Grazing in the Grass ….

Is your horse eating Spring Grass?

It is common knowledge that Spring Grasses are higher in sugar than grasses during other times of the year. Increased sunlight, warmer temperatures and rapid growth cause the grass to accumulate nonstructural carbohydrates (NSCs), including sugars such as fructan.

What does that mean for your horse?

Are you aware of some of the issues with high sugar content in your pasture? 

A quick breakdown may help with managing your horse during this time:

  • Start slowly. Schedule pasture time in increments – start with 15-30 minutes per day and gradually increase the time as needed (as with any change in diet can cause digestive issues)
  • Feed your horse prior to turnout to minimize how hungry they are when put on the grass
  • Turn out early in the morning or later at night when the sugar levels are not quite as high
  • Minimize the area in which they are turned out
  • Don’t graze your horse on Tall Grass (due to higher levels of sugar in them)

A review of some of the dangers if your horse intakes too much sugar for their metabolism:

  • High levels of sugar can spike insulin levels
  • Too much Spring grass could cause your horse to develop laminitis, Cushing’s, or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)
  • Weight gain!

If your horse has been in Pasture prior to the new Spring grasses coming in, they generally will transition themselves to the new grass and most likely not have digestive issues with it.  However, if your horse is Laminitis-prone you should consult your veterinarian about how to manage the Spring Grass.

Note that some people opt for using a muzzle while grazing.  A  horse will be able to drink water and eat small bites of the grass.  There are different types of muzzles and a horse who is not used to one will need to have time to learn how to use it.  It is also recommended that the horse be checked often to make sure they are eating and drinking enough with the  muzzle.

Happy Horses and Happy Riding! 

Don’t forget to wear your myMareCo Under Helmet Headband for a secure, confident Ride.

For more in depth information: