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equestrianriderj 05-01-2011 04:41 PM

laminits: will my horse be at risk??
I'm nervous of my horse developing laminitis he's never had any health issues b4, but do you think he will be prone? Heres the situation:
So i think I may pasture board my horse. He will have a run in for bad weather but will mostly be on a 7 acre very lush green grass pasture. He is a draft cross. I keep him in shape year round and ride him 4-5 times a week and take lessons regularly and show in hunter/jumper. His hooves get trimmed regularly also. He gets hay twice a day and grain twice a day and will have grass 24/7. Is he at risk for laminitis? B/c i know a major cause is if they consume too many sugars in grass. I just want to be aware if I should take precautions.


McuesHiSierra 05-01-2011 05:41 PM

Hi there! I admire your concern for this problem because it doesn't even cross some people's minds! Your horse doesn't seem at too high of a risk, however take it easy when first introducing him into the pasture. Start with one hour a day, then move to two/three hours and so on until you feel comfortable with the intake. Also make sure to watch the amount of food he is given. Grain, hay, and grass seems to be quite a bit! Hope I helped!

Cherie 05-01-2011 06:57 PM

I think you are very thoughtful. I, too, would be concerned, given his breeding.

Would it be possible to at least start him out with a grazing muzzle on for at least part time. I would cut his grain completely. Lush green grass is going to have a lot more calories and a lot more sugar in it than his old hay, so you need to cut them somewhere, especially in the spring.

Then as you ride him, you can see how his weight does. Be careful to watch for fat deposits and a cresty neck and reluctance to move out. It is better to be safe than sorry.

loosie 05-01-2011 08:03 PM

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Another 'good for you' for being proactive about this!:clap: It's far better to learn about it & avoid causing the problem than to have to manage the consequences!

So much lush grass could well be a problem. If he's on the 7 acres alone, he won't have help eating it, or company to motivate exercise. I would personally want to find him some company of another horse or few, and consider making a track around the paddock(google 'paddock paradise' for ideas) or at least strip graze to reduce the amount of grass available to him.

As already mentioned, keep a close eye on his weight, because 'grass founder' & insulin resistance type probs are generally due to too many calories, so don't let him get overweight & this will reduce the risk of lami. Don't wait for signs of 'fat deposits' & cresty neck, because that means it's already a chronic problem by then.

Feeding him grain is another potential source of problems. Generally speaking, grain, being high starch/carbs is not a good feed for horses. If it's not well processed, it's also very hard for their stomach to digest. Often 'hard feed' is also sweetened with molasses or such, which is another thing to avoid. Potential for problems are higher if the grain is fed in large &/or infrequent meals. So I'd consider carefully if you really want to feed it at all(if he needs more weight/energy there are other alternatives) and if so, feed it to him little & often rather than only a couple of feeds daily. If he's healthy & a good weight, I probably wouldn't bother with anything other than a ration balancer or such for nutrients, as chances are the grass & hay will be well enough for him.

Katy Watts | is a good source of info about grass/feed as it relates to laminitis and is a good resource on all hoof related considerations.

equestrianriderj 05-01-2011 08:47 PM

Thanks so much everyone!! I think I will get that Equus issue, thanks for mentioning it. Also he will have two other pasture mates. You are all so helpful :-)

loosie 05-01-2011 09:28 PM

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Originally Posted by Cherie (Post 1019651)
Lush green grass is going to have a lot more calories and a lot more sugar in it than his old hay,

Oh, forgot to comment on that bit before... unfortunately not. Lush grass has more water content and vitamins, but unfortunately it doesn't lose sugars or therefore calories after being cut(only uses them while actively growing), so unfortunately hay is not necc. lower in sugars. That's why people with lami-prone horses soak the hay - to leach out some sugars.

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