Your horses have been munching on dry hay all winter long, and they just can’t wait to have at the fresh new spring grass that’s starting to emerge on your Eastern PA horse farm. But before you turn them out to gobble up that grass, take a moment to learn about the potential health risks associated with re-introducing horses to grass pasture.
While horses certainly enjoy grazing on grass, eating as much as they want can cause havoc on their bodies. As grasses begin to grow, they produce substances classified as Non-Structural Carbohydrates, or NSC’s. These substances come in the form of sugars, starches, and fructans. An overload of any of these can be harmful to horses, especially those with pre-existing metabolic conditions.
When horses consume an over-abundance of pasture grass, especially new spring grass that is growing rapidly, it alters the metabolic balance of their bodies. This can lead to laminitis, colic, or founder – all very serious conditions.
To ensure that your horses reap all of the benefits and experience none of the hazards of grazing on spring grass, be sure to introduce them to rich pasture slowly. Limit grazing time, or use grazing muzzles to reduce intake. NSC levels vary according to environmental stressors and the time of day, and are lowest early in the morning. For horses that aren’t yet used to grass, grazing early in the day is a good way to limit their intake of excess NSC’s. Horses should be kept off of pasture late in the afternoon when sugars and starches are at their highest. Horses and ponies with known metabolic concerns such as Cushing’s disease or insulin resistance should wear a grazing muzzle at all times when grass is abundant.
Rotating your pastures not only keeps your fields healthy, but can help keep your horses healthy, too. When grass is given a chance to rest instead of becoming over-grazed, it reduces the stress the plants experience, thereby reducing the amount of NSC’s they produce. Pasture rotation not only improves your PA horse farm, it also contributes to safe grazing for your horses.
While grazing on new spring grass can cause metabolic upset in horses, managing your equines’ grass intake goes a long way in preventing the dangers that can come with spring grass. A few simple precautions can mean the difference between a happy spring and big vet bills!
Eastern PA Horse Property Specialists – Call Us Today! ( 610) 849-1790
Our extensive knowledge of the eastern PA horse properties for sale market allows us to guide our clients intelligently. Whether you are looking to buy, sell or invest, we have one mission – to provide you with exceptional customer service throughout the entire transaction. We assist buyers and sellers within the following eastern Pennsylvania counties:
- Berks County PA equestrian properties
- Bucks County PA equestrian properties
- Carbon County PA equestrian properties
- Chester County PA equestrian properties
- Lehigh County PA equestrian properties
- Northampton PA equestrian properties
- Poconos PA equestrian properties
- Schulykill PA equestrian properties
For sellers, we also offer property evaluations and have acquired the knowledge over the years of how to effectively perform an accurate market analysis of PA horse farms for sale, general farms and PA back yard horse properties. Please give us a call today or fill out our online contact form and let us know how we can best assist you with your eastern PA horse property real estate needs!
Cindy Stys, Broker/owner
The Premier Equine Realty Firm Serving Eastern PA
720 Smith Hill Rd
Stroudsburg, PA 18360