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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been told that Lacey is somewhat of a founder risk. She hasn't technically foundered officially yet but she has the rings in her hooves that say that she's experienced some sort of founder like stress (or some such thing). She also gets really gassy and has really loose poo when she's on grass which makes me think that maybe all the sugar, or something, isn't agreeing with her on the inside.

But! She's coming with me to camp this summer and her little paddock area is going to have grass about 2 feet tall in it when she arrives, until she grazes it down. When we arrive in June, it's going to be just tall enough to start going to seed but not there yet. It's basically grass hay (used to be a hay field) so it will be like Lacey's just getting hay, that hasn't been turned into hay yet, I suppose...

My main concern is to keep her from foundering at all costs. I would just stick another camp horse in there before Lacey gets to camp so that it's all eaten down by the time she gets there, but I'm concerned about worms and immunities they may have but that she doesn't...
I was going to get her a grazing muzzle but they're SO expensive for what they are and I'm sure she'd make quick work of getting it off, so I'm kinda iffy about buying one.

It rains a lot up there at camp and we shouldn't have had any very warm weather yet, so I don't think the fructan levels should be very high...but I don't know. Should I do something about getting it mowed down or do you suppose she'll be fine? She's been on grass for the last month or so at home and she's doing just fine... A little gassy but nothing terrible...

What would you do? I'd hate to waste good forage if it's just fine, but I don't want to risk her well-being...
 

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I would not risk it at any cost. Having owned a laminitic horse in the past, I can tell you one never knows what will set them off. Mow the grass down. Go ahead and let another horse eat it down first. Just make sure you're up to date on worming. A $10 tube of wormer is cheaper than a vet bill for laminitis.

Pam
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Hey Wallaby,
It sounds like a dilemma for you. Please could you take the time to invest in some prevention. To qualify my comments I will give you some background. I currently specialize in therapeutic farrier work and have co-presented with Prof. Chris Pollitt on several occasions.
From your description your horse may have suffered laminitis in the past and/or could be prone to another acute attack. The vets I work with now almost always test for high insulin resistance and therefore can predict the risk and advise on diet. Something you may want to consider.
Short grass is not always the answer as the fresh shoots can be high in fructan (sugar). For articles on grasses and insulin resistance go to Safergrass.org Articles on grass carbohydrates and laminitis
The grazing muzzle may be worth while especially if the horse is high risk of laminitis. The muzzle will make him work for her feed.
If I can help please let me know.

Regards

Richard
Australian Farrier
 

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Take as many precautions as necessary. Even though a grazing muzzle is pricey, you'll be spending a helluva lot more money if she founders. I suggest investing in one and also asking them to put another horse or two in that paddock before she gets there.
 

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Rings can mean any kind of change in your horse's diet or environment.

I would have the paddock mowed a week before you get there, or put another horse in. I wouldn't worry about parasites unless your horse is really probe to them. If so, then just give her a dose of dewormer 3-4 weeks after she arrives.

To prevent founder, ride and exercise her as much as possible, so you can burn off the sugar. Feed as little "grain" or feed as possible. The extra carbs/sugar can push a founder-prone horse over the edge quickly... If you want to feed something to round out her diet, I'd recommend ADM's StaySTRONG Metabolic Mineral pellets. I feed all of my horses this feed, even those not in any danger of founder or IR. It's a concentrated feed, you only feed 1-1.3 lbs a day for an avergae 1,000 lb horse. If your horse needs more calories, feed timothy hay pellets.
 

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I would not risk it at any cost. Having owned a laminitic horse in the past, I can tell you one never knows what will set them off. Mow the grass down. Go ahead and let another horse eat it down first. Just make sure you're up to date on worming. A $10 tube of wormer is cheaper than a vet bill for laminitis.

Pam
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^^^^^
My thoughts exactly.
 

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sorry, not seeing the connection between worming and laminitis- anyone care to elaborate?
OP wrote:

My main concern is to keep her from foundering at all costs. I would just stick another camp horse in there before Lacey gets to camp so that it's all eaten down by the time she gets there, but I'm concerned about worms and immunities they may have but that she doesn't...
 

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Is your horse over weight? If she is this also increases the risk of laminitis. Short grass isn't good for a horse that is at risk because all of the sugar is in the bottom when the grass just starts to grow. By the time the grass is long it is using about the same amount of sugar to sustain the whole length of the blade of grass that it does for the shorter grass. I would definetly invest in a grazing muzzle. They work wonders and are well worth the expense. If you are worried about your horse getting it off there are different typse you can get. Some attach to the halter and some come with a strap that works like a head stall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
She isn't overweight at all currently, but she did spend the majority of her first 23 years of life horrifyingly obese. So I'm just being an overly concerned mama, yknow? :lol:

She's currently on grass right now and she's doing great, does that change anything about the situation?

She will be working quite hard during the time she'll be eating that grass down... She'll be being ridden 2-3 times a day for about an hour every time, at least, 5 days a week, will that improve the situation like luvs2ride said?

I have not been able to find one of the ones that attaches to the halter for under $40, and even then, I can't seem to find one that is Arab sized since her head is way smaller than horse size, but not small enough for pony size. Does anyone know if it might be possible to make one? I'm pretty handy like that and I'm sure I could make one if I knew what kind of materials to use and had at least a basic outline. I could even probably make one if I knew what to use and had pictures of the inside, outside, side, and bottom of one. The main issue is that I don't know what the bottom part (in front of the nose) is made of. I think I could probably get some nylon webbing and velcro and weave and sew the sides but I'm lost about the bottom.

