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We rescued a pony from a very terrible situation. This is what I know: He was tied to a post at a hay sale with a for sale on his butt. His feet were LONG, his body score about 3, fallen crest, and dirty. We picked up some hay and the pony. They didn't have an age, but they did say he was broke to ride but he'd been "grumpy" lately (most likely due to his clown shoe feet). I was somewhat appalled that anyone was even trying to ride him, but I am pretty sure they didn't know how to take care of a pony.

He was in my dry lot for 3 weeks quarantine. When the farrier came (before the vet as she is very busy - only vet in our rural area for big animals) he said, "Oh this pony foundered!" He was careful to trim only what he could, but said he needed to come every 4 weeks to trim him and try to get him off his heels and balanced. The vet came and did Coggins but didn't have the equipment at the time for radiographs - she will when she comes back at the next farrier appointment. She said to keep him in the soft dry lot, grass hay, and Animed Remission with molasses FREE beet pulp soaked and drained once a day as his body score is 3. She thinks he was probably fat at one point and then they underfed him. His teeth are actually in relatively decent shape. She didn't want to sedate him at the time because she said any big change could cause founder again. She wants to put weight on slowly, so I did buy him a blanket for winter even though he's pretty fuzzy. I did worm him with Safeguard.

Unfortunately, it just got really wet and the dry lot is super muddy - like ankle deep. I put him in the run in barn and made a small paddock with panels, but it's not very big. The dry lot is 76'x52'. The paddock/run in is 24'x12'. I also have a 25 acre pasture with a lot of terrain - it's currently frost covered, but not snow covered. I have been feeding the pasture horses hay because there's nothing but dead grass (we had a very long dry spell and everything died).

My question is: Where is the best place to keep this guy? He really likes to walk. He paces. A lot. When quarantine was over I put bossy mare in a paddock next to him (but bossy mare is used to 25 acres and is irritable in the paddock). I have been putting her back in the pasture in the morning and bringing her in at night, but when she is gone he paces and paces and cries. Is this good for him? I want to put them both in the dry lot as it is bigger, but it's so muddy I think that is not the right thing to do. The pasture seems too big, a lot of walking, but I am worried the pasture is TOO much walking - I have the hay and water about 1/4 mile apart with water uphill so there's forced exercise. And the hill is rocky. Plus, there will be a large free choice hay bale in there (it IS covered with a Hay Chix nibble net so no gorging).

I am wondering if a load of pea gravel in the dry lot will help? Gravel seems like it would hurt. When I walked him to the paddock from the lot (down the driveway about 200 yards), he seemed uncomfortable on the gravel driveway. He walks so much and he is not head bobbing lame or even reluctant to walk, he just moves like an old man.

Note: I have managed two IR horses for about 10 years, but I have never had a horse that foundered. I have been vigilant in preventing it with my others, so this is my first time having an animal that actually has foundered. I trying to learn the best way to manage.
 

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At least you have a great heads up/head start on the issue and it sounds like your farrier and vet are also pretty savvy:)

You’re right to not let him on the 25 acres, at least for now.

How big is he? When I hear “pony” I think more in the 13H or less category.

The dry lot would be great but you say it is ankle deep in mud.

If the 12 X 24 run in is dry, I would keep him there until the vet and farrier feel he’s healthy enough for the big pasture. Be prepared for that to not happen, though.

I would nix the pea gravel idea for two reasons:

1. Without digging the mud out, the pea gravel will disappear in a short time.

2. I am not a fan of putting gravel down to “help toughen up” a foundered horse’s hooves. I also have an IR horse but he severely foundered in 2012 and still has hoof health issues.

People have suggested the pea gravel so that’s all he has to walk on. It’s not happening. I see how he sometimes struggled to get across the gravel drive to the other yard which is part of his pasture. He’s in shoes with frog pads and some stuff under the pads that looks like silly putty for now:)

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Your 12 x 24 run in area is really small but, if it is dry and the pony is small enough, it’s the better option until your paddock dries up a little bit.

Hopefully you can still keep the Boss mare close by, where pony can see her.

