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Each year horse owners wait excitably as lush grass grows in. Your horse’s diet will switch from hay to grass, which can cut down on expenses and labor. No more stuffing hay nets or moving round bales. Before you turn out your horse onto lush pasture, you’ll want to do some research and planning. Here’s some things you should know!
- Grass contains fructan, a type of sugar. A high intake of this can lead to laminitis, colic, and weight gain.
- Fructan levels are highest on sunny afternoons. You should turn out your horse in the morning or late at night to avoid risks.
- Factors that intensify fructan levels include stressed pastures, chilly nighttime temperatures, and mature grass above 8 inches. Levels are lower in new spring pasture below 6 inches, in the morning, and during rainy weather.
- Your horse may become wise to limited turnout hours, so be careful. Some will consume almost 1% of their bodyweight is just a 3 hour period of time.
- Grazing muzzles have proven to reduce the amount of grass your horse consumes. Some horses will still gain weight even with muzzles. You’ll want to monitor them carefully.
It’s clear that spring pasture has its pros and cons! Make sure to get ready for this new season.