Horses in boarding facilities or training barns that live in stalls and get worked daily are very healthy and well cared for even if they aren’t allowed on pasture until summer. That being said, hand grazing them around the barn after a workout helps in many ways! They get to enjoy time outside, they are bonding with you, it’s great to get fresh air away from the dry dusty barn and of course they get to enjoy delicious, fresh grass! Too much grass for the stabled horse can cause issues but hand grazing them for up to an hour a day is good for them. The fresh, wet grass helps with stable cough, lubricates their stomach for healthier digestion and provides a treat outside of their usual hay and grain regimen.
If you hand graze your stable horse a few times a week for up to an hour they will be ready for turn out when it dries out without worry.
If your horse is turned out for long periods on spring or fresh fall grass be sure to decrease your proteins and sugars you feed your horse normally. This will help your horse adjust to the elevated levels of sugars in the new grass. Too much fresh grass can easily cause a healthy horse to founder. The first sign of founder is if their hooves are hot or warm to the touch. Remove the horse from pasture immediately and don’t feed it dinner. Keep ample water available and call your vet. If caught in time there will be minimal lasting effects.
Grass is a special treat for the stabled horse. Keep an eye on how your horse is effected and customize your feed plan and how long it’s turned out and you’ll have a happy horse with a happy tummy 🙂