Lose weight with Sam and Chandler
Sam Lewis from World Horse Welfare and Chandler the 14hh gelding have been trying to get in shape for the summer – and in preparation of Chandler eventually finding a new home. They have both been ‘watching’ their diet and taking regular brisk walks for exercise. Here’s the diary of their progress...
It’s been a while since we updated you on mine and Chandler’s progress with the challenge. This is partly due to the Right Weight Road Show being back on the road so I’m really busy doing a lot of organising to get everything ready.
However, the main reason for my lack of updates is because poor Chandler has a mild injury. When we were out walking one day I noticed that he was a bit sore if he stepped on any stones when we were on hard ground. Because of this I made sure that we walked on grass when possible, although whenever I did this he just couldn’t resist trying to get away with eating some!
The farm staff decided to ask the vet and farrier to check Chandler because of his history of laminitis. They both checked him over and, although they were fairly certain it wasn’t the onset of laminitis and was just due to the hard ground, they decided to be cautious and move Chandler off the grass and into a bark paddock.
Chandler was quite disgruntled to be taken out of the field where he’d been able to graze all day and into the bark paddock where he was restricted to hay. He hasn’t been too bored though, because he has a friend to keep him company and the bark paddocks are near the Visitor Centre, so Chandler has seen lots of people coming and going.
The one positive thing about his confinement to the bark paddocks is the effect this has had on Chandler’s weight – Chandler might not be happy that he can’t eat grass all day but his waistline certainly is!
His actual weight hasn’t reduced that significantly – he’s just weighed in at 362 kilos which is only three kilos lighter than when he was out at grass – but you only have to look at the photo to see how much better he looks.
Chandler and I will have to wait for the all-clear from the vet and farrier and then follow their instructions for re-introducing the walking.
As Chandler hasn’t been able to come with me for our walks I’ve had to rethink what exercise I can do.
I’ve started swimming a few mornings a week as well as cycling about once a week (when it’s not pouring with rain!). I’ve also started riding again at a local riding school which is great fun – so far I’ve been out for one hack and had two lessons, so it’s early days but I’m really enjoying it and it’s an extra incentive to lose weight and improve my fitness.
So far I have lost around 5lbs. It isn’t as much as I was hoping for but it does seem to have been steady weight loss and is definitely staying off, which is good news.
Being back on the road with the Right Weight Road Shows generally also means that I get fitter and stronger – the weighbridge isn’t light and I always notice that we struggle to load it into the van at the beginning of the season but find it much easier by the end of the year!
I’ll update you again on Chandler’s progress but if you’d like any advice on your own horse, or just want to find out how Chandler and I are getting on, please come and see us on the Right Weight Road Show this summer. We will be on the Right Weight Challenge stand at the CLA Game Fair, Blair Horse Trials, Horse of the Year Show, Your Horse Live and Olympia – so see you there!
“Early spring really isn’t the best time to start the Right Weight Challenge,” Samantha said ruefully after weighing her charge. After she had been walking Chandler out in hand for nearly two weeks to lose those pounds, Sam really thought she’d be able to see at least some difference. “We don’t amble about – we really walk out. At first Chandler enjoyed the walks but now he knows exactly what’s going on and that he’s not going to get treats from me, he’s not quite so keen.”
Chandler is a 14hh gelding who lives out 24 hours a day with four companions. He doesn’t get any hard feed – only grass, hay and a vitamin and mineral supplement. “Honestly, I thought he’d have lost something! In just one week he put on seven kilos. I couldn’t believe it!” Steffi, her colleague on the Right Weight Road Shows, has noticed that Sam is starting to sound like every other horse owner. “We always hear people say things like: ‘There’s just no grass out there – I can’t understand where the weight is coming from’. I’ve even said it myself.” The truth is spring grass is finally growing and Chandler and his friends are nibbling the new growth down quite nicely. Think what he might have put on without exercise.
Sam’s own challenge to lose weight and get fitter is going about as well as Chandler’s. Despite the extra exercise, so far the weight has stayed in place. “At least I’ve stayed the same – I felt positively virtuous when realising I, unlike Chandler, had managed not to gain any weight! I keep trying to convince myself that I have lost some fat and gained muscle but I think it might be a bit early for that to be true!” Sam’s determined to give the challenge time to work and will battle through Chandler’s occasional grumpiness on walks.
Fortunately, there was some encouragement at the end of week three when Chandler was weighed and found to have lost the seven kilos he had somehow managed to put on. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come for both of them.
Download Sam & Chandler's week three podcast here
Download Sam & Chandler's week seven podcast here