"Oh dear, another post which begins with a comment on the weather. My intrinisic Britishness will not be kept down. But look! The sun is shining! The daffodils are out! The snowdrops are fighting the frost and winning! Of course, you know what that means. It means that the spring grass is shooting up and straight into the mouths of our beloved equines. Spring grass has a high sugar content and it's super important that after a nuclear winter, that we re-introduce our horses and ponies to lush grazing gradually. (If at all.) Otherwise, they'll get FAT and they'll be bullied by their skinny mates! Or, perhaps even worse than peer pressure, they'll get laminitis. I'm not going to bore you with the details of laminitis, but I will happily bore you with the ways of avoiding/managing this horrible disease. DISCLAIMER: I'm not a vet or a nutritionist, but I have at least six braincells and a keen interest in horses AND experience of losing a horse to laminitis. So, pay attention, but don't quote me.
It must suck to be a fat little pony because they are more susceptible to laminitis than the big beasties. They've starved all winter on pony nuts and a slice of musty old hay once a week until finally they see all this totally scrummy grass out in the field! But are they allowed to go out and stuff their little faces? HELL NO! They'd overload on carbs (they have my sympathy) which creates lactic acid, as the system is unable to cope with all the "non-structural carbodydrates" (sugars to you and me) which kills the good bacteria. Cut along story short, this all results in impaired circulation, which affects the feet worse. Makes sense if you think about it. The feet are pretty far away from the heart, which pumps all the blood. If circulation is hindered, the first part to lose it will be the furthest away parts of the body.
Carrying a touch of holiday weight . . .
So, how does one avoid a big grass gorging sesh? It's all very well sticking to a strict schedule of turning out for short intervals, but it's not hugely practical, is it? You might have a job, for example. Plus, who wants to guess what happens if you're turning your horse/pony out for the first time in months, in a field full of grass and sunshine and happiness? You think they're gonna let you catch them after a measly stinkin twenty minutes? HA! is what I say to that! AS IF!
What a show off!
The obvious solution, I think (and I'm very clever) is a grazing muzzle. They'll hate you for it, but it'll save you a fortune in vet bills and potential heartache. A grazing muzzle limits the amount of grass consumed. Just like a dog muzzle limits the number of small children that a dog can eat. They can still drink prefectly easily, but it helps control the munchies."
Hannibal Lecter in Equine Form!
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. On a more serious note, if you follow our blogs, you know that we have talked about laminitis. We've talked about natural horse care, we've talked about the seven myths and facts of feeding your horses, we've talked about the basics of a natural lifestyle, natural hoof care and, of course, hoof boots. The best way to keep your horse healthy and to stay clear of hoof issues like laminitis is to keep them on a healthy diet, barefoot trimming should be done on a regular basis and use of EasyCare protective hoof boots.
When you call EasyCare, I’m one of the folks that will answer. I’m also one of the cowgirls in the group. (Heck no, I don’t show, I Rodeo!) When it comes to life’s adventures – never pull back on the reins, and remember: the world is best-viewed through the ears of a horse!