New Shot of Fergus - Why doesn't the weight tape see to reflect what I am seeing?


Jennifer Green
 

Just posted a new body photo of Fergus taken today.  Excuse the lighting, i really need a new phone I think. When I look at him I'm so happy with his progress.  He looks better to me BUT when I put the weight tape on, it always reads the same (910 pounds, which is insane by the way given that he's only 12.3 hands, but that's a topic for another day). 

Is it possible to see weight loss but not see it on the tape? I feel like he's loosing but not right around the belly still. That's my hope at least.  My worry is that I'm being delusional again and that my desire to see the weight loss is impacting my judgement.
--
J.Green 
MA, USA
2021
https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Fergus%20Case%20History
CaseHistory@


 

Hi, Jennifer.
There are several possibilities. If you're using a standard weight tape, it may not be well-suited to capture a 25 or 40 pound weight loss in a pony.

Have you tried the ECIR weight calculator? Instead of extrapolating a weight from the heart girth only, the calculator also takes height and length into consideration. Go to the Wiki and search for weight calculator where you will find a link to DL the calculator. Horse Weight Calculator.xlsx  The hardest part of using the calculator is to measure your pony the exact same way each time. Fudging with the tape by an inch here or an inch there can make a big difference.

My next suggestion is to set up one standard location with good light to take your photos. Take them the same way, from the same distance, each time. Then compare them side by side. Here are two examples in Cayuse's Photo Album showing some weight loss over a 7 month period.
https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/photo/7296/332725?p=Created,,,50,2,0,0
https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/photo/7296/332724?p=Created,,,50,2,0,0 
These photos taught me what my lyin' eyes could not see: the camera does not lie.  Follow the Wiki instructions for body condition shots. https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/wiki/1472#Taking-Good-Body-Shots    A clean lens or maybe a different camera may help.

Weight loss should be slow and steady. It can take a while. 
--
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
Cayuse and Diamond Case History Folder                
Cayuse Photos               


Jennifer Green
 

I will try the weight calculator this weekend. Thank you! 
--
J.Green 
MA, USA
2021
https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Fergus%20Case%20History


 

Jennifer, I want to add something I should have included. Ponies in particular need slow and careful weight loss. Starvation diets are a definite no-no and can contribute to a serious complication. There's a folder in Files on hyperlipidemia. It can be a little hard to understand, but read through it. This is an important reason to be patient with slow, steady weight loss and exercise, which can be a lot of work and always takes longer than we'd like. 
--
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
Cayuse and Diamond Case History Folder                
Cayuse Photos                Diamond Photos


Jennifer Green
 

Good to know. I have removed Purina enrich from his diet and he’s on the mineral forage based diet now. Waiting for hay analysis results.  

We REALLY cut back on carrots and I bought him “safe” treats that I try to feed much more sparingly (this part is still hard for me since when I got him he had a lot of fear and PTSD; food seemed to be the best pathway to gaining g trust and we both developed some bad habits. I for sure should have tried clicker training). He does also get his hay soaked but we didn’t cut back on the actual amount that he eats, just started weighing it to make sure we’re consistent. Hopefully all these changes haven’t made his body register starvation. He certainly has lost some weight,  but he hasn’t had any of the weight “fall off” by any stretch. Since he hasn’t foundered, we’ve been able to keep him in full work. I had noticed he was a acting little sluggish when being ridden and it was recommended that I add flax to his food. He does seem much more like himself now; still less edgy but more peppy.  


How would I know if his body is in starvation mode? Are there signs I could look for?   

--
J.Green 
MA, USA
2021
https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Fergus%20Case%20History
CaseHistory@ECIR.groups.io | Album


Eleanor Kellon, VMD
 

Difficult to answer your question since your case history isn't up to date but if breakfast and dinner are the same size, he's not in starvation mode. Need the DE on your hay analysis to be more precise. Removing treats will never push them into starvation mode. I think I can see a difference from 2018, certainly better toned, but he's still a 6 to 6.5 BCS.
--
Eleanor in PA

www.drkellon.com 
EC Owner 2001


 
Edited

Hi, Jennifer. Please read the information. You'll see that you'd probably never know without blood tests that include a lipid panel or at least triglycerides. I keep reading that you're focused on weight loss. You can't rush it.  ECIR diet recommendations were listed in the initial greeting you got here. https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/message/266280  Keep working to get the whole diet right. Don't just cut back on carrots. Eliminate them. There are plenty of safe treats (check the Files), including from Uckele https://uckele.com/equi-treats-apple-pie-4lb.html  and from Nuzu Stabul 1 https://www.chewy.com/stabul-nuggets-molasses-free/dp/227253 . And keep up the exercise. It's really good for him. 
--
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
Cayuse and Diamond Case History Folder                
Cayuse Photos               


Jennifer Green
 

I took measurements today and put them into the weight calculator. His heart girth measurement was 169 cm and his length measurement was 139 cm. His weight calculated out to about 740 lb. This weight m is actually closer to what would have guessed. I thought somewhere between 700 and 750 lb. I am still surprised at the difference between this and what the weight tape shows. 
--
J.Green 
MA, USA
2021
https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Fergus%20Case%20History
CaseHistory@ECIR.groups.io | Album


 

Weight tapes are not all equally accurate. The weight calculator, like the tape, is an estimate. At least the calculator considers height and length in addition to heart girth. Keep notes about where and how you measured. I like to measure heart girth at the base of the mane to the girth groove, even if the tape is somewhat slanted, not vertical. I use it to catch that fat pad behind the shoulder. If you have a trailer and can haul it to a truck scale, you can get another estimate.  A drafty-pony build, with a wide flat back, carries weight through the barrel differently from a TB. Choose one method and use it every month or 6 weeks. You'll have a record of change. Then you can ask about adjusting the amount of hay you feed as weight drops.
--
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
Cayuse and Diamond Case History Folder                
Cayuse Photos                Diamond Photos