How long to founder? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-26-2017, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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How long to founder?

I've recently bought a new horse, she is at an excellent weight at the moment but in the past has been known to get rather rotund, so much so that a little over a year ago she was pulled off the grass as her owners at the time were worried she might founder, thankfully she didn't. That said she is super greedy, I don't know if this is because she was taken off grass for quite a while and is now back on it and trying to make up for lost time or if she's just a big time food lover like me and can't stop snacking. Anyway my question is how long (roughly) might a horse take to founder? I have to go away for 2wks over Christmas and am wondering if it's possible she could get that fat again in such a short space of time. She will have a carer while I'm away but no one who can ride her so will be getting no exercise, that said her paddock is about 14 acres with lots of hills so she will have to wander up and down hills to get a drink of water. The grass isn't lush green grass it is an old farm that hasn't been grazed in years and is more a mix of tussock and old dry grass but this time of year there are a lot of younger shoots popping up and I have seen other horses on the land get fat before however I'm not sure how quickly they got fat.
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-26-2017, 11:09 PM
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When the days are warm but nights are cold, the grass stores sugar. That more than the amount of grass she eats will cause founder. The grass gets shorter and more full of sugar as it gets further into winter but before it's dormant. Depending on where you are, she may have a problem or she may not. And it can happen in a day.

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post #3 of 8 Old 11-26-2017, 11:17 PM
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Here's something I found that explains it pretty well.
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File Type: jpg Grass and sugar content..jpg (104.3 KB, 1 views)

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post #4 of 8 Old 11-26-2017, 11:18 PM
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If she was mine,... to protect her I would be limiting her time out to mid day, a few hours only as it sounds like she gorges and not take breaks from stuffing her face...

Actually, while I was away she would be dry-lotted completely and put on a specified diet and amount of food.
I would not want to put that kind of responsibility on any caregiver knowing she has foundered in the past she is very liable to do it again...
Nor heaven forbid she start foundering and it is missed and then what....
Nope, dry-lot it is unless I was in attendance and watching very closely.
....
jmo...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-26-2017, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Just to clarify no she hasn't foundered in the past just got really fat and they were worried she might so took her off the grass to lose weight.
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-27-2017, 12:11 AM
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Getting fat isn't the only cause of founder. Too much sugar too fast can cause founder as well, which is what @Dreamcatcher Arabians is trying to explain. ANY horse can technically founder if grass is high in sugar and they aren't used to it. If shes USED to being out on grass and isn't severely obese right now you probably don't need to be as concerned. If She isn't used to the grass or being out 24/7 then you need to be concerned because she could get a lot more sugar then her body is used to and she needs.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-28-2017, 05:32 PM
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How old is she? Have you considered a grazing muzzle? It would help slow her down, both while you are gone, and going forward. I would put it on before you leave so you can see how she responds first though, before leaving her with a caretaker. Also, ThyroL (levothyroxine) from your vet may help keep her weight under control.
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-28-2017, 06:56 PM
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No one can answer the question, "How long before she founders?' If you think there's a risk she may founder, my advise would be, play it safe and take her off grass during the day.
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