Did you know that a horse can get sick by eating too much grass?
When we brought Trixie home last fall she came from a dusty home with no grass. She only had hay. We brought her home to a lush 5 acres. You can imagine her eagerness to munch on grass. We had read that you had to slowly introduce the grass to a horse who isn’t used to it, so we limited her to a couple of hours the few couple of days we had her. Then, the farrier came and said she would be fine on grass all day because he thought she needed to gain some weight. We figured he should know what he is talking about. So, we went against our better judgement and let her graze all day. Two days later she laid down and kicked at her stomach. Even new horse owners could recognize something was not right. We called the vet. She came out two days later and while Trixie seemed much better, the vet diagnosed her with laminitis (inflammation in the body that can affect the bones in the feet). Laminitis can be caused by too many carbs. She gave her IV fluids with an anti-inflammatory and said Trixie should not eat grass for one week. We started with giving her 30 minutes grazing a day, slowly increasing her time by 30 minutes per day. Trixie eventually worked her way up to all day grazing again. Of course winter came and the grass died.
Fast forward to spring. The grass turned green overnight. The horses continued to graze all day. About two weeks into spring we noticed Trixe walking gingerly again.
Poor Trixie. We called our vet, again, who came and repeated the treatment from the fall. Poor Trixie just can’t handle all the grass. If untreated laminitis can lead to foundering, which is where to bone in the foot separates and rotates down. Foundering is bad. Very bad.
So if you come visit and Trixie is in the muddy corral and not on the lush green grass, please know it is for the best. Imagine if you were surrounded by a sea of chocolate and couldn’t eat it.