bringing an aged (possibly prego) mare back into condition
I have an aged TB mare (22) who last year was starved to the point that she was a walking skeleton when I sent her off for breeding to a "friend of a friend". I repo'd her, spent the remainder of the summer/fall slowly putting the weight back on her. Then this fall, a rogue intact mammoth jack went through our fence, not once but twice, and despite the subsequent shots, I think she is actually in foal. *sigh* (all the other mares are cycling and presenting for the geldings...she is not)
I can deal with the possible mule baby....the issue is that she still has NO muscle mass and still seems weak. When I first got her 18 months ago, she was fit and healthy (although arthritic). She is out 24x7 with the other mares in a huge pasture with hills so she's not stall bound, but I'm reluncant to start working her to build her back up, partially due to the arthritis, but also I fear the additional work will cause her to burn through the tiny layer of flesh I've worked so hard to get onto her over the winter.
Should I just leave well enough alone? Start with hand walking a mile or so? Lunge her at a walk for 10 or 15 minutes? Just increase her calories with grain to see if they develop on their own with time?
Right now she's holding her weight with just 24x7 hay, however over the winter she was blanketed, on 4lbs senior feed, 2lbs beet pulp, 2 servings Cool Calories and Smart TLC (which has Devils Claw, not approved for preg mares) in addition to hay, which really helped.
thoughts? advice from others who have brought old mares/geldings back?
It might be well worth your time to get an ultrasound done so that you can know if she is in foal, if there is just a single foal, and if so, how far out she is. Your vet will likely have some good nutritional and exercise suggestions for you - well worth the price.
Do you have access to Triple Crown Feeds? I would be giving her that, probably a mix of Senior and Complete. I presume your Vet has already checked in to whether she needs Domperidone too? (in case any possible fescue toxicity issues exist)
RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died. 3/17/12, Jenny has crossed Rainbow Bridge; 5/23/2012 Snowy too now.