Most owners are aware that their horse’s digestive system is delicate. Big changes can be dangerous! Spring grass is one of those dangers. The sudden growth of lush pasture is delighting to your horse, but should be of concern to you. Too much of that green grass can put your horse at risk for some serious health complications.
Concerns About Spring Grass
You must first understand what “fructans” in grass are. They’re a type of sugar that is created from photosynthesis. These sugars fuel the growth of grass. Fructans are highest in stressed pastures, in cool evenings, taller and mature grass, and sunny afternoons.
Horses love to eat grasses high in fructans. Unfortunately, these non-structural carbohydrates are hard on their digestive system. They need to be broken down in the horse’s hindgut, which can disrupt the balance of bacteria.
Horses are at risk for:
- Becoming overweight/obese
- Acting hot and spooky
To avoid these conditions, you’ll need to carefully monitor your horse when they’re on grass. This may include limiting the time spent on pasture, using a grazing muzzle, and turning out specific times of the day.