Thank you for taking the little guy in and best wishes in his rehab:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Pony is 11 hands - he is really small. Vet wasn't sure the breed because he is unusual looking. He is a grulla overo.

There's no way for him to see the others from the paddock. Or even the dry lot. It's 40 acres and divided up weird as the house is in the dead middle on top of a rise. The big pasture is east of the house below the rise and he is on the west side, so he gets upset he is alone. The pasture only has one run in shelter and we can't panel it off as the others wouldn't be able to get in. The dry lot has a massive shade tree. Where he is now is in the barn with 12x12 inside and 12x12 outside. The barn is more like a 3 bay hay barn - the other bay is full of hay and the last bay has the tractor, so we can't really even put a horse next to him unless it's very nice. Next week when it snows I will have to leave bossy in the pasture so she has shelter.

Is there another surface we could try to mitigate the mud? If he could be in the dry lot during the day and the paddock at night, at least I could put bossy with him in the daytime (as long as it's not snowing - we get about 300 days of sun per year, so it's not like it would be a lot of alone time - just during big storms).
 

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Clearly he needs a dry surface and he also needs company. Those are your two present issues besides his health challenges.

Can you buy, borrow, or lease a mini or a small donkey to share the space with him? They will have similar care needs. Remember his mind is just as important to heal as his feet, and a lonely, upset, panicky horse is not going to get well easily, any more than a person would.

To get a dry area you need drainage. If there is any way to create drainage away from that pen (you need to see the water moving away, not just filling a ditch), that is going to go far to creating a permanently dry surface. Short term the solution would be to get a tractor in there and scrape the mud out, and put down drain rock, with gravel on top of that, and then the surface you want for your pony -- rubber matting could even work for a space that small. If you put gravel or anything else on top of mud it will simply disappear.

Sorry there aren't any cheap, easy solutions to drainage problems ...
 

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Hi,

but when she is gone he paces and paces and cries. Is this good for him? ... The pasture seems too big, a lot of walking, but I am worried the pasture is TOO much walking - I have the hay and water about 1/4 mile apart with water uphill so there's forced exercise. And the hill is rocky. Plus, there will be a large free choice hay bale in there
No, it's not good for him to be alone & stressing about it so much. Aside from how it is mentally, serious stress is not good for health & can possibly bring on laminitis. As can too much pacing/exercise('forced' in this case by his stress).

1/4 mile each way doesn't sound like much, if he's only doing that much once or twice a day in his own time. And depends on the state of his feet, but unless he's really bad, shouldn't be too much. Quite probably doing substantially more when alone & pacing all day. & Pacing in stress, he's likely to do that regardless of how his feet are feeling, while moseying with other horses in a paddock happily, he will likely do only as much as he feels like, and be more careful.

The rocks - depends on the state of his feet to some degree, but again, if he's only moseying contentedly, able to be careful where he walks, not feeling the need to hurry or such, quite probably OK. If he's not, you could always boot him.

The hay - if it's not rich, sugary 'improved' pasture or cereal hay, unless he's seriously IR, should be fine, esp if he's needing weight on.

*All the above obviously general idea, as I don't know your/his specifics.

I am wondering if a load of pea gravel in the dry lot will help? Gravel seems like it would hurt. ... seemed uncomfortable on the gravel ... not head bobbing lame or even reluctant to walk, he just moves like an old man
Pea gravel is a name for small, smooth/not sharp stones & is great for horses hooves generally, and is generally a comfortable surface for sore footed horses. BUT it has to be thick - around 4" generally, so it's yielding, they can sink into it. The reason he may not be comfortable on the drive is it will be a thin layer over hard ground. If you can't afford/it isn't practical to put down a thick layer, it may not be great for keeping down the mud either, and you might be better off with course sand, which should be comfortable for him in lesser quantity too.

While if he had truly healthy feet, thick soles & strong heels, he would likely be fine on a gravel road/drive, many horses have trouble on this surface & it's not necessarily a reflection on his 'founder'. If he's NOT comfortable on something like deep pea gravel or sand, his feet are in a very bad way & I'd keep him booted/padded until they improve.

