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Managing your Horse on Fresh Pasture

April 24th, 2018






Managing your Horse on Fresh Pasture

After what has seemed like months waiting for spring weather the downpours have finally halted and our pastures are finally springing up. For many of us that means increasing our horses turn-out or moving them to fields which have been rested over the winter time. Though a huge relief for horse owners to see the back of winter time it can provide a challenge in working out how to manage the transition safely and not to result in a negative impact on our equine’s health.

During springtime the grass is rich, lush and packed with nutrients, alongside being extremely tasty so most equines won’t regulate themselves particularly well or limit their intake. This means horse owners need to take responsibility of self control for their benefit. Gorging on too much pasture can result in colic or laminitis so spring it is a really important time to be extra careful with your horse’s turn-out time and management!

It is important to manage the transition gradually as the horse digests food-sources by fermenting fibre in the hindgut and this relies extensively on the microbes present in its gastrointestinal tract. If the forage source provided to the horse changes, the microbes cannot necessarily adapt quickly enough, and if these microbial populations don’t have time to adjust to the change large numbers can die, while others flourish which can lead to digestive dysfunction such as colic. Therefore it is essential to make sure your horse is give adequate time to adjust to the change in forage.

Management Tips from World Wide Tack 

  • Start their turn out in a lush pasture for around an hour at a time and build up to several hours each day over a period of weeks. If your horse is a ‘good-doer’ consider using a grazing muzzle which allows the equine to enjoy the fresh air and a welcome leg stretch but without excessive consumption of rich grass.
  • If your horse is a good doer, suffering an ever expanding waistline it may be beneficial to fence a smaller area, reduce the amount of hours they are turned out or source a field on the yard with lower quality pasture – many of the major feed companies will test the grass from your yard for levels of protein, digestible energy and the like! Alternatively ask your yard owner if you can share fields with another horse, even if you alternate with another horse, turning out at different times of the day or why not borrow some local sheep from a farmer seeking pasture?
  • Finally at this time of year remember exercise is absolutely paramount.  Stick to a regular routine of exercise for your horse and pony and if you have a holiday planned always ask a friend or riding instructor to ride or lunge your four-legged friend to limit the risk of weight gain which can lead to problems such as insulin resistance and laminitis.

World Wide Tack has a huge range of stable and field equipment alongside tack and bits. Why not visit our website today to see the wide range of products available?


*England, Wales and Scottish Lowlands