First time poster here, and somewhat of a horse newbie.
We bought a house with some acreage a few months ago, and it came with two female minis- a mother and daughter. The previous owners had just let them graze in the pasture 24/7, only putting them in the stall when it was extremely cold.
We had a farrier out last week to trim their hooves, and the younger one had an abcess that bled when she trimmed her front hoof. She cleaned it with iodine and wrapped it, and said to keep an eye on it for a few days, and that the horse was starting to founder.
The next morning, she was laying in the field near the barn, and wouldn't get up, so we called the vet the previous owner had used. They didn't respond, so we called another vet that the farrier recommended, who came out immediately. She said the horses were extremely overweight from all the grass they had been eating, and had us restrict them to the stall for the next week and said to feed them only hay so we could start getting their weight under control. She also said to build them a paddock with no grass in it, which I'm doing this weekend.
All that said, my question is- what's the best type of footing material for a foundered horse? If I remove the grass from the paddock, I'm going to have a muddy mess on my hands within a few days. I've seen recommendations for sand, gravel, hog fuel, wood chips, and clay, but none seemed too specific to foundered horses.
Thanks in advance for helping this newbie!