Paddock Footing for Foundered Minis
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!
If you can make a sand paddock that would be great for foundered ponies, the footing is soft enough to not put too much strain on the foot but also supports the sole of the foot
Not sure what they call it but the type of sand they use in septic systems drains really well
Adding some shredded rubber or fabric improves the surface texture but adds to the cost
You will have to be careful how you feed them on it as there is the risk of sand colic as they will ingest some sand as they pick fallen hay off the floor even if you use nets or feeding racks
Once they've recovered then you might find that splitting your area up into smaller paddocks will work better - just enough for them to browse around with hay for maintenance feeding
I second the sand. But also an area with hard packed dirt or pea gravel will help foundered feet.
Get slowfeeder haynets. Slows them down, makes the hay last longer, less waste, helps with the diet, and if you put a tub or a rubbermat on the ground under the nets they can pick up what falls out without ingesting sand. In a live-in in paddock I'd rather not use any rubber mixed in, especially with ponies on a diet.
Get them plain grasshay for the nets, don't starve them, tummies need something in there to avoid ulcers or insulin spikes.
Thanks to you both. The paddock is accessed from their stall, so they'll feed in the stall. That should prevent the sand colic issue.
Not sure what others think but I wonder if they always feed in their stalls they might not ever bother to go out on the sand paddock which might mean they don't get enough exercise and they need that to stimulate blood flow in the feet and in the body
You can always hang two nets, or more. One inside, the other(s) out. Makes them move, since the other net might have sth better;-)
Read up on slowfeeder nets. They do wonders:-)
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