Founder During Pregnancy, Customer Not Following Advice

Q: I work on an 8-year old Morgan mare that has a somewhat cresty neck and is a little overweight. Previous owners reported that she foundered during both of her pregnancies (but not saying whether they overfed her grain, or made other changes to her or her environment once she was bred). She has not been bred again, although the owners plan to breed her later this year.

I’ve been shoeing the mare for a year and have recommended that she not be fed grain or be turned out on spring grass due to her body type and the evidence of founder in her feet. The owners comply about a quarter of the time.

In all four feet, her white line is stretched chronically to about a half-inch or more all year-round. The heels grow faster than the toes, always showing evidence of the rings on the outer hoof walls and excess toe.

In the year that I’ve worked on her, however, there has never been a report, complaint or observation of her being sore at any time.

We try to keep her on — at most — an 8-week shoeing schedule and although she’s always more of a challenge to shoe than other horses due to her hoof structure, her feet stay in fairly good shape.

My main questions are:

  1. Do her feet stay in this shape because she’s constantly in a state of subtle or chronic founder?
  2. Should she be taken off pasture altogether? Grass founder is common…
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