Newbie help!


We are new to horses and got 2 minis in December. Annie is super healthy and easy to keep (6 years old). Silver came with a history of laminitis but no current symptoms (per vet check) (10 years old). Has some crusting and the vet suggested cutting down grain (from 1/2c to 1/4c daily) to see if he thins out. He looks more overweight now than when we got him, but I'm not sure what he weighed before we got him. I did a KER weigh last weekend and did reduce hay a bit (Silver is
360lbs and the Annie is about 280lbs) to about 4 flakes/7-8 lbs per day (shared hay net between the 2). We are being more diligent with walking him at least 20 minutes per day. The vet but mentioned possibly needing a high-protein diet. I just purchased Remission and Stabul 1, and I'm looking for suggestions for how much of each to give Silver. Annie is an easy keeper and never had problems with weight.

With a heart girth of 50, I think I need to eventually get SIlver down to about 330 (per weight chart). Any other suggestions? Thanks for helping a newbie!

Kristen S in PA, 2023

Bobbie Day

Hi Kristen and welcome!
We send all new members our welcome message which includes tons of information to help you sort through this, as you probably know ponies are one of those thrifty breeds that are genetically prone to high insulin which in turn can lead to laminitis, their diets must be tightly controlled, weight is very important in these horses. We recommend that horses be fed either 1.5% of their actual weight or 2% of ideal, whichever is larger. If you could post pictures, we could better advise you on that. Did the vet do any blood work? Can you give us those results? And if not pay special attention to the testing section in the message below, a diagnosis is needed.  I would personally not be feeding grain (or do you mean the stabul 1)? 
Instead, consider getting your hay tested and balanced to provide the minerals they need. And only use a small amount of a "safe feed" as a carrier. High protein can make some horse's foot sore; we recommend grass hay that tests below 10% starch and sugar combined. If it's still cold where you are I would also consider putting him in socks and boots to keep the legs and feet warm, horses can suffer from cold-induced laminitis. 
Remission is just a very expensive form of Magnesium; you can purchase mag ox from a feed store or Uckele for much cheaper. I would put the horses on the emergency diet until you can get your hay tested. It isn't meant to be used long-term but it's safe for all horses.
Please let us know if you have any additional questions, we're happy to help!

Below is your personal introduction to DDT+E, the ECIR Group protocol found to immediately address the comfort and welfare of the metabolic equine. Bookmark this message so that during your journey you may return when you need to review more information. Blue font links in each section will lead to further evidence-based and sourced information. We include a folder specifically for vets and other pros. Links previously opened will display in grey when you return to this message.


  • NSAIDs do not work on metabolic laminitis
    • Long-term NSAID use interferes with healing. We recommend tapering off NSAIDs after the initial days of use.
    • Icing does not work in most stages of laminitis and may make things worse.
    • If your equine's comfort level has not increased, then the cause of the laminitis has not been removed. The underlying cause needs to be addressed and the trim corrected.
    • Movement while using NSAIDs can cause further damage as pain is masked.
  • For pain relief also see the use of jiaogulan and why it works.
  • If the equine wants to lie down, do not encourage him/her to get up. Place feed and water where it can be reached easily without having to move more than necessary.

START YOUR CASE HISTORY. Request membership in the ECIR Group Case History site. Completing a case history is critical for in-depth, individual help. Bookmark this link. Our new Case History site is designed so that once you are registered and approved, and you have enrolled your equine, you can come in and select which section you wish to work on, returning as you need to add or update information. Please add copies of all your bloodwork results to support the details of your history. Further guidance to get you started is available in the Wiki.

In-depth step-by-step information is available from Dr. Kellon’s 2017  NO Laminitis! Conference lectures, including references to science explaining why DDT+E works. Download Acute Care for Endocrinopathic Laminitis and Tiered Management Approach to EMS and PPID on

INFORMATION FOR YOUR VETERINARIAN.  After two decades, the ECIR Group knows recommendations in DDT+ E are often different from the equine veterinary community. We offer documentation of protocols, with deep background, evidence, and the science behind recommendations in the Veterinary Information folder. Please review and share this valuable supportive info with the team working on the ground with you.
INTRODUCTION to Diagnosis, Diet, Trim and Exercise (DDT+E)

DIAGNOSIS: Effective treatment requires correctly identifying the problem. There are two metabolic conditions causing laminitis that share symptoms. Equines can have one, the other, or both.   


    • EMS/IR is not a disease but a metabolic type. High insulin is responsible for laminitis 
and is controlled through diet as described below, with exercise as able.
      • ECIR Group has monitored use of specific medications that can be effective to lower insulin These do not replace a correct diet which must be in place first.
    • PPID not controlled through medication can raise insulin, leading to laminitis. High insulin causes laminitis, even at a sub-clinical level.
      • PPID is a progressive disease, treated by medication.
      • When first starting pergolide some equines may experience the "pergolide veil", a temporary loss of appetite, lethargy and/or depression. Wean onto the drug slowly and use the product APF to avoid this. Jiaogulan is also used in countries where APF is not available.
      • The best long-term results are seen when in diagnosed equines the ACTH is maintained in the middle of the lab reference range at all times, including during the annual seasonal rise. To accomplish this, the amount of medication may need to increase over time.
    • Neither EMS/IR nor PPID is ever cured, only properly controlled for the remainder of the equine's life. If your partner is both PPID and EMS/IR then both medication and diet management will be needed.

