Spring Pastures and the Metabolic Horse

Spring Pastures and the Metabolic Horse

To a horse, the sprouting pastures of early spring must look like an inviting all-you-can-eat buffet. But just like buffets (and most things in life), too much of a good thing...

Spring is typically a season of rejuvenation for horses, but for those dealing with or at risk of metabolic disorders, it can be a season of ruination without proper vigilance. Spring pastures are especially high in carbohydrates, which can trigger pasture laminitis if over-consumed.

Horses especially at risk include seniors, overweight/easy keepers and breeds prone to insulin resistance, like ponies, Morgans, Arabians and some Warmbloods, to name a few.

Here are some tips for avoiding pasture pitfalls, courtesy of the AAEP:

  • Keep your easy keepers and ponies off lush, fast-growing pastures until the grass has slowed in growth and produced seed heads.

  • Graze your horses on pastures containing a high percentage of legumes, such as alfalfa or clover as they do not contain fructan.

  • Avoid grazing horses on pastures that have been grazed very short during the winter.

  • Keep cresty-necked, overweight horses in the stall or paddock until the pasture’s rate of growth has slowed, then introduce them to the pasture slowly.

  • Allow the horse to fill up on hay before turning out on grass for a few hours.

Muzzling during turnout is another popular method that restricts intake while allowing the horse much-needed exercise. Also, consider nutritional support. Metabarol® is scientifically proven to normalize insulin levels in horses as well aid in reducing inflammation. Of course, knowing exactly what you’re dealing with will help formulate a plan of action. Now is the time to have your pasture analyzed by a local extension office, and your horse’s blood tested by your veterinarian.


MetaCare™ from Equithrive: Get a $50 rebate for blood testing

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Metabarol® | Scientifically Proven Metabolic Support 

"I have seen dramatic declines in insulin and glucose levels, along with improved overall comfort of the horse, when Metabarol is administered."
-Dr. Vern Dryden, DVM, CJF
   Bur Oak Veterinary and Podiatry Services 

"Food is not love to a horse prone to EMS. Many breeds have a predisposition to insulin resistance or equine metabolic syndrome. Metabarol is quite useful in managing these horses."
-Dr. Peter Morresey, BVSc, MVM, MACVS, ACVIM, CVM
  Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital 

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