That he is not 'head bobbing lame' only means he's not significantly more lame on one foot. A horse can be equally sore on both sides & won't limp, just be... doddery, like an 'old man' as he 'tippy toes' his way along. Without knowing the state of his feet, hearing that he's so uncomfortable on this surface, I'd suggest you avoid making him walk on it unless he's padded. & out in the big paddock - just keep an eye on him to see if he's struggling on the rocks, or whether he can pick his way comfortably.

Note: I have managed two IR horses for about 10 years, but I have never had a horse that foundered. I have been vigilant in preventing it with my others, so this is my first time having an animal that actually has foundered. I trying to learn the best way to manage.
The difference is essentially one of mechanics. Depending on the amount of permanent damage there may be, he may not come completely good - and he may have Cushings or other 'complications' but it's entirely possible that after a few months special care, he will take no more than the previous horses you've looked after.
 

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Wow, this is the first time I remember disagreeing with you in ages Walkin, but even then, it's more about clarification I feel...

You’re right to not let him on the 25 acres, at least for now.
If it's not that it's a rich paddock & you're worried about IR issues, if your vet & farrier are really savvy about founder(unfortunately not a given) and they've seen the pony, presumably seen the paddock, I'd ask their opinion first, but as said, I don't think it sounds like a bad thing at all necessarily. If pony is really sore on his feet, you might need to boot him for it.

2. I am not a fan of putting gravel down to “help toughen up” a foundered horse’s hooves.
As I'm sure you appreciate, Walkin, I far from disagree with that sentiment - any 'toughening up' or 'conditioning' of bare feet on gravel should be done when the horse has healthy feet, and gradually, so they don't suffer for it. Forcing a weak or sore footed horse to exercise over rough footing in the name of 'toughening up' is false logic and can do more harm than good. Not to mention be unpleasant for the animal.

BUT *deep* pea gravel is not generally uncomfortable or damaging for even horses in a serious way. It's not about 'toughening up'.
 

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Wow, this is the first time I remember disagreeing with you in ages Walkin, but even then, it's more about clarification I feel...



If it's not that it's a rich paddock & you're worried about IR issues, if your vet & farrier are really savvy about founder(unfortunately not a given) and they've seen the pony, presumably seen the paddock, I'd ask their opinion first, but as said, I don't think it sounds like a bad thing at all necessarily. If pony is really sore on his feet, you might need to boot him for it.



As I'm sure you appreciate, Walkin, I far from disagree with that sentiment - any 'toughening up' or 'conditioning' of bare feet on gravel should be done when the horse has healthy feet, and gradually, so they don't suffer for it. Forcing a weak or sore footed horse to exercise over rough footing in the name of 'toughening up' is false logic and can do more harm than good. Not to mention be unpleasant for the animal.

BUT *deep* pea gravel is not generally uncomfortable or damaging for even horses in a serious way. It's not about 'toughening up'.
Good Monday morning! :wave::wave:

Aw, we have to disagree once in awhile:smile:

Re roaming on 25 acres:. My concerns are two-fold, (well -- 2-1/2 really:).

1. I am trusting the OP's description of the hooves. The pony is new to the herd - sometimes adjusting into a new herd can be rough, with a lot of runnung/chasing involved -- not what the pony needs right now:)

2. When the word "Rocky" was mentioned, I have to wonder how Rocky. A good friend has seven acres of more rocks than grass. Her Ir/Cushings horse had more abscesses in four years than ten horses get in a lifetime. Her other horses have also experienced occasional abscesses. The abnormal amount of abscesses has always been blamed on the rocks as all of her horses are fed as if they are IR.

There is a farm over the ridge from me that is also rocks with a little bit of grass. The only true grassy area is at the barn. The horses walk on rocks just to get to the creek between the barn and house. I have seen them struggle sometimes and have wondered about their hoof health (abscesses).

