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Feeding and Exercising a Horse with Laminitis

Mini's strip grazingGetting your horse or pony’s diet right with a case of laminitis is an essential part of their care and recovery. Here’s what you should be feeding:

Grass or pasture hay – preferably older hay (low sugar – no clover or rye) that is not mouldy

  • Wheaten chaff (small amount of Lucerne chaff or oaten chaff- for flavour), with no grain
  • Copra meal (coconut) – soaked in warm water
  • Minerals or mineral lick, but with no molasses
  • Add dose of Belinda’s Custom Loose Lick for your area
  • Vitamin C powder can also be added as a valuable supplement
  • Suitable herbs, as recommended by a herbalist, can be made into a tea – Chamomile and Rosehip are useful
  • Rescue Remedy can also be added to the horse’s drinking water to help with stress.

Here’s what not to feed during a case of laminitis, or to a horse or pony which is prone to laminitis:

  • Limit feeding of Lucerne hay or lucerne chaff
  • Clover hay
  • Molasses or feeds containing sugar
  • Any grain or feeds containing grain such as oats,
  • Pellets or bread
  • NO apples or carrots
  • Do not let your horse or pony graze on lush green pastures – especially at night or when it is frosty or extreme heat.

Exercise during laminitis

When your horse’s condition improves and it is able to move around, ensure your horse has adequate exercise. Begin with a five to ten minute walk twice a day, and increase this over time as your horse improves.

It’s important that your horse or pony is not confined in a stable or small yard for long periods at a time. A horse with laminitis should not be kept in a concrete floored stable. Correct bedding is essential – use rubber or deep sawdust or sand on floor, at least 10cm thick to ensure your horse’s comfort and recovery.