Laminitis Recovery Diet

By Jenny Austin

Step 1 - Remove the Cause

No Pasture


The first thing to do is remove your horse from ALL grass and hard feeds and implement the Emergency Diet in this article!
Not a single nibble of grass.
Even if it’s short, long, dry, native or whatever – not a bit!
That includes weeds and trees which may be nibbled at!

** You may need to move your horse to an enclosure with soft footing, shelter and companionship during recovery **

How to measure a horse How to measure your horse

Step 2 - Weigh Your Horse

Step 3 - What to Feed

  • Feed soaked grassy meadow hay only (tested low sugar if possible) and a carrier for supplements (see below).
    Do Not Feed Any
    • Oaten,
    • Wheaten,
    • Lucerne,
    • Rye, or
    • Clover hay.
  • As your horse will no longer be getting the nutrients that it needs from grass or hay there are a number of additives you will need to give to help it stay healthy, aid the hoof recovery and possibly lose weight. (see additive step )

To know how much to feed here's an example:
If your horse weighs 500 Kg and is overweight:–

Calculate 500 x .015 (1.5%) = 7.5 Kg hay/day (dry weight).

That total Kg weight of feed needs to also incorporate a low sugar Beet Pulp product (rinsed 3 times to remove excess sugar and iron) to add supplements and minerals to. So, 500g of carrier feed could be made into 2 small feeds and given morning and afternoon in conjunction with the hay.

Do not starve a laminitic horse!

Feed small weighed feeds of soaked hay and the carrier feeds throughout the day and a few feeds to carry the horse overnight. eg. 7 feeds.

Step 4 - How to Soak Hay

Hay Soaking Example of soaking hay

  • Source a grassy meadow hay with low sugar grasses. It is preferable that you do not feed any oaten, wheaten, lucerne, rye, or clover hay.
  • Whilst dry place hay into SLOW FEEDER hay nets. To do this accurately; weigh the net first and then add the hay so that the hay weighs 1kg plus the weight of the net.
  • Soak the hay in water in large rubbish bins or big tubs for 1 hour in cold water or 30 minutes in hot water.
  • Put a brick on top, or similar heavy object that will not dissolve or contaminate the soaking hay, to keep the hay submerged.
  • Do not exceed this time if possible.
  • Hang each net to drain in a shaded area and keep out of full sun.
  • Do not allow the horse to drink the sugary water that the in which the hay has been soaked!
  • Do not re-use the soaking water for next batch.
How to Soak Hay
Our video providing step-by-step instructions on soaking hay to reduce carbohydrates

Step 5 - Carriers for Supplements

  • Use a low sugar/starch, high fibre feed such as plain beet pulp (no chaff)
  • Weigh it dry and either split into 2 feeds or all in the first feed.
  • You should rinse the beet pulp a couple of times (to reduce iron content) and drain the water away and then triple the amount of water to the beet pulp. Allow to soak until soft.
  • To help disguise new supplements and tempt fussy eaters, you can try sugar free flavourings such as 1 cup of brewed peppermint tea, chamomile or raspberry leaf tea.

Step 6 - Minerals and Supplements

  • The best way to balance the minerals your horse will need is have your hay analysed. This can take time and is not always viable straight away.
  • Once you can source good low sugar quality Meadow hay it is worth having it analysed as the minerals it lacks will need to be supplemented.
  • We recommend you source a good mineral supplement such as Missy’s Bucket or Hoof Xtra (Australia only).
  • Salt: 1 to 2 tablespoons a day. Table Salt is fine but avoid any pink salts. Iodised Salt is recommended when fed in conjunction with the mineral supplement.
  • Magnesium Oxide: 1/2 - 1 tablespoons a day. Source from Causmag as it's the purest form you can get in Australia.
  • Vitamin E tablets: 1,000 IU/day per 250Kg body weight. You can buy good quality vitamin E in most supermarkets or online.
  • Linseed: 1/2 to 1 cup a day. Linseeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Grind fresh per feed or use whole.

When introducing new supplements to any horses diet always start out with a small amount and build up to recommended dose over a number of days.
Make sure to mix all ingredients well.

No Carrots

Do NOT feed ANY treats such as carrots or apples (however, celery is okay). Stick strictly the recommended diet during the acute and recovery phase.

Feed Example for Laminitic Horse Weighing 500 Kg:

7.5 Kg food over 24 hours. Hay is already soaked.
7.30am 1 Hay net with hay weighing 1kg.
9.00am 1 Hay net with hay weighing 1kg.
11.00am Hard feed with 250g dry Speedibeet then rinsed and soaked with added supplements as listed above. If tolerated, a handful of lucerne chaff can be added.
12.00pm 1 Hay net with hay weighing 1kg.
2.00pm 1 Hay net with hay weighing 1kg.
4.00pm Hard feed with 250g dry Speedibeet then rinsed and soaked with added supplements as advised. If tolerated, a handful of lucerne chaff can be added.
6.00pm 3 Hay nets with hay weighing 1kg each.
If feed cannot be staggered as above, hang nets around inside of yard spread out to encourage movement. Give 1 hard feed in the morning and then hang 4 nets for the day. Then give 1 hard feed in the afternoon and hang 3 nets overnight.

And lastly...

Horse drinking

...Always ensure your horse has a constant supply of fresh drinking water

Bob in recovery Bob, in recovery, eating a measured amount of soaked hay in a slow feeder hay net. After reading all of this diet information, you might be asking “how long will I have to keep doing all that work soaking hay?”.
The answer is “it varies” but, usually,it is until they have grown new attached lamina to wall from the coronary band and radiographs and blood test results are all normal.

If you can find low ESC (Ethanol Soluble Sugar) and starch hay then you should not have to soak once your horse is no longer chronic. Your hoof care practitioner and veterinarian will guide you!

This diet is an example only and is sourced from the resource group Equine Cushing's & Insulin Resistance Group at

Laminitis is not a death sentence; but, remember, that it is for LIFE and your horse will require careful monitoring FOREVER!

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Last modified 5 June 2022    Website Implementation: Weinel IT Services