Pasture Options - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-02-2013, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Pasture Options

Ya'll must be getting sick of me by now.

Anyway, I've just 'finalized' agistment for my new lease who will be arriving next weekend. Obviously I've been doing a heckload of reading recently, but I still want some advice on this matter.

I have the option of two pastures whenever I want them. One is a 5-10 acre lucerne block with a creek running through as well as a trough. It's currently ridiculously green and 'yummy looking', but will die off come winter, in which case I will be getting bales of lucerne hay free of charge (included in the agistment price). The other pasture is only a couple of acres right beside the lucerne one. It's rather... dead looking, but it still has plenty of feed in it.

My issue is that I've read recently that putting a horse on such rich feed as a lucerne pasture can cause colic, which is the last thing anyone would want. The horse in question is an approx. 20 year old Quarter Horse, currently in need of a diet who is fed oaten chaff and pellets. I'll be keeping up this diet, minus the chaff for a while, in order to get some of the chubbiness gone.

What I'm thinking so far is to put him in pasture #2 for the first week or so, which would have the added benefit of making sure he isn't going to be too hard to catch. I'd give him some tethered/hand grazing time in the other pasture to start getting him used to the richness. Any time that I noticed any ill effects, I could put him straight back into the other pasture.

Oh, and in case it has any effect, he and I will be trail riding, aka exploring the few hundred acres that his agistment is on and later venturing out onto roads. I'd say he'll be getting at least 5 hours work a week.

Opinions/advice?
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-02-2013, 09:33 PM
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We-eell I think that Lucerne is Alfalfa? I wouldn't ever put a horse in a pure alfalfa field, especially not a chubby one. Quite apart from colic I'd expect a big fat bout of laminitis within days if not hours.

Am I missing something? Is Lucerne in Australia not like Alfalfa in Canada?

Get up, get going, seize the day. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, cloudy days, snowstorms, and thunder. Getting on your horse is always worth the effort.
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-02-2013, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, yeah. I didn't even consider that it's not called lucerne in all countries. Yes, lucerne = Alfalfa.
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-02-2013, 09:50 PM
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In that case, yes I'll stick with my first thought. If it's pure Lucerne in there then no I wouldn't let any horse on it to graze at all.

If it is pure Lucerne then when baled it could be used as a weight-adding supplement for a very poor-doer horse.

If it's a grass-Lucerne mix, then when baled it could be used as forage feed but not to laminitic horses and only in moderation.

Get up, get going, seize the day. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, cloudy days, snowstorms, and thunder. Getting on your horse is always worth the effort.
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-05-2013, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracer View Post
One is a 5-10 acre lucerne block with a creek
The creek sounds good! I wouldn't put horses on one acre of lucerne(alfalfa), let alone 5-10! Perhaps you can put her in there & rest the other paddock over winter if the lucerne is dead & gone then.

Quote:
in which case I will be getting bales of lucerne hay free of charge (included in the agistment price).
Awesome! Where are you?? Can I keep my horses there for the same deal too?? But seriously, while some lucerne/legume hay in the diet is generally fine/good, it's very high in calcium, protein and also energy, which depending on the beast & the rest of the diet, may not be at all good to feed them much/any.

Quote:
The other pasture is only a couple of acres right beside the lucerne one. It's rather... dead looking, but it still has plenty of feed in it.
I'd definitely choose that one then. Horses have evolved in semi arid environs to eat 'poor grade'(compared to our 'improved' cattle fattening pastures) & small amounts(but near constantly). Obviously it depends on your horse's condition, the pasture... whether we're having another drought... etc, but one horse on 2 acres, I could see you having to restrict grazing on that. Will she be having company? I think that's very important too.

Quote:
My issue is that I've read recently that putting a horse on such rich feed as a lucerne pasture can cause colic, ....currently in need of a diet who is fed oaten chaff and pellets.
Colic among other probs. It's not just a matter of richness, but nutrient imbalance, not just a matter of 'weaning' her onto it or getting her used to it gradually. Oh & for another spanner in the works - people usually think of oaten chaff as about as nourishing as sawdust, but it can actually be quite high in sugar/energy... & potentially include a fair amount of oats too! So I'd personally ditch that, or soak & drain before feeding if the horse needs to lose weight. What are the pellets & why are you going to keep feeding them?
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-05-2013, 09:24 PM
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See, Loosie managed to say it so much better than me. I agree ^^ !

Get up, get going, seize the day. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, cloudy days, snowstorms, and thunder. Getting on your horse is always worth the effort.
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-05-2013, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, information overload loosie!

I've actually got a new location now, one that's actually in town rather than 15k's out (and it's next door to the hospital, just in case :P). He'll be grazing just your average grass with sheep, and horses are in a neighboring paddock. Best part, the agistment is free, and very centrally located - A few k's and I can ride dirt roads, a couple k's and I can access the showground with a sand arena, and a couple k's and I can ride to my house if necessary.

But anyway, in response to everything you just said - Yeah, the creek would have been awesome, unless he made me cross it every time I wanted to catch him xD

Haha, I'm in central west NSW :P It was going to work out to be around $6 a day, which I thought was a bit much, but it definitely would've been worth it especially with the space I had to ride in.

I was planning on ditching the chaff and replacing it with hay. The pellets are a 'Cool Blend Mix', with stuff like molasses in them. I figured they'd be good to keep him on for nutrition reasons, since he's getting on in years. Apparently they have just about everything but oats in them.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-06-2013, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracer View Post
'Cool Blend Mix', with stuff like molasses in them. I figured they'd be good to keep him on for nutrition reasons, since he's getting on in years. Apparently they have just about everything but oats in them.
Need to know exactly what it is if you want a comment on that specific feed, but if molasses is one of the first 4 ingredients &/or it's high starch or such, I'd personally be looking to change that. If it's a 'complete feed', unfortunately more often than not, they don't tend to give a good nutritional balance if you feed anything under the recommended rate, which is generally too high, esp for 'good doers'. I would instead consider a low dose, low/no starch 'ration balancer' or powdered nutritional supplement. FeedXL.com is a fantastic (Aussie too) service for working out the nitty gritty of balancing diets.
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