Spring Fever: Spring Risks (part 3)
Inspection before Ingestion
The grass is growing and our horses are excitedly starting to nibble at the little green bits popping through the finally thawed ground. Through all the excitement, and in general, it can be quite easy to over indulge. Most of us think that a green pasture is the best “most natural” thing we can do for our horse. In reality, however, the high sugar levels in grass can be disastrous for your horse’s health, body, hooves and digestive tracts. If your horse spends a lot of time in a grassy turnout, or is out in a pasture make sure you let them adjust to the large quantities of grass slowly. Sugar production in grass is the highest mid-morning so turning your horses out before then could benefit your animal tremendously.
Additionally, many invasive plant species can be poisonous and sometimes fatal to your horse. With spring comes the bloom of beautiful, but potentially poisonous plants. Some of the common culprits frequently found in turnout and fields include:
Ground Ivy: an incredibly invasive and easily spread weed that can quickly take over your turnout. A member of the mint family, ground ivy has heart shaped leaves that have purple flowers in the spring. The species is toxic to horses and extremely hard to eradicate. Your best bet is calling a professional at the first sign of ivy.
Oleander: an extremely deadly intruder. It is an increasingly used decorative plant but is poisonous to both animals and humans alike. If being used as a decorative plant, even at the entrance of your property, our advice, is remove it. Although the taste is extremely bitter and is definitely not the number one snack on our horses list due to the desirable taste, if accidentally ingested it could be fatal.
Azaleas: most commonly seen as big flowering shrubs that bloom brightly. The leaves and nectar in this plant are toxic. These toxins can cause symptoms of muscle weakness or even colic. Mistaking these symptoms for anything but azalea poisoning can result in death. Although they are quite beautiful it is beneficial to evict them.
Food For Thought!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Identify any questionable roughage before sending your horse out to graze!!
So, my confession you ask?
May there always be a hoof print next to your foot print,
Not everything is all you can eat, no matter how badly you wish it was…