This week...

alexomahony

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Is anyone else stressing about all this rain plus bright sunshine in between causing crazy grass growth?

how are you dealing with it? I plan on getting up extra early in the morning before work to create an even smaller area that I can then strip graze.
 

Marigold4

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Is anyone else stressing about all this rain plus bright sunshine in between causing crazy grass growth?

how are you dealing with it? I plan on getting up extra early in the morning before work to create an even smaller area that I can then strip graze.
Keeping them in at night to limit exposure to it. Vet says she's never seen so many laminitis cases as recently.
 

Marigold4

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I spoke to a woman who does the nutritional analysis for hay and haylage companies and she said the cold, sunny, very dry conditions had produced some very strange grass this year. She said she would advise keeping them off the grass as much as poss for 3 weeks after the rain/first proper growth.
 

alexomahony

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I’ve got up super early and created a very small patch (probably 20x20) for them to munch then I can strip it. we’ve always had postage stamps so while I absolutely love their new field and yard, I’ve never had to manage having this much grass before. Luckily ponies aren’t tooooo fat atm but the concern is my arthritic Welsh who only goes for a daily in hand walk and gets no real exercise. If their crests are even slightly solid tonight they’ll be in during the day and out on their postage stamp overnight.
 

Sossigpoker

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Mine only has a few hours a day of grazing as don't want him getting fat and he's a bit grass affected. We have had laminitis cases at the yard too and these are big horses, not the tyres you'd normally expect to get it , so being extra careful with my cob.
We have had enough rain to get the grass growing now but it's not quite warm enough for it to surge yet.
 

HappyHollyDays

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Mine were out at night naked but since the rain arrived I have swapped them back to in at night and they are only out during the day for a maximum of 5 hours. On the days they are ridden they don’t go in the field at all. I am lucky that I have a small turnout sand paddock, it’s only 6 times the size of a stable but it’s better than them getting laminitis.
 

Marigold4

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But according to the nutritionist I spoke to, even what little grass there is is very stressed and throwing up some strange analysis results due to cold dry weather. So she advised getting them off for a while - even if you can't see it growing, they might still be eating it down.
 

HappyHollyDays

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The grass is definitely growing even though it looks short. Just look at their poo, if it’s green and moist they are eating grass, if it’s more yellow and solid they are having more dry matter such as hay. Short stressed grass is like dynamite for either EMS or laminitic ponies/horses and it just isn’t worth risking their welfare by leaving them out for hours. I am currently going to the yard three times a day because I don’t want any more vets bills for something that is totally preventable.
 

SEL

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My track around my field is only pickings but its enough to have 3 fat horses. FB keeps throwing up photos from prior years so I know they are worse this year. Fat but hungry so the electric is on the mains and soaked hay in an effort to fill them up and prevent break outs.
 

Melandmary

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I really didn't want all this rain. My mare is on her 3rd week of box rest due to lami and can start going out a bit next week. I had split my field so the other 2 are munching it down and she will have a smaller area within that but now I am worrying the short stressed grass is worse than the longer grass. Fed up with worrying about grass 😩
 

Marigold4

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I really didn't want all this rain. My mare is on her 3rd week of box rest due to lami and can start going out a bit next week. I had split my field so the other 2 are munching it down and she will have a smaller area within that but now I am worrying the short stressed grass is worse than the longer grass. Fed up with worrying about grass 😩
I don't blame you - I'm worrying aboutbit and my horses haven't even got lami!
 

Melandmary

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It is very hard keeping ponies that live out off the grass. I have an overweight companion pony that absolutely will not be stabled. I think i will be making a smaller pen myself today and try to keep the 2 living out in there during the day but surely they will then gorge themselves at night? All the literature I have read states longer grass is less dangerous so by creating areas of short stressed grass we are giving them more sugar. I am confused as to what to do for the best.
 

Marigold4

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I think it's a kind of grass "crisis" at the moment because of the funny weather. Hopefully it will pass soon. Could you keep them in the pen 24/7 and feed the sort of haylage recommended for laminitis?

