Friday, December 31, 2010


This is the emergency broadcast system. This is not a test.

I was going to entertain you with more haiku today, but something terrible has happened. I need your support.

Today was supposed to be a regular spa day—a nice little hoofie trim, a fresh mane roach, an ear massage, and a handful of sunflower seeds (for shine). Instead of merely taking care of my beauty routine, however, FarmWife spent a full hour in contemplation of and attention to my overall physique. The upshot? A revision of my condition from Plump to Obese. (Her actual words, upon removing my blanket for the first time in a few days, were "Oh my God! You've ballooned!") She has decided that my fatness has become a health risk, and has resolved to exercise me as often as possible.

It gets dark at 4:30. Her husband gets home at 5:30. She has small children and no sitter.

This, my friends, means that I will end up being longed. Longed at the end of a stupid, smelly old rope. Forced to walk and trot in stupid, boring, awful circles. Around and around and around.

FarmWife doesn't particularly like longing me, but she feels forced. I assured her that there is simply more of me to love, but she won't hear a word of it. She says I must get fit, and that if I can get a little extra exercise during the week it will mean all the more fun for us when we DO get out on the trail.

The worst of it? She has mentioned reducing my hay to 8 pounds a day, which in my opinion is about enough to sustain an average guinea pig.

Woe is me.

Ears to you,


(Fenway Bartholomule)
(Fatty Bigass)

p.s. FW knows that 8 pounds of hay a day is not much at all, and she doesn't want you to think that she would ever underfeed hay. It's important, she realizes, for gut function and for boredom control. She feels quite unsure as to how to make me thinner, though, as I am such a wonderfully easy keeper. She resolves to take it easy on the treats, though I already get less than a half a cup of various yummy things (apples, carrots, alfalfa pellets, or sunflower seeds as training treats) on any given day. She welcomes advice.


  1. I would recommend obtaining some local grass hay... it will have less calories/nutrition than orchard/timothy/alfalfa. You will be able to feed more of it but it won't put on the pounds. Another option is oat hay.... which is a courser hay somewhat like timothy but with less protein. The bonus is that local grass hay and oat hay is usually much cheaper per bale.
    We typically feed our easy-keepers a diet that is based on locally-grown grass hay (plus pasture)... with a small amount of orchard grass (up to 1 flake per day) mixed in for added nutrition....

    I used to have a mustang/Arab mare who was such an easy=keeper that I swear she could live off the SIGHT of grass alone. Throughout the winter, no matter the weather and despite the fact that she lived in the elements, she lived on no more than 3 small flakes of local hay per day.... and was still fat! So I know exactly what you are going through!!!

  2. Oh Fenway Bartholomule, if I lived near you I would watch the small childrens for free, but alas, I am afeered that I live on the opposite coast. Just remind FW that your layers of "fluff" will help insulate you when winter gets worse. Also remind her that you are now extra cuddly.

  3. Why not ground drive / long line? You can get just as much exercise in (if your human is willing to run a bit) and it's practice for The Future!

  4. Check out
    Also I cut two small holes in my Jolly Balls and stuffed them with small hay pellet (no mollases) treats the horses have to roll them around to get the treats out. It's entertainment and some exercise. However, it can't work on sandy surfaces. Grass and snow is good!

  5. Oh Fenway - think of lunging as being a carousel mule (remember your posting on June 3, 2010). Perhaps Farmwife can whistle a carousel tune while you lunge.

  6. Dear Fatty er Fenway - I too am an easy keeper - but during the winter I get beet pulp and a flake of grass/alfalfa hay for breakfast and for dinner I get a flake of alfalfa and a flake of the grass/alfalfa. I tend to be a teeny bit chubby - mom calls me fat. During the summer I get regular grass hay for breakfast and dinner - no beet pulp in the morning. I haven't been worked in a couple of weeks - we had so much rain that my paddock and the whole backyard was a giant puddle. Its almost dry so I see a workout in the near future. Mom always says move more eat less - well that is a bunch of rubbish! I feel your pain Fenway I really do.

    Your fren,

  7. One more comment Fenway - vocalizing during lunging is highly entertaining for the humans:

  8. Could FW rent a mule-ling to chase you around the pasture if the footing is okay?

  9. You could also look into soaked hay. It's pretty common for IR horses - soaking it in water for ... some amount of time? ... removes a lot of the excess carbs. Soaked hay is less calorific, so you can feed more.

  10. I'm the custodian of four mini-donks. Three of which are umm... rather fluffy. (We don't use the other "F" word around here. We prefer "fluffy".) Donks are actually worse than mules in the easy keeper department. Merely showing hay to a donk will result in immediate weight gain.

    So, when treats are in order, we prefer carrots. They are low in sugar, high in fiber, and mostly water. Additionally, the donklets get hay only with a mineral supplement to make sure that they get enough selenium and trace minerals. No grain of any kind.

    Also, if donkeys loose weight too quickly, they can get hyperlipemia, which is a form of liver toxicity. It can cause a lot of trouble. I dunno how vulnerable our mule cousins are to it, but I would be careful. Don't make any dramatic cuts in FB's feed (which he will delighted to hear.)

    I would start by reducing the grain down to nothing. If, after a few weeks, you don't see much result, I would move to reducing the hay. Oddly, it is better to feed a low-quality hay - the lower the protein content, the better. That way you can feed a little more without causing extra fluffiness.

    One of our donks was a rescue - she was about 150 lbs overweight when we brought her home. It has taken over a year to get her down to where she belongs and we'e still working.

    Good luck with the weight loss!

  11. I SECOND PADDOCK PARADISE!!! Also toys to help keep boredom at bay. FW, if FenBar has issues with a leg the last thing you want to do is longe him. Not sure what the solution is during the dark rainy months with horrible schedules, am facing same with my draft cross who is dangerously obese (came to me that way). We are building a Paddock Paradise for him to use just as soon as we can find a raincoat that actually fits His Royal Rotundity so he can slog through said Paddock paradise

  12. To the custodian of mini donks: carrots are actually a higher glycemic index than apples BUT you may find they love herbal treats, I feed my mini donk Herballs and also something from a lady who bakes herbal non-grain treats for horses down in Southern Oregon, those treats smell so yummy am tempted to eat them myself!

  13. Oat hay or any grain hay is super dangerous for any overweight equine/equid! When a horse, donkey or mule is overweight there are hormonal changes that can tip him over into metabolic syndrome. Take a look at "safer grass dot org" and read all about it and as well look hard at the equine cushings group materials and their website (Dr. Kellon's website). The recommendation for oat hay is really a bad idea! You can founder a horse or donkey or mule feeding oat hay - very scarily easy! The sugar content in eastern Washington orchard hay is pretty high and it is much better to use a less "appetizing" less "colorful" western Washington grass hay (smell first to make sure no whiff of mold or mildew, WW is a tough place to cure/bale hay!)the best part is, since it's not so "sugary" (that would be fructans that make yummy grass)as EW timothy or (worse) orchard grass, the snacking time takes longer, the horse/mule/donkey eats more slowly picking through for the best parts and finally picking up the last little bits but without so much unbridled (snicker) enthusiasm.

  14. a haynet with teeny tiny openings might slow him down a bit.


Thanks in Advance for Your Mulish Opinion!