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Turn out on winter pasture question

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  • Turn out on winter pasture question

    I had a good piece of my pasture fenced off since last summer. I've taken down the temporary fence today. My senior guy was recently diagnosed with ulcers. I am thinking it would be good for him to graze more. My mare is an easy keeper. Should I be concerned about leaving them out on this area 24/7, like on spring grass?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    If they're not accustomed to eating on this grass...you should do what is recommended for ALL feed changes, and introduce them S-L-O-W-L-Y...


    • Original Poster

      I started getting a little worried as soon as I pulled it down!


      • #4
        How much extra area is it? Are we talking 10 acres of lush pasture or like 2 acres of winter grass not eaten all the way down?
        "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

        Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


        • Original Poster

          About 3/4 - 1 acre winter grass. I rested this part of the pasture starting in May (?) of last year. I mowed it at least four times last summer. There are a lot of plantains and clover, and mixed grass. They were out for 45 mins today and I put the fence back up.


          • #6
            Since they have, I'm guessing, been out of grass where they are for awhile. I would start them back slowly, as you have been. Besides I think they could quickly strip that if left for longer periods of time.
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


            • Original Poster

              Merrygoround, with all the rain we've been having lately, it could get pretty trampled in short order. They were so happy yesterday to play on the grass--Miss Mare did a little buck-toot


              • #8
                Please be careful ~

                Just saying although winter ``` I still have to watch mine after rain or snow !

                Too many delicious sprouts !
                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                • #9
                  Reintroduce slowly. If your winter grass is not completely dormant it could be very high in sugar.
                  come what may

                  Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                  • Original Poster

                    Ok, another question, the area they are in now has grass but it's been eaten to the ground. Is it worse to leave them where they are now? I'm worried about Ulcer Gelding getting too much sugar as I think this would be considered as stressed grass? It's been 50 degree today where I am in the Midwest .

                    I never realized how much of a challenge it would be keeping horses at home!


                    • #11
                      I would say the grass is stressed in both situations and if it's eaten to the ground it will be hard to get enough to upset much, so that's definitely the safer choice. I would treat the other area as spring grass. Introduce very slowly and realize ts going to be 'spring-like' sugar content until summer, so don't go crazy with it.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thank you! I have been reading about winter grass and that it can come out of dormancy if the weather turns warmer, and the sugar content rises throughout the day. My friend and I are going to board this summer so that can give me time to find help with my pasture. (County Extension office is wonderful for those who grow flowers and veggies but not so much when it comes to pasture management.)


                        • #13
                          County extension is useless, complete embarrassment, but I know there are good ones.


                          • #14
                            I'm not sure where you guys are located but contacting a land grant university in your area is a good place to start if your county's extension office isn't of any help with pasture management, etc. So schools like Purdue, Kentucky State University, Iowa State University, U of MN, U of KY...here's the complete list.
                            Originally posted by RugBug
                            Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by katiehorse View Post
                              I'm worried about Ulcer Gelding getting too much sugar as I think this would be considered as stressed grass?
                              Seeing as in their natural habitat in the wild, horses are supposed to be grazing 18 hours, it shouldn't do much harm. I'd say that he'd be fine on the grass he's on now, and like the mare, you should slowly introduce it.

                              I've always heard eating is ALWAYS good for ulcer prone horses. It keeps their stomach full. (When the stomach isn't full, this is when the acidity level rises and starts to reach around the walls of the stomach, thus causing the ulcers to become more and more prominent.) having something in his belly can never hurt.
                              Save The Date 08-15-2011


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by savethedate View Post
                                Seeing as in their natural habitat in the wild, horses are supposed to be grazing 18 hours, it shouldn't do much harm. I'd say that he'd be fine on the grass he's on now, and like the mare, you should slowly introduce it.

                                I've always heard eating is ALWAYS good for ulcer prone horses. It keeps their stomach full. (When the stomach isn't full, this is when the acidity level rises and starts to reach around the walls of the stomach, thus causing the ulcers to become more and more prominent.) having something in his belly can never hurt.
                                What? What?!?! Ok, have to stop you there....we're not comparing apples to apples when we compare horses in their natural habitat to the planted, fertile, protected pastures we offer them now. Would you not trim your horse's feet, ever, because in the wild they trim their own? No, of course not, because our environment is NOTHING like the wild.

                                Maybe in this situation, this horse is fine with that much pasture....but I caution you against applying that rule too generally, because a lot of them will become obese, leading to metabolic disorders, leading to founder, etc. Not a good rule of thumb there.


                                • Original Poster

                                  I fed both horses 3 times a day before this latest incident. Now I've got some small hole nibble nets on order. DFL thank you! I will check that out!

                                  I think I'll play it safe and keep them both of the fenced off part of the pasture for now. Last thing he needs is more sugar!

                                  I posted pictures of my pasture last year--it's a lot of plantains, clover and grass. It needs weed control and fertilizer, and it needs to be over seeded. I probably need to just have it tilled up and start over.
                                  Last edited by katiehorse; Feb. 11, 2013, 04:28 PM. Reason: To add info


                                  • #18
                                    Be safe with late winter and early spring grass ~

                                    well with any time grass ``` can be deceiving ~

                                    Jingles they can enjoy the pasture in short time periods ~
                                    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                                    • #19
                                      Please be careful, as Zu Zu says. My Arabian, Willie, foundered on December grass in 2011 right before Christmas and his feet are just getting back to normal now. Better safe than sorry.
                                      stained glass groupie


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thank you Zu Zu and Event Groupie! I would have never have thought winter grass could be dangerous-- just kinda got that funny feeling when I took the fence down.