Originally Posted by Regula
This might be a really stupid question, but can someone tell me why rationed grass hay is so much better for a foundered horse than restricted grazing?
Is it just the spring grass that's dangerous - so would later grass with lower protein and higher fiber (say the time point when the hay would be cut) be better?
Or is it that nutrients are lost during drying and storage? I seem to recall someone saying that it's best to feed old hay (from the previous year), so the horse has something to do, but it basically has zero nutrients left.
I would assume that if anything, hay fields are higher in nutrients and fertilizer that the pasture grass here in AB (which is not very rich to begin with).
I perfectly understand that you wouldn't want the horse to just eat uncontrolled, but why is that better achieved on a dry lot with hay than by a limited time grazing with a muzzle?
as Trinity stated, it's all about the sugars. Grass stores sugars for when circumstances are best for growing. So horses up to their bellies im grass consume less sugars than when on short, eaten down or otherwise stressed grass( drought, frosty nights), the short grass hoards the sugars, the long has consumed all.
Hay cut early in the morning and dried and baled quickly retains the sugars.
Cool season grasses are " sweeter" than warm season grasses.
A great source for learning all the little differences is Katy Watts | Safergrass.org