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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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Mare care/laminitis

I recently acquired a 10 yr. old 13.2 pony mare that has a history of founder. We just found out that she was exposed to a 15.2 paint stallion this spring and is currently pregnant.What should I be feeding her? What kind of exercise regime should I have her on?
She roams and grazes freely with our other 5 horses and is given alfafa/grass hay as well. I have been told to keep her penned up and off of grass because of laminitis. I hate to pen up any horse, especially one that needs exercise to keep from getting too heavy. How much weight is safe for her to gain due to the laminitis? I am aware to keep her off of grain and to keep her on a low starch diet, but I've also been told to keep her off of fresh pasture and to only feed her hay?! What's a girl to do?

Thanks Kindly,

Where are you from? Saskatchewan, Canada.

How did you locate this forum? online search

Re: Mare care/laminitis

Hi Dawn,

First of all, congratulations on your upcoming foal!

You mentioned that she has a history of founder. However, if she has been on pasture since you’ve had her, and she has done well, I would be reluctant to take her off of it. Alfalfa/grass mixture is perfect for her. Do you know how long ago she foundered? And, what circumstances caused her to founder? Grass founder is only one of several causes. So, that would be helpful to know. If she has, in fact, foundered from pasture, you can remove her from your pasture during the late afternoon, early evening hours when the sugar levels are at their highest.

If she is of normal weight, you certainly are wise to want to keep her weight in a healthy range. Her energy (calorie) needs will increase dramatically during her last three months of pregnancy, so you will need to increase the amount of feed that you are offering. I would suggest that you continue feeding her the way that you are currently doing, and then during her last three months, gradually increase her intake of low starch feed. I would also add, starting now, a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement designed for pregnant mares such as Vita Key’s Mare and Foal. You can monitor her weight by checking for fat deposits on her crest, back, and tail head.

Exercise is important, but don’t start her on more exercise now than she is accustomed to. If you are working with her, continue to do so. Many mares continue working well into their pregnancies. Check with your veterinarian regarding her ability to handle additional activity.

Keep me posted!

Happy foaling,

Dr. Getty