Is it cruel?

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Is it cruel?

This is a discussion on Is it cruel? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    05-18-2010, 06:01 AM
Question Is it cruel?

Hi, I am the owner of two gorgeous miniature horses. They have a large comfortable stable and open access to a reasonably large outdoors area which is
Big enough to let them have a canter around. Only thing that bothers me is that they have no grass! They have constant access to good quality haylage and frequent treats of carrots etc. And loads of love and attention. They SEEM fine and not unhappy, but one or two people have commented that it's cruel to keep them without grass. Is this so? Occasionally they have access to a small area of grass when it grows long enough, but not that often. Would appreciate your thoughts on this.
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    05-18-2010, 08:38 AM
Green Broke
My mare is at a boarding barn where the pastures are very grazed down and there is little to no grass. However there is always fresh hay strewn about the pasture so that the horses can still satisfy their grazing instinct.

IMO as long as they are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need and have access to good quality hay it's not cruel at all :)

Some others may disagree but that's my 2 cents!
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    05-18-2010, 09:04 AM
Green Broke
Plenty of horses are kept in dry lot situations.
If you are truly concerned about it, hand grazing is an option. When I have our girls (a mini and a TB) up in the sacrifice area/dry lot to rest the pasture I will take them out on lead to graze in part of our yard or the neighbors back lot area that they don't mow (they have asked us to graze them out there as often as possible to keep it down).
    05-18-2010, 09:21 AM
Smile Thanks

Thank you very much for your advice! I guess it's just non-horsy people who make disapproving remarks; they just associate horses with green fields. Oh I WISH I had a green field, but at least my little horses are just outside the house and I can watch them from the kitchen window. And if they were off in a field somewhere, they wouldn't get so much attention.
    05-18-2010, 09:23 AM
Green Broke
Now, where are the pictures of your little cuties...........????
    05-18-2010, 09:28 AM
Welcome to the forum.

People who make comments like that are not very knowledgeable about horses. If your minis are in good health and have access to good hay, water, and shelter, they will be fine. Let's face it, there is no grass in the winter but they do well don't they?
    05-18-2010, 11:44 AM
Smile Playboy

I am new to this site so I hope my picture will appear with this message! Yes, you're right, they do go without grass in Winter, it was just that I didn't want it to be always winter for them (if you know what I mean)
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    05-18-2010, 11:50 AM
Kate, some horses never see grass. The horses of the Arizona, Nevada and California deserts come to mind.

As long as your horses have adequate hay, water and shelter, they'll be fine. After all, hay is nothing more than dried grass.
    05-18-2010, 12:11 PM
They are so cute!

My guys never see grass either. A lot of horses in Arizona don't. I feel bad when we pass grass on trail rides, so I usually let them grab a bite even though it is bad manners, just because we don't have grass at home.

There are some grass pastures around, but you have to be pretty wealthy, because they have to be watered and/or planted. I would say the average horse in Arizona doesn't have grass. The native grasses just can't keep up with a horse because it doesn't rain enough.
    05-18-2010, 12:13 PM
PS. There are actually downsides to having grass too. You would have to be worrying about laminitis/founder. So in many ways, they are safer off of pasture.

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