Originally Posted by WhoaNellie35827 View Post
We have four horses on our 60 acre farm-two geldings, a mare, and her 2 month old filly. We don't know much about horses; we are still learning.
You are describing a difficult situation. Domestic horses are a significant responsibility and there is much to learn regarding their maintenance needs and the challenges they can present. Learn all you can as quickly as you can. Not an easy task given the tremendous volume of "shedrow wisdom" that permeates the equestrian world.
A few weeks ago, the farrier commented that the 9 year old gelding, Frankie, was a little tender in his front right hoof, and he may founder.
That is a suspicious "diagnosis" at best. There are many potential causes for a horse to present tender in only one foot, laminitis (founder) being only one possibility.
He also showed me how thick and stiff his neck was.
Probably a consequence of being over weight. Yes, that can predispose a horse to a laminitic episode but it is not definitive. Cresty, thick neck and tender in one foot. Both represent a concern but fall short of a definitive diagnosis of laminitis.
The farrier said that if we rode him a few times a week his neck would go down and his hoof would probably start to feel better.
Your farrier's assertion/assessment just cost him nearly all of his credibility.
Limited riding will have little effect on a severely obese horse without significant changes in diet and husbandry, nor will it have any dramatic impact should the horse prove to be insulin resistant.
More important, no farrier worth his salt would ever, ever, ever suggest riding a horse that he/she suspects may be exhibiting symptoms of laminitis!
We have tried to ride him a few times, but he is so stubborn and won't do anything you say, so we have given up for the time being. I noticed yesterday that the Frankie's neck looked especially large and was very stiff-more so than before.
If you have any reason to believe the horse is suffering laminitis, do not ride him. Engage a veterinarian to make a correct diagnosis. Worry about riding/training/behavioral issues after you've sorted any potential lameness/health issues.
A fat, cresty-necked horse doesn't typically present noticeable changes in the thickness of their neck from one day to the next. I might, in this case, question what else might be going on. Swelling associated with bug bites, stings, allergic reactions, etc.
I researched founder and I've read a lot about it, but I'd like some opinions on what to do with him. We don't have a dry lot to put him in. All the horses just graze through the pastures all day. I only feed them when they come to the barn which is rare. I can put him in the barn, but he doesn't really like that because he likes to be out with the other horses.
Horses need what they need. That we may lack that ability or resources to provide for those needs does not diminish the need. Start with a vet check. Determine a baseline for the animals current status and then have a frank and open discussion with your vet and farrier about meeting the needs of the horse as best you can.
So what should I do? What do I feed him? Help please!
Asked and answered for the most part. Start with a veterinary exam and go from there. Ask your farrier to participate in the discussion and watch what happens when he repeats any suggestion that riding a laminitic horse is of some benefit.