dry to grass lot- questions, worries, need suggestions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-07-2012, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Port Orchard Washington State
Posts: 1,870
• Horses: 3
dry to grass lot- questions, worries, need suggestions

I'll try to be as detailed as possible. Forgive me if I leave anything out and add on later, it has been a long day.

My main questions, what do I need to worry about and what should I be looking out for?

Ok. my horses have been on pasture 9 hours a day every day or nearly every day until February 2, 2012. I moved them to a barn with a few friends of mine to continue our training (Previous barn collapsed from snow weight and a number of other issues). The newer facility has turn out but the paddocks have been run into mud and there's no grass except for the edges which the horses including mine in their paddocks mowed down when it started coming in. So I guess they've had gradual very minimal grazing for the last month or so if they stuck their heads under the fence.

As of recently (past two weeks) to add onto problems I've encounter at this place, they started feeding grass hay that was still wet, wasn't or didn't seem to be cured properly and was so high in everything that all the horses started with the runs, coughing, sneezing and some bloated bellies. Legacy got the runs, Lestat had them for a little bit and I didn't notice any from Caleigh. A couple days ago I was told one of my friends horses began to show signs of the beginning stages of founder and she immediately dropped his board with her other horses and moved them this past Monday. A couple other horses have shown signs and after talking with the vets they've decided because of the terrible quality of hay (they said it looked like grass clippings) they would say the hay plays a large part in the founder symptoms so because I'm not risking that I moved my horses to my pasture at my new house today. The owners of the new facility were not pleased but they refused to feed hay I offered to by saying it would be too difficult to add to the schedule if I was only going to be there another month.
My fence was just finished as of Tuesday complete with the hotwire and I had planned to wait another month but I decided today was better.

Ok so now good news and bad news. My original plan was to gradually introduce them back onto pasture. I had it mowed down so they weren't wandering into a jungle. What happened is now they're on 24-7 turn out. Yesterday when I was told I had to leave by the end of the week if I was leaving this month (barn owners said) I called my contractors working on my property and said the horses would be moving in today or by the latest on friday. Contract said fence was done but there was some bad news. After starting on the stall work I wanted he and his coworker noted the foundation was cracked and sinking actively. After talking to my parents who have the final say so in the property (I'm renting to buy from them) my dad gave the ok to dig up the stalls, lay a new foundation and start over. So I have no stalls HOWEVER the new foundation and stalls will be done in about 1.5-2 weeks.
Now for me this is far from the ideal situation. I have nowhere else for my horses to go except my place.

So here's my worry. Now they're on 24/7 turn out until the stalls are done. Even before I moved them for the short period at this other barn they only had 9 hours a day on turn out. The small turn out (50x50) I made for my mares has probably 70% of clover in it. They mowed it down in about 4 hours and there's just a few patches left here and there along with grass. I then tossed them out onto the back 2 acres I had mowed on Monday so they were on just grass without the clover and they were out there from about 4 until 10pm. Because they're not familiar with the place yet I put them back in the 50x50 turn out until I get out there around 10 tomorrow morning and throw them back out where they have plenty of room to run and not think about clover. Lestat has plenty of space in his turn out and he's been munching on the grass and running around like a happy boy not much clover on his side, mostly grass and it runs down one side and is dry on the other.

I bought probiotics for them. Caleigh and Lestat didn't mind but Legacy said absolutely not and spit it all back into her beet pulp and kicked the pan over. So tomorrow I'll syringe it to her. I was told that would be my best option and to just watch them and make sure they're active like running around and not just grazing and munching 24 hours a day.

My main worry is still founder and I want to do what I can given the situation to prevent it as much as possible. I've read clover isn't terrible for horses but in some cases is can be. All this clover is already leafed so I don't know if it was white or red or what.

Bare with me please and be gentle. I've never had horses on my property before and this will be a new learning experience. I've gone to work shops for pasture management and hired people to take care of the weeds by pulling and mowing. I don't know why this patch of clover was left behind but it's in my horses bellies now.

