Horses and Ponies are choosy grazers. Offer them a paddock with a good grass cover and for no apparent reason they’ll still pick and choose between different areas. It’s therefore important to ensure paddocks are seeded with a full seeding rate which includes plenty of ‘bottom’ grasses to produce a dense sward capable of withstanding intense wear, high in fibre and most of all, low in sugar
VERY FEW feed or seed companies now provide the expertise required to correctly formulate equine grass mixtures. More often than not a mixture best suited to silage for cattle or Sheep is supplied. What the horse is looking for is a short, dense sward that is palatable and will provide grazing for as many months of the years as possible
Horses are unable to fully digest excess grass, causing fermentation in the hind gut and killing beneficial bacteria. This can result in body- wide inflammation, particularly in the laminae of the feet, where swelling tissues have no place to expand without causing injury to other structures and a call to the Vet!
Horse Paddock Care – Laminitis
Laminitis is one of the most common causes of lameness and disability of your best friend, Laminitis is a disease that affects the feet of hooved animals. It is characterized by inflammation of the digital laminae of the hoof
Horses have a sweet tooth
Just like humans! Having evolved as herbivores eating plant material, the horse’s sense of taste has developed to seek out carbohydrates. The downside is laminitis is linked to eating too much sugar.
Low Sugar (DNDF = Fibre grass)
The fibre content of grass is defined by the neutral detergent fibre content (NDF %). The NDF content of grazed grass varies from 35% for leafy fresh spring grass to 50% for stemmy grass. So, choosing the correct seed mixture which is low in sugars ensuring there is more than adequate fibre in your grazed grass.
Science makes your grass go further
Although overall grass quality is important, the nutritional quality of that grass can have a bigger effect on your horse or pony.