Spring grazing advice

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

RahRah SC

MHT Supporter
MHT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
47
Location
United States
This seem to be a wonderful group! I’ve read a lot of threads and find all to be very supportive.
I’m a first time mini owner and am enthralled with minis now.
My Bubbles is a 4yo 32” mare. Her weight seems fine but I’m getting widely different advice on what to do with her in the spring and summer. Especially in the spring.
She has freedom to come and go in and out of her stall now. She gets about 1/3 of a flake of hay and a small - very small - handful of Kalm & Ez twice a day.
Should I put a grazing muzzle on her? Limit her time in her pasture?Carefully watch her weight and then take action? I surely don’t want her to founder!
What do the rest of you do in spring and late summer when the grass is so full of sugar? I appreciate your input.
 

JFNM miniatures

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2021
Messages
267
Reaction score
550
Location
Canada
Hello RahRah,
Welcome to the forum! 🙂

I always wait about a month after the snow has melted before starting to let my horses graze...
this way, sugar levels are not as high. When they start grazing, I hand-graze them for not more than 10 minutes, or less ... Then, I gradually increase the grazing time (by 5 minutes), until I get to 30-45 minutes. That's when I start giving them access to pasture by themselves... but I keep increasing the time of grazing and by late June / early July, I let them stay half a day in the pasture... of course, it always depends on the year and conditions.

Last year was incredibly hot and dry and the grass was scorched, so I could not let them go in the pasture during the middle of the day. I'd let them go early morning. Otherwise, they would have destroyed my pasture.

And of course, the most important thing is to watch your mini's weight. You can adjust according to what you see and feel.

Also, the time frame depends on the area and climate your are living in. I'm in a place where spring comes later. Right now, there is still lots of snow here, and some patches of grass are starting to show, but none in the pasture, yet....

I've never used muzzles as none of my horses ever required one, as long as I was careful. But, you need to take decisions according to what you feel is best for your mini and her health history. If she's had founder in the past, you'll probably want to be more careful, thus maybe choosing to muzzle her or apply other preventative measures.

To sum up, any dietary changes you do must be done very gradually in order to prevent as much as possible any founder or colics.

Hope this helps... 🙂
 

RahRah SC

MHT Supporter
MHT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
47
Location
United States
It helps tremendously. Thank you and thank you for the warm welcome :)

It seldom snows in SC and she’s been freely grazing all winter. I’ll take your suggestion and watch her weight carefully. She’s never foundered to my knowledge and the farrier feels the same.

My vet also suggested keeping the grass low in her pasture. I’ll do that, too.

Thanks again from the sunny and snow free south. :)
 

candycar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
831
Reaction score
289
Location
Catlettsburg Kentucky
If you cut the grass in your pasture, leave it at least 6 inches or more long. Short grass has more sugar, that's why they always eat it first. I usually cut mine once or twice a month depending on the growth.
 

Marsha Cassada

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
9,522
Reaction score
8,654
Location
Southwest Oklahoma
I try to put mine in the dry lot during the day and let them out to graze at night. Sugars are lower at night. My dry lot is a large corral. I do put a slow feed hay bag in there, however, as I believe browsing animals need to browse.
No trees have leafed out yet here, but they love elm branches and mulberry. I try to prune my trees a little and give those treats to the horses.
When we mow the pasture, the horses do head for the newly mown area to graze.
 

Ryan Johnson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
3,369
Reaction score
2,063
Location
Melbourne Australia
One of my little ones wears a muzzle when she grazes at the start of spring and also start of autumn. You will get many opinions regarding the "Muzzle". Id rather see mine out playing than confined to a dry lot or "jenny craig paddock" as we call them here in Oz. Not sure what the equivalent is there, but "Founderguard" is great. :)
 

RahRah SC

MHT Supporter
MHT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
47
Location
United States
One of my little ones wears a muzzle when she grazes at the start of spring and also start of autumn. You will get many opinions regarding the "Muzzle". Id rather see mine out playing than confined to a dry lot or "jenny craig paddock" as we call them here in Oz. Not sure what the equivalent is there, but "Founderguard" is great. :)
Ha! I like the "Jenny Craig Paddock" name.

I searched Founderguard and it appears it's only available in your region of the world. Laminaze might be our equivalent. Does anyone in the States use that product?

Ryan, that was for the group as a whole. :)

Thank you for your advice.
 

RahRah SC

MHT Supporter
MHT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
47
Location
United States
I try to put mine in the dry lot during the day and let them out to graze at night. Sugars are lower at night. My dry lot is a large corral. I do put a slow feed hay bag in there, however, as I believe browsing animals need to browse.
No trees have leafed out yet here, but they love elm branches and mulberry. I try to prune my trees a little and give those treats to the horses.
When we mow the pasture, the horses do head for the newly mown area to graze.
I thought about creating a dry lot, but then I was warned about sand colic. Our soil is VERY sandy here. I swear y'all, if it's not one thing it's another!
I like the idea of giving her some prunings. It would give her something new to explore. Thank you!
 

Taz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,575
Reaction score
3,092
Location
Canada
All of mine wear grazing muzzles the whole time they're on grass. They get used to them very fast and are happy to go out and have something to do instead of standing around in dirt. Yup, we call them Jenny Craig paddocks here too 😊
 

RahRah SC

MHT Supporter
MHT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
47
Location
United States
I can’t seem to find a grazing muzzle that fits her! They are all too long and I’ve adjusted to the best of my ability. So happy to hear they get used to them. I’ll keep searching although it’s hard to fit her in anything.
 

Dragon Hill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2020
Messages
475
Reaction score
1,051
Location
South Carolina
I've been fortunate to only have one mini that needed a grazing muzzle. I've bought two, and the one that fits and stays one for my guy is the Tough-1 Easy Breathe V grazing muzzle. It's adjusted as small as it gets, but works. My guy is about 34" at the top of withers and has a small head, but he does have a wider jaw and thicker neck. I think it's the V part that helps it stay on. I did have to vet wrap the adjustment ring because it was right behind his ear.
If you can sew at all, you could shorten the straps on the one you have.
 

Ryan Johnson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
3,369
Reaction score
2,063
Location
Melbourne Australia
Like Taz , I tie a knot in the top of mine too. The brand I use is "Roma"

I was always wary of laminitis and Founder with big horses, but it wasnt until I got my first minis I learned how quickly it can develop.

I had a mini founder and it really sat me on my backside. I did alot of research into laminitis and ill admit "I have become the grass police" since.

My little ones are turned out 24/7 but at times of the year here, muzzles go on and certain paddocks are off limits.
 

RahRah SC

MHT Supporter
MHT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
47
Location
United States

RahRah SC

MHT Supporter
MHT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
47
Location
United States
Like Taz , I tie a knot in the top of mine too. The brand I use is "Roma"

I was always wary of laminitis and Founder with big horses, but it wasnt until I got my first minis I learned how quickly it can develop.

I had a mini founder and it really sat me on my backside. I did alot of research into laminitis and ill admit "I have become the grass police" since.

My little ones are turned out 24/7 but at times of the year here, muzzles go on and certain paddocks are off limits.
Great solution. I don’t want to experience what you did. Thank you :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Taz

danettedm

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2020
Messages
23
Reaction score
10
I can’t seem to find a grazing muzzle that fits her! They are all too long and I’ve adjusted to the best of my ability. So happy to hear they get used to them. I’ll keep searching although it’s hard to fit her in anything.
I have the same issue. Tried a Tough 1 Easy Breathe muzzle and it was too long. Any recommendations on muzzles?
 

Latest posts

Top