View Full Version : Fattening a previously foundered po

latte luvva
02-06-07, 10:37 AM
Hi, we have just bought a previously foundered pony and as she is a bit on the thin side so we would like to fatten her up a bit. Have heard that Hygain Ice is good and safe for her to eat. My question is would she still need founder guard aswell? Have started her on the founder guard due to all the lovely green grass!


02-06-07, 10:49 AM
Founder guard, to the best of my knowledge, isn't meant to protect against grass and the sugars it contains - or against founder caused by, for instance, infection or Cushing's Syndrome - only against that caused by starch (grain/pelleted feeds etc).

What you need to do is look at why she foundered previously; there are several different reasons for foundering and depending on the reason, the management will vary.

HOWEVER if she has lots of "lovely green grass", in the meantime I would be putting a grazing muzzle on her PRONTO to limit her access to this, at the very least, and checking her digital pulses at least once, and preferably twice, daily, being prepared to take her off grass and put her into a dry yard with soaked grass hay ONLY at any sign of an increase in the pulse.

You can keep previously-foundered horses sound and in excellent health but - depending on the reason for the founder - the precautions you need to take to avoid a further occurrence will vary.

latte luvva
02-06-07, 11:01 AM
Thanks Liz, am watching her very closely. The paddock looks green but a lot of it is weeds and there is not a great deal to eat. The farrie seems to think she grain foundered (don't know how he knows this) But we don't know because it was before we got her. Also, just wondering how we tell if her pulse is increasing? Thanks again!

02-06-07, 12:43 PM
She can have fat and protien, so even oil is fine if you want to get some weight on her. You need to avoid sugars and starch (so stay away from grains, oaten hay etc)


Founder gaurd only protects them from founder caused by eating grain, so if she is not on any grains then it wont do anything for her.


latte luvva
02-06-07, 01:19 PM
thanks neisje
very interesting website, i always thought Alfalfa was a too rich, but obviously not. i am not feeding her any grain(apart from what is in the chaff)so will forget the foundergaurd.

02-06-07, 02:04 PM
I was given vet advice to use Founderguard in conjunction with a grazing muzzle on my portly shetland cross.

Looked up a couple of web sites that state for grazing also;

Beneficial for
Horses fed high grain diets.
Horses grazing lush pastures.
Horses that have suffered from laminitis or founder in the past
Horses with seedy toe, white line separation and poor quality hooves due to low-grade laminitis.

Founderguard is a safe, low dose & palatable pellet which protects horses from feed-induced laminitis. It helps to prevent founder from occuring in horses fed high grain diets or lush pasture. It will also help to prevent recurrences in horses which have suffered from laminitis or founder in the past, and may aid in the treatment of seedy toe, white line separation and poor quality hooves due to low grade laminitis. Founderguard will not protect against non-dietary forms of laminitis and founder, such as those due to stress, severe infections or concussion.

has quite a detailed article.


02-06-07, 02:17 PM
Another by an Dr Chris Pollitt - an internationally recognised research worker in the field of laminitis at the University of Queensland Veterinary School

Q: Can you tell us a bit about Founderguard® and its potential role in treating laminitis?
A: My research links in nicely with Founderguard® because I was part of the original program to investigate whether it was working or not. I was given histological samples of horse's feet that were treated with Founderguard® and the correlation that I found between the microscope changes and the signs shown by the horse was virtually 100%. Those horses that had Founderguard® in their system before the grain arrived in their large intestines were protected from laminitis. So where horses are on high grain diets or have access to lush pastures, Founderguard® will be of value.

latte luvva
02-06-07, 02:46 PM
thanks heaps ecogal, great articles.

03-06-07, 01:02 AM
Thats half the sory..As well as dietary advice please investigate hoof trimming .
It is as essential as watching feed intake.We have had several (one that had pereviously been dogged )that had vast improvement with simple very regular trims using Natural Hoof trimming advice.

Go to articles -there's one on Laminitis and also the rehabilitaion photos are good.Best wishes- they can be kept sound.

03-06-07, 09:20 AM
Hygain Ice and Speedi-beet are two feeds recommended by the laminitis trust.

03-06-07, 11:59 PM
>Hygain Ice and Speedi-beet are two feeds recommended by the
>laminitis trust.

Dont even think about HYGAIN ICE. I know its endorsed by the laminitis trust of the UK but its like feeding icecream made with skim milk to a diabetic. SPEEDIBEET on the other hand is pure forage and very low in non structural carbs so is an EXCELLENT feed for founder or founder prone equines. It can make up to 30 pc of the diet although I think it can actually be taken to 50pc. Grazing muzzle (Best Friend Grazing Muzzle) is a good idea because it works in two ways. It reduces the intake of grass but makes the horse MOVE to get grass..

I'll post below an information sheet I prepared for clients (I'm a trimmer) on founder.


