Good horse grass! • Pet & Cap magazine

The grass has a bad reputation with some horse owners. this is not true. It is still the most natural roughage, which contains useful proteins. This is especially important for older horses. But it really depends on what kind of grass your horse gets.

Horse owners have been jealous of protein for a long time. It was thought to cause bumps, swelling in the legs, and other health problems, right up to serious laminitis. It is now clear that this is mainly due to dietary sugars such as fructans.

Grass has proven to be an excellent source of nutrition, especially for older horses who need a lot of protein. But one herb is not the other. Most pastures in the Netherlands contain types of cows that must produce milk. This is not suitable for horses. It is full of fructan.

horse grass

De Paardenkamp’s pastures are grown with special horse grass seeds. This contains different species such as timothy, meadow grass and red grass. It also contains a low-fruited type of perennial rye. Herbs are not included. Although horses love them and they often contain a lot of minerals, they also have drawbacks. They germinate so slowly that grass usually crowds them out.

It is important that horse pastures contain strong grasses, so that no bare spots appear when running. Or damage the weeds because of the way it is grazing. Horses bite the grass just above the ground. Not all species can tolerate this, so that bare spots quickly appear in lawns, where unwanted plants, such as poisonous hogweed, grow.

Horse grass stands firmly in the ground. Look for the purple-red on the bottom of the stem, that’s fine. The bottom should be covered regularly.


fertilization

Good horse pastures cannot do without maintenance. Fertilization is also not popular with horses. unjustified. Due to a lack of nutrition, the grass plant becomes “stressed” and begins to produce a lot of sugar at the tops. Continuous fertilization with organic fertilizers or manures keeps the lawn plants healthy, and the grass (and the hay made from it) is healthier for the horses.

Even if you have a meadow with special grass for horses, if horses are allowed on a new meadow in the spring, always use caution. The bacteria in the digestive system adapt to the food that comes in. If that changed suddenly, because they switched from hay and silage in the stable to grass, part of the bacteria would die. The balance is disturbed internally. This can cause diarrhea and cramps.

The bacterial balance takes some time to adapt to a new food. An additional concern is that horses love grass and prefer eating a lot of it. They can get fat quickly.

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t make sense to try to prevent problems by mowing a meadow before letting the horses ride in the spring. After mowing, the lawn plant begins to produce additional fructans to grow again.

Fresh grass is eaten more greedyly. For older horses that can no longer chew well, this soft grass is beneficial. They are more difficult to remove than taller, more solid grass.

gradual

In all cases, it is wise to gradually introduce horses to new pastures or pastures. That is why you first post it for an hour and then increase it by half an hour a day. Has your horse become too fat or is it prone to developing laminitis?

Then be careful. After a few hours, bring it indoors or graze, moving the wire a little bit each day. Only allow horses with diabetes problems to graze in the morning.

Especially in spring and autumn, when the nights are cooler, the metabolism of the plant begins only when it becomes warmer. More fructans are produced during the day.

If possible, it is wise to remove the compost from the lawn a few times a week. This prevents worm infestation.

Tips

  • Cow grass is not suitable for horses.
  • A good fertilization plan is important.
  • Get them used to grazing gradually.
  • Sponsor your comics.
  • Remove the manure several times a week.

Text: Tessa Van Dalen
Photo: Nikki de Curve

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