Avoiding founder on pasture

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Avoiding founder on pasture

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    08-23-2010, 05:50 PM
Avoiding founder on pasture

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.
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    08-23-2010, 07:20 PM
Most important is don't let your horse get over weight.....over weight horses are way more prone to laminitis. I would be cautious in the spring and fall as that is when most of the cases occur.

I love breaking their grazing time into two........I do that at my place.......3 hours in the morning 2 hours in the late afternoon.....and 2 to 3 lbs of hay at 10 pm........no grain.

Super Nova.
    08-23-2010, 07:48 PM
When we bring a new horse in to the gorgeous pastures at our barn who hasn't been used to it, we introduce them very gradually, If he is used to 3 hours, and he is fairly local (same climate) you could probably start with that. Then put him elsewhere off the grass,(stall, paddock, etc) and increase the grass time each day. Eventually, you will not have to worry about it. A muzzle is a possibliity, but I have seen so many horses get them off, that I would not trust one with my horses health. JMHO. They are fine if you are there to check them frequently, but otherwise....not dependable for our little houdinis.

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