Your horse is anxious to get on that beautiful spring grass. But, hold onto your horses (just couldn't resist)! That grass might pose a healthrisk to your horse.
If your horse is high-risk for founder, or if you're just an overprotective parent, then prevention is key when it comes to spring grass. With the following tips, you can avoid risk and enjoy spring without any vet visits (or bills).
There are certain risk factors that dictate whether or not you should limit your horse's exposure to new grass, including:
Tip: If you’re not sure if your horse is high-risk, call your vet and ask for an exam. The cost beats paying for future problems, and it will put your mind at ease, too.
A well-managed pasture is your first line of defense against founder risk. If you don't know much about pasture management, here are some tips:
Grass supplied with the proper nutrients grows better, and its sugar content is more stabilized. It might even mean you can buy less hay in the future. And that's a big deal with the high cost of hay!
When there's full sunlight and temperatures are between 20º F and 40º F (F , sugar concentration in spring grass increase. When temperatures fall below 20º F, grass sugar levels decrease.
So, get a good outdoor thermometer; when the temperature is falls within the elevated range, keep your horse off the grass.
When it comes to avoiding grass with high sugar content, prevention is your best strategy. The best line of defense is to limit your horse's consumption. Here are some tips:
Most horses like regular routines. Depending on your schedule, plan one and stick with it.
Here are a few ideas that work well:
No matter what routine fits your schedule and needs, check with your vet first. He or she can decide what's best for your horse's health and circumstances.
Rotational grazing, proper pasture management, testing and a good plan can all work toward happier and healthier spring grazing. And armed with the right knowledge and a plan, you and your horse can enjoy the pleasures of spring.
What's that saying about an ounce of prevention?
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