New to mini horses, lots of questions!!

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freedomnjustice

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minihorsesfirstday.jpg Hello, my husband and I got two mini horses yeterday and I have tons of questions. I've been reading books, the internet, etc. over the last several weeks and it seems that if one article says one thing, the next says the complete opposite. Here's a little history of what I know about the horses: they are not registered, they are a father/son pair, 4 yrs. and 2 yrs. old, and both are still studs. They have been pastured together the whole life of the baby and the previous owners report no problems between the two. I had the vet come this morning and examine them, deworm, and give vaccines, etc. We were concerned about the baby because previous owners stated that he recently started favoring his back leg and would limp and then at other times be fine. Vet said minis are prone to "flimsy kneecaps" for lack of proper term, and the more exercise we can give him the stronger his leg will be. She did think the baby had some mild gas colic because of his belly sounds and he was biting some at his side. She said to give some gas x, which I didn't have, so I have a dose of pepto. He seems fine now. The dad, however, is now limiping on his front leg and he wasn't this morning. I thought maybe he could be sore from the vaccine since its the same side?? We currently do not have a barn (we will at the end of July) and we do have a lean to to provide shelter from the elements. The horses were on pasture 24/7 at their previous place, so we thought we could do the same here. Our pasture is almost an acre and it's just an area that we mowed up until now. We did have a cow last year for about 5 months there.

Anyway, I need some help. Please do not tell me to sell them or give them away-I want to learn how to properly care for them and things to watch for. Here are my questions:

1. Can we keep them turned out on pasture with unlimited access to grass? If we shouldn't, would it be best to somehow stall them or would grazing muzzles work? I bought two grazing muzzles today, but not sure if I can make them work, as they are full sized. How do they work? Can the horses still drink water with them on?

2. If we limit grass, we have to give something in its place right? I've read that horses need to basically eat all the time to keep their digestive tracts moving properly.

3. It is possible the dad horse could be sore from the vaccine? Any other ideas of what could have happened with his leg? He does put weight on it, but it's a visible limp and he's not moving much at all. He is up and not laying down.

4. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Like I said, I want to do right by them. They were only fed corn once a week other than the grass. They gave a half gallon of corn to each horse yesterday, so the owner said that might be what the vet heard. I didn't know that beforehand, and I called him after the vet visit to get some more info. I don't think a lot of vet care was given, but they weren't necessarily neglected either. I do believe they had someone come to take of the hooves as the vet said the hooves didn't look bad. Vet said to only give a handful of feed...so I'm assuming he gave them too much yesterday???

Thank you all in advance. I'm sure many of you are just a wealth of knowledge and I can use all the help I can get. I'm going to try to post a picture of them.
 

mizbeth

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WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF MINIATURE HORSES!!!!!!

Oh boy!!!!!! If they were mine, I would not leave them on pasture 24/7 but bring them in. YES, they need GOOD quality hay, preferably a grass hay. Feritiflized, weed FREE, and fresh. (right now there is plenty of fresh hay).

CORN if for deer and chickens not good for horses - I would not recommend you feed them that. You should feed your horse a good quality grain, I prefer the pelleted feed, and use Purina feeds. I have fed Purina for 15-16 years now, with an occasional few months out to try other brands. I still go back to Purina. I am currently feed Strategy. By the looks of the photo of them, if it is recent, the Purina mini pony feed would well for them. 14% protein and 4.5% fat. Strategy has a bit more fat in it at 6%, and Heatlh Edge, also by Purina is a good feed to feed in the winter as it has 8% fat. (There is corn in forse feed, but not buckets full of it, or half buckets of it)

It is possible he could be sore from the shot. Sometimes the Vets get a bit carried away and give them all in the same location and really should inject in different areas or even different days, if they give them all of them. You are very observant. This is good!

Full size grazing muzzles probably won't work - you can attach them to a halter, but I do not leave a halter on my horses at all, except for foaling mares, under supervision.

Since you are so observant, please watch that they poop regulary and pee
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This is an important indicator as to their health, and the condition of what you see. Moist, firm, round balls, and of course they need the water to hydrate and keep the feed moving in their intestines. - Monitor the water tub and keep their water clean and fresh, add new water daily, clean out the water tub regularily. Summer and winter.

