Does Pasture quality make a difference?

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Does Pasture quality make a difference?

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  • Pasture quality

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    04-19-2010, 06:03 PM
Does Pasture quality make a difference?

Hi everyone.

My mare will be finishing her training on the 14th of May and rather than bring her back home (to a 24X48 corrall with minimal turn out) I've decided to board her nearby. The facility is pasture board only and she has always been kept in a dry lot type situation with 24/7 access to bermuda and 1/2 flake of alfalfa per day.

The pasture is located in the mts of east san diego county and the grass is just starting to die off (light green/turning yellow) this time of year and will be totally dead by June.

Do the same concerns/rules apply for introducing a horse to pasture if the grass isn't lush/green? (founder/colic)

I'm not planning on her sustaining herself on the pasture and will be providing the same free choice bermuda that she currently getting, along with her daily/weekly supplements.

Also (sorry for the double question) Say she could be out for 15 mins w/o a muzzle initially, how much longer would I be able to turn her out if she were wearing a grazing muzzle?
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    04-19-2010, 06:07 PM
Unless the grass is really tall and/or she's never had grass before, you can probably just put her out and leave her be. The problem with lush grass is it's so rich. The grass you describe wouldn't be.
    04-20-2010, 04:13 PM
Originally Posted by riccil0ve    
Unless the grass is really tall and/or she's never had grass before, you can probably just put her out and leave her be. The problem with lush grass is it's so rich. The grass you describe wouldn't be.
She's never been kept on pasture before, but has access to bremuda grass hay 24/7.

Do you think I would still need to start at 15 mins of grazing and gradually increase the time each day? If so how much/how often should I increase?

    04-20-2010, 05:00 PM
If you want to be safe, this is what I do when introducing my girls to the really grassy pasture. I start hand-grazing for 15 to 20 minutes for a few days. Typically, I tie them in the yard while I do some barn chores or while I'm working with the other one. Then I start putting them out for an hour or so every other day. I start the process before the grass gets super long and lush. Seeing as the grass is dying anyway, it's not going to be very rich at all, so you could probably do an hour one day, an hour and a half the next, two hours, and at that point, I think they're fine. =]
    04-26-2010, 08:17 PM
You need to be even more careful with dying pastures due to the fructan levels in the grass. Some research has linked it to laminitis.

Otherwise any time changing a horse's diet needs to be slow, so I'd still do the 15 min incremental increases until you get up to 4 hrs then you can go a full day. Be careful with your pasture though again because of the laminitis risk.

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