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LexiLu 04-28-2010 01:19 AM

Dry lot to 24/7 Grass?
Just curious on your guys' opinions. I've fed my stud colt, now 2 years old, pretty much the same thing since he was born. He's kept in a dirt pasture with four cows. He gets 1 - four quart scoop of sweet feed once a day (Usually between noon and 4 o'clock) then is turned out in the yard to graze for an hour or two, then is put back into the pasture with the cows and they all share a square bale of hay. I've had no problems keeping weight on him and he has good muscle mass for a two year old. They also get a round bale of hay a month through the winter. Anyway I just bought a 6 six year old mare that's bred and has been on grass pasture, she will have her own stall and seperate turn out where she can graze as she pleases and I was thinking of doing the same for my boy but I'm worried about the change from him going to eating what he gets about 4/5 hours a day to being able to eat nice green grass all day long. I realize horses were pretty much made to graze all day but I feel like it's a pretty drastic change - any opinions on this? By the way he's a 2 year old 13.2 Haflinger/Paso/Paint

mbender 04-28-2010 11:12 AM

Do it progressivley. When you turn him out for an hour or two to graze, do you do this consistentley? How much grass does he get within that time? Like, is the grass long or short? Just my opinion, if you want to turn out your other horse to eat 24/7 do it gradually. 15min a day for 3-4days then 20 then 30 and just add from there, for maybe 2 wks. Then he will probably be ok. Just watch that he doesnt get sick.

LexiLu 04-28-2010 11:32 AM

Well the mare that we just got has been out in a big grassy field so she's used to it, i'm not worried about her. The colt it really just depends. In the winter, he doesn't get any grass and during the summer, when we're over there more, he may get tied out for 5-6 hours. The grass is really long now, but I'll just watch him close. Any more opinions?

Strange 04-30-2010 06:16 PM

Definitely just do it gradually. My gelding went from being stalled most of the day to being on pasture 24/7 in about 3 weeks. We just gradually increased the time he was allowed out to graze. Started for about 30 minutes a day, then increased to about 1.5 hours, then 3 hours, etc. As long as they're introduced to it gradually there shouldn't be a problem. If it's very rich pasture I'd keep an eye on him for founder, but if you're not letting him out there right away for 8-9 hours at a time I don't think it'll be a problem.

Cat 05-01-2010 12:26 AM

Do it gradually - but also watch your boys weight like a hawk. Haflingers are known as easy keepers and if he has access to 24/7 grass and not enough exercise he could easily gain way too much weight on you very quickly. My first haflinger, Toby, did on me during his 3 year old year. He was used to 24/7 turn out but he had been on a huge 180 acre farm with tons of room to run. 24/7 on our 5 acres just didn't give him as much running space and he packed on the pounds. Now I dry lot him part of the day and pasture the other part.

LexiLu 05-01-2010 12:39 AM

That was my main concern was him gaining too much weight. His dam (the haflinger side of him ) got fat on air and right now I think he's at a nice weight and muscle. At the moment I'm thinking of maybe turning him out to pasture maybe two days a week and leaving him on the dry lot the rest of the time. Right now I only work him 2-3 times a week and since he's in with cattle, he gets his excercise chasing them around. I already notice since it's gotten nicer and leaving him to graze just maybe 3 hours while I'm working around the farm, he's getting a little heavier in the belly area. Maybe he's just fine the way he is and I shouldn't even bother? BTW we brought the mare home and it seems she's just the oppisite and only likes to graze. Feed will sit in her bucket all day long and I think I've had the same amount of hay in the rack for the three days we've had her and she barely touches it.

draftrider 05-01-2010 01:29 AM

It will be a lot better for him to be out on grass when he gets gelded. The dirt lot is going to be full of bacteria that might infect the wound. That said, just go slow. If you find he is gaining too much weight a grazing muzzle is a good choice. I've used them before on horses and ponies that tend to founder and they do good with them.

Cat 05-01-2010 10:39 AM

Hehe - just hope this boy doesn't have the track record mine does with grazing muzzles. I put one on him and he immediately put his head down, stepped on it and yanked up - completely destroying the mouth piece in about 15 seconds of putting it on.

LexiLu 05-01-2010 01:08 PM

I've never had any experiences with grazing muzzles but so many fly masks have been destroyed in the past.

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