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Horses moving to lush pasture help me adjust them!!

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  • Horses moving to lush pasture help me adjust them!!

    For some background, I've been riding horses for about 16 yrs and owned horses for about 10. Currently have 2 horses, one I've had for 6 yrs the other for 3 months. DH and I just got a farmette and they will be coming home next week! We are very excited and ready to go, but I am a little worried about our pasture situation. Where I board now both go out all day, 9-6. Gelding is on grass and mare in a dry lot medical paddock as we are rehabbing a hoof injury. She would be on grass if thwre was a pasture of appropriate size. She has been off grass for a solid month+. My worry is that the pastures at my house are very lush and haven't been grazed on for at least a year. I bought both horses muzzles and talked things over with my vet to establish a plan. We have 3 pastures, 2 large and 1 small with a run in. We are located in upstate ny. Vet suggested to have both go in the small pasture for the first 2 weeks or more so they can eat it down then move to bigger pastures. She also suggested to keep them out for a short amount of time to start then slowly increase. This is possible but difficult as both DH and I work. Any suggestions or experiences with this type of situation? I just want the transition to go smoothly for all!

  • #2
    I am going through the exact same thing as you. I've been riding for 20 years and am moving my horses to our new barn which is at home. We have 2 large paddocks and 1 all-weather. My horses have not been turned out in a grass paddock for over a month, so I'm also concerned about the transition as our grass paddocks are very lush.

    Like you said, it's best to do a slow transition (30 minutes grass turnout the first day, then 1 hour, then 2 hours the next week, etc.). Some people have said to increase grazing time by 10 minutes per day. If that's not possible, I would recommend a grazing muzzle. The Best Friends brand is what you'll find in most tack shops and it's decent, but the hole for grazing is very small. I recently bought a different muzzle for my pony who was getting extremely frustrated with the small hole, and had trouble figuring it out. The one I just bought is Tough 1 Easy Breathe Grazing Muzzle, and it runs very large, but the grazing hole is more generous.

    One thing I recently read was to NOT turn the horses out after the grass has been stressed, because that is when sugar levels are high. This means after a frost, or a drought, for example. Also, the worst time of day for your horse to be grazing, if you are concerned about the NSC being too high, is late afternoon around 4 PM. Some people turn their horses out at night, and the NSC levels are lower then, so it's safer for them to graze longer. I am not comfortable with this, but it's something many people do.

    Of course in the winter, no grass turnout at all if possible, because it just tears up the paddocks.

    You may want to check out the website SaferGrass. They have some good articles.

    Hope this helps!


    • #3
      I had to do this for my horses a couple years ago. While my vet said , toss them out on fresh grass (in which they had none for months) and don't worry about them (last time I used that vet) I actually ended up getting a muzzle for the two of them.

      My boys were both pasture board horses, but where they were boarded prior to the move their fields were not very rich and was supplemented by hay. I was moving them to a 40 acre lush green pasture and I couldn't stall the horses. The muzzles worked great. We did a couple hours every day without the muzzle and otherwise kept them on. We were able to transition the horses fairly quickly, I believe it took a month. But each week we added hours to the non muzzle time and we never had any issues!
      Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
      Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
      Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
      Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


      • #4
        Tall green grass does not always equal Lush Grass.

        If its tall and hasn't been grazed for a year, its likely pretty mature.

        However, in the fall, the sugars tend to be higher.

        If its a tall mature grass, they aren't going to want to eat the tall stuff anyways, and will likely pick through it, thereby limited how much they inhale.
        "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."