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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 10, 2009
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    Default How long until grass clippings are safe?

    Like the title says..BO decided it would be a good idea to mow my horses' paddock yesterday, for some reason. How he didn't know the clippings are bad news is beyond me. Anyway, we've had those wonderful Southern thunderstorms with lots of rain the last two afternoons, otherwise I'm sure it would be dry by now. How long should I wait before I put the boys back out there? They've been turned out in the arena the last two days and that's a PITA when I'm trying to ride/teach in there and there is very little shade as well.

    Thoughts?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
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    West Coast of Michigan
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    Default

    My horses are having grass clippings for dinner, since I just mowed the paddock. Nothing wrong with them.
    Click here before you buy.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
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    8,387

    Default

    I've always been told that it's fine to let them eat clippings that are left on the field but not to rake them into piles because then they start to ferment. Same deal with clippings that are collected by mowers (I caught landscapers next door to our barn dumping the clippings with the horses and had to explain why it wasn't a good idea).

    When our fields are mown the horses don't seem to eat more of the clippings.

    However, if you've had several days of rain and those clippings are now wet, that might change the equation.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
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    Saco, Maine
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    Default

    I'd say a week but more importantly, be sure there aren't any Buttercup clippings mixed into the grass. I learned this the hard way-swollen, RED, sore-covered mouth insides. Poor guy was miserable for about 3 days...
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2002
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    Default

    Isn't it also important to distinguish between the little short clippings you get from your lawn, and the hay like stuff that comes from mowing a pasture? And the amount and distribution matter, too. If you zip past your horses' paddocks on the mower and shoot a little lawn grass their way, it's probably not a crisis. If you dump the bag in their stall for dinner, not good. Our pastures get mowed 2 or 3 times a summer, when the barn guys have time after haying, and the horses are in the pastures when they mow and are never moved afterward. No ill effects.


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
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    7,338

    Default

    Agree. I mowed my paddock last night while horses ate dinner, then turned them back out. It is fine. Don't dump your lawn mower bag in their stalls instead of hay, that is what you want to avoid.


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2004
    Location
    NE Indiana
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    5,530

    Default

    Mowing a tall grass is different than lawn clippings. I personally wouldn't use lawn clippings from a mower bag, but mowing pastures isn't a big deal at all. We mow with the horses in it . And they don't eat the clippings anyway, they still seek out the shorter grass.


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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    I mow with the horses right there in the pasture.

    If it bothers you, stick muzzles on them for a day or three so they can't eat the cut grass.

    Otherwise, yes, they may love some of the easy pickings, but IME, they still prefer the biting off method of grazing.

    If you're talking about 2' tall lush grass that is now laying in clumps all over the pasture, fermenting, then the bigger problem is the grass under it that is probably suffering.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2012
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    It hasn't been mentioned yet- but one of the dangers of grass clippings is that it can cause choke because the normal biting-chewing-swallowing of the equine mouth conveyor belt is not getting used normally if the horse can pick up big disorganized wads of soft moist grass.

    Grass clippings left behind by a mower are a whole different beast than ones raked up and dumped in a pile. I wouldn't give that paddock a second thought- it's good maintenance.


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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2007
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    Midwest
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    My BO mows the pastures with the horses still in it - the horses have never had a problem with it.
    “Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.” ~Emerson



  11. #11
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    Dec. 13, 1999
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    I suspect the horse's eagerness to rapidly consume, or not, freshly mowed clippings relates highly to how long he's on pasture to begin with. Those only out there a few hours a day are already consuming more, on a per hour basis, than horses who are there all day. So, those short-time horses might really be gung-ho for the readily available no-work grass offerings and be more at risk for the choke factor.
    ______________________________
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  12. #12
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    May. 7, 2012
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    Northwest
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    Default

    Also be careful of lawn clippings from a lawn with perennial rygrass or tall fescue as a lot of varieties have endophytes in it that are harmful to horses, but make the grass disease and drought resistant. They are most common in the "turf" like lawns you see that are super manicured and green.



  13. #13
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    The endophyte associated with increased hardiness is not going to affect the vast majority of horses. The issues lie with late-term pregnant mares, and potentially with heat tolerance issues in high performance horses.

