Fighting Founder Through Forage Control

Food management can be just as important as foot management

It’s important for your clients to manage pastures if they want to manage horses who are susceptible to laminitis. That means controlling factors that “stress” pastures, such as drought, cold or overgrazing


What does equine nutrition have to do with you as a farrier? After all, you don’t feed your clients’ horses; you just work on their feet.

But nutrition can have a huge impact on those feet and your work on them, especially when it comes to laminitis, and often owners just don’t know when their horse-feeding practices are contributing to the problem. You can win a lot of loyalty, and reduce your chances of working on foundered feet, by helping educate your clients about nutrition as it relates to foot health.

Nutrition was a big focus at the fourth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, held Nov. 2 to 4, 2007, in Palm Beach, Fla. Following are synopses of presentations on identifying horses who need nutritional changes, hay composition and growth conditions, and pasture management from Ray Geor, PhD, Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor and director of the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE) Center at Virginia Tech, and Kathryn Watts, owner of Rocky Mountain Research and Consulting in Center, Colo.

Which Horses Need Nutritional Management?

Insulin resistance is linked to a higher risk of laminitis, particularly pasture-associated laminitis, and obesity is known to contribute to insulin resistance. But not only fat horses — those with a high body condition score (7 to 9 on…

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Christy West

Christy West is a freelance writer and the Web site editor for The Horse. She is also a former editor of American Farriers Journal.

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