Anyway I was wondering if there's anything else besides Probios that might help? I have an order of hay coming in tomorrow from a respected company so I'm not worried about the BS grass clippings that boarding place got. Should I feed hay even if they're on the turn all day and night turn out or start back up when they have stalls again?

I'm a worry wart and being that this isn't the idea situation I have the "C" word and Founder running through my mind and I want to try to prevent both as much as I possibly can. I don't get to move myself in for another month so I'll be doing daily trips morning and night and most afternoons over and back.

Oh all three are on beet pulp and I mixed Legacy's and Lestats Vita Calm in with the beet pulp and Probios. Legacy hated it. I'm sure I said that earlier.

Thank you for anyone who read all this.

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post #2 of 5 Old 06-07-2012, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Port Orchard Washington State
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Anybody any suggestions on how to make this easier for them or am I doing everything I should be?

When life gives you lemons....chuck em at whoever is giving them to you!
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-07-2012, 06:22 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Scotland
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Hopefully someone who knows about pasture management will answer you, but in any case, my horse has moved quite a few times from dry lot or nearly-dry lot situations to pasture and she's always been fine. A couple weeks ago, the horses at my livery yard were moved from their winter turn-out, which is pretty sparse, to their summer turn-out. Some of them -- not mine -- go out 24/7 (Gypsum still comes in at night due to her views about rain and midges). I asked the barn owners if they ever worried about founder or colic and they said not really, as they know how to manage a field, which mainly entails making sure the grass isn't too rich. So they don't fertilize it or anything like that. Horses, if you think about it, are designed to live off prairie grass so it's not unsurprising they have problems when turned out on super lush pasture that's been artificially fertilized up the wazoo. My yard owners also take the horses off it in the autumn, before the fields get too trashed, so they don't have to re-turn their fields. They also run sheep in the winter, which somehow makes the fields healthier for the horses a few months later.
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-07-2012, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Port Orchard Washington State
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My renter texted me this morning and said everybody is happy at the moment! That makes me a feel a bit better.
My pastures are going to be rotated once I have everything finished. The fencing for the most part is finished between my boy and my girls but my girls still have a huge chunk of pasture in the back that I want to cross fence. I'm going to syrige Probios to Legacy today since she didn't like it in her beat pulp.
I had people come in to cut down everything and it looks really nice now! All the grass was over grown and there were buttercups everywhere. I'm going to find out from the county if I can spray. My other pasture and once that's safe for turn out I'll put my girls over there and spray the pasture they're on now when stuff starts to bloom again.
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-08-2012, 08:33 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
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Free choice grass is just fine for most horses -- I would guess about 90% of them under most circumstances.

Horses that are VERY easy keepers, are obese, are Insulin Resistant (IR) or have other metabolic disorders like Cushings, EPSM, etc are very much at risk on lush grass. Draft and pony crosses and horses with 'cresty necks' are also much more at risk. They need either zero turnout on grass or need grazing muzzles to limit the amount of grass they can actually eat.

I would say what would be easiest for you to do would be to purchase portable panels and make one or two corrals out of them. You almost always need small paddocks for horses anyway and not just stalls or large pastures.

Or, you can use portable electric fences and 'cell graze' small parcels. It is a very good way to manage pastures anyway.

I would not bother with Probios but would keep out dry hay. Horses on lush pastures will usually eat some grass hay. We used to run a lot of horses on winter wheat pasture and always kept out a round bale of grass hay. They will stay a little runny on lush pasture no matter what you do.

Some kinds of clover will make horses slobber and drool but is not dangerous.

Freshly cut and under-cured hay can be very dangerous. We try to never feed hay that has been baled less than 3 weeks. At the 3 week point, any hay that is going to 'sweat' will be 'hot', or can even be spontaneously combustible and burn a barn down. When hay that is too green does finally cure in the bale, it will be very dusty and even a small quantity of it can cause some horses to cough or get heaves. Hay should be bales at 20% moisture or less. (We prefer hay baled at 15 - 16% moisture.) Baled higher than that, you get 'hot' hay and dust and mold.

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