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The big beautiful horse shown in the photo above is called Gandalf, and he is a testament to how well the approach below works to help horses recover from Laminitis. 

Gandalf was the first rescue horse to our horse rescue centre and arrived with pasture induced laminitis. It is through helping him and thousands of horses after him, to make full and lifelong recoveries from laminitis that has spurred us on to share this approach to help others with their laminitic horses. 

So, we hope you will find the information below helpful to aid in a full recovery for your horse too.   

However, we do advise that this is an approach to the whole horse, so picking some bits to use and avoiding others will not lead to success. Therefore, we strongly recommend for you use this as a whole approach to your horse in order to help them to achieve a full recovery in the shortest possible timeframe.


Please see the previous page for grass management advice

STEP 1-Call your EQUINE VET-try not to use other types of vets such as small animal vets or farm vets if possible, as their knowledge in this area is often lacking, which can make a big difference to the outcome of recovery for your horse. We also advise blood tests are taken whilst your vet attends, to check for Equine Metabolic Conditions such as Insulin Resistance, Cushing's & EMS etc....

STEP 2-Remove the horse from ALL green grass and growing plant matter immediately.

STEP 3-Feed a 50-50 mixture of clean ad-lib meadow hay and barley straw from a slow feed hay net 24/7-soaking it in clean water for at least 2 hours can reduce sugars further to reduce inflammation, so if you suspect your hay is not low sugar then please do this, but use within 24 hours or you risk moulds developing on it, which will make the situation worse. Please do not feed grains, or other horse foods, carrots, apples or Lucerne-based products such as damp forages, or Lucerne hay, or any baleage, silage or haylage, as these items can be highly inflammatory and for horses suffering from laminitis, it is critical to try to reduce as much inflammation within the body as possible.

STEP 4-Give the anti-inflammatory bucket feed below to help heal the horse and repopulate the good bacteria in the digestive system.

STEP 5-Provide a soft standing area such as sand or even soil, and/or padded hoof boots-see below on how to make a quick, easy and cheap grass-free area.

STEP 6-Provide anti-inflammatory pain relief in the form of Bute (Phenylbutazone) initially and then we use Devils Claw, as we have found that it is easier on the stomach (please see our equine remedies page)

STEP 7-Provide a light non-invasive hoof trim carried out by a professional barefoot trimmer weekly-fortnightly to reduce hoof pressure. Please take care not to over trim as this can make matters much worse-in our experience working with severely neglected rescue horses, even horses with terribly neglected hooves should only be trimmed back gradually to reduce the risk of founder and further soreness and suffering. Little and often is our motto for trimming. DO NOT USE METAL SHOES-use hoof boots with padded insoles instead for hoof protection and to maximise your equine's comfort.

STEP 8-PLEASE DO NOT RETURN THE HORSE TO GRASS FOR SEVERAL WEEKS AT LEAST OR THEY WILL RELAPSE! AND THE NEXT TIME IT MIGHT BE FATAL-a good grass management plan will be needed now to prevent further relapses.


Give the following small bucket feed 1-2 times per day in addition to ad-lib low sugar meadow hay, in order to achieve balanced glucose levels, as well as to aid in recovery and reduce inflammation.

Divide the amounts up and spread over the whole day's feed if using multiple feeds per day:

CARRIER: use a small scoop of meadow chaff per feed to get the meds and anti-inflammatory ingredients into your horse, pony or donkey- this is very low sugar and is safe to use as long as it is lucerne and clover free. If you don't have chaff-chop some hay with scissors into small pieces

LINSEED/FLAXSEED -is a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps to reduce inflammation for laminitic horses so can be used sparingly to help reduce inflammation in laminitic horses. It is high in vitamin E which is a powerful beneficial antioxidant that aids in recovery. Give between 50-250g of freshly ground flaxseed or linseed seeds( which are the same thing) per day per horse depending on size). Freshly ground seeds have the best effect but flaxseed/linseed meal, or flakes or pellets can also be used -minis should get just 50-75g per day, ponies 100g, cobs 150g, horses 200g and larger warmbloods and drafts up to 250g max

FLAXSEED OIL-to aid digestion and reduce the risk of colic-and reduce inflammation further-give 5ml for minis, 10ml for ponies, 20ml for cobs, and 30-50ml for larger horses of cold-pressed flaxseed oil-max per day

