Stabling and Pasture Management

Horses should be taken off grass and confined to a stable with a deep bed to encourage them to lie down to take weight off their feet.

The general advice is to keep the horse confined until it has become sound without any pain relief (e.g. bute)

Others will advise that provided the feet have been trimmed correctly and they are suitably supported then they may be allowed to walk. (See When to walk?)

They should be allowed onto the grass for only a short time initially, though they can be turned out for a lot longer if they have a muzzle on. Horses with Equine Metabolic syndrome (EMS) and chronic laminitics should be kept off grass with high fructans content. (See Fructans)


Do not starve the horse. In the past horses and ponies were stabled and starved but it is found, particularly in ponies, that they become lipaemic due to the breakdown of fat to produce energy.

They should be given hay of low Non-Structural Carbohydrate (NSC) (see Fructans) and a feed containing alfalfa e.g. Dengie Hifi (Dengie), Safe and Sound (Dodsen and Horrell) or Happy Hoof (Spillers Horse Feeds).

The feed companies are extremely helpful in giving advice on what to feed laminitic horses and ponies.

laminitis - Dodson & Horrell Helpline (0870) 442 3322
Dengie - Dengie Feedline (0845) 345 5115
Spillers Horse Feeds - Spillers Care Line (01908) 226626

Haylage may be safe to give instead of hay but it must be "old" rather than fresh. It is possible to have hay and haylage samples tested for NSC content to check the risk when feeding horses with EMS particularly. I know that Dodson and Horrell certainly do this and the other feed companies may also be able to do so.

It is now thought that bran should not be given (This is to do with the calcium: phosphorous ratio, which is poor in bran but good in alfalfa)

The Feet

Trimming and re-shoeing should be done regularly.

Severely affected feet will have to be trimmed more frequently to try to reduce stresses and distortions that may adversely affect the stability of the pedal bone in the hoof. (See How should we trim the chronic founder foot?)

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