/ Neck and Feet /
Two of the fastest places susceptible horses will start to change are their
neck and feet. Feel along your horse’s crest daily; if it starts to get harder or
bigger, he may be close to a laminitic episode. Move him off the pasture to a
dry lot or stall until weather conditions change, and feed hay that is tested
to be low in sugars (or soak for several hours in a tub of water to leach
out sugar content).
Trot your horse daily on hard or firm ground to see if he’s striding out
as normal, or shuffling in a sore-footed manner. Any heat or obvious
pulse is also a red flag to pull the horse off pasture.
/ Exercise /
Finally, the most important thing to remember with a lam-initis-prone horse is exercise. If he’s physically able, keep
him in work at least three times a week. This will allow
you more leeway with his diet. He should also be kept at a
very trim weight and not be allowed to carry excess pounds.
Keeping your horse off pasture and giving him “diet” food
may seem heart-breaking, but it is far better than seeing your friend
endure a painful episode of laminitis.
Managing Editor HOLLY CACCAMISE holds an M.S. in equine nutrition.