Ok, I just recently moved both of my horse's to full pasture board. I'm pretty happy with the place...and I'm picky when it comes to my horses!
Needless to say, we moved the horse's a couple days ago and have been letting them settle in and such. Well today, my friend was asking me if I was going to be showing my mare next summer. Oh crap.
I like to take my horse's to shows early (the further away the earlier I like to get there). If I'm heading to a show, do I just need to transition my horse to grass hay ahead of time and then ease her off of it once the show's over? I don't want to mess with her digestive system too much because she had a serious case of colic over the summer. Any suggestions?
I'm sorry I'm confused? Ease her on to grass hay from what? Pasture?
If so, not really an issue...hay is just dried grass :-). I would be more concerned of putting her on grass after being on just hay for extended periods of time (like more than a few weeks)
I don't see it as a major problem. If you are going to be away frequently for several days at a time, I would probably try feeding some of that same hay all the time, and bring it with you to shows. The only real worry would be feeding hay from the grounds you travel to, as the hay is an unknown there--pesitcides, herbicides, different grasses, etc.
If she eats a little of your hay all the time, and more so when you are on the road, she shouln't suffer too much. Just keep your sources consistent.
colic can come from a sudden switch on feed - of any kind. Colic due to change in feeds is a reaction to a change in the microbes that inhabit the gut and digest the feed. A binge on grain will cause one type of microbe to increase quickly, then when they die off, they release a toxin into the blood. With other microbes, fermentation can cause painful gas bubbles. Microbe populations can change quickly, sometimes in 24 hours.
Ditto what BareFootHooves said, feed some hay all the time, or at least a week before traveling to shows. Take enough of your hay with you to last more than the time you think you will be gone. To keep the grass digesting microbes in her system, allow her to eat small quantities of grass at the show. Hand graze a few times during the day. Even at large shows with massive parking lots, you can generally find some place to graze. Small quantities, because there may be pesticides or fertilizer on the grass.
Consider supplementing with probiotics. They aren't the end-all and be-all to avoid colic, but when changing feeds, they can really help. You would have to start these a few days before leaving, and give them until she is back on full time grass. Many probiotics came as part of a vitamin supplement. If you only want to use them for shows, find ones that are just probiotics. I've had very good results from these, but they are not available from SmartPak as some barns demand:
Think about allowing winter coat coming on--usually a no no when showing. Only way out with pasture board is blankets when it gets cold--usually not in the cost of pasture board.
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