Are you tempted to cut your grass, then rake it into soft, fragrant, tasty piles of clippings for your horse to nibble? According to a press release issued by the United States Equestrian Federation, this should be the last thing you encourage your horse to eat. It has to do with that extra step: raking.
Grass clippings that stay on the pasture after mowing, where they can dry in small amounts, are generally not a problem. But never gather them into piles to feed them to your horse. It’s partly because clippings are too easy to over-consume, and eating large amounts at one time can lead to excess fermentation in the hind gut, potentially causing colic and laminitis. Piles of clippings can rapidly invite mold to form (especially prevalent in hot, humid environments), which can lead to colic. Finally, because there is no air inside a dense pile, botulism can develop, which turns this “treat” absolutely deadly. This tip comes from Dr. Juliet Getty, a consultant and speaker on all aspects of equine nutrition. She has been published internationally and is the author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse, a comprehensive resource.