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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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How do you put condition on a pony with history of foundering?

Dear Dr Gettys
I have a 12.2 welsh mountain pony. She is very chrested on the neck. She has decent coverage and i would call her a well rounded pony but she has some ribs showing through. I have wormed her but this has made no difference. She is not on any pasture wich is probably good as she has a history of founder prior to me getting her. What can you feed a pony with a history of foundering to put on condition without risking founder. Also if rice pollard is an option how much of a 1l icecream container a day do you feed. She refuses to eat medow hay. thanks Kerri

Where are you from? Perth

How did you locate this forum? internet

Re: How do you put condition on a pony with history of foundering?

Hi Kerri,

From your description, it sounds as though she is putting on some body fat, but at the same time, she is losing muscle.

Since she is prone to founder, you want to control her body fat level. Therefore, it is important to feed her a low carbohydrate diet and provide her with adequate exercise. Letting her graze on pasture is fine – the high risk comes with feeding her grain. However, I would only let her graze on pasture in the early part of the day, since the sugar level (fructan) in grasses is at its highest in the afternoon.

Feeding onlyl rice pollard (bran) is not the best idea for an overfat horse with a history of founder because it contains a fair amount of starch – not nearly as much as grain, but still more than is necessary. Plus, it is high in fat. So, until you get some weight off her, hold off on the rice pollard.

So, to reduce her risk of founder, help her lose her cresty neck, and build muscle, I recommend the following:
1. Feed her beet pulp along with alfalfa pellets, cubes, or hay. She needs the legume hay (alfalfa) to provide her with high quality protein.
2. Provide a daily probiotic (microbials that boost the health of the bacteria living in the hind gut)
3. Avoid carrots, apples, or anything that contains sugar.
4. Let her exercise – grazing is very important – and you can do this in the morning hours to see how she progresses.

Keep me posted on her progress.

All the best,

Dr. Getty