Grazing on Lawn Grass

We intend to bring our mare home where most of the pasture was our lawn. We’ve never used chemicals but I am n
Share
Favorite
Please login

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Q: We are new horse owners and are currently keeping our horse at a friend’s barn down the road. We intend to bring her home soon, where most of the pasture we have fenced off is our lawn. While we have never used chemicals I am not sure what the grass may do to her. The horse is a 4-year-old Quarter Horse, and she still has a little growing left to do. What should I do to help prevent founder and colic on the grass? Is it safe to put her on the grass? We will have hay for her but I intended on free stalling her. Would a muzzle help?

Rob Lamarche, via e-mail


A: First of all, lawn grasses were not developed for their nutritional value and tend to have mineral imbalances. I would strongly urge you to get in touch with your local extension agent to find out the best pasture seed mixes to overseed the lawn in your area. However, this renovation should be done in September/October to allow the new seeds to establish during the winter.

If you want to bring your horse home before the pasture is re-established, I would suggest giving her limited access with a grazing muzzle for a couple hours a day (preferably in the morning). Provide free access to a good-quality grass/legume mix hay (legumes such as alfalfa or clover will provide the extra calcium that lawn grasses usually lack) in a drylot area the rest of the day with free access to water and a salt block. This should keep her healthy and happy for the summer. Next spring, after the grasses are growing well, limit her grazing initially, then gradually increase the access, and eventually she should be fine on free access. You should not need to feed supplements or concentrates unless she is put into hard work

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Sarah L. Ralston, VMD, PhD, Dipl. ACVN, is a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, specializing in equine nutrition. Her research has focused on the effects of diet on metabolism, behavior, and the development of orthopedic disease in young horses, and she has additional interests in nutritional modulation of stress, metabonomics (the study of metabolic responses to drugs, environmental changes, and diseases), and pasture management. Previous research highlights were the pioneering work she did in nutrition for geriatric horses and post-surgical colics while at Colorado State University in the 1980s and the discovery of the correlation of hyperinsulinemia with development of osteochondrosis in young Standardbreds.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

How do you prevent gastric ulcers in horses? Please check all that apply.
159 votes · 373 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!