By Hillary Tryan
So the summer run is in full swing for us. Which means lots of miles, lots of runs and not being home for months. It’s hard on people, it’s hard on horses. In my opinion most of what we do to our horses is pretty un-natural. But I think we can help a little- starting by one of the most natural things a horse does- eating grass. Not grass hay. I’m talking about good old fashioned, rip it out the ground eating. Not enough to make is sick- just enough to let a horse be a horse.
Here are some benefits :
1.) heads down= blowing mucus out
2.) putting good bacteria into their guts
3.) walking around a pasture = move it to lose it= gastrointestinal health
4.) positive mental state. Busy eating= busy mind. I personally think getting back to the most natural thing a horse does calms his mind.
Anytime I can find a patch of grass or a small pasture where our horses can graze a little I love it!
Grazing solely for feed is another topic. Horses are genetically programmed to eat about 18 hours/day. It lets them choose their diet and allows them to exercise too (which is good for circulation to their feet). It’s great for hydration because good grass is usually between 50-80% water. And it’s cheaper!
But there are some things to be careful with! They need to be introduced to a pasture slowly and gradually. Fresh spring grass can cause colic and laminitis. Sometimes horses will eat the grass too fast and greedy which can cause digestive issues. Talk to your vet and establish a pasture program that fits your horse best!