When Horses Become Grass Affected
The majority of ‘grass-affected’ horses show signs of increased sensitivity/excitability eg: footy, spooky, hyper-sensitive, over-reactive, head-flicking and more; all strongly correlating with a higher urine pH.
See accompanying illustration, *note these are our CHH observations in our CHH experience only.
Horses who show a more acidic urine pH usually tend towards being ‘dull & lethargic’.
It is helpful to understand this so you can feed the most appropriate supplements.
Many horse owners are struggling in NZ this spring because incessant rain and warmth are causing rampant grass growth! It is technically supposed to be summer but we still have very spring-like conditions and due to the lack of available hay, locking horses up isn’t always possible***.
In these cases CHH GrazeEzy is one of the best tools available and here is why:
GrazeEzy contains specific minerals targeted to mitigate the adverse effect of high potassium intake from pasture/forage. (Potassium is regularly dismissed as not being a problem for horses because it is easily excreted by the kidneys, but when intake is perpetually high it sets off a cascade of metabolic problems for the horse which include increased pH**).
Another gross assumption made is that horses only suffer from acidosis – this term is most frequently applied to the state of the hind-gut when manure softens without any verification. But many years of pH testing both urine and ‘sloppy’ manure reveals the vast majority of PASTURE fed horses struggle with the opposite condition.
‘Normal’ urine pH is between 7-8 and manure pH should be a fraction under 7 but effectively neutral. In our experience in NZ and the UK the vast majority of horses, especially those with laminitis or head-flicking have a high urine pH. Only a comparatively small proportion of horses show acidic (<7) urine or manure readings.
GrazeEzy is designed to help achieve the ideal pH, between 7-7.5 – as pH comes down you will notice your horse ‘come down’ and be less reactive.
Obviously if you do have hay available and are able to reduce grass/potassium intake then it is ‘less of a hill to climb’ with supplements. It is when when you can’t lower potassium intake by restricting or eliminating grass/clover that more GrazeEzy is required – up to 2 scoops am & pm for larger horses. Introduce slowly and increase gradually so your horse gets used to the taste.
Make sure it is well dissolved in the feed and also decant the whole packet into a suitable container with a lid that enables you to keep it air-tight – keep the lid on at all times or it attracts moisture from the air and won’t be as easy to handle.
Any signs of tight muscles, sacro-iliac troubles, trouble with canter, disuniting, hollow posture are indications that the horse needs AlleviateC/SOS as well, at least until the grass dries off!
Add salt to feeds because lush spring grass is virtually devoid of sodium.
Avoid Lucerne feeds/forages for horses showing signs of increased excitability because Lucerne/alfalfa is high in potassium and low in sodium exacerbating the problems already caused by the grass.
GrazeEzy is not a toxin-binder. Because mycotoxins are also a problem in times or regions of humidity, feed both ToxAll and GrazeEzy.
GrazeEzy is not a multi-vitamin and mineral and does not contain selenium. To supply daily essential nutrients, feed either Premium NZ Minerals or Premium MVA at their same correct dose rates every day. On the other hand amounts of GrazeEzy needed will vary with the season and the weather so it needs to be a separate product.
Litmus strips for testing urine pH are available from Amazon or some pharmacies, Animates aquarium section, or can be supplied FOC with NZ website orders of GrazeEzy if you make a note with your order.
If you need help with how to make best use of GrazeEzy or other supplements for your horse, contact us via the Enquiry Form: (It is quick and easy)
**chronic intake of excess potassium affects the horse’s ability to maintain critical ‘acid-base balance’, it competes for absorption with magnesium and interferes with calcium metabolism. The immediate response to high potassium intake is to immediately produce insulin to drive the potassium out of the extra-cellular fluid and into the cells where it is meant to be.
***NB if your horse is in ANY danger of laminitis, dangerous behaviour and/or head flicking then there is no option but to find a way to get them off the grass and feed hay
References: Endocrine physiology of electrolyte metabolism K G Dawson NRC Mineral Tolerances of Animals 2nd Revised Edition