Do I need to be worried about founder? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-02-2009, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Do I need to be worried about founder?

Hello All!

this is my first post and i'd appreciate some advice

i recently brought my horse home from college for the first time for the summer (i got him while i was at school). he moved from Virginia to Michigan. i was told that Michigan grasses are richer than the ones in Virginia, but i figured he would adapt because he's lived his whole live outside. he's been in michigan for about 3 weeks. That being said, his barn's owner recently expressed concern that he was getting chubby and she mentioned founder as a possible problem because of the amount of grass in his field. i hadn't even thought that this would be an issue because he's 15 and so used to living outside with grass 24/7.

but i want to do what's best for him of course. should i be worried and get him a grazing muzzle or something? i would hate to do that to him, but i dont want him to founder obviously. so i need some advice.

he's a 14.3 hand polish arabian if that helps any. thanks so much for any help
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-02-2009, 07:05 PM
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Welcome to the forum. Lots of helpful people here.

All I know is you don't want an overweight horse. If you can't feel his ribs, I would muzzle him. I've also been told that horses kept on grass need to be wormed monthly due to all the various things that live in the grass. Weight + worms = no good.
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-02-2009, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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thanks! he does get wormed monthly. i make sure of that bc he's outside all the time.

are there any particular brands of muzzles that you would suggest? i've never used one before and i want to get one thats really comfortable for him
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-02-2009, 10:42 PM
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I've never used one, so I'm not sure what to suggest. I'm sure someone will weigh in with some good info for you.
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-03-2009, 12:31 AM
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A horse on a rich pasture is more likely to founder , especially if it's overweight . More exersize can help , but definatly consider a muzzle of some sort . Any horse or pony of any age can founder even if they are 25 and have never had it before. Keep feeling your horses feet for heat ( one of the first indicators ) and if you have any doubt call a vet or farrier as a severe case can lame a horse for life ( or worse ) .
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-03-2009, 01:20 AM
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Does he have a crest developing on his neck? This is one of the most obvious signs, btu doesn't appear in every horse. If you can feel heat in his feet then he is CLOSE to actual founder and get him off that grass immediately.

There are horses who founder, and there are horses who don't. Shetlands and ponies are more prone to it that other breeds, but other breeds do founder nonetheless. My 14.1h arab gets fat as billy-o but he has never even looked like foundering. It really depends on the individual horse.

The best thing you can do is give him regular excersize. Is it possible to tape off a portion of his paddock and eat it down? This would give you a barer yard to maybe put him in at night to reduce his intake of grass. If it is bad you could let him out for only an hour or two. My first pony, a welsh mountain, had to be locked up at night in a dirt yard to keep her at a healthy weight.

To me, muzzling is at the extreme end of the scale. I don't really like the idea of muzzling my horse... lol. They wouldn't be able to itch themselves or groom with buddies...

Most founder prone horses can be managed with periods on grass and periods locked up. A shetland at our place at the moment is kept on dirt and only allowed on grass an hour or so a day. She is a very healthy weight and doing great.

There are also products that claim to help prevent founder. I have used them, but have no idea wether they are effective or not. The one I have experience with is founder-guard. Link.

My reccomendation would be to manage his weight with excersize and periods of grazing/periods of non grazing time.

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