Need advice for transitioning from a dry lot to grass.

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Mar 11, 2008
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I am not sure if this is where I should post this question so correct me if I am in the wrong thread. My minis have been on a dry lot most of their lives. One has been diagnosed with heaves and our vet recommends putting him on grass to cut down on the dust. We had about a 1/4 acre fenced and a run-in is being delivered this week. I started turning them out for 15 minutes each day a couple days ago and today for 30 minutes. How quickly can I get them on grass full time? I dont want them to collie of founder is I can go as slow as I need to. Also I am not sure what the grass is in that field. Some crab grass, some clover, and other various weeds and grasses. They are about 18 years old. Thank you for any advice.


Thank you in advance
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You could probably move this thread into the main mini horse forum, you might get more action! I don't think I can do it but maybe you can, or ask the moderator to do it if not.

As to your question...from a colic perspective increasing it by 15-30 minutes each day should be just fine. The other consideration is metabolic stuff, some horses really just can't be on full pasture without having issues. So you'll just have to watch them and see if you see any signs of problems like them developing cresty necks or getting too fat. It's really horse-dependent - mine can't have much of any grass without getting wonky fat pads all over him, but there was another mini on the property that in the same paddocks with the same amount of grass stayed perfectly slim.

Did your vet mention anything about hay? I assume based on the looks of that grass that you'll probably still need to feed some hay and dusty hay (even "good" hay can be pretty dusty) seems to be a huge culprit in breathing problems; they do have to stick their noses in it to eat it. Being out 24/7 with a run-in will take care of any issues that may have come from time inside a dusty barn, but wetting down the hay to get rid of any dust may make a huge difference also. I think all you really have to do is submerge it for long enough to get it wet all the way through, then drain and feed. Probably just hosing it off isn't enough since it might not get the middle wet enough. They sell fancy steamers and such but dunking is way cheaper. ;)
Thank you for your reply. Yes I have been soaking the hay and of course I moved them out of the barn. There is a lot less pollen on our new property which has helped. He has not coughed much since I started the changes the run-in comes tomorrow so they will finally be off the dry lot. They have been on grass years ago but not since they are older. I have them at 30 to 40 minutes now but am not sure when they can just be left out there. Hoping my pasture is big enough so they don't turn it in to a giant dry lot! Fingers crossed.
Well, horses can turn just about anything into a dry lot. But I start them about the way you did, with 15 minutes more each day. I can move this into the main forum if you like.
I increase grass time 15 minutes each day. Once I am up to about 3-4 hours or so, then I figure it is fine for them to be on grass all day. I would go slow since they haven’t been on grass for a while. This time of year mine only get 2 hours or so a day. In the winter I can leave them out all day.

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