The UK have finally been, after a long, wet winter, enjoying some brighter weather leaving us itching to get our horses out to pasture. During spring time the grass grows thick and fast but sometimes putting our horses out for a long duration too soon can limit the productivity of the pasture for the summer months. In addition sometimes allowing your equine to graze too much after a winter can be detrimental to their health, resulting in health problems such as laminitis. So Scientific Nutritional Products takes a look at this conundrum and advises you how to best manage your spring pasture.
When turning your equine out for the first time after a winter break remember it is vital not to allow your horse or pony to ingest too much fresh grass in one sitting, or during the early stages of increased turn out. This is because spring the grass is rich, lush and packed with nutrients, alongside being extremely tasty so many equines won’t regulate themselves or limit their intake, so horse owners need to take responsibility of self control for them! Start with around an hour at a time and build up to several hours each day over a period of weeks. Consider using a grazing muzzle which allows the equine to enjoy the fresh air and a welcome leg stretch but without excessive consumption of rich grass.
The other main factor to consider when turning your horse out in spring time is protecting your pasture so your fields to not become poached or damaged. If your pasture has been water logged during the winter months it is vital to bear in mind that for healthy grass, our horses should be kept off these fields until the soil has dried out. Saturated soils and dormant plants cannot survive continuous grazing and trampling, when soils are still wet they are easily compacted, suffocating the roots of grass plants.
A simple test for sogginess is to walk out in your fields and see if you leave a footprint—if you do, you know it’s too wet and that the weight of a horse will be sure to compact the soil! In order to ensure your grass lasts and is still a productive crop in the summer months, divide your pasture into smaller sections and rotate your horses around within subdivisions. This will encourage your fields to be grazed more evenly, prevent paddocks from becoming overgrazed. This will protect your pasture and ensure that grass will be more readily available in the summer months.
It may be necessary during the spring time and the early summer months to reduce the level of concentrate feed provided to your horse or pony to prevent them from consuming an excessive level of calories. However it is important to remember that many modern pastures are not totally balanced in their nutrient content, so when cutting hard feed always supply a vitamin and mineral supplement such as Horse & Pony Multivitamin from Scientific Nutritional Products. The supplement containing over 25 beneficial nutrients will ensure your equine's diet is totally balanced for optimum health and wellbeing.