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Spring Turnout?

1186 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  astrolover13
Basically, I am currently boarding my horse at a boarding facility. I am planning on moving him home in several days, (no other horses here but several other farm animals to keep him company.)When he comes, I hope to have him outside 24/7. Where he is now, they bring him into a stall at night. How can I adjust him to the new turnout situation without him bloating? It is spring and if he is outside all the time, I am scared he will bloat on all the grass. I do not have a stall for him, just a run-in so I cannot bring him inside to limit his grazing time and gradually increase it. Could I mow the grass? I've heard of grazing muzzles, are those good? Someone said their horse got it caught on something and beat up his face pretty bad. Should I do anything with his feed? Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you!:happydance:
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Laminitis/founder is a huge risk this time of year. Mowing the grass makes it higher in sugars so you don't want to do that. I dry lot mine for more than 50% of the day at this time of the year. Some people use grazing muzzles.
 

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You are in the same latitude as me. REALLY be careful with your Spring grazing, but you can still graze your horse for about an hour a day and not have any problem. EVERY YEAR, my Vet comes out in May for yearly shots, etc., and she tells me about how many grass founder cases she has treated...so far. My horses have not ever foundered since I moved horses to the back yard, October, 1999.
Dry lots are really useful. In drought years you can save your pasture from being eaten down to nothing by keeping your horse on hay in a dry lot.
I use stalls for my 3 horses to dry their feet out, like last night, where we got nearly 2 more inches of rain, and my old farm property (5 acres worth) hadn't finished draining.
I would wait to put your horse on pasture 24/7 until about June, and then, if we get a spell of really wet summer weather, like we did in either July, 1989 or 1990, pull your horse off of the pasture to the dry lot and the stall at night.
Preventing Grass Founder - HorseChannel.com
 

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Mowing, especially below 4-5 inches increases the amount of sugars and NSC content. The reason (in case you are interested in grass) is that the plant is triggered to put more immediate production into the leaves rather than the roots. The roots are usually full of sugars and exudates to feed mycorhizal fungus underground. So the production is diverted from roots to leaves to ensure that the plant has enough leaf surface (basically a solar panel) to continue to live. So mowing stresses the grass and makes it sugary, which is no good for hind-gut digesting animals like horses.

I would really urge you to make a sacrifice pen, for the health of your horse AND the grass. This can be done with t-posts and hot wire for fairly cheap.

As for the transitioning to 24/7, assuming you have enough productive pasture to sustain it, put him out an extra 1/2 to 1 hour each day until he is at 24/7, or use a grazing muzzle most of the day and slowly decrease the amount of time the muzzle is on.
 
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