Pasture feed?
 
 

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Pasture feed?

This is a discussion on Pasture feed? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Pasturing horses with feed
  • Best way to feed pasture kept horses separately

 
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    03-10-2009, 06:24 PM
  #1
Foal
Pasture feed?

I wonder what you think of turning a horse to pasture and letting it eat the grass without any kind of hay or grain. I have always been one of those snotty english riders who keeps my horse in a box stall and goes nuts if they graze on long grass. Opinion?
     
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    03-10-2009, 06:27 PM
  #2
Trained
Really? I'd go nuts if my horse was in a stall and not allowed to eat grass!

My two horses, and all the horses i've owned, live out on pasture 24/7. We do feed them a small amount of a mixed feed at night, but it's more to keep them friendly. They are both fat as!

They love it, they can run around, interact with each other, roll in the dirt, play in the dam... Basically they get to have fun and just be horses.
     
    03-10-2009, 06:42 PM
  #3
Weanling
Where I board my horse, they are pasture-kept. (Fed hay in the winter, of course, with a mineral block). The two horses who have lived there for years are as fat as barrels. :) Not fat, really, but nice and sleek and well-muscled. My horse was thin when I got her in January, so she gets some extra goodies, but I think pasture-kept is the way to go. I have to totally agree with wild spot on that one; I think horses should get to act like horses. Now, does it irritate me that as soon as Annie gets brushed, she goes and covers herself in mud clumps? LoL, of course! But I want her to be happy, and when I saw her kicking up her heals (er, hooves) and running around today when I went to see her, I knew she was happy. However, I have to say, I think some horses need supplemental feed besides grass, and I also hate to see a horse on inadequate pasture who's too thin.
     
    03-10-2009, 07:06 PM
  #4
Trained
It is actually MUCH healthier both mentally & physically for horses to be out on pasture and/or just fed hay. Horses evolved as trickle feeders that are supposed to eat small amounts of relatively nutrient poor food all day long. Pasture is even better for their teeth as the grass/hay requires more chewing so grinds the teeth down appropriately as well as aligning the teeth correctly when their heads are down. All in all we cause horses a lot of the problems with horses, both behavioral & health when we keep them in stalls all day & feed them concentrates. I could literally go on all day with all of the reasons and research behind why it is healthier for horses to be on a forage based (pasture/hay) diet, but I won't because a lot of people tend to find it annoying! LOL, sorry.

I don't deny that SOME horses need extra rations beyond pasture or hay esp if the forage is of poor quality... but in reality that is very far and few between. Even your horses that receive moderate exercise 2-3x a week are fine on a quality pasture/hay. That's the category most of our horses fall into . Of course it needs to be decent pasture...not something that's primarily dirt and weeds. When I was younger I used to be on the stall/concentrate side, but now all I've learned in school has completely changed my mind.

Sorry I'll get off my soapbox now...
     
    03-10-2009, 07:15 PM
  #5
Foal
No stalls here either. Most horses in my area are pasture kept. But most horses around here are trail horses. Some take thier horses to games, like fun shows where they do barrels and stuff but that's about it. There are a couple barns near by that have stalls but their horses are mostly pasture kept too. I think they only use the stalls when it gets really nasty out or to separate the horses to feed grain. Or if a horse gets hurt and has to be seperate from the heard or a mare and foal. I don't see anything wrong with stalls but I prefer to keep my horses on pasture with thier buddies. I don't see stalls as every day nessasary. At least for me but there are also only 7 horses at my barn.
     
    03-10-2009, 07:19 PM
  #6
Cat
Green Broke
My boys get stir crazy in stalls. During the winter and really wet weather, they are fed hay & some grain and kept up in a dry lot to keep our pastures from being destroyed. But as soon as the grass gets some good growth and the footing is dry enough they won't destroy the pastures - their diet is pasture. Now I do have to limit my haflingers' time on the grass so they don't get too fat, but they are still happier in the dry lot than in stalls.
     
    03-10-2009, 08:10 PM
  #7
Yearling
Yep, turnout and pasture grazing is overall much healther for a horse than being stalled. If there isn't enough grass in the pasture, haying along with turnout is the next best thing.
     
    03-10-2009, 08:14 PM
  #8
Showing
Yep, stall free here too. Stalls are the root problem behind lots of those oh so lovely vices such as weaving, cribbing, and wood chewing. All of mine are on pasture and in the fall, winter, and spring they get free choice of mixed alfalfa and horse quality grass hay. In the summer (if we have enough rain to actually have grass), they get nothing but a mineral block and pasture grazing. The only ones who get fed well year around are my 28 year old mare and my 26 year old gelding. They stay on alfalfa and get fed cubes every few days to keep the weight on them. All the rest of mine stay fat as pigs year round. ;p
     
    03-10-2009, 11:56 PM
  #9
Weanling
During pasture season I have 25 to 30 horses on grass 24/7 beewn doing it for over 40 years now with no problems at all. Horses are forage animals and every bit of reserch I've read says 24/7 forage and being outside is the best for their health. Even my show horses live outside.
     
    03-11-2009, 12:23 AM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Tigerstripes    
It is actually MUCH healthier both mentally & physically for horses to be out on pasture and/or just fed hay. Horses evolved as trickle feeders that are supposed to eat small amounts of relatively nutrient poor food all day long. Pasture is even better for their teeth as the grass/hay requires more chewing so grinds the teeth down appropriately as well as aligning the teeth correctly when their heads are down. All in all we cause horses a lot of the problems with horses, both behavioral & health when we keep them in stalls all day & feed them concentrates. I could literally go on all day with all of the reasons and research behind why it is healthier for horses to be on a forage based (pasture/hay) diet, but I won't because a lot of people tend to find it annoying! LOL, sorry.

I don't deny that SOME horses need extra rations beyond pasture or hay esp if the forage is of poor quality... but in reality that is very far and few between. Even your horses that receive moderate exercise 2-3x a week are fine on a quality pasture/hay. That's the category most of our horses fall into . Of course it needs to be decent pasture...not something that's primarily dirt and weeds. When I was younger I used to be on the stall/concentrate side, but now all I've learned in school has completely changed my mind.

Sorry I'll get off my soapbox now...
^awesome post!

I definitely think pastures are the way to go. I can't imagine being stuck in a stall all day.
     

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