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Spring horse tips

  • horse grazing

    Spring horse tips

    Turn horses back out into the pasture safely with this expert advice

Getting horses returned to pasture grazing can be both a relief and a stressor. Spring grasses can pose a risk for colic and diarrhea if introduced too quickly. 

The hindgut microbes need time to adjust to the change from hay to fresh forage and the sugars concentrated in most pasture grass species can spell trouble for horses and ponies prone to pasture-induced laminitis.

As you prepare to turn horses out, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Wait until grass is 6-8 inches high.
  • Turn horses out early in the morning when sugar levels are low.
  • Feed hay prior to turn-out to fill the stomach and slow down grass intake.
  • Follow the rules of thumb outlined in the University of Minnesota Equine Extension infographic below, starting with 15 minutes of grazing time.
  • Consider a grazing muzzle for horses or ponies with a history of laminitis or those at risk of developing it.

Sadly, some horses cannot tolerate any grass. Check with your veterinarian to determine if pasture turnout is right for your horse or pony.

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