How Quality and Type of Pasture Impact Your Horse’s Diet
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The quantity and quality of nutrients contributing to your horse’s diet by the pasture will depend on overall pasture quality, time spent grazing, and season of the year.
Is my pasture lush or overgrazed? What percentage of weeds are present?
- A horse is able to consume more grass per hour on lush pasture. It is easy for some horses to consume more calories than they need on well-managed pastures.
- Weedy or overgrazed pasture will lower the consumption rate. Poor pasture contributes little nutritional value to the diet.
- Overgrazed or drought-stressed pasture plants tend to accumulate more sugar in their leaves and can be dangerous to sugar-sensitive horses.
Do I have a lot of clover in my pasture or is it mostly grass?
- Clover provides more nutrients and energy than grass.
How often do I clip my pastures?
- Pasture that is allowed to go to seed will provide much less energy, fat, and vitamins to your horse.
- Pasture clipped to a height of 4 to 8 inches ensures that optimal quality is retained.
How many hours per day does my horse graze and how much is he eating?
- Fresh grass contains more moisture per pound than dried hay; therefore, horses have to consume a lot more grass to equal the same amount of dried hay.
- Grass provides much higher levels of vitamins than dried hay. Vitamins are quickly lost once grass is cut, dried, and baled.
- To obtain maintenance levels of many essential vitamins such as vitamin E, horses have to graze full-time on good pasture.
- Horses that are out 24/7 will graze an average of 17 hours.
- A horse consumes the equivalent of 1 lb of hay per hour when grazing on lush, green pasture.
Elevate® Maintenance Powder
Fresh grass is a horse’s best source of vitamins, especially essential vitamin E. When unlimited fresh grass is not available choose Elevate® natural vitamin E to fill in the gaps.