EQUI-PROTECT- this is our own detox formula which includes natural plant extracts with toxin binding properties-this is to prevent laminitis being triggered by mycotoxins or aflatoxins found in grass, plants, hays and chaffs-give dose of 5-30g Natural Horse Equi Protect per day depending on size

VITAMINS, MINERALS AND AMINO ACIDS-laminitis is often worsened by mineral imbalances from our deficient New Zealand soils, which affect the foods our horses eat, so this carefully balanced formula helps to plug the nutritional holes that have been missing in the lamanitic horse's diet, to helps regain balance give between -5-30g Natural Horse Premium Mineral/Vitamin Formula-again depending on size

PRO+PRE BIOTICS + LIVE YEAST+ AMINO ACIDS: We have found that horses and ponies with laminitis are often severely compromised in the digestive biome and therefore we developed this product as a direct response to help with that. We call it Equi-Digest, and it is a proprietary blend of digestive bacterium's, live yeast and amino acids. All of which help to repopulate the struggling digestive system, while the live yeast mops up excess sugars produced in the hindgut, to help horses with metabolic issues. And it's been a game-changer to repopulate the microbiota for accelerated recovery of Laminitis, as well as helping to reduce glucose absorption and reduce insulin spikes.

SALT: use up to 1 heaped teaspoon of non-bleached, non-processed salt

MORE GOOD GUT HEALTH PRODUCTS:-organic apple cider vinegar if included with the mother, which is the naturally occurring culture, can help to repopulate the horse's digestive system with beneficial enzymes. We recommend a capful of cider vinegar including mother-around 10ml-add to water below

WATER-Add a cup of water and mix well

LIQUID DEVILS CLAW is the best way we have found to reduce inflammation-do not use those made with ethanol which is highly toxic to horses and can cause further inflammation. Add the recommended dose rates of liquid Devil's Claw to help with inflammation as a great alternative to using bute which can be very hard on the stomach.

if you are not sure please contact us at [email protected] or via messenger on our Facebook page

This is a short term basic diet to use whilst your horse recovers from laminitis-please head over to or recommended feeding guide pages for a maintenance plan after recovery on this link:

Feed ad lib meadow hay and straw on a 50-50 ratio from a slow feeder haynet 24/7

Provide clean drinking water at all times

If at all possible provide your horse with another horse companion to stay either with them or nearby to help reduce stress during his or her recovery time, and allow him/her to stand on a soft surface of shavings, sand, or even soft soil can be used for best results.

Please note that we do not support the use of metal shoes to assist with the recovery of laminitic horses as we have found fixed metal shoes can make matters much worse by reducing the healing effects of the horse having a good circulation, which can be aided by the use of improved and more modern hoof protection in the form of flexible and well-padded hoof boots. Which can be found on our other pages.​

How To Make A Quick and Easy Grass Free Area

Firstly the Don'ts........

PLEASE DO NOT USE WEEDKILLERS AROUND HORSES OR ANYWHERE THEY COULD GRAZE-it is highly poisonous and can cause colic and death, and is of especially high risk to laminitis horses as their health is already being compromised. 

Mowed grass also doesn't work as the short grass makes much higher levels of plant sugars in a bid to survive when chopped, so please don't mow it. 

Dissolve salt in a bucket of hot water-stir in well until all crystals have full melted away-you can buy fine grade agrisalt from most merchants like Farmlands for about $16 per 25kg bag and add it at a rate of 2kg per 10 Litres of hot water. Normal salt can also be used-whatever is available-fence off a small area preferably with pigtail standards with an electric tape-(don't use the electric wire type tape as it can cut and cause injuries). 

Then either swill or use a high-pressure weed type water sprayer to soak the area with the salted water, preferably in dry conditions for faster results and it will kill off the grass, without harming the horse or having any long term effects on the soils. It works pretty quick so is ideal for making a fast dry lot. 

If you are struggling with a horse with Laminitis, please do not hesitate to reach out to us as we have a lot of experience in this area and are more than happy to help you in any way we can, even if it's just a friendly ear to listen.

The information on this website is intended to offer you written support and should not replace the advice of a registered equine veterinarian for your horse.

Natural Horse NZ will not be responsible for the incorrect use of this advice or products, as you are responsible for you and your equines safety so please follow the instructions and only use any items or advice in the recommended way.