Keeping Horses Happy and Healthy with Spring Grass
By Gillian Warner, USPC National Youth Board
With the weather warming up, spring grass is just around the corner! While we’re looking forward to soaking up the sun, and the horses will be excited to see the new grass, there are some things to keep in mind.
New grass grows quickly and has a high water content. This can upset a horse’s digestive system (USPC D Manual, Page 192). Additionally, allowing a horse to eat too much of rich spring grass can cause laminitis, a painful condition involving the horse’s hooves (USPC D Manual, Page 192).
In order to protect the horse from digestive and laminitic issues, access to rich spring grass should be monitored and limited to prevent the horse from overeating and gaining too much weight (USPC D Manual, Page 192)! Efforts to limit and monitor grass intake can be important for the health and long-term happiness of your horse. To begin with, spring grass should be introduced slowly, even beginning with grazing sessions for just 10-15 minutes a day. Access to grass can further be limited through the use of a grazing muzzle. This allows the horse to continue to enjoy field time while still keeping his health in mind.
As we leap into spring, keep a close eye on your horse’s access to new grasses. Monitoring, and sometimes limiting, grass intake can be important to keeping your horse happy and healthy!