2-1/2 - IF the pony is IR or borderline, it may need a muzzle to graze 25 acres with the herd but that would not give it any line of defense if it gets picked on while still being the "new kid" and that might add further stress to its wiggies (hooves:)

Re the pea gravel: yes, I did say "foundered", but I will expand a little for others, lollol. I would never have put Joker's hooves through that. I have a walkway of 1/4-down (limestone crush) around two sides of the barn. At one point I was so anal about Joker stepping on a piece of driveway stone, I kept that walkway swept off with a corn broom - Joker has to be separated from Rusty-the-bully, so the yard is part of his six acres:)

But the immediate crux of the OP's issue is the deep mud - it would have to be scraped out and done [email protected]; described in order to prevent the pea gravel from sinking clear to China and her checkbook heaving a big sigh:smile:
 
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Pictures are worth a thousand words, or so the sayings goes.

Can you post some pictures??

BTW, I have always integrated new horses with the lowest ranking horse first, working the way up the herd hierarchy and ending with the boss horse. Seems to be less discord that way.

Very good of you to rescue this little pony :Angel:
 

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We pet pea gravel down for our foundered TWH (foundered in all 4's) and she loved it. But as @loosie said - it needs to be thick. We had a large dump truck dump a load in her small run in that is off of her stall. She loved to just go out there and stand in it and even lay down in it - at times she preferred the pea gravel over her bedded stall. Our mare abcessed quite a bit the first few months we rehabbed her. And we also had her trimmed every 3-4 weeks. She is actually barefoot now (3 years later) and booted when we ride. She does great! We watch her grass intake in the spring and fall especially. We have had major frost and freezing here and she is out on the dead pasture and canters and bucks with glee. Remission was a key part to our rehab as well as a small amount of ration balancer - our mare was quite over weight when we got her to a grazing muzzle was purchased and is used all during the growing season. I wonder if a grazing muzzle while on your pasture would help.

Him walking and pacing is not helping him and at least a muzzle would help him to be out with the herd.
 

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Hi 2SC

My mule George foundered last year; we think from steroids (for his eyes) administered on top of an overly indulgent diet. But whatever, he spent almost a month lying in a stall, only getting up to go potty. However once he was able to move around more comfortably, I turned him out with his friends. Recovery has been slow (expected), but he is back under saddle now, and apparently none the worse for wear. His next trim will remove the "Founder" rings.

Anyway, as long as your other animals aren't picking on the pony, I'd say to turn him out with them. Stress, and the pacing associated with it aren't gonna help with his recovery. And as long as the rest leave him alone, he will lie down in a comfortable spot as he feels the need, and hang out with The Herd otherwise.

Just like the rest of us, an Equines mental and physical health are closely interrelated. My $.02.
 
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Kudos to you for taking him on and trying to do the very best for him.

I'm first going to give what I believe to be the correct usage of the term 'founder' as opposed to laminitis because it does make a difference:

Laminitis is inflammation within the hoof that can be caused by a variety of things

Founder is used when that inflammation has caused physical changes within the hoof that have caused the separation between that bone and the wall of the hoof, the coffin/pedal bone can then rotate and be shifted in a downwards trend (hence the use of the word 'founder' which means to 'send to the bottom as in sink) In a worst case scenario it can penetrate the sole.

A horse/pony can have laminitis but not founder.

A horse or pony can also have overly long feet and not have laminitis. I once took a risk and bought a hackney cross from a sale that had the longest feet, complete with shoes attached, that Id ever seen. He didn't appear to be in any discomfort and I paid peanuts for him. X rays showed no sign of anything wrong at all, it was just a case of neglect and someone who certainly wasn't qualified just 'dumping' shoes on him every time the old ones wore down or fell off without doing any trimming. It actually didn't take long to get him right and he was competing in jumping classes well within that year.

Now I'm not saying that your pony hasn't foundered but you really should get those X rays done ASAP because he might just need a good farrier/trimmer.
What would make me doubt that he has laminitis is the fact that he's perfectly willing to walk around and shows no sign of pain when he does.
Even if he'd gone through the laminitis stage and was now dealing with some rotation, he'd still be experiencing some discomfort.

Small ponies are prone to laminitis and IR so doing something to manage his diet is important regardless. If you can only use a large acreage and the grass is minimal at present then I would let him out on it if he's not in pain in preference to causing him to be stressed.
If there is too much grass then can you not use step in posts with electric fencing to create a small area where he can see the others?

If he has foundered then sand is a better option than gravel, its softer and gives more support. If he's stabled then a good deep bed of shavings is better than straw.

If you want to protect the soles of his feet because he's in pain then blocks of Styrofoam held in place with Vetwrap and duct or silage tape is better than boots, if you just want to protect them then boots are easier to put on and take off.

I would get a Cushing's test done - that weight loss could be attributed to that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I ended up putting him in the pasture as it snowed and he was just pacing too much. My vet came and we looked at the pasture. The rocks are only walking up the hillside to the water, and most of the time they stay in the "valley" of the pasture which is just soft dirt and flat. She said it should be fine and he has been good just picking his way slowly up the hill. I feed everyone a little drained molasses free beet pulp once a day to encourage all to come up the hill for water. However, he barely eats the beet pulp. He barely eats TSC Lite. He really barely seems to eat the hay. At first I thought it was because he wasn't used to it, but he still barely eats. His body score is still low. I am trying to get him to eat Remission but since he barely eats his beet pulp IDK what to do. Mineral block is in the pasture. He won't eat beet pulp plain/with salt/with Remission/with TSC Lite, he won't eat TSC Lite with salt or Remission, and he barely eats the TSC Lite plain. Will speak to the vet about adding oil - but to what? If he doesn't eat it it's hard to add oil. Maybe powdered coconut oil? Is there such a product? I wish I knew what happened to this guy. His teeth are fine. I have decided to test for Cushings. Will let you all know. His toes are still too long for boots - farrier was supposed to come last week but something came up and he rescheduled for this week. Farrier said he would measure after trim and we are discussing pads and hoof boots.

He is mentally better and since it is a large area and knew bossy already, he didn't get picked on too much. He does OK at the community hay bale and stays on the opposite side of bossy & co, and seems to be OK. My hay is first cut and pretty thick and stemmy, so vet feels good about him eating it - no, I haven't had it tested but it's pretty much high elevation local grass hay (Orchard/Brome mix) - the only game in town, really, unless I get alfalfa mix hay delivered from several hours away (not financially feasible) - and I have 12000 lbs of hay already in the barn and can't really buy more. He does go inside the shed, but rarely. I bought him a fleecy blanket because he isn't shivering but idk maybe he is just tough but still skinny. He is SUPER fuzzy. Like a pom pom.

Will let you know about Cushings. I know, I am bad about taking pictures and I will try. My mom always complains I don't and I still haven't changed, so no promises, but I will try.
 

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Cool Calories is a dry way to get calories in. It is 98 - 100% fat. Don't remember. I have only fed it when what I did buy for my hard keeper was not available. She didn't like it and I had to flavor it by combing it with something she would eat. I used the Manna Pro Senior Weight Accelerator for years on her with good results and do keep it around. I have another that is starting to lose and I will likely start adding that back. It is 80% fat and dry. It has added Vit E &C along with biotin and Omega 3 and probiotics. The Cool Cal is just fat or almost all fat.
 

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Cool Calories is a dry way to get calories in. It is 98 - 100% fat. Don't remember. I have only fed it when what I did buy for my hard keeper was not available. She didn't like it and I had to flavor it by combing it with something she would eat. I used the Manna Pro Senior Weight Accelerator for years on her with good results and do keep it around. I have another that is starting to lose and I will likely start adding that back. It is 80% fat and dry. It has added Vit E &C along with biotin and Omega 3 and probiotics. The Cool Cal is just fat or almost all fat.
For picky horses, Buckeye's Ultimate Finish is a great alternative to Cool Calories. It is a pelleted feed, and has worked wonders on my horse that would eat the Cool Calories, kinda, but preferred the Ultimate Finish pellets more. It comes in different levels of fat for horses that need more/less, also.
 

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An expensive but excellent 'cool' fattening feed is Renew Gold, which is essentially stabilized balanced rice bran and copra. I haven't had a horse not like it, even the ones that won't eat beet pulp. My skinny pony finally fattened up on alfalfa pellets. Soaked alfalfa cubes is another option.
 
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