The weather is changing, but what affect is it having on your horse?


During the summer months, there is an increase in the number of laminitis cases due to richer grass coming through. Now is the time to help prevent your horse or pony from getting laminitis. We have put together some top tips to help you through this year laminitis season:

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Tips on preventing laminitis

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1. Feed a low starch, low sugar diet: Nutritionally triggered laminitis can be due to excessive starch in the diet, or a high intake of fructan from grass. These simple sugars are highly fermentable in the hind gut of the horse and can cause high acid levels.

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2. Feed a probiotic and prebiotic: Feed a balancer that contains both a prebiotic and a probiotic. This is a simple, yet very effective way of maintaining good gut health and aiding the digestion of fibre. CLICK HERE to find out more about Blue Chip Lami-light.

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3. Avoid fructans: the level of fructan in grass can vary with the changing seasons. The spring and autumn growing seasons are when fructan is at its highest level. With our winters becoming milder and our summers becoming wetter, the growing season has become extended. Because of this, it is important to observe grass growth. Not only should you monitor the field that your horse is grazing, you should keep an eye on surrounding fields that are not grazed to get an idea of how fast the grass is growing and therefore how much your horse is eating.

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4. Graze your horse at the safest periods during the growing season: Turn out late at night and bring in before mid-morning as this is when fructan levels tend to be at their lowest. Turn out on managed pasture but do not turn out on to recently cut grass as fructans are stored in the lower part of the stem.

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If you suspect your pony has laminitis contact your vet immediately. Your vet can prescribe pain killers to make them more comfortable and can reduce the severity of the case if contacted promptly

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As the weather is getting warmer with longer periods of minimal rain, it causes the ground to become very hard and unforgiving to a horses limb.

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Signs that a horse is in pain from the hard ground

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1. A shortening of the stride: a horse may lose the swing and spring in its step as it tries to minimise jarring when its feet hit the ground.

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2. Increased tension: muscles change their function on hard ground to help stabilise the lower limbs and reduce concussion. This means they reduce their ability to work independently and compromise overall performance.

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3. Refusing: jumpers may be reluctant to land after a fence, so may start stopping when they have never done so before.

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4. Flattening and rushing over a fence: to minimise concussion on landing the horse adjusts its technique to prevent it landing so hard.

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If your horse is showing any of these signs then you should look at adding a joint supplement to their diet, such as Blue Chip Joint RLF. CLICK HERE to find out more.

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