Spring Time Pasture Tips By Emily Konkel
Springtime can be a HUGE relief for us horse owners – no more chipping water buckets, warm days, and lots of sunlight! However, keep in mind that caution must be taken with fresh springtime grass. Fresh grass can be the main cause of many different issues such as diarrhea, grass colic, founder, laminitis and more.
1. Limitations for horses
– This is for the protection of the horse. Horses should only be turned out on fresh grass for 15 minutes per day. Each day, time on pasture can be increased by 15 minutes until you reach the maximum of 4 to 5 hours of consistent grazing. After the maximum is reached, unlimited grazing can resume.
2. Limitations for the pasture
– For the protection of the grass, grazing should be delayed until the grass reaches 6 to 8 inches. This will protect the grass for being eaten until the point where it cannot grow back. If grass is grazed too early or too much it will lose vigor and root structure and will eventually die and be replaced by unwanted plants or weeds.
3. Slow introduction
– Introducing your horse to spring pastures will allow the bacteria responsible for digestion to adjust to the changes of diet. This will allow the horse to internally prepare for fresh pastures.
4. Gradual switch from hay to pasture
– Even though switching from hay to grass can be quick, easy and save you money, you must take caution with this. Take your time with this switch. This will allow their digestive track to adjust to the gradual change. These are just a few tips to help you switch over to your green pastures.
Take your time for the sake of your horse and your pasture. And of course, enjoy the spring! For more information on springtime pasture precautions, visit: http:// www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/horse/pasture/transitioning-horses-to-spring- pasture/