Founder Info Sheet
Founder is a very complex illness which is not yet properly understood by science. However by combining what IS known from academic research, with what has been found to work by those treating the problem, we can now often rehabilitate foundered equines, and help owners prevent it happening in the first place.
Founder doesn’t have an equivalent illness in humans. However, it has been described as being similar to diabetes. And that helps people understand the type of ailment they are dealing with.
There are three pillars to founder prevention. These same pillars are crucial in founder rehabilitation. They are:
• Proper hoof function (this means regular trimming and NO corrective shoeing)
• Proper diet (NO concentrates and low sugar feeds and plenty of it)
• Exercise daily (don’t just lock them up – you’ll only make it worse)
It is highly unlikely that any foundered horse or pony will be returned to soundness unless ALL of the three pillars of assistance are made available to the ailing animal.
Laminitis is the after effect of founder. Founder (grass founder) is a bacterial overload in the hindgut causing inflammation of the hoof laminar. These laminar basically hold the pedal (coffin) bone to the hoof wall. When the laminar get inflamed they break down and let go. This allows the pedal bone to ‘float’ in the hoof. It pulls away from the hoof wall, which is painful for the horse. In some cases the pedal bone – and all the bones above it – sink down in the hoof capsule. This is what has happened often in very flat footed (ie no solar concavity) horses. In extreme cases the pedal bone ‘rotates’, drops away from the hoof wall and points down and sometimes thru the sole. In some cases the inflammation is so severe that the horse sheds its hooves.
Hooves have an important role in the circulatory system of the horse. It seems they also play a role in the lymphatic function. If the hooves are not able to function properly, and the horse is denied sufficient movement, then the hooves are unable to help the horse deal with founder. They are unable to flush the toxins from their body.
Corrective shoeing is not recommended by barefoot trimmers who believe that by nailing a shoe to the hoof, the blood flow in the foot is severely compromised. There are alternative ways of applying frog pressure to the hoof - booting and inserting frog pressure pads - and this is considered far superior to bar shoes. Barefoot trimmers also oppose the traditional veterinary practice of wedging the heels, or worse, of cutting the tendons of foundered horses.

Proper diet
Many people lock fat and founder-prone horses up and starve them. This is not recommended since horses have very small stomachs and need a constant flow of digesta into them if they are to avoid getting ulcers and or colic. The horse/pony needs plenty of basic forage food and NO concentrates. However, the problem with most forage foods such as grass and grass hay, is that the calorie content varies enormously. It is the non-structural carbohydrates which the metabolism of the founder-prone pony cannot cope with. Grass which is under stress - either from drought or cold (frost) - has up to three times the calories of grass or hay which is grown or harvested in temperate conditions. Even at different times of the day, grass has a higher sugar (carb) content than at other times.
Have you wondered why one day your pony is OK and two days later, for no apparent reason, he has foundered? Nothing has changed. Or has it? Well, maybe the weather changed. Maybe it was sunny for days on end and the grass had photosynthetic party. Or maybe that dry old grass in the paddock which you thought had nothing in it, continued to get stressed by drought and the sugar levels just went thru the roof/ Then your pony ate that lovely dry sweet grass. It’s like giving a diabetic icecream.
There are a few simple things which can be done with the diet which should help an ailing pony. The first is to replace some or all of the hay with a product called SPEEDIBEET. This is a byproduct of the sugar beet. It is high in roughage and very low in sugars. It needs to be soaked for 10 minutes (it takes up the water and expands) but can make up a least 30pc of the pony’s diet. If you are still feeding hay then it should be soaked in hot water for at least ten minutes and then the water should be drained off and thrown out. The water will absorb some of the sugars and thus the soaked hay will be considerably lower in sugar content than dry hay. The hay can be fed to the pony wet, once it has cooled.
Supplements are important for a founder pony because one of the problems is that the metabolism of the pony is completely out of whack. If he has been fed much Bute in the past to alleviate the pain, then that will probably have damaged his stomach lining and will affect his digestion. Bute should never be given for more than 5 days in a row as it damages the kidneys as well.
A couple of good things to feed are CausMag which is an easily assimilated form of magnesium (30gms daily) and brewers yeast (Vit B) (1 tablespoon daily, introduced gradually because it tastes YUK), di-cal phosphate (20gms daily for the first couple of weeks and then 5gms thereafter) and free access to salt in the paddock. Also recommended is an all round mineral and vitamin supplement such as HYGAIN SPORTHORSE. Don’t feed a regular lick to a horse with founder as there is too much sugar (molasses) in it.
Horses need exercise in order for their metabolisms to function properly. Founder is the result of domestication which is a process whereby the horse has been over fed and under exercised. This rarely happens in the wild. It is commonplace in domestic horses.
Exercising a foundered horse is tricky. To some degree the pony needs to be encouraged to move. However it is common for a pony which is reluctant to walk, to be much freer after five or ten minutes of being made to walk. But if the horse has its pedal bones poking thru its soles, exercise is obviously not recommended. Boots and pads would be a prerequisite for such a horse as soon as it was able to stand.

In fact either booting and padding a foundered pony, or strapping (duct tape) pads to the bottom of its feet, is highly recommended since it makes the pony more comfortable and therefore more able to move and be exercised. Daily exercise is essential for a foundered pony to be returned to soundness.
These are just a few of the basics I would recommend for prevention of founder, or rehabilitation of a foundered horse or pony. I am not a veterinarian and have no formal veterinary training. In acute cases of founder, I suggest you call a good equine vet for advice. Ask them what success they have had previously in rehabbing foundered ponies. You need a vet who has rehabbed them successfully. You might also check out the website www.barehoofcare.com.au where there are some Australian rehab case studies for you to look at.

