My horse Dreamcatcher was diagnosed with laminitis. My vet said he can never eat grass again. Thankfully winter is on its way and am restlessly waiting for the grass (very little timothy/no alfalfa) to die. My question is two-fold. When will I know when my grass dies or is no longer full of sugar, so that I can turn out my laminitic horse?
Also, do you have any suggestion for creating a turnout (dirt field or fence tracking)?
Dependent on the region of the country you live in, grass will die after a hard freeze, but typically begins to go dormant with colder temperatures and shorter day length. If the grass has yellowed or browned, it is dormant.
If your horse's insulin levels are controlled, it may be able to eat some grass. Again this is dependent on the severity of the individual horse's disease state. Careful management must be employed regarding species of grass, season and day length. Grazing muzzles can also be employed to slow down the rate of ingestion to manageable levels. In short, it honestly depends on how intensely you want to manage your horse.
For more in depth information, view: http://articles.extension.org/pages/72653/horse-diseases-pasture-associated-laminitis
You can create turnouts for horses with either permanent fencing or well installed electric fence. Be sure that the confined area does not become too muddy or contribute to runoff.
Hi -- your local Conservation District may have some recommendations for creating a turnout for your horse that won't become a mud pit. They may even have some cost-sharing programs for you to help with fencing, gravel, gutters, drains, or geotextile fabrics. You can find your nearest Conservation District office by going to http://www.nacdnet.org/about/districts/directory.