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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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what to do to prevent founder

I would like to know what steps to follow in general to keep my 7 yr old haflinger and my 20 year old TB from getting founder.. They both go our most of the day and the grass is starting to grow now.. They both eat hay and hard food and they are worked a bit...My Friend tells me that they will founder if I leave them out all day on new grass is this true? What do I need to do to keep them from foundering??
Thanks, Elaine

Where are you from? PA in the USA

How did you locate this forum? by accident

Re: what to do to prevent founder

Hi Elaine,

If your horses have done well on your pasture in past years, there is little reason to be concerned about them foundering. However, having said that, as horses get older, their weight tends to change. If your 20 year old is overweight, his laminitis risk increases. So, the best way to keep him healthy would be to keep his weight at a healthy level.

If your horses have not been exposed to lush pasture in the past, you should consider taking them off pasture during the late afternoon. This is when the fructan (sugar) levels are at their highest. Early in the day is the safest time because the grass plant hasn’t yet replenished all of the sugar that it used up during the night. Sunlight starts the photosynthesis process and hence, the production of fructan. So, by late afternoon, the sugar levels are at their highest.

Digestible carbohydrates (including sugar) in large amounts can cause founder in susceptible horses. So, an even more important precaution would be to avoid feeding large amounts of starchy feeds such as grain (oats, corn, barley), sweet feeds, or pelleted feeds that are predominantly made from grains.

Thanks so much for writing!

Dr. Getty