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Old 06-05-2006, 06:37 PM   #1
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All Grass Diet?

My Husband thinks that my horse doesn't need grain. According to him if horses evolved and lived for thousands of years on grass alone, that my horse don't need it. Even though I told him she needs it for her workout needs. What do ya'll think?


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Old 06-05-2006, 06:40 PM   #2
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Tell him that horses in the wild didn't have "jobs" like the ones today do and that the extra energy she is putting out working is more than she would standing around eating... there fore, grain is needed if she is working alot
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Old 06-05-2006, 06:41 PM   #3
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It depends on how much grass you have.... with only a minimal amount of course you need grain, but with lush pastures it shouldn't hurt to minimize the amount of grain you give her.
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Old 06-05-2006, 06:49 PM   #4
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It also depends on how easy a keeper they are. I have had horses that did just fine on only grass in the summer. They were out 24/7 and working trail/jousting horses. If you can get away with just grass, great. Just keep an eye on their body conditions.
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Old 06-05-2006, 06:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joustinggirl
Just keep an eye on their body conditions.
Good point J.G. that is a very important factor if you're considering putting her on just grass.
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Old 06-07-2006, 12:13 PM   #6
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Also depends on your location as some areas have rich grass, some don't and so you will be lacking certain minerals and vitamins in the diet. Your agriculture department could likely give you a good idea of the quality of forages and soil in your area.

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Old 06-07-2006, 12:31 PM   #7
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A lot of people in this area don't give a lot of grain in the summer with the grass, because horses get WAY fat. And that isn't good on them either. Most of us around here, will go from grain to straight oats in the summer, that way theu still get something good, but nothing that is going to put too much extra on.

Horses in the wild also have a very short life span
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Old 06-07-2006, 12:44 PM   #8
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In the wild horses roamed freely over thousand of acres and had access to many nutrients from the ground, rocks, salt flats, etc. Even different grasses had different nutrient levels as well as what we now call weeds. They would be free to graze on what they need, as they needed it, if it was available during the season. That is why wild horses remain fairly healthy because they are adapted to grazing over so much area.

When you lessen their world to 10 acres you are several limiting their access to essential bio nutrients and varied grasses. So although an average horse may maintain reasonable weight he/she may be lacking in some nutrients that they would have access to in the wild.

Some of my horses stay at grass all summer but have access to high quality loose trace salt, dicalcium phosphate, dolomite lime, and a protein lick made for horses. They do not require extra grain to maintain weight, but they do require more than the nutrients my 30 acre pasture supplies. Plus I must watch closely to make sure there is enough grazing for the entire group. This happened last week, as we are having a drought and my entire herd dropped considerable weight in a 24 hour period. Well, you cannot just put them back on feed, so it had to be supplemented with top quality forage replacers and hay. We have been able to maintain, no more weight loss. But, it is not as easy as saying, "he has grass and water, he is fed". Manangement of grass fed horses still takes forethought and planning.

If your mare is by herself belly deep in grass, no, I would offer her a good loose salt and let her eat. If she has less than 2 inches of grazing grass, she still needs fed. JMO!
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