I bring this up because it's very likely that my horse, April, has foundered. She's a big horse, very fat, an easy keeper, and she came in yesterday very lame. We'll know what has happened, how bad it is or isn't. Founder can happen from too much lush green grass and some horses are prone to founder. April has not foundered before but she is fat which can make her prone to the disease. Others call this laminitis. It is very painful for horses and many never fully recover and all have to be "managed".
Alfie is an "IR" horse which means he is insulin-resistant (just like in people) and we have to take special care of him too. Alfie was diagnosed this spring when the grass came out and he had unusual fat deposits on his hind quarters. A blood test verified our fears. He too has to be well-managed. So what does that mean for the insulin-resistant horse? Well, in reality, we take the same care of him as anyone should who has diabetes or pre-diabetes issues. No drugs are needed and he's on a special diet. Regular exercise and no sugar ever. No lush grass or hay (sugar). It's not rocket science and those who have IR-type issues could fix their own symptoms by eating a low-starch diet. He gets hay that is low in sugar and we soak it in water to take out the sugar if we're not sure. He gets ridden very regularly. No winter months off for him anymore. We watch him like a hawk. He does not go out on lush green pastures anymore and we muzzle him if we need to. Grass is not his friend. He's old enough that the issues appeared and some horses are just prone to being IR. IR horses are more prone to founder especially in the spring and fall months when the grass is lush.
With Alfie and possibly April having metabolic issues, my horse keeping days will be longer and more arduous going forward, just like for anyone who has friends and family with medical issues that need constant monitoring. But I am committed to taking care of them both and will do whatever it takes to keep them happy and healthy for the rest of their years. Who knew horses could be so complicated?