Horse won't eat Kentucky 32 Fescue - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-16-2018, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western KY
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Question Horse won't eat Kentucky 32 Fescue

My hubby reseeded the horse lot with KY 32 Fescue (supposed to be endophyte free). We kept the horses off it for a good month. Now when she's on the grass she won't graze. She spends most of her time in the shade stomping or at the gate begging for hay. Even her companion sheep doesn't seem to be grazing much. The grass is beautiful--lush & green and up over her fetlock. He hasn't mowed it yet either. When she is led out of the lot she almost immediately drops her head to the short weedy grass that is constantly mowed. My hubby is concerned about her not grazing, so he continues to supplement her with hay--even in the pasture. Prior to reseeding the pasture was chewed down to nuns and just flat out dirt in some areas (hence the reseeding). She's not losing condition that I can tell, but we want to keep her as healthy as possible & pasture is the best thing for her, right? I've never had a horse refuse to eat a whole field of gorgeous grass--small clumps of gorgeous grass around poop piles, yes, but not a whole field. The field is not inundated with manure--if anything he spread the manure out like you're supposed to when he seeded it. We did divide the field in 1/2 as we refenced it thinking we'd need to alternate halves as she cropped it down. But she's not even making a dent in it. She's been on it for 2 weeks now.

Any ideas what could make her reject this grass? Any ideas on how to get her grazing? Or is it like water & you can lead a horse to it, but you can't make them partake?

Advice is like a stall, sometimes you have to sift through it before you find something worth keeping. Manure happens, just shovel it!
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-16-2018, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
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1. Take a grass sample to your local co-op for analysis.

2. Call your county AG person and discuss the situation with him/her.


I can tell you that, when we first moved to TN, my horses wouldn't touch fescue in the pasture or in their hay. I still don't see them eating it in the pasture, but there's 24 acres for two horses, so they can afford to be picky.

Also, fescue is dangerous to pregnant mares --- foals can be still born or aborted--------
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A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-16-2018, 01:16 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: middle of nowhere
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One of our pastures had fescue in patches and the horses wouldn't touch it. It's now leased to someone who runs mares/foals on it part of the year, so he agreed to take on the expense of killing off the fescue and reseeding it as his lease payment the first year. I'm not sure what blend he used, but the horses love it and readily eat the hay off it now, too. I think he said it was a timothy/orchardgrass mix.
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-16-2018, 01:46 PM
Join Date: May 2018
Location: MO
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One of two things or both could be in play here. The first is fescue is not a yummy grass that horses willingly scarf down. I understand why you planted it. It's a hardy grass that will easily grow in all conditions and in all soils including clay. It is a rather nutritious grass providing a decent protein level compared to others. Why would your horse eat the not so good tasting grass out in the sun when someone will bring them hay if they wait long enough? Is your horse out to graze overnight when the bugs and sun go away?

The second point has different opinions depending on who you talk to. A horse does not eat where it poops, because it makes the grass taste bitter. When you drag your pasture and spread the manure everywhere, it makes all of the grass bitter. It also spreads any worm eggs all over the pasture where your horse can't avoid them. Spreading the manure only kills eggs in hot, dry areas. Any area that has humidity, this practice is a moot point since the humidity keeps the egg casing from drying out and dying. I live in the midwest where there is a ton of humidity.

So not so yummy grass that has manure in the soil, and hay brought to the horse does not surprise me that the horse is not grazing. I have fescue in my fields, and the horses eat everything but the fescue. However, if I bale those same fields and feed it during winter, they eat it because that's their only option. If I were you, I would make sure the horse can graze at night out of the sun, and slow down or quit delivering the hay.
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-17-2018, 07:59 PM
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I went from bermuda pastures and hay to bahaia when I moved. Same issue - they refused to eat. I bought bermuda hay and reseeded but bahaia takes a lot less input and I have found that by keeping it mowed, decreasing the size of the area grazed to something that they stayed on for days not weeks and rotating through more areas allowed me to spread after they were moved off and they stayed off long enough that the manure would be broken down. Having another species graze behind them helps as well.
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