My concern about having another horse eat it up is that the other horses are arriving from the outfitter the week before camp actually starts so they'll only have about 4 days to eat down half an acre before Lacey absolutely has to be at camp to settle in and such before campers arrive. No horse I know can eat down 12 inches of grass that fast. :lol:

I could see about getting a lawn mower of some sort up there and mowing it down (and picking up the clippings of course) but I'm not sure if the camp would be willing to do that, since they're super painfully unmotivated where the horses are concerned. I guess I could bring my family's little old lawn mower up there and say "mow!" and hope that it doesn't keel over halfway through. Hahaha

Thanks for all the responses!
 

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If she's going to be used that much, then she is going to NEED all of the calories she can get from fresh grass. I would not be concerned with laminitis or founder. Just don't feed much (or any) feed/grain unless you see her losing weight.
 

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If she is used to grass now she should transition to the new field well. I agree with the others about the grain, only use it if you need to and then stay away from the sweet feeds.

The muzzles I've used are nylon mesh sides in a bucket shape, the bottom was a tough rubber/plastic with a big hole in the middle. They get the grass from the holes in the bottom of the muzzle. If you google "grazing muzzle" a lot of pictures come up if you are in the images section of google
 

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Brace yourself.

If the horse is 23 years old then maybe she should not go to places where there is any additional risk for laminitis--stress--change in grass or sugar intake etc.

Retire her ahd let her live the rest of her life without the risk and get a younger horse without that trait.

Just an honest opinion.
 

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23 isn't that old. "Senior" years vary greatly from horse to horse, some are old at 15 others aren't old at 30. Ever hear of Elmer Bandit? Having followed Wallaby/Lacey I can say that in my opinion Wallaby has greatly extended Lacey's life (not to mention quality of life) by everything she is doing.

OP: I don't think you have a lot to worry about. She'll be working enough and has already been on grass so she has the necessary enzymes. If you're really worried feed her a good meal of hay for a couple days before turning her out.

Personally I would rather put a horse out in tall grass that is almost seeding out. It's actually stemmier/higher fiber than the short rich grass. Talk to any hay maker/agricultural person and they will tell you that shorter grass is richer (and more dangerous if it's stressed) than long mature grass. Just look at hay. Old grass = more stems higher fiber, young grass = very leafy/rich.

My 30 yr old has had the same type of hooves as Lacey for years (I've seen your hoof pics) and the last couple of years I've pushed out putting the horses out to pasture until the grass was high and her rings have really decreased.

Last thing and this is the most important. If the area stops getting rain pull her off the paddock. When grass gets stressed it has much higher levels of fructans. Fructans are very dangerous and are often a cause of laminitis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Brace yourself.

If the horse is 23 years old then maybe she should not go to places where there is any additional risk for laminitis--stress--change in grass or sugar intake etc.

Retire her ahd let her live the rest of her life without the risk and get a younger horse without that trait.

Just an honest opinion.
I appreciate your opinion, however, she is one of those horses that loves to work. If I were to just stop taking her places and working her because of her age, I have no doubt that she would immediately start the downhill turn towards the end of her life. I'm not stupid with her of course, I know that her limits are lower than the limits of a younger horse so I don't push her past what she can handle. As long as she enjoys work, I plan to continue using her for everything I need a horse for. I'm trying to educate myself so I can keep her in the best shape possible and as a result I understand that this maybe the last, second to last or third to last summer that I can use her this way and that's fine. I would rather have a happy and healthy Lacey that I can't ride than a different horse I could. But, that day hasn't come yet. She still wants to be ridden, she still loves 4 hour trail rides, and she's still raring to go at the end of them. I have no doubt that she will let me know exactly when she can't do it any more and I will respect that. That day hasn't come yet though, and for that I am thankful.

Also, she's not 23, she's 25. :lol:

23 isn't that old. "Senior" years vary greatly from horse to horse, some are old at 15 others aren't old at 30. Ever hear of Elmer Bandit? Having followed Wallaby/Lacey I can say that in my opinion Wallaby has greatly extended Lacey's life (not to mention quality of life) by everything she is doing.

OP: I don't think you have a lot to worry about. She'll be working enough and has already been on grass so she has the necessary enzymes. If you're really worried feed her a good meal of hay for a couple days before turning her out.

Personally I would rather put a horse out in tall grass that is almost seeding out. It's actually stemmier/higher fiber than the short rich grass. Talk to any hay maker/agricultural person and they will tell you that shorter grass is richer (and more dangerous if it's stressed) than long mature grass. Just look at hay. Old grass = more stems higher fiber, young grass = very leafy/rich.

My 30 yr old has had the same type of hooves as Lacey for years (I've seen your hoof pics) and the last couple of years I've pushed out putting the horses out to pasture until the grass was high and her rings have really decreased.

Last thing and this is the most important. If the area stops getting rain pull her off the paddock. When grass gets stressed it has much higher levels of fructans. Fructans are very dangerous and are often a cause of laminitis.
Thank you MN Tigerstripes! I appreciate that. I like to think that I've helped Lacey out, so it's nice to here someone else agree with me about that. :)

That's good to know about the grass! I never thought about it that way but I suppose that makes sense, I mean, you don't see farmers baling short grass! :lol: I will definitely watch for rain/no rain and keep that in mind.
 

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No problem Wallaby, it's been really nice to see someone enjoying an older horse, especially with the improvements you've made with her. She looks great and really happy. Have fun this summer with her! I'm jealous, I'd love to take Soda somewhere like that.
 
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