The Horse Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have three horses, a 15 year old gelding, a 13 year old mare, and 10 year old mare and a pony (3 year old mare) out on a 25 acre pasture and not getting worked at the moment. No one is getting any grain either, other then a couple of handfuls when I bring them in for some reason or another

They are ALL easy keepers and very fat, though the pony is not quite as fat as the horses. I need to get them up off the pasture full time, before they founder.
However I dont have the available dry lots, though I do have stalls.

Finally my questions are...How do you handle your easy keepers on pasture?
Do you have dry lots or stalls? What kind of schedule do you have them on during the summer? Do you give them hay or grain when they are up in the stall or dry lot?

Thank you in advance for you help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,176 Posts
Make a few small pastures - an acre or so each. With three horses, an acre will be a dry lot soon. :) Rotate the small pastures; and rotate when they go out on the 20+ acres.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,868 Posts
First, I want to rant:

My horses and my family's horses ran on 50-100 acres, when I was young.

They were all easy keepers. Once in awhile a horse got Cushings when it hit mid-20's. There was no such thing as "having to get a horse off pasture before it founders.":-|

forward to today:

I have four horses on 21 acres. Two have diagnosed metabolic issues, I suspect a third one; all twh's.

Yeah for the folks that can just spend more money on cross fencing, shelters from the hot sun, water lines, and plow the place up to make dust bowls and everything blows into the house because that's just the way the wind blows. We already have 15k in cross fence, more is not happening.

I muzzled the most serious ir horse and cut pasture time, on this gorgeous land, down to nine hours maximum daily.

If the op can't build drylots, then muzzle the fat guys, shorten pasture time, take everyone off grain if they're on bagged feed.

Feed them a condensed vit min supplement with hay pellets.

It really tisses me off to look at this pasture every day and know things are nothing like they were even 20 years ago. What a waste:-(
 
  • Like
Reactions: stevenson

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,591 Posts
I just bought muzzles for my easy keepers (once of them had laminitis a few weeks ago; our first problem with that ever). We have a barn lot situated between two pastures. One pasture is not much more than dirt and weeds, as they were out on it all winter. The other is better. We're going to divide the better pasture into several smaller lots and rotate. We also plan to keep the pasture mowed fairly short (like a lawn).

They were all dry lotted during the time the one horse was recovering. So we're putting them out for progressively longer times with their muzzles (we started with 20 minutes).

My farrier was just here and said she's seen more cases of laminitis and founder this spring than in any year in the past two decades...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,863 Posts
shorter grasses are higher in sugars. It is better off to let the grass get higher it takes more energy to grow. having hot days and cool nights will produce more sugar in the grasses.
I dont have to worry about that in my region, when we get hot we stay hot , it was 82 at 4 am
today. probably be 110 by 5 pm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,766 Posts
We also plan to keep the pasture mowed fairly short (like a lawn).
I'm pretty sure that doing this will actually cause the grass to be more sugar-rich than if it is allowed to grow taller. I would not advise mowing the pasture down short to try to make it "safer" unless you have the research to back it up.

Check out Katy Watts | Safergrass.org to learn more about proper pasture management for horses with metabolic issues and what to watch out for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,591 Posts
shorter grasses are higher in sugars.
Not necessarily... depends on many factors as you mentioned.

If the grass starts to head out, the sugar level is usually higher (as all the sugar goes into the seed head). We keep it short (4-6") so it can't go to seed (much longer than that and we get seed heads which are not good).

From Safergrass.org:

Generally speaking, new short grass is low in sugar, and the concentration increases with higher leaf area, concentrates in the elongating head, peaks at flowering, then declines with maturity, other factors being equal, which they generally aren’t. This concept has gotten us in trouble, so I feel the need to elaborate on this point. The reason this gets a little tricky is because we have to be careful to note if we are talking about average NSC concentration in the whole plant, or parts of the plant.

First we have to understand the concept of ‘source’ and
‘sink’. We generally think of leaves as being the ‘source’ of the NSC, because that’s where they are made. The growth point and developing head are considered the ‘sink’ because that’s where the NSC is most needed. The growth point can contain up to 40% of the dry weight as sugar and starch. But when a plant is re-growing from stubble, the new leaves may actually be a sink, utilizing carbs that were stored in the plant base until such time that the leaf area is large enough to start making more carbs than it is using for its growth. This is why if we look at data for ‘total’ plant carbs, this period of initial growth will be lower overall.

Then when the grass gets 6
-8 inches tall, depending on the kind of grass, it’s gets strong enough to start making the amount of carb necessary to form seed heads. The elongating shoot will become the sink, drawing sugars from the leaves. At this stage, the stem will have more sugars than the leaves. The generation of the emerging reproductive organs, the flower and later seeds, is the highest priority sink. This portion of the plant has the highest sugars, and is why it is so common to see horses grazing selectively on newly emerged heads. These new heads can test 4X higher than grass leaves in tiller stage, and are horse candy. I believe this is the reason why we continue to see grass founder even after the nighttime temperatures warm. As seeds mature, the sugars are converted to starch, which is less soluble than sugar and fructan, therefore is a more stable, long-term form of storage carb. Hay cut in this mature stage of growth will be the lowest in sugar content overall. From this stage on, in a grass that has not been grazed or cut, the overall % of sugar declines, unless stressful environmental conditions occur, which could increase NSC in any
green tissue.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,639 Posts
I have three easy keepers, I put them on a paddock paradise track through the summer and the part of the pasture that they don't get to becomes winter grazing for them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,863 Posts
I have seen that site. I have spoken with people in the Ag depts etc. Go read what that site says about toxic grasses and hay. According to that site, all of my 10 horses should be dead and never reached the age of 32.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,863 Posts
I tried to add/edit but it did not work. Short stressed grass and short fast growing grasses are higher in sugar contents. I do not put my horses on grass that has gone to seed.
I like my pastures for my area to be 6 - 8 inches tall if not a tad taller.
I do not have fescue or timothy or orchard grass, which are higher in sugars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
I just have my 4 horses (easy keepers) out on 20 acres all the year round. they have never had a problem. they lose some weight in the wintertime and then gain it back in this spring and summer...it does not get mowed or anything...they do the mowing :) but the pasture is mixed mostly just regular grass but some woods and bushes and a stream and some rocks. I keep minerals out for them and put hay out in the winter, for treats sometimes i give carrots...no problems at all...so something is going on in your situation that isnt in mine...

if i were in your situation i would be looking at why they got fat to start with esp this early in the year...something is going on there...maybe your pasture is lusher than ours but the pasture my boys are on is really rich green {we are in NY state}.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top