Feed Related Health Issues reproduced in part with permission from HappyHaflingers.com and author Haley Madden
Laminitis literally means inflammation of the laminae, which support the horse’s axial skeleton in the hoof and support the horse during movement. Chronic laminitis is also known as founder, and can be a very serious health issue. Laminitis happens for several reasons, but in Haflingers, it typically happens from the intake of too much rich grass or grain. A horse with laminitis generally appears very lame, especially on certain feet (usually the front). The soles and walls of their feet will be warm, and the pulse in their digital palmar artery will be pounding. The horse may exhibit more systemic signs, such as sweating, increased vitals and anxiety. Internally, the horse’s coffin bones may rotate and sink, causing the coffin bone to separate from the hoof wall via the laminae. If you suspect your horse is foundering, call your vet and remove the horse from any rich feed and grass. Your vet will be able to make your horse more comfortable and develop a treatment plan, which will include a dietary change and special farrier work.
Because laminitis often occurs in Haflingers after eating grass, it is very important to carefully monitor the horse of any signs of laminitis when introducing him to or keeping him on grass. If any signs of laminitis are present, remove him from grass immediately. Horses that founder once are more prone to foundering again, and so need to be managed carefully. Laminitis can be a very serious medical condition that can significantly compromise a horse’s working career so owners of horses prone to this disease must be vigilant about their horse’s diet.
Another weight related disease is Equine metabolic Syndrome (EMS). Easy keepers, like Haflingers and other native pony breeds, may be more prone to this if their diet is not properly managed.
Body Conditioning Scoring
Managing the Haflinger’s diet well is very important, as many health problems can be caused by overfeeding or improperly feeding. Regularly measure the girth of you horse and become familiar with the 1-9 scale of Body Conditioning Scoring (BCS) of horses to determine the ideal weight for your Haflinger.
For more information on BCS