It is possible the Vet is referring to something regarding their stifles, this is most common with miniatures. They can walk just fine and then seem to drag a leg, this could be all the time, or on and off. Just keep an eye out. If they are eating and drinking water, they are probably fine, but just watch them -

I am so glad you came her for advise. There are a LOT of knowlegable folks who visit here who can help you with any question you may, anytime of the day or night you need an answer. You will soon learn who has the best advice and perhaps they can be your mentor? I came to this board years ago when I first got into miniature horses and have not regreted it one bit, they have saved many of my horses - and me.

Please do not be embarrased about asking the questions either.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU!!!!
 

REO

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WELCOME!!!!! And congrats on your two boys!

Mizbeth gave you some great info
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I agree with what she said.

They look to be slightly plump. That's fine but you have to be careful as minis can be prone to founder.

Grass grazing part of the time. A grass hay and a little bit of Purina feed. Clean water. A salt block. Shelter. And please take their halters off
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I don't know about the dad's front limp, but the colt's sounds like a stifle issue. 1/2 gallon of corn? It's a wonder they were not rolling on the ground hurting. No more corn please.

I love having you here! You're asking & learning and the boys are in good hands!
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freedomnjustice

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Hi-I'm freaking out because I think the dad has colic--can someone please help???? He is barely walking and has this horrible gait like it hurts when he walks. He's not eating much and his water is all the way over on the other side of the pasture. I'm going to move the water now. I've made a call to the vet but she hasn't called back. Is there anything I can try to give him?? I feel so helpless.....
 

BSharpRanch

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If he is having trouble walking he could be foundered. Laminitis. Call your vet IMEADIATLY and stand him in some cold water till vet gets there. Is he rocked back onto his hindquarters? With his forelegs out in front of him? Walking like he is on eggshells?
 

Carolyn R

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Listen for gut sounds, you can place your ear about 10 inches in from his back hip, where it meets his stomach, listen for pings and growls, it should be a constant or almost constant sound. This can be done on both sides if he lets you, slow gut sounds or none at all are a major sign of colic. Look for manure, check it out, you may find worms in it if they wre recently wormed and the previous owner neglected to keep them on a regular schedule, this will also cause colic symptoms. Appearing to have a lack of energy, a hanging head, no appetite,Possible lack of gut sounds, not passing manure, wanting to lay down calmly or thrashing about while laying down can all be signs of colic. A healthy gut should "talk" or gurgle and blub every 3 or so seconds, a slower gut maybe every ten, a colicy horse may only let off a gurgle or blub every 30-60 seconds, severly impacted, dehydrated, sick or coliced horse may have virtually no gut sound at all.

Limping, abnormal heat radiating from one or more hooves, a parked out stand or parked up under themselves stance, walking as if he is walking on egg shells are some signs of laminitis. He could also be sore from the vaccination.

Please please please, keep an eye on the stools, size, consistency or lack of manure, and do not hesitate to put on some rubber gloves or place a bag over your hand and examine the manure, ESP. Given the recent worming.
 
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mizbeth

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Oh gosh - is the injection site swollen? It could be a any number of things at this point, it is good you have called the Vet., lets hope she gets with you soon. Is he trying to roll? Of just not wanting to walk? Poor fella, lots of stress in moving, a new place, new grass, new people etc. I'm hoping it is nothing serious -
 

freedomnjustice

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Ok, the vet called back and she said he is foundered.
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So she told me to get gauze rolls and put them on the frogs of his front hooves and wrap them up. Give him deep bedding and get him off the grass. I don't have stalls or anything yet, so I've tied them to the poles of the lean-to. They can't entangle each other. I've given each a bale of straw to lay in and we made it as thick as we can. I plan to go out every hour tonight to check on them to make sure they aren't tangled or spilled their water. The dad is still trying to burrow into the straw to find grass, but the vet said that's ok. I'm supposed to call her in the morning. They do have the ability to lay down if they need to. I'm so frustrated and overwhelmed. We will be building a pen for them tomorrow to limit their access the grass. How does founder heal??? I will also be calling a farrier tomorrow, too. So founder happens this fast??? Fine this afternoon and horrible this evening?? UGH
 

