The importance of a low sugar/starch, mineral balanced diet cannot be emphasized enough. This has become increasingly obvious to me over the years, and I have come to realize that nutrition can be nearly as important as the trim when it comes to barefoot rehabs.
We have a great hay supplier, who consistently produces high quality, low sugar/starch hay with lower iron than our regional average, so easier to balance minerals per NRC guidelines. We test all hay to ensure it is safe for horses with metabolic issues (sugar + starch is well below 10%). Hay is available free choice 24/7 in slow feeders.
Hay is tested and a custom mineral balancer is made to fill in any nutritional gaps and mineral imbalances. Our area has very high iron forage, so extra copper and zinc are added to offset the damaging effects of high iron and subsequent copper and zinc deficiencies. Our mineral mix also includes optimum amounts of magnesium, iodine, selenium, amino acids, A B and natural E vitamins, biotin, yeast and salt. Ground flax is added for omega 3 fatty acids. We also feed Alltech Bio-Mos and Yea-Sacc as needed, which are pre- and probiotics to help maintain healthy gut flora.
The custom balancer is the cornerstone to our nutrition program, and is fed in whatever carrier is appropriate for each horse. Typically this may be timothy pellets, ChaffHaye, Triple Crown Timothy Balance Cubes, and/or triple rinsed beet pulp.
In addition to our science based precise nutrition plan which is fed twice daily, we also offer Dynamite free choice minerals that the horses can self select if they wish. There is also plain white salt available in many locations.
We have planted an herb garden and multiple horse friendly hedgerows for the horses to browse as they grow through the fences within reach.
Fresh clean water is always available in either automatic waterers or troughs, as we have found that some horses prefer one or the other. Having both available also serves as extra assurance in case a waterer malfunctions or a trough runs out. We sometimes offer additional small tubs of water with additives (such as salt, clay, etc) alongside the troughs for self selection.
We are happy to add any supplements or medications provided by the owner. Each horse is fed separately to ensure they get their own specific diet. Medications can be administered by hand to be certain they were ingested. We have had many PPID horses on pergolide and are very familiar with appropriate handling, administration and management.