Going into spring with a lamnitis-prone horse...

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Going into spring with a lamnitis-prone horse...

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    01-25-2011, 08:57 PM
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Going into spring with a lamnitis-prone horse...

So, the grass has started growing again here and I'm not sure about how I'm going to "manage" Lacey during the growing season, so I figured I'd ask.

Basically, Lacey used to be (3 years ago) severely overweight and only barely missed actually foundering by a millimeter. As it is, she's doing really well now. She used to constantly have rings in her hooves from little laminitic episodes and now the very last rings are only an inch or so away from being completely gone from her hooves.

However, in the spring, once she gets on real, lush grass, she has a tendency to blow up like a balloon (at least at her last home). She probably puts on 100 pounds as soon as the grass really starts growing, even if she isn't being fed any extra. Last year, she went from being "backbone sticking up a little skinny" to "as wide as a battleship" in about a month, even on less than an acre with 7 other horses, and she was worked everyday.

So, basically, I'm concerned that since I've kept her at "a little less than battleship wide" all winter, that I'm headed for an issue once the grass starts growing since she's on 3 acres all by herself (with 2 llamas but they don't eat much at all).

I can divide her field into 2 smaller sections, one of 2 acres and one of 1 acre, but I'm not sure if that would help. I can also shut off access (with some difficulty) to both large fields and keep her in a small paddock sort of thing at night, but I'm not sure how much good that would do since she'd still be getting a lot during the day...

I've tried using a grazing muzzle on her but she got out of the one I had, however, not before she showed me that she was "unable" to eat or drink with it on.

So what would you do?

Once the grass really starts coming in and I see her weight coming up, I plan to first cut out the beet pulp she's getting (2 pounds before it's soaked), then start cutting out the alfalfa I'm feeding (10 pounds a day) so that she's only on about 7 pounds of grass hay and then as the grass comes in more, I plan on gradually cutting that out too.
I envision that that will probably take place gradually over Feb/March/April. By the middle of Feb. I think the beet pulp will need to be gone, then by the end of Feb. Probably most of the alfalfa will be gone and by the middle of April, I don't think I'll be feeding anything anymore...

Also, if it matters, this summer we'll be going to camp again, most likely, so she'll only be eating the grass until about June 12th, by which point she'll go to camp and eat different grass for a month/until it's gone and her paddock becomes a dry lot. Then she'll begin to get a timothy/grass mix for the rest of the summer, and then in late August, we'll move back home and she'll start back on this grass until it's all gone.

My overall thought is that once the grass starts coming in, I might confine her to the lower 1 acre pasture so that the upper pasture can stay really nice for next fall...Or do some sort of rotation, but what kind of rotation?

I know nothing, please teach me land management geniuses! :)
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    01-26-2011, 03:56 PM
I had a pony like that. I was driving me crazy...no matter what I tried he would blow up as soon as the grass turned the slightest bit green in the spring. I did a lot of research and made two discoveries that saved my pony. One was that a lot of overweight/easy keepers are actually mineral deficient (even when I was trying to pay attention to his diet!) especially magnesium which helps the body regulate the metabolism. I started him a mineral supplement with extra mag. I also went to a whole foods people supplement company- Standard Process-who also does horse supplements and tried a product called Metabolic Support. Find them online and see if there is a vet in your area- you have to get it through a vet. I was amazed at the results. I don't know if any of that would help you but do a little online research. Good luck!
    01-26-2011, 04:29 PM
This is a great site and should help you ALOT with any questions you have

Factors affecting NSC levels in grass
    01-26-2011, 04:30 PM
Here is another good one fromthat site
Grazing horses prone to laminitis
    01-26-2011, 08:54 PM
AMEN, Peggysue!!! I feed such a simple diet with whole foods and stuff horses should eat not the "twinkie" sweet feeds and overly rich processed diets. Have you read Pat Colby's book? The feeding info in there is great and makes a wholistic diet that is actually way less expensive than the pre made feeds. I have used her diet recommendations for almost nine years now and have had amazing results. The pony was my only exception and he just needed a little extra help.

Yes, I get teased about my odd diet too but I get an awful lot of calls from people with overweight and foundering horses sent by my farrier!

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