Friday, June 28, 2013

Too Much Green?

Back at the end of April, I posted about possibly moving Lilly to a new barn. Again. I overheard someone at my barn mention that the BO and his wife might be putting their place up for sale. After thinking about it for a couple days, I decided just to email them and ask what their plan was. I didn't want to be nosy and intrude, but I felt like I had a right to know because it could impact my horse's life. They said they weren't sure if they were going to sell and they'd be making their decision in a few weeks. She'd let me know what they decided.

Here we are at the end of June and I still haven't heard anything from them. I feel like it isn't really any of my business so I haven't brought it up with them again, but I really want to know so I can plan for the future.

Lately I've noticed things disappearing from the barn. You know, like their horses. All three are now gone. The only horses that are left are the three that belong to the boarders. I've noticed improvements being made as well, and today I saw the tack room has been cleaned out like crazy. Our table is gone and a lot of the BO's tack is gone. I can read between the lines!

I've secretly been barn hunting since I found out about the possible sale. I checked out quite a few barns but none of them fit the bill for one reason or another. Since I didn't have to hurry up and leave, I decided just to keep my eyes open in case something else came along. It just so happens that something else did come along. I went to check out the place yesterday before work and I really liked it. It's everything I'm looking for and a little bit more. It costs more than I've ever spent on board, but I think it would be worth the cost. There's an indoor and outdoor arena, nice stalls, and a very private, no-drama type atmosphere. There's a problem, though. And it's a biggie.

They have the best pastures I have ever seen in North Carolina.

No, really! That's a bad thing! While pastures everywhere else are burned out, eaten down, and full of weeds, this place has green pastures full of clover, fescue, and grass galore. There's not a weed in sight, and they keep no more than two horses on each pasture. Lilly would probably have her very own.

All I kept thinking was how FAT my pig-horse would get turned out on pastures like those. And god only knows what would happen to her hooves. The barn manager offered to very slowly introduce her to the pasture, but I'm more worried about the long term. She would absolutely have to wear a muzzle, which is an idea I hate. I asked if they had something a little less lush, but they do not.

While I know even the crappy pasture Lilly lives on changes, and thus the sugar levels also change, it's minimal because there really isn't anything out there for her to eat. I've never had to worry about having a barefoot horse on such a lush pasture. Lilly already has high maintenance hooves and we really are still transitioning, so I don't want to move her somewhere that will cause me extra grief.

So I'm asking all my barefoot peeps and hoof nerds out there if this is something that is totally manageable and I'm freaking out for nothing, or if this could really end up being an issue for me.


  1. I'm no expert but I would say it is going to be all about hours per day on the grass. Do they have any dry lot turn out as well? Hopefully? (probably not)

    One thing I do with mine, as I have a ton of pasture right now, is if they get to graze the don't get anything else except the supplements. I don't know if that helps any.

    Sure is pretty and green there though!

    1. Right now they're doing 12/12 turnout, so the horses are out for 12 hours at night. They said they'd slowly introduce Lilly to the pastures, but they don't have any dry lots. So if she isn't on the lush grass, she'd be in the stall.

      Even with the crappy pastures at my current barn, Lilly is only on supplements, and I have to watch her weight even now. Add in some super green grass and we get a pony that everyone thinks is in foal!

  2. It would take a horse person to understand why a lush, green pasture isn't necessarily a great thing LOL.

    I'm glad you like the place...while I've never enjoyed the process of moving barns, it's always ended up being for the better, even if I didn't realize it at the time! Best wishes to you and Lily through this!

  3. In the last place I was at Ava had a really nice green, moist pasture. Which she loved. Me on the other hand I wasn't too happy eventually. She ended up getting thrush and soft hooves, she also got an abscess (not saying a moist pasture was the cause but possibly.) After we moved to the much dryer pasture, I missed the beautiful green pasture but after seeing how much their hoof health had changed I don't want to go back. I think being in that condition is not good for them, so I'd be careful.

  4. Wow, that's really tough. The place sounds and looks fabulous. I think I might be willing to give it a go, provided that they only do nighttime turnout with a grazing muzzle on. Otherwise you may have to keep looking. :(

  5. It looks beautiful, but I understand the dilemma. Our pastures are big but dry crap, and that's good. They are only green-ish for a really brief period in the Spring, and during that time, we only let them out 2 hours a day. I'm really more concerned about laminitis than hoof issues since our boys just aren't used green grass here.

  6. I didn't have a problem with Jetta on nice green pasture, but we were also doing lots of work in an all weather outdoor arena (abrasive footing) and gravel trails and pavement so I think that helped her hooves stay in shape. At least they do night turnout there though so that would help...

  7. I nominated you for the Liebster Award!

  8. There are several key points to consider...

    #1-You mentioned they are turning out at night, which as you are aware greatly reduces the amount of sugars in the grass she will be eating and less likely to cause problems. Obviously you (and they) understand the need for a gradual introduction to a green grass environment and proper precautions will be taken.

    #2-From the sounds of it, these are well-maintained pastures...No weeds and minimal animals grazing. From the look of this picture, it looks like these pastures are watered evenly and possibly even mowed to keep the growth even and consistent. That is actually beneficial and can reduce the problems that often happen in less well-maintained pastures. Problems often arise from pastures that have been and growing to brown and dry and over-grazing. Such evenly maintained pastures actually promote a horse to walk and graze in a more even manner, whereas in an over-grazed or stressed pasture they have a tendency to huddle around their favorite spots waiting for any sprig of green to show up again.

    #3-A grazing muzzle does not prevent a horse from grazing entirely. If the grass is long enough (which in a properly maintained pasture, it should be), the muzzle acts more like a slow-feeder. We used one on a wind-sucker and he could graze in the pasture, but couldn't bite the fence. You can help Lilly from being frustrated by making sure she has a flake of hay in her tummy before being turned out.

    #4-With access to an indoor arena...You are not going to encounter 'rain/mud' days or running out of daylight. In the long run, you will probably find you will be able to work Lilly more consistently and her weight may not be such an issue. ??

    #5-If you do notice her hooves softening due to the soft/moist pasture...there is a multitude of hoof hardeners available that will help seal the excess moisture out of her soles and walls.

    Can't say much about the cost of boarding...We do pay for the indoor arena...and if you think it might help give you more riding time...It might be worth it. That part is totally between you and your checkbook. ;-)