When can I return my horse to grass?
This depends on - what sort of issues your horse had that prompted taking him off the grass - what sort of grass you have available
For serious issues like laminitis, head-shaking/flicking our advice would be NOT to let him back out on ANY green vegetative grass. ‘Keeping an eye on them’ is a very risky strategy. These horses need you to be meticulous about their forage.
For many others, the idea is to let the grass mature and then allow some access. Make a daily decision according to how the horse is doing.
If all you have is dairy-type pasture or short, green unsuitable grass
don’t even consider it.
If you put your horse back out on the same grass that caused the issues he will more than likely relapse.
Bear in mind that a horse that has only just become ‘symptom free’ is still very ‘close to the brink’ of a relapse. It may only take a brief exposure to set him off again.
Every horse is different in this regard and therefore the safest, ‘sleep well at night’ option is to keep them off all UNSUITABLE grass – let it grow to a more mature stage of growth and then make a daily decision about the amount of access they have.
In our extensive practical experience, the longer you keep them off the offending pasture, the further ‘from the brink’ they get and the more resilient.
When you do allow access:
- Make sure they go out with a bellyful of hay - Make it an incremental process to allow the gut flora to adapt – start with 10 minutes and extend the time from there - Introduce GrazeEzy into their daily feed and increase as you increase the time out - Be observant for any changes - Grazing muzzles can be used for short periods. Leaving them on for hours on end is tantamount to starving the horse, while wearing one he is virtually going without feed, ie he is getting very little fibre/chew time and you don’t want any digestive issues.
Is it better to let them out all day or all night? There is no simple answer to this, they can eat a LOT of grass over a day or a night.
From a nutrient content of the grass point of view– technically early morning is best but this only applies to grass in growth mode – we recommend more mature grass so time of day doesn’t make much difference.
• If you own the property, make sure there is a long rotation between grazing – if you want to have grass to let your horse out on in spring, think ahead and save a field since Autumn (or whatever time it takes in your region for it to mature) • As a general rule of thumb the greener the grass, the less time they can be out there