Letting fat founder-prone minis out of the dry lot - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-02-2014, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Letting fat founder-prone minis out of the dry lot

I could swear I've asked this before, but I went through all my old threads and tried searching and I'm not coming up with anything.

I have two overweight minis that are currently kept in a dry lot, we keep them there every summer. They've never foundered but they've been on the edge of it a few times, plus they just don't need to gain any more weight.

We also have two riding horses in a regular pasture. Every winter we open all the gates and let everyone frolic together. (The minis are on the largish side and the horses are a bit small, they get along great and have a grand old time.)

We've obviously done this before but I just can't remember. When is it safe to let the minis into the grass pasture? The horses have eaten it down pretty thoroughly, they've been on hay for a month or so already themselves but there are still some small patches of short grass.

I *think* with the grass as short as it is they'd be fine but the last thing I want is for one of the little guys to founder. I've heard that after grass gets a frost it has a higher sugar content too so I'm not sure what to do. We've gotten several good frosts now, it doesn't freeze every night but it's getting close.

Anyone else do this or know when it's safe for them?

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post #2 of 9 Old 11-02-2014, 08:19 PM
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My sister has a mini and a shetland pony, they are dry lot most of the time with minimal grass in their paddock but she has been letting them out on the pasture lately for a bit of grass and more room to run around. the grass is eaten down and I hope they aren't getting too much as they really enjoy their bit of freedom. It's kind of fun to see them have a good run, the mini's little feet just fly. They are putting on a little more weight so may have to restrict them until the snow flies then they can go out without so much grass.
I guess I would suggest keeping their pasture time short so they don't get too much to eat.
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post #3 of 9 Old 11-02-2014, 08:33 PM
Green Broke
 
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Since your my neighbour, so to speak, Failbhe, and will have similar conditions, I think it's safe to let them out now. My pasture is pretty much gone now with regard to growing of the green -- there's some green in it but even that has a dry quality to it and once it's eaten down there won't be anymore. I also have been feeding hay. My neighbour has minis and she'd let them into the real pasture about a week and a half ago -- currently all is well with the little darlings.

I do notice this year that the grass has hung onto its greenness the longest I've ever seen in the fall -- I think all the rain we had this year had something to do with that.
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-02-2014, 08:37 PM
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I have always been told not to put a horse out on grass that has been 'frosted'
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-02-2014, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenson View Post
I have always been told not to put a horse out on grass that has been 'frosted'
I've heard that too - that's why I was worried about it.

And I think our conditions are pretty similar Chevaux, so I'll probably let them out soon. Might let them out for a few hours at a time first and see how it goes.

They do get a LOT more exercise - both the bigger pasture, and playing with the horses. It's quite cute how well they get along actually

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post #6 of 9 Old 11-02-2014, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenson View Post
I have always been told not to put a horse out on grass that has been 'frosted'
Where we are, it is the norm for grass to get frosted in fall and spring and frozen over winter -- our poor horses would then only get about one month on pasture.

Now what I had heard that is dangerous is frosted oat straw (sometimes called green feed here). It is dangerous only when the oat plant is standing because the frost causes this chemical thing to happen where the plant concentrates nitrates in itself thus making it toxic. If the oat straw has been swathed (and or baled) before a frost the same chemical reaction cannot happen because it is no longer in a growing state.
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-09-2014, 09:19 AM
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When grass is stressed it produces more sugar. In the fall when it starts dying back for winter it's producing lots of food in an attempt to survive the cold months. Same thing during drought or heavy grazing. The little plants food production kicks into high gear to survive.

Being in Canada I'm guessing the grass is already finished going dormant. It's pretty much done here except for a few protected spots. But I do see my horses seeking those protected spots out.

Just keep an eye out. Movement is important for their health too.
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-09-2014, 09:51 AM
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My vet advised that the greatest occurrences for founder are cool nights and fairly warm days. In my area that usually means late May. In June there is a major growth going on to that is the time to be mindful. Again in August as the nights cool and the days remain hot. After a hard frost the pasture grasses are often so short that hay often has to be set out to supplement and don't present a danger for founder. The fact that the minis are overweight can put them at risk.



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post #9 of 9 Old 11-10-2014, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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In the spring they're moved back into the dry lot before grazing becomes an issue. They've been out in the pasture now for a few days and they're doing well, clearly happy to be reunited with their bigger friends.
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