Could my horses get sick on this pasture?

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Could my horses get sick on this pasture?

This is a discussion on Could my horses get sick on this pasture? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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  • 1 Post By natisha
  • 2 Post By Joe4d

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    03-22-2012, 11:54 AM
Could my horses get sick on this pasture?

Hi All-

The barn owner of the place where I board my horses does not mow his Bermuda pasture in the summer and it typically grows knee-high. He treats the pastures in the spring with Nitrogen and leaves the horses off of it for 2-3 weeks after application.

What are your opinions and thoughts on this? Could it make my horses founder? If I can't get him to mow it, would grazing muzzles be a good option for my horses?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
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    03-22-2012, 12:05 PM
How long have you been boarding there?

If it's more than a couple of months, your horses must have been subjected to the grass before now. If it's not, then grazing muzzles will help.
    03-22-2012, 12:10 PM
The horses have been at this farm for about a month. The grass has been dead, but now that it's warming up, it's starting to grow. Soon the BO will treat it with Nitrogen and then the grass will grow rampant!

Thanks for the help!
    03-22-2012, 12:13 PM
Green Broke
I don't think mowing it or not will make a big difference. But you don't want to just toss them out all day on grass - mowed or not - because it could cause founder either way - especially spring grass with the higher sugar content. Might not be such a big problem when the grass becomes more mature in the summer. In the spring either slowly introduce them out there starting in small incraments and build them up or use a grazing muzzle if you don't have a choice.
    03-22-2012, 12:15 PM
It's the shorter, fast growing grass that has more potential to cause problems as it has the concentrated sugars. That's why horses like the short stuff. With careful measured turnout your horses should be fine.
Missy May likes this.
    03-22-2012, 12:18 PM
Talk to your VET about this pasture, rapid growth and grass founder (in the Spring.) My Vet gives me a head count on the grass founder cases that she treats every Spring when she gives yearly shots. My north pasture--3 acres worth--grows grass, clover, dandelions and other native weeds, and the weeds are safe for them to consume. When I moved there in October, 1999, the previous owners had it planted in corn, so my horses seeded it from the hay I was feeding them. I monitor it's use. When it's pouring in the spring or the snow is melting as it's coming up, I dry lot my herd of 3 to keep them chopping it up too much. This year it's up early, and they are doing a good job clipping it down. I have not had any grass founder.
Grass founder is caused by a rush of carbohydrates. The carb content is higher in the afternoon than in the morning. High, fast growing grass is super-high in carbs and can cause it if the horse grazes on it unmonitored for even 24 hours straight. When my South Pasture (about 1/2 acre) is lush, I will let them on it for about 1-2 hours before they get their evening grain bc they'll leave the pasture for the grain willingly and I can shut the gate behind them in the dry lot behind the barn.
Your Vet can give the BEST advice about this. There is ALWAYS the option to feed your horse hay. =D
    03-22-2012, 12:24 PM
Green Broke
If the horses are out there all the time and are gradually building up to it that's fine. I don't like the 3 weeks no grass at all then throw them out on fertilized spring grass. I would ration it for a while. Either short time or grazing muzzle.
Corporal and GreenBackJack like this.
    03-22-2012, 09:13 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
If the horses are out there all the time and are gradually building up to it that's fine.
I wouldn't say that with any amount of confidence - especially with what we are seeing around here this year. The early heat wave mixed with good rain is producing lush long grass at an alarming rate.
    03-23-2012, 12:04 PM

Thank you for all of your help. I appreciate it!

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