In a recent article I came across on The Horse
(a publication that focuses on the latest research about horse care ) I was reminded how September is a touchy month for our
laminits prone horses. If you have an Insulin Resistant horse, this a good month to be sure you put on his grazing muzzle,
dry lot him part of the time and adjust his rations if needed. Even if your horse is not suffering from Cushings, IR or Metabolic
Syndrome, it's a good idea to be conservative on the pasture turnout, to minimize the risk for all horses. Ponies, Morgans
and any other horse with a fat, cresty neck, lumpy fat deposits and those that seem to "live on air" are especially
In September, cooler nights and
shorter days mean more cool season grasses are springing back up. Also, back to school and fewer daylight hours mean
you will likely spend fewer hours in the saddle and your horse will not move around as much to burn off sugar fluctuations.
Also, the addition of hay to the diet may be just around the corner.
Best Hays to feed
grass hays to feed are native prairie grass, Bermuda or other 'tropical' grasses. These are potentially the lowest in sugar,
although conditions at time of harvest affect the final product since sugar doesn't evaporate when the hay dries.
Less desirable includes brome, Fescue, timothy and orchard. These are
regarded as cool season grasses that are often what we think of as "good" hay. They are higher calorie and most
of that is the sugar your horse doesn't need. Most average, healthy horses do fine on them, but I would still recommend feeding
more prairie hay with a little cool season grass mixed in.
Alfalfa, vetch and clover are not really grasses, per se. They are higher in protein and calories, but fewer NSC (nonstructural
carbs or SUGAR). The biggest danger with theses are often just obesity which is something we want to avoid, but are good for
'hard keepers' . Also, best when used as part of a mix where tropical grasses are the main menu item.