a well used grazing muzzle…they do look like Hannibal Lecter with it on, but it means they can be out during they day “if hits wadder.” My two have become rather adept at getting their muzzles off, however. You are welcome to borrow one if you like. Drop me a email if you would like one.

  9. Carina

    What a trooper pony! She doesn´t look lame to me. I would give her stuff to eat that has no or very little nutrition, branches. leaves, small cut down trees, straw. Even though she can´t have much food in order to loose weight she still needs to chew and that will keep her stomach going, reduce the risk for ulcers and her need for chewing satisfied. And see if there is a way you can take her out for long walks, maybe when you go with the dogs? Or bikerides? I know you are probably not up to it at the moment but…We take our minis as handhorses, that works really well for short rides but of course requires some training first. Good luck! Keeping the small ones in good shape is hard work!


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