Take a look at these wonderful horses enjoying a peaceful and sunny day on this fresh pasture. They certainly feel very good and they like these few hours of peace and quiet.
But horses should be fed hay before they go out to pasture for the first time. Don’t bring them back on an empty stomach! Initial grazing should be limited to 15-20 minutes and gradually increased by 15 minutes each day until horses have been out for approximately 4-5 hours, after which unlimited time may be allowed.
The majority can survive only with grass because that is what they were born to do in the wild, but wild horses only live about 10 years. Horses, if in work, need lots of vitamins and minerals that grass alone can’t give them. Many horse owners will feed them hay, and grain, and a salt block to give them those nutritions.
In general, horses should be allowed to graze in the early morning or evening to minimize ingestion of high fructose leaves. However, these are also peak feeding times for mosquitoes, which can transmit a multitude of disease-causing organisms, including West Nile viruses. