New experience for me today!
Normally when horses arrive here they are coming from traditional lush grazing and stables. This means normally I prepare to wean them off of a diet of mainly grass and onto a diet of mainly hay, in preparation to join the tracks.
Horses digestive systems are very sensitive and they cannot deal with sudden change- everything must be done slowly and gradually to avoid colic and/or laminitis.
This is what I am currently doing with our other new boy Jimmy, who was previously kept on lush grazing, so he is now on a small section of paddock with a bit of grass mixed in with horse friendly weeds/ herbs, and ad lib hay, so that coming off lush grass isn't a sudden shock to his system.
However, Oscar and Inca who arrived today have been kept at a livery with zero grass and ad lib hay for the past 6 months. It is very similar to mine, but we do have a small amount of grass (more this year than ever before due to the perfect grass growing weather -grrh
In previous years the grass has been burnt off by now by the summer sun, and we don't have to worry about it. I do like the horses to have access to some grass as I think it provides a good source of enrichment and also encourages more movement. Their diet is 80 percent hay and they spend their days sampling hay and occasionally going for a foraging mooch to nibble at the grass roots.
Normally when a newbie arrives they take one look at my rubbish grass and go to the hay, which is ideal, as being lower in sugar and high fibre, this is as close as we can get to what horses are supposed to eat as the main part of their diet.
However Inca and Oscar were VERY keen on my rubbish grass. So much so that they prioritised it over the hay. Due to them both having not eaten any grass at all for 6 months, and Inca being grass affected and previously on the brink of laminitis, we realised pretty quickly that we needed to intervene.
I had expected them to keen on the grass to a degree, but not so much that they ignored the hay and it put them at risk!!
So, after brain storming an idea that didn't involve them being confned to a small space in our lami pens or stables, we dug out our final few rolls of astro turf and created a tempory almost grass free area for them.
As soon as the turf was down they suddenly noticed the loose hay and big bale that had been there the whole time
Everyday is a school day!