I have read that Peruvian's are easy keepers. I hadn't realized how easy. Vet put my mare on a diet of grass hay in slow feed nets, 1/2 flake of alfalfa twice a day and no pasture whatsoever. Luckily where I board, they have dry lots. I just feel bad for her. Standing in her dirt lot with a hay bag doesn't seem natural. She has 3 other mares in with her that do get turned out onto the grass. The pasture is next to her lot, so she can see other horses all the time. It's not like she's by herself at all.
I see that many ranches are out west or Texas and Arizona. How do you folks handle it in places with lush green pastures.. Seems like that's the absolute worst for these guys..
I"m just afraid that she will develop psychological issues from no grazing activity. Already treating her for ulcers and her diet is basically for IR. She was grossly overweight when I got her, she's lost well over 100 lbs on this diet so I guess it's working for her. It just seems unnatural to not have a horse in a pasture grazing on grass...
We have a combination of grass pastures and dry lots. The horses that can handle the grass go out for a portion of the day and the horses that can't handle the grass go on dry lots 24/7. Our dry lots are big enough that we haven't had any issues with this strategy. We only feed grass hay to all our horses.
What about using a grazing muzzle?
I'm going to try one this summer. Towards fall, vet did allow turn out for 1/2 to an hour a day to see how she'd handle it. No founder issues, but she ended up back in dry lot because she couldn't be nice. I had a couple complaints that she was charging other boarders when they would go into the pasture. She is very protective about her food and her herd of 3 mares. Once she's haltered and out, it's all business. I"ve never seen a horse that has such a work ethic. Leading, riding, etc... she's a dream.. Loose in a paddock or pasture, she's a witch. She sure knows how to turn on her brio.
What I do for ours is I buy a bunch of the slow feed hay nets and fill each with grass hay and toss them around on the ground on the perimeter of the dry lot. This encourages movement and also they still feel that they are grazing. I don't have shoes on any of the horses so their feet can't get in or stuck on the nets. I put them directly on the ground so they are eating from the ground just as they would graze on grass. I hang a couple from trees and get a bit creative to create movement and keep them busy at the same time. It might be something to try. Ours are doing really, really well with it.
I have an appaloosa mare that was given to me because I could load her, but I found she had also been foundered many years ago and had dropped soles. She is not allowed on grass, and only eats alfalfa pellets and grass hay, along with mineral blocks, horseshoers dream. I have had her since March of last year. I have her in my round pen because we have padded her hooves and we did not want her to accidentally pull them off and damage her hooves. She is now not lame. Now today we have put real shoes on her and I will be putting her in a large pen that is probably 40 by 60. From there she will go into my arena which is 168 by 90. She eats from a aluminum hay manger that I can move around. she will never be put on grass again. We have had so many horse owners whose horses foundered this past year due to the previous drought and recent spring rains. I have had no issues with her not moving around enough. I have 4 geldings and they are now in the same area she is and they come and visit her from time to time. Also because the pen is round, they position themselves and she visits whoever she chooses. she will have the same in the square pen. When I put her in the arena, I will not have the boys loose, since the arena was not built to hold horses, but is to be used for training or riding.
I have not seen any problems with her. She has lost weight, after being over weight. the people I got her from had her on pasture for 6 years. Her attitude with us has improved, and my farrier thinks she is in good condition. He is recommending that i get high protein, low carb horse feed from my local feed store. It is not that more expensive. Oddly, my Peruvian is a harder keeper. He is having trouble gaining weight. I am going to worm him again to see if that helps.