DIET: Crucial for an EMS/IR horse to lower insulin, the correct diet also supports the PPID equine’s delicate immune system.

In active laminitis, your first step is:

  • Remove/reduce the most likely trigger — high insulin — by using the emergency diet.
  • The emergency diet is untested hay, soaked for an hour in cold water or 30 minutes in hot water, which removes an average of 30% of the simple sugar content. Soaking does not remove starch.
  • Make sure you dump the soaking water where the equine(s) can't get to it.
  • Add ground flax seed (2 ounces by weight), and Vitamin E in oil (500 IU per 250 lb of body weight) to replace ingredients lost when grass is cured into hay. Magnesium, usually deficient, is added at 1.5 grams/day per 500 lbs body weight; (1/2 teaspoon feed-grade magnesium oxide) Iodized table salt is fed, 1-2 ounces for a 1000-pound horse.
  • This diet is not intended for long-term use.

    • Grass
    • Grain
      • Bagged feeds with a combined ESC and starch of over 10%
      • Bagged feeds with starch over 4%
      • Bagged feeds with fat over 4%.
    • Sugary treats, including apples and carrots
    • Brown/red salt blocks that contain iron which interferes with mineral balancing
    • Products containing molasses
    • Alfalfa hay
      • Protein and calcium are often high, which can contribute to sore footedness and make mineral balancing difficult.  

Your ultimate goal is:

  • Grass hay, tested to be under 10% ESC + starch by wet chemistry analysis. While sugar converts 50% to glucose, starch converts 100%, driving a higher insulin spike. Starch should not exceed 4%.
  • Excess and deficient minerals balanced. 
  • Safe feeds used only in an amount needed to carry minerals and supplements, under 10% ESC and starch, with starch under 4%, and fat under 4% or less.
    • Almost all commercial feeds are not suitable for EMS/IR individuals.
    • It is important to know the actual analysis.
    • Please see the Country Specific info for some safe suggestions.
  • To use a "stop-gap" product until you get your hay balanced, here is a list of "acceptable" ration balancers. This is a far second best from actual balancing.

TRIM: Addressing high insulin through diet and the realigning trim are the fastest ways to relieve pain. The proper trim for any equine is one that closely hugs and supports the internal structures of the foot for improved function. This type of trim is essential for EMS/IR/PPID equines, who are at increased risk for laminitis.

  • In general, laminitic hooves require more frequent trim adjustments to maintain the proper alignment. We recommend the use of padded boots rather than fixed appliances (shoes, clogs).
  • You are encouraged to obtain radiographs, hoof photos, and video to include in your Case History and help guide trimming needs for your horse. Example of good images are described in the Case History site and in the main group Wiki.

EXERCISE: The equine must be non-laminitic, off NSAIDs and comfortable.

  • Do not force a laminitic individual to move, or allow its other companions to do so.
  • Once the equine is moving around comfortably at liberty, hand-walking can begin in long straight lines with no tight turns. When finished walking, he/she should be as or more comfortable than when the walk began.
  • Before serious exercise can begin, a previously laminitis individual needs 6-9 months of correct realigning trims without relapse.


For a one-on-one, visual explanation of DDT+E, see ECIR Group Films.

For members outside North America, there are country-specific folders in the files and international lists in the Wiki to help you find local resources. will provide more in-depth information. The FAQ section answers questions many new members have.

ECIR Group Facebook page.

ECIR Group Resources, printable for quick-scan access to more information when needed, such as in your barn.

ECIR discussion group Wiki provides information on the use of the site including how to access the Case History site, information in the start here folder, message etiquette,  and many how-to pages.

Bookmark these pages, as well as this message, for easier access when you need more info.


Bobbie and Maggie 
Desi (over the rainbow bridge 7/21) 
Utah, Nov 2018
ECIR Group Primary Response 
Horsekeeping Moderator

Kirsten Rasmussen

Hi Kristen,

Welcome to horse ownership!  With a mini, a small amount of hay makes a big difference.  I think they gain and lose weight quickly...  Hay should be weighed every day and if Silver needs to lose weight then feed him 2% of ideal body weight, or 1.5% of current body weight, whichever is greater.  If you're finding that Silver is eating more of the shared hay, you could try muzzling him to slow him down or you could reduce the shared hay and give Annie an extra meal or 2 separately.  You might need to experiment a bit to see what works.

For Stabul 1, I'm assuming you're using it as a mineral/salt/vitamin carrier?  You want to feed as little carrier as possible.  My mini gets about 1 cup rinsed-soaked-rinsed beet pulp to hold all his supplements (that's about 1/4 cup dry measure).  It's enough for him.

Remission may not be needed.  But if you want to feed it until you have a hay test and know whether you need to add Mg or not, we recommend up to 10g a day Mg oxide for a full size horse (so about 1/3 of that for a 300 lb horse).  If this site is correct, that would be about 1 x 14g scoop to get about 3g MgO from the Remission.

In the meantime, I recommend you get your hay tested.  The 603 Trainer package at Equi-Analytical has everything you need to do a full diet balance.

Kirsten and Shaku (EMS + PPID) and Snickers (EMS) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
Shaku's Case History
Shaku's Photo Album

Snickers' Case History
Snickers' Photo Album