Registered nutritionist Clare Barfoot offers advice on laminitis prevention, and Spillers offers the chance to save £2 on every bag of Happy Hoof, from the middle of April.

Laminitis is a word we all dread to hear. This crippling disease can strike at any time of year and can affect any size or breed of horse or pony, although those that are overweight are usually at greater risk.

Research is teaching us more and more about how laminitis is caused and why some horses and ponies are more susceptible than others but essentially grass remains a major culprit.

Grass, especially when it begins to grow in the spring and is available in larger quantities can be extremely high in calories and sugar. Uncontrolled turnout on today’s lush, seeded pastures can be a very risky business because your horse is capable of eating double his appetite in just 24 hours in the field. That’s over three times the energy a horse in light work actually needs. This excess energy will be stored as fat and may cause your horse to become more prone to laminitis.

Clare Barfoot, RNutr and the research and development manager at Spillers, said: “In the same way that you wouldn’t let your children run free in a supermarket 24/7 and say ‘eat what you like; I’ll pick you up in a week!’ you shouldn’t allow your horse to have free access to grass, especially if he or she is already overweight or prone to laminitis.

Spillers Happy Hoof“Work out how you can restrict grazing when the grass has begun to grow, perhaps by using electric fencing to strip graze, turning out into a bare area or by getting your horse or pony used to wearing a grazing muzzle – which I find works well for my own horse. Provide regular exercise to help your horse burn calories and keep fit. Take control of calories consumed by providing a low calorie fibre diet instead of unlimited grass or hay of unknown analysis: this is the safe way to provide the bulk and vitamins and minerals your horse needs but without weight gain and the risk of laminitis.”

Spillers Happy Hoof is a specially blended, low calorie, short-chop forage which can be used as a complete feed as it contains all the vitamins and minerals your horse needs to stay in good health. It is designed to extend eating time and was the first complete chopped fibre feed to be approved by the Laminitis Trust.

Spillers is giving you the chance to save £2 on every bag of Happy Hoof, from the middle of April while stocks last. Such great savings will help you to keep your horse and your bank balance in good shape this spring. Look out for the special flash packs in your local store.

For friendly feeding advice on how to keep your horse or pony safe from laminitis please telephone the Spillers Care-Line on + 44 (0)1908 226626 or send an email to For further information visit the Spillers website.

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