Sign in to follow this  
RickisSweetSmoke

Transitioning From Dry Lot To Pasture

Recommended Posts

Hey all, I am hoping to get some sound advise to make for a smoother transition for my horses. Presently they are boarded in a facility where they are turned out in a dry lot with access to a round bale. We are moving in a week to a new facility where my boys will be turned out more than they will be in. In my opinion they are transitioning to a more natural environment.

A litttle history here:

17 y/o paint gelding with a history of lamenitis 2 years ago. He did have a slight bit of sinking but no rotation. He has been barefoot for the past 7 years with the exception of the 6 months following his episode. The episode was brought on by a reaction to a medication. Since then he has not shown any problems with hay or grain. Right now he is on Pro Source Fuel by Nutrena. He is used for trails, light jumping, schooling in low (and I mean low) level dressage and occassional play days.

11 y/o TB type, never raced. I've only had him 8 months, so right now he presents as healthy, but has been a hard keeper. I think he will do better on pasture. This horse can jump anything but lives for the trails. Also schools in low level dressage and jumps low level fences (mostly because I am not ready/capable of jumping higher without regular lessons).

Right now we have snow and in the places where it has melted, it isn't new spring grass. My barn has one older mare who has a history of founder, she wears a grazing muzzle from April-August. I am hoping my paint can be on the same kind of schedule.

Initially the boys will spend the first 72 hours in their stalls until they settle. Then they will get turned out for a few hours daily, eventually they will be integrated into the herd, which at this time is just two other mares.

The horses will be in their stalls for an hour at breakfast and dinner. The paint will be on Nutrena Safe Choice Special Care and the TB will be on Safe Choice Perform. Both feeds offer controlled startches which I feel is important since I cannot control the startch in the grass or hay. I feel like the paint would probably be fine on the SC Perform, but again I am being conservative. In addition to grain, they will get two-three flakes of timothy mix hay thats grown on site.

The goal is that the herd gets to spend as much time outdoors as possible, obviously, in the summer I prefer turnout at night and stall time during the hot hours of the day. And then the reverse in the winter. There is ample shelter and the horses are given hay at lunch too, during the months where grass doesn't exist.

Any recommendations? I think we have a good plan, but I am a nervous nelly. These boys mean the world to me and I don't want to rush and cause founder/colic...

THANK YOU!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With our horses when they are normally on a dry lot and wanting to transition to pasture our process is this

Day one and day two on grass for 30 minutes

Day three and four on grass for an hour

Day five hour and a half

Days six and seven on grass for two hours

After that week we turn out on grass daily. We really like to ease our horses slowly on to pasture from a dry lot cause it can cause some upset tummies and potential sore feet. We had a mare who is early 20s foundered with rotation and in the winter she was on pasture until all the recent rain and new fresh grass. We didn't have any problems with her on the grass at all. We put her back on dry lot cause the grass now would most likely flair up her founder and we don't want that. I have all three of my boys on pasture, 6yo paint I run barrels on, 3yo mustang just starting (competing with him in a training challenge, and my 10mo MFT colt and all three do very well on the grass and have kept healthy weight and feet are healthy as well.

Now we do have some we don't allow on grass at all and those are our two ponies who are pretty fat(on diets) one which is IR but with soaked teff he has lost weight and doing much better, and our two main lesson horses. They are very VERY easy keepers and like the ponies they get fat off the air they breath and they get tender feet when on grass. All of our horses are barefoot.

Anyways sorry for rambling. Hope this helped at least a little bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if you do it, all will be fine.

