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Hoofbeats - The Blog 

Welcome to our blog page, HOOFBEATS, where we talk about the countryside with a main emphasis on training and caring for horses and ponies. If you would like to contribute ideas and information about your own experiences, we would be delighted to hear them. Please email to editor@horseandponyinfo.com or post to our Facebook Page, Horse and Pony Info. If you're into Twitter, you can contact us @horse_ponyinfo.

IMPORTANT - The opinions expressed here are from personal experience and we strongly advise you to contact your veterinary surgeon or your riding instructor if you are seriously worried about your horse. Prompt action is important.

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Laminitis season back with us

What is laminitis?

Laminitis is a distressing and painful condition for a horse or pony. It can also be called Founder when it gets to a chronic stage. Often it is caused by too much rich grass or food. Native breeds of horses and small overweight ponies are particulary prone to it. Swelling occurs inside the hoof wall and equines will often lie down to ease the chronic pain. It is vital that we react fast when we see our horse looking uncomfortable on her feet or lying down a lot in the paddock. Seek veterinary advice immediately if you have never dealt with laminitis before.

Prevention is better than cure

Laminitis can be avoided once we are aware of the symptoms and what to look out for. One of our horses, a huge 17.1 hh Irish Draught, got this horrible condition when he was eleven years old. His owner was expecting a baby and hadn't been able to ride him. A particularly wet spring led to a flush of high quality grass and next thing the horse was shifting uncomfortably on his hind legs. We called the vet who was baffled because laminitis usually shows up in the front legs.

A classic symptom of laminitis is a horse holding a front leg out in front of her or leaning backwards to ease the weight off the front legs. Or lying down a lot. The vet diagnosed a back problem and treated our horse for that but fortunately an experienced friend spotted the hind leg symptoms. We were then able to treat him for laminitis and the horse went on to compete at national dressage level and even won championships in the show hunter ring. He was always prone to laminitis but we kept an eye on him and managed it. He lived to the age of 28 and died with his shoes on. The vet was most impressed.

More information about coping with laminitis

We've got a whole page dedicated to laminitis and how to cope with it. Experienced owners who have had equines with this condition have been generous with their advice. There are also links to products that help keep it at bay without using drugs.

I would like to emphasize again: if you haven't coped with laminitis before and you suspect your horse or pony may have it, call the veterinary surgeon immediately as it is a very serious condition and can prove fatal if left untreated. 

More on coping with laminitis here 

12:35 pm gmt 

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Watch out for laminitis in small ponies and Native Breeds. Keeping weight under control is vital.


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