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This is a discussion on pasture? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Horse colic irrigated coastal grass

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    08-19-2013, 06:53 PM

So I'm moving my mare. Here's the situation: last year the pasture was irrigated and used for cattle. This year its just sitting. Hasn't been irrigated in quite a while but irrigation is easy to set back up. Its a grass/hay mixture. 99% dried out and knee high. Nothing has been on it a while so its quite overgrown. Not very many weeds though surprisingly.

My questions: what should I do to get the pasture usable again? What are my founder and colic risks? My mare has been on pasture before but is currently on a dry lot with free fed hay. She's an easy keeper either way. I know drought grass has higher sugar and she's always been on irrigated pasture so this is my biggest concern.

Also do I really need to mow down all of the dead stuff or will she pick through it and trample it down? She has plenty of clear areas to stand even if I didn't mow it.
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    08-19-2013, 07:17 PM
Green Broke
If you are concerned about colic or founder, you could always be cautious and let her out for increasing amounts of time. Generally 5 to 7 days for one amount before increasing to the next.

You could also get your county extension agent out to get his recommendations specific to your area. It's free, unless you want soil and/or forage testing. Then the cost is really, really nominal.

You may be surprised to learn than many of the grasses that grow in your area cure well on the stem. What you have may be quite nutritious without being too rich. That's one of the pluses in living in, and managing pasture, in areas like yours and mine.
    08-19-2013, 07:18 PM
Super Moderator
I don't know anything about drought grass but tramped grass isn't a great idea as it tends to just die back and rot or shrink away so I would get it mowed and then it has a chance to grow up again when you irrigate
Is it worth making hay off it?
If your horse hasn't been on grass for a while then I'd start of gradually and divide it if I could, maybe strip graze
If you can take her off and put her in a stable for a big chunk of the day or night and feed hay that's she's used too it will help her to adjust to the change in diet and increase her grazing time a bit at a time

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