The only ones I would worry about, is the laminitic mare. Sugars tend to be the highest as they are coming in, as well as when it rains. If you choose not to keep a grazing muzzle on her full time (which I would consider) I would definitely at least put one on her when you know it will be raining.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you should be fine with your plan. The fact that the paint's laminitis was triggered by medication (steroids?), works in his favor, as he probably is not laminitic because of dietary reasons (IR )

Any horse that has had any severe laminitis is more prone to having it again, simply because often the lamini are never as strong as before. Having said that, I have a mare that also has laminitis years ago, not diet related, and she is fine on full time turn out

You get to know your own horses, and have to treat them as individuals. For instance, Smilie is very IR, thus I dry lot her, and won't even turn her out with a grazing muzzle

Carmen is an easy keeper, and I have to watch her in the grass growing months. She spends day time in the corral, eating some hay and is turned out at night with a grazing muzzle. Most of the rest of our herd are out full time,but I do have to manage their grazing somewhat with electrical portable fencing

None are grained. I do feed Smilie soaked beetpulp, to which I add Remission. Only time our horses are grained, is when they work hard in the mountains and need some concentrated form of feed, besides just hay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every spring we have this transition. I pick a pail of nice grass and put it in his stall, the next day I pick a little more and feed it in his stall. I just keep upping the amount about a week before they are turned out on pasture.

I was at big barn and for their transition he would Zero Graze. Which means using the tractor and a mower he would cut a trailer load of grass and throw fork fulls into each winter field getting them use to grass before they got turned up permanently.

For a few horses you could hand pick it and feed them in their stalls.

Hand grazing is too time consuming.

Edited by DR650

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And feeding grass like that is very dangerous.

How is it dangerous. Big dairy barns often feed like this and our barn once the summer pastures would get eaten would start Zero Grazing everyday instead of hay.

A nice field of alfalfa could have a strip mowed out of it twice a day and the fresh cut grass dumped in the field to suppliment the grass.

Grass cut with a lawn mower is dangerous but not hand picked grass or grass cut with a farm mower. A lawn mower chops it up, a farm mower just cuts it off at ground level and doesn't ball it up.

This is not dangerous and is controlled vs just dumping them on grass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cows are ruminates. They can handle the heat in their belly's from the fresh cut grass. A horse cannot. The heat from the grass produces unhealthy gasses for horses. If you choose to continue then please be watchful of your horses and their feet. :) they can also choke on the grass that has been cut. Horses are designed to rip their forages from their roots...

I would not advice feeding freash cut grasses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

t. Horses are designed to rip their forages from their roots...

No they do not. The cows eat the first grass because they wrap their tongues around it and pull if off, Horses come next and like to snip it off with their front teeth, they hate long grass. The sheep come last and destroy the roots.

Horses do not pull grass up from their roots. I hand graze all the time on the farm lawn and other then cut grass he leaves no marks behind. They nip it off with a shake of their heads or a nod. Grip with the front teeth and a twist/shake/nod and it is sheared off. We mow the pasture to get rid of the tall grass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I not say rip them up by their roots.. I said rip them AWAY FROM their roots.

I put in my .02 for the OP as your practice is unsafe. If is too hot, ferments quick, and can cause choke.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A. I hand graze all the time on the farm lawn and other then cut grass he leaves no marks behind.

B. Every spring we have this transition. I pick a pail of nice grass and put it in his stall, the next day I pick a little more and feed it in his stall.

Hand grazing is too time consuming.

which is it? A or B?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Laminitic horse should be kept of spring grass-period

Slow on set pasture laminitis is associated with spring grass, when that grass is high in NSC and has get not developed much fiber

Some laminitc horses can be turned out with grazing muzzles, once that grass matures some

Here is some info, and I will also post the entire link, for those interested in understanding risk, in regards to pasture, time of year, and other conditions

As lush summer grass grows, unfortunately so does your horse's risk for laminitis, in which damage to the lamellae that attach the coffin bone to the hoof capsule causes instability within the foot, leading to compression of the soft tissue and the blood supply. Affected horses might have bounding pulses and heat within the foot, be reluctant to move or turn, and walk as if their front feet sting.

Pasture-associated laminitis can have a sneaky, slow onset. Owners often don't realize their horse has laminitis; they assume "he's a little sore on hard ground" or "stiff." Horses with insulin resistance or equine Cushing's disease are particularly at risk, as are horses that have suffered from laminitis previously. Consider the following suggestions to minimize your horse's pasture-associated laminitis risk:

read on:

http://www.thehorse.com/articles/27658/minimize-laminitis-risks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this