    Perenneial rye is another issue - staggers.
    ______________________________
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2004
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    Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    The endophyte associated with increased hardiness is not going to affect the vast majority of horses.
    Some new science being done about that. My theory is that this might exacerbate effects of conditions that also cause vasoconstriction, like maybe IR?

    Journal of Equine Veterinary Science
    Volume 13, Issue 6, 1993, Pages 334–340
    Vasoconstrictive effects of tall fescue alkaloids on equine vasculature
    L. Kim Abney, BA, J.W. Oliver, DVM, PhD, C.R. Reinemeyer, DVM, PhD
    The in vitro vasoconstrictive effects of equine arteriovenous tissues to alkaloids found in Acremonium coenophialum-infested fescue grass (ergotamine tartrate, ergonovine maleate, and N-acetyl loline) were compared to those of various biogenic amines, including norepinephrine, phenylephrine, BHT-920, and serotonin. In this initial study, both the loline and the ergot compounds were vasoactive, although the contractile effect was less than that of the biogenic amine compounds. The study demonstrates the potential for decreased perfusion of peripheral tissues in horses consuming A. coenophialum-infested fescue grass or hay.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2010
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    Agreed. I'm in the south and I beat back my pastures every 2 weeks. It's not "hay", but it's more than normal lawn clippings. They actually never eat it and prefer the "live" grass.



  16. #16
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    Katy I wish I was savvy enough to fully comprehend all that LOL

    It is really talking about issues that can lead up to exercise intolerance?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2001
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    The endophyte associated with increased hardiness is not going to affect the vast majority of horses. The issues lie with late-term pregnant mares, and potentially with heat tolerance issues in high performance horses.

    Katy beat me to it...I was going to comment that I am pretty certain one day we will be reading about fescue/IR links all over the place.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep. 29, 2009
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    2,576

    Default

    We put all lawn mower clippings in a big plastic wheelbarrow and make sure it is in the sun. When it is "fragrant" (think nasty like a septic tank smell) then we dump out in the pasture in designated areas.

    We catch the backyard grass so we do not carry it into the house and make more of a mess than the house already is.



  19. #19
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    Aug. 21, 2004
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    It is really talking about issues that can lead up to exercise intolerance?
    Exercise intolerance is only one symptom of deceased circulation in peripheral tissues. In cattle with fescue toxicosis, their tails and feet fall off. In early stages, instead of eating they stand around in ponds trying to cool off.

    Huge file alert:
    http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FS...143_023843.pdf

    read the article that starts on page 42.
    When I starting asking grass experts why this issue has not been studied in horses, they said 'nobody has complained'. The expert at Massy U in NZ said they had funding to study endophytes in horses, but when the horse folks said they didn't have any problems, they used the money on a red deer study.
    Katy



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2004
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    Guanajuato, GTO, Mexico
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    Default

    I'm not the first to see this possibility.

    Am J Vet Res. 1995 Jan;56(1):22-6.
    Aggregate risk study of exposure to endophyte-infected (Acremonium coenophialum) tall fescue as a risk factor for laminitis in horses.
    Rohrbach BW, Green EM, Oliver JW, Schneider JF.
    Source
    Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37901-1071.
    Abstract
    Loline and ergot alkaloids found in endophyte-infected (Acremonium coenophialum) tall fescue (EITF) cause vasoconstriction of equine vessels in vitro. An aggregate risk study was used to evaluate the association between horses exposed to EITF and development of laminitis. Veterinary teaching hospitals participating in the Veterinary Medical Data Base were grouped by whether equine accessions were likely to have been at high, moderate, or low risk for exposure to EITF. From 1980-1990, there were 185,781 accessions, of which 5,536 had diagnosis of laminitis. Proportion of equine accessions with laminitis reported by veterinary teaching hospitals for high, moderate, and low risks, were 3.41, 3.04, and 2.00 cases/100 accessions, respectively (P < 0.0001). Comparison of the proportion of accessions with laminitis in the high- and moderate-risk groups with that in the low-risk group revealed significant differences between risk groups over all months (P = 0.063) and differences from month to month within risk groups (P = 0.0001). If the difference among risk groups is attributed entirely to exposure to EITF, the population-attributable risk is 7 cases/1,000 admissions, or 15% of all admissions for laminitis at veterinary teaching hospitals in our data base. Preliminary data support an association between horses exposed to EITF and increased risk of laminitis; however, studies at the individual animal level are indicated to confirm this hypothesis.



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