I'm so sorry about that gelding! He was a cutie. Bummer.
My mare has most likely had laminitis (haven't taken x-rays yet but all signs point to it), she was free as well.
I can say that I would definitely do it again. She's never taken a lame step in the 4 years I've had her and we come in contact with gravel and other very hard surfaces on a regular basis.
I think the keys for managing a laminitis-prone horse are to make sure the diet is as low in sugar as possible, work the horse regularly so the weight stays off and the sugars the horse is ingesting get worked through it's body, keep the horse barefoot so that hoof blood circulation is as good as possible (for this, a really good barefoot trimmer is pretty necessary, generic pasture trims won't cut it), and make sure to not let the horse get obese (grazing muzzle in the spring/fall, etc).
On the other hand, Lacey's buddy that she came from her previous home with (this other mare wasn't owned by me) was much more freshly foundered than Lacey is. Her new owners fed her all manner of sweet feed, rode her too hard for her age and fitness, and had her on a tri-monthly shoeing schedule so she was basically walking on stilts between trims. That mare foundered again and was put down because of it.
If her owners had taken the time to get educated on the disease their horse was living with and on basic horse care, I have no doubt she'd still be alive today.
I guess basically, a foundered horse is not the horse for someone who's not going to research or for someone who wants to take shortcuts with their horses care. If you are willing to go the extra mile for this horse, I really don't think you'll have a problem. And I'm sure she'll be thankful! :)
Fabio - 13 year old Arab/QH gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat
Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat
Rest peacefully, Lacey.
Last edited by Wallaby; 01-16-2012 at 12:41 PM.