Your fence is sturdy, your barn is secure, your hay is the best. What can go wrong?
Sometimes, small things can have a big impact on your horse’s wellbeing. Too much toxic fly spray or a heavy dose of chemical fertilizer can tip the health scale against your horse. Did you know that a big pile of grass clippings can be dangerous? Or that tomato plants are poisonous to horses?
And then there is the pasture itself. Common meadow weeds and native trees may increase your horse’s risk of colic. Know what toxic plants may be growing in your area.
A sturdy fence, a secure barn and top-quality hay are important to your horse’s health, but don’t ignore the little things!
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✅ Ortho Equine Immediate Response Supplement
Good stuff – When your horse has horse colic in her stall and this product will do the trick. She would be fine in a short time after you administer it. Would definitely recommend it for everyone’s equine emergency kit.
Grass Fertilizer Can Cause Horse Colic
Do not use lawn fertilizer on horse pasture. In some places, it’s actually illegal to use lawn products on horse grazing land!
Most lawn fertilizers are time release formulas. They are coated, pelletized and designed to release nitrogen slowly over a period of several weeks. In large amounts, nitrogen is toxic to horses. Even small amounts can irritate the stomach. Excess nitrogen consumption is a common cause of spring colic.
Pasture fertilizers contain nitrogen too, but it absorbs more quickly into the soil. Nonetheless, keep your horse away from newly fertilized fields for at least 3 weeks. Be sure you’ve had at least 1/2 inch of rain and the grass is at least 3 inches long before returning your horses to the pasture.
Horses can graze on your lawn if you manage it as pasture, using only agricultural fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides labeled for pasture use.
Little Known Colic Cause: Grass Clippings
Do not feed grass clippings to your horse. If you collect and compost lawn clippings, be sure the pile is out of reach of your horses. Here’s why:
Wet, green lawn clippings that have been left in a mower bag or in an exposed pile will start to mildew and ferment quickly. This can cause serious gastric problems in your horse’s gut, leading to a bout of colic.
There’s also the possibility that the clippings contain lawn chemicals that are not suitable for ingestion. Toxic ornamental plants like yew or oleander can also be mixed in lawn clippings.
In addition, lawn clippings have a tendency to clump together in damp wads. A hungry horse may take a big mouthful and end up with a wad of wet grass stuck in its esophagus.
If you leave clippings on your pasture after a mow, keep your horses off until the clippings dry out. Horses can safely consume dry, well-distributed clippings along with pasture grass.
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