The 'laminitis founder stance'

This pony shows the classic rocked back stance of a pony with laminitis

laminitis in a horse

Jasper was in bad shape when he first arrived. He was a little reluctant to move and note his tight muscles.

Contrast this with jasper a year later below...

laminitis healed

Pasture Laminitis 

Signs of Pasture Associated Laminitis & Guidance for What to Do:


Here are the Signs.
You need to act urgently - you may be able to ‘dodge a bullet'.

  • Walking slowly/stiffly

  • Farrier/trimmer notices ‘pinking’ (blood) in the white line

  • You can feel the Digital Pulse

  • Tender (‘footy’) on hard ground or over stones

  • Muscles feel and look tight

  • Shifting weight from foot to foot

  • Rocked back stance

  • Reluctance to move at all, worse when moving the fore-hand to the side

  • Lying down more than normal

This is what WE do:
  • Move the horse to a Dry Lot where there is ZERO green. If you don’t have one you can make an ‘emergency’ one.

  • Call your vet for assessment and appropriate pain relief*.

  • Feed plain grass hay (soaked for 30-60minutes, make sure plenty of water relative to hay quantity) Serve up in a small mesh hay-net to facilitate trickle feeding and prevent the horse from running out

  • No hardfeed UNTIL the horse’s pain levels have decreased significantly.

  • The surface of the dry lot needs to consist of SOFT footing and be conducive to the horse lying down a LOT.

Feel free to contact CHH for support**. We spend a considerable amount of time every day talking people through what they can do in their situation – free of charge

In our experience at the coalface – to facilitate the most rapid improvements in a greater number of horses and ponies it is crucial to ensure the forage is not only LOW sugars and starches but also LOW CP (Crude Protein close to or under 10% - Crude Protein also elevates insulin), and low K – (potassium closer to 1% achieved by soaking hay, potassium can also elevate insulin plus cause further downstream metabolic complications).

Avoid feeding any of the following when Horses are in a Laminitis Crisis:

  • Anything GREEN – no pasture grass, no matter how short or sparse, not even in the early mornings.

  • Clover of any description – even a few mouthfuls can induce laminitis and get in the way of recovery

  • Green grass no matter how short – be on patrol for green shoots which may sprout anywhere in their living area including under fence-lines. Do what it takes to eliminate these by covering them up with old carpet, salt, mulch or bark. Be meticulous and vigilant.

  • Lucerne/alfalfa hay, baleage or chaff- might be lower in NSC’s but is far too high Crude Protein and potassium for most laminitis sufferers

  • Fresh herbs – as for above

  • Fresh willow or poplar branches with leaves – as for above - leaves are leaves whether they are grass leaves or tree leaves

*Giving Bute is appropriate in the short term and far preferable to the horse suffering the excruciating pain of a laminitis episode.

hooves before and after laminitis

These hooves belong to Basile (you can read his story here).
Having suffered multiple bouts of laminitis he was finally rehabilitated after being removed from all grass and put on the calmhealthyhorses diet. The difference in his hooves are clear to see.