I'm hoping for some thoughts on your experiences in managing founder with your horses. I have a mare who may have cushings disease, EMS, and possibly both but won't know for sure until I have test results. In the meantime, it was found recently during a lameness exam that she has very slight rotation due to a previous mild bout of laminitis in her right front though undetermined when. She was put on a grazing muzzle though there was debate about how long she needed to have the muzzle on. Long & frustrating story short, I had her back to the vet and she's foundering though vet doesn't believe its acute founder. Vet wants her muzzle on 24/7. Again there's debate as to this treatment and her quality of life.
Here's my concerns. Currently she is at a property with about 5 acres of pasture with 1 other horse and free access to barn and hay. There's also a 50' round pen. It has been suggested that where she is at that her current treatment will not effectively treat her condition and allow her to recover. (She doesn't graze much with the muzzle currently.) Although she has free access to the barn where the hay is, she cannot be stalled (don't believe she would adjust well anyway as she's not been stalled previously to my knowledge for any length of time) or even enclosed in the barn (which she does spend a fair amount of time in, especially with the poor weather) due to the extensive rainfall and poor footing. It has also been suggested that a dry lot with only hay would be more beneficial to her. I did have her at a dry lot before, but she is so much happier where she is and of course has shelter. It has also been suggested that she can be put in the round pen of which the grass has been cut and would soon be a dry lot with her in it and able to graze freely of which the vet confirmed. Again though is has been suggested that this option would leave her unhappy and she would be better off in a dry lot as this will likely be a yearly care issue.
She's my only horse and I absolutely love her to pieces. I want her to be happy but also healthy. I have read up on founder/laminitis and it sounds as if many horses cannot be allowed to freely graze on large areas of pasture but I also feel some are suggesting that I'm not caring for her or giving her the proper home for her. One of these individuals is also the BO who is also a beloved family member and would like me to just let them care for her in the matter they believe best. Of course she's my horse and while I respect their opinion, ultimately that's my decision and largely based on the course of treatment given by my vet and guidance from my trainer.
I find myself very emotional and deeply conflicted and hope maybe some of you can share your experiences and thoughts as I wrestle with the decision which could possibly end with her a new owner though not certain.