“I have two mini’s both of which have been foundered (one of them has cushings). I’m concerned about whether I’m feeding them correctly. I’d been told by a farrier to feed them just grass hay but I’v also included in their daily ration a little apple and vitamins. Im’ wondering if this diet is too resisted as they always seem to be hungry and a little lethargic. Recently I read on the internet that insulin-resistant horses should be eating Timothy or Orchard grass, low-fat, low-carb., high protein pellets and some grass. As this goes against everything I was told I’m looking for advice on what would be a good safe nutritious diet to feed them.”
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella:
Minis are very prone to metabolic disorders. They typically only need grass hay, with at least 8% protein which timothy and orchard grass both have, and a vitamin-mineral supplement. Depending on where you are located, there are warm season grass hays, such as brome, that only provide 4-6% protein. I would recommend feeding them Horse Guard, adjusted to their weight, and allowing them access to a high-quality grass hay ad libitum. If they gain too much weight on free-choice hay, you may have to cut back on their hay consumption. The vitamin-mineral will provide them with nutrients that are typically lacking in hay, and is especially important for the mini with cushings. A few slices of apple are ok, however, they do contain a lot of sugar so feed them very sparingly. As far as green grass, AVOID it. Green grass is high in sugar and is not recommended for horses that have foundered.