Pasture Advice

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Pasture Advice

This is a discussion on Pasture Advice within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Veternarian advice horse pasture

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    09-23-2013, 07:46 PM
Pasture Advice

I am considering putting everyone on pasture until the spring. I am worried about my grade mare because she is an air fern. She gains weight walking past the hay.. I am worried about her foundering or something else like this.
Does anyone have experience with this? Should I just discuss it with my vet?

Thanks in advance.
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    09-23-2013, 08:01 PM
If you do it, introduce her slowly, adding an hour or two a day of turnout time until the desired amount is achieved. And yes, if you are worried ask your vet. And a little (not much, though) weight is good in the cold weather.
    09-23-2013, 08:14 PM
You can always talk to your vet and find out more. There's a horse where I'm at that's like that.... well several really! If there's an eaten down field then they fat ones get switched to that one because there's not a lot of grass. However, when there's not an unused field they just stay on grass 24/7. We've not had a problem with foundering but then again they've been on it their entire lives. The BO just knows what to look for in case they would ever and if they do she takes appropriate measures.
    09-23-2013, 08:27 PM
I have a horse that foundered, partly because I did not take his weight issues serious enough beforehand. He, too, was a very easy keeper and gained weight during the winter because the feeding was too rich in the boarding situation he was in. And I, too, thought that a little bit more weight during the winter wouldn't do any harm, especially in our harsh Canadian climate.
In hindsight, the management to keep his weight down would have been a LOT easier than managing the laminitis/metabolic issues afterwards. So I would be very, very careful.
Not sure what the climate is like where you live, but the sugar content in grass increases again during the fall, especially around and shortly after the first frost hits. Evening grass tends to be a little lower in sugar content than morning and daytime grass, so if you go ahead with this, I would get her used to increased periods of grazing in the evenings.
We have a closed snow cover here from pretty much end of October to end of April, so not much grazing in those months. So we just make sure the alfalfa content in the hay is not too high (10% or less) and make sure everyone eats only their own pile.
Not sure whether you have an arena available, but my horse does a lot better (both muscle and weight wise) with a steady workout during the winter, at least light work 3 x per week.

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