Alternatively, a well known vet once told me that if you can keep your horses off the grass for 6 hours a day you are much less likely to get laminitis as it allows their bodies time to get rid of the sugar and have a rest from digesting it. Not sure how much science there is behind that though.
 

Tarragon

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I understood that studies had shown that if you keep horses off the grass and reduce turnout to keep their weight down, they can learn to up the rate at which they do eat, so when they are turned back out they just make up for lost time. A horse or pony that always has access to very little grass just has to keep moving to find it and doesn't get into the starve-stuff cycle. I would have a track system if I owned my own land, but as I don't I manage their weight by using the principle of the biggest area possible that still leaves them slightly hungry, and give them hay to fill the gap and for roughage. So I have a selection of fields and just open up and close off as needed. At the moment, they have access to two small fields that have very poor grass (one field is a wood and the other is used as a sheep pen, and a taped off section of a bigger field that I adjust. I love the way that they have the choice of grazing and have to move between the various areas. It is a pain to keep poo picked though!
 

Scotsbadboy

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I've not long finished strip grazing the last of my winter standing foggage but to be honest I've no intention of giving him anymore grazing. He was looking good and just right the other week but now he's as round as a house and his poos are very wet and green but looking at his patch of grazing its bare ... but clearly not! More and more big horses are getting lami so im not taking any chances!

Plus my saddle is right on the verge of being too tight for him so he cant get any wider, lol!
 

Marigold4

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I understood that studies had shown that if you keep horses off the grass and reduce turnout to keep their weight down, they can learn to up the rate at which they do eat, so when they are turned back out they just make up for lost time. A horse or pony that always has access to very little grass just has to keep moving to find it and doesn't get into the starve-stuff cycle. I would have a track system if I owned my own land, but as I don't I manage their weight by using the principle of the biggest area possible that still leaves them slightly hungry, and give them hay to fill the gap and for roughage. So I have a selection of fields and just open up and close off as needed. At the moment, they have access to two small fields that have very poor grass (one field is a wood and the other is used as a sheep pen, and a taped off section of a bigger field that I adjust. I love the way that they have the choice of grazing and have to move between the various areas. It is a pain to keep poo picked though!
Sorry I didn't mean starve them for 6 hours, I give them low sugar haylage when thay are in.
 

Marigold4

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The trouble with the laminitis research is that although lots has been done, nothing that comes out of the research seems to make much difference to this awful condition. Personally, I think rye grass has a lot to answer for but I can't point to any research saying that. None of mine have ever had laminitis in 20 years (wish I hadn't said that now!). But if I owned my land, I would dig up the rye grass and replace it with something more traditional.
 

Tarragon

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I think I mean when they are stabled with perhaps a small holed haynet of soaked hay, the grass that they get when turned back out must seem even more tasty!
 

HappyHollyDays

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I am on short stressed rye grass and it’s a nightmare with an EMS pony. He has to be muzzled all summer because I can’t put up a track or use tape which is why they are both in, on the sand paddock and being ridden instead of being out. Long grass and a muzzle is so much better for them because you don’t get the spikes in insulin from the short sugary grass. Ideally if I had my own land I would strip graze on well rested grass moving them on before it got short.
 

Melandmary

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Marigold 4 yes I think I could try and keep them both in a smaller sectioned off part that I am intending to use for the lami mare. It will help me work out if the little minx will stay in it before I put Mel out with her next week. They share haynets and feed bowls with no troubles so they can share Timothy haylage or soaked hay whilst being out but off the grass. Thankyou for the advice. I will be more prepared next year on how to manage this land that is a boggy pond all winter and then flush with grass all summer🙄
 

Melandmary

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Lindylouanne that sounds a very stressful way for you to have to manage your horses. Can you not move to somewhere more adaptable to your needs or have you just got used to it? This is my first year managing my own land and it is still stressful because you can only do what the layout, soil and grass type dictates.
 
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