So most of my life I had horses in a very dry climate. Other than a few pieces of grass they could nibble on, pretty much everything they ate was actively fed to them (either hay or grain). If a horse foundered, it was almost always because the owner was feeding too much.
Now I'm about to get my new horse, but I live halfway across the country from where I used to, and now there is plenty of grass.
The horse has no history of founder, but I'm a paranoid about-to-be-new mom, and want to make sure he's well taken care of
He's been turned out 3 hours at a time, twice per day, and spent the rest of his time in dirt paddocks. Now I'll be pasture boarding him, so he'll be full time on the grass.
What things can I do to make sure founder is never an issue?
Regular exercise, of course. He won't get more than a handful of grain/vitamins just to come in with the rest of the herd. He's supposed to be an easy keeper, and they are only giving him a handful right now.
What signs should I watch for? What would be an indication that I should consider adding a muzzle? At what point would I know things are serious enough that he would need a stall or dirt paddock? How fast does founder usually come on, from when the first signs are noticeable until it's a serious situation? How common is it for horses to actually founder on pasture around Northern Virginia?
I'm sure I'm just worrying too much... but as I said, I never lived anywhere where founder was a real issue. So this is all new to me and I do want to make sure I know what to look for, and how to avoid any potential problems.