- Rebecca


04-06-07, 11:12 AM
Rebecca, interesting your remarks re. Hygain Ice as I had a tie up case who went backwards on it & I came across this site:
http://www.aepauk.proboards56.com/index.cgi which has as a regular poster, Richard Vialls, who appears to be to the forefront of lami. research in the UK. He's KC trained but a few of the Poms have branched out on their own believing KC to be of little help re. laminitis, amongst other things! On one of the threads, the Lam. Trust was brought up & apparently anything up to 40% (& now I can't remember the right term :D) is acceptable to them. However, Richards' opinion is that it should be 12% I think. Mine are now on S/beet, Coprice M, Rice Bran, linseed, sunnies & FF soybeean meal fwiw.

latte luvva
04-06-07, 02:14 PM
thanks everyone for your advice, you have been very helpful. can anyone tell me a bit more about speedi-beet (i have never used it before )

05-06-07, 01:46 AM
Speedibeet is wonderful stuff for those of us with founder-prone horses or ponies.

It's dried beet pulp. Normally beet pulp needs to be soaked for a long time - 12 hours or so. Speedibeet is called that because it comes in flakes (not pellets) and only requires soaking for ten minutes. It swells up to about three times its dry size.

NEVER feed it dry. The bag says you must soak it, and when you see how much it swells up, you'll see why - you wouldn't want it doing that in the stomach.

ALWAYS soak it for at least ten minutes (NEVER less). I keep it at home, put water on it when I'm driving out to the horses, and by the time I get there, it's ready to use.

Soak it and USE IT - it can spoil and would be very bad to feed. Don't soak it and leave it all day or overnight. Soak it and use it.

When you're soaking it, use a container with a lid - bugs love it.

Wonderful stuff.

05-06-07, 04:06 AM
I tried Hygain Ice on my founder prone ponies and wasn't happy. Now I'm feeding a small amount of equi-jewel, with oaten chaff and speedibeet.

Just a technical note on "laminar". Really you should be saying "laminae" - "laminar" is an adjective eg. the laminae form the laminar layer. "Lamina" is the singular form.

Also, not sure about your point on hooves flushing toxins. Yes, the toxins become trapped in the capillaries of the laminae in cases of laminitis, but I don't believe the hooves play any role in removing toxins. Isn't that what the kidneys do?

Also, bute can be given safely in low doses for more than 5 days. Long term use on high doses can cause gastric ulceration, so you need to be careful, but your horse isn't going to fall apart after 5 days on an appropriate dose.

05-06-07, 11:29 AM
This may seem silly, but why would you be trying to fatten up a pony who has foundered? "a bit on the lean side" is just the way I kept my arab after a couple of bouts of laminitis. And he stayed sound. Once I could not see the ghost of his ribs, and I couldn't feel them either, then he was in trouble.

These little fellows have been bred to live on the smell of an oily rag, and we fatten them at our peril - or theirs.

05-06-07, 01:19 PM
GDH, what does KC refer to, and the 40% and 12% mentioned refer to starch content do they???

Hygain Ice is stated as containg 14% starch. Do the superfibres that Ice contains, have any negative impacts on blood glucose levels.

06-06-07, 04:34 AM
Is Rhodes grass hay an acceptable feed for a pony prone to laminitis?

06-06-07, 07:26 AM
Ice contains maize & pollard (assuming wheat) both bad carbs & most nutritionists & probably all herbal advisers hate canola (contains can. meal) with a vengeance. See The Hidden Dangers Of Canola Oil here:
http://www.nexusmagazine.com/articles/canola.html This is a fantastic 'exposing' type site with something for everyone I guarantee.
The protein in Ice imo, is a bit high & the fat (friendly) very low hence my opting for Coprice M + Rice Bran.
My %ages referred to the non safe carbs but not sure what they're called!! I think the safe ones are called Non Structural.
"Like all fats and oils, rapeseed oil has industrial uses. It can be used as an insecticide, a lubricant, a fuel and in soap, synthetic rubber and ink. Like flax oil and walnut oil, it can be used to make varnish. Traditional fats like coconut oil, olive oil and tallow also have industrial uses, but that does not make them dangerous for human consumption. (Excerpt from the article. Scroll down about 1/2way to Reasons To Be Cautious About Can Oil.)
whoops - still part of the paste :D.
We have had reports of allergies to canola, and Internet articles describe a variety of symptoms - tremors, shaking, palsy, lack of coordination, slurred speech, memory problems, blurred vision, problems with urination, numbness and tingling in the extremities, and heart arrhythmias - that cleared up on discontinuance of canola. None of this has been reported in the medical journals, however".

06-06-07, 09:15 AM
Great post GDH! Found this interesting article on Nexus too. Quite relavent I thought. www.nexusmagazine.com/articles/sugarblues.html