BSharpRanch

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Founder can and does happen in the blink of an eye. There are many triggers for laminitis. Too much rich spring grass, too much grain, fever, stress, Improper hoof care or no hoof care at all. Remember Barbaro? The TB that shattered his leg? It wasn't the break that caused him to be euthanized, it was support limb laminitis. There are many treatments for laminitis and IMHO the best team is owner, vet, farrier all working together.
 

freedomnjustice

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Thank you. That's my plan--I hope he recovers ok. I'm so heartbroken and worried--I feel like I've failed already....
 

chandab

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While I don't see how the vet could diagnose founder over the phone (unless I misunderstood your post), yes it can happen that fast. Its not a death sentence, but it does mean a lot of changes have to occur to keep the horse as healthy as possible. You may find that at least for awhile your farrier will need to come every 4 weeks, maybe more often (my laminitic mare needed to see the farrier every 4 weeks, he moved, no one to take his place, so I trim her every 2 weeks, as I'm not as proficient as the farrier was, she's doing decently). My other laminitic mare that is somewhat recovered, needed B-L pellets for several months to help her stay comfortable after her initial flare-up (like 4 years ago, she's been off all meds for a months and doing quite well); the B-L pellets are an over the counter anti-inflammatory that is safer on the stomach than vet prescribed bute or banamine, although bute or banamine may be necessary to get the discomfort under control initially. [be very careful with bute, as it is very easy to overdose a mini with it.]

Don't want to scare you, but just want you a bit prepared for what the vet and farrier might say. Here's hoping its just discomfort from the vaccines and getting caught up on missed health care.
 

freedomnjustice

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Thanks-I'm going out every hour to check on them. The little one seems to be fine, still standing and not limping or anything. The dad is laying down, which is good, I guess if the pressure isn't on his feet. I thought it was bad for horses to lay down, though?? He did stand up for a minute while I was outside but laid back down.
 

AngC

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I thought it was bad for horses to lay down, though??
I'm a couple years less new than you are, but my opinion is that horses lying down is ok, as long as it's normal resting (not distressed behavior.) I don't see what ours do at night but they spend the hottest portion of the day (5-6 hours lying down, off and on.)

Your grass looks lush/rich. I didn't choose to do a dry lot (ie, a dusty or muddy dirt lot) instead I chose to diminish our green lots by reducing the enclosure size and by mowing to knock back the forage amount. With the minis, I've found it's a constant fight to keep their weight down.

I didn't know people feed horses corn. Back when I was a kid, we fed corn to cattle and hogs to make them gain weight; horses never ever got corn.

Best of luck; you are having a shocking introduction and I really really feel for you.
 

freedomnjustice

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It's now 6:30 am here and the horse made it through the night ok. He's in so much pain, though. He does get up to change positions and down he goes. His legs aren't even fully extended when he stands up. I haven't seen a stool from him several hours and I gave him some Milk of Magnesia around 2:30 a.m. I will call the vet again this morning at 8 and see what our next steps should be. He does have good gut sounds...constant gurgling. The baby horse seems fine and well. I'm proud of the way he stayed tied all night. He did great.
 

REO

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Please try to get the vet to COME out to see him.

It sounds like colic to me. He needs something for pain and to be looked at and treated. I'm so sorry this is happening.
 

BSharpRanch

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I am so sorry this is your introduction to minis. I would have the.vet out and see if they have a farrier that they work with. Laminitis is not something to play with, it is life or death for the horse. With laminitis the structure that holds the coffin bone to the hoofwall becomes inflamed. There is no place for the swelling to go so it forces the coffin bone to rotate downward. The lamina are literally ripping apart, thus why there is so much pain. It really is important to get your vet out and a good farrier out to help your boy through this. Good luck.
 

MyMiniGal

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I'm only a few months farther along than you. I'm so sorry this has happened. Am praying for you and your horses. What an introduction to them. Hang in there. And like many have said, try and get the vet out to see him. If it isn't founder, it does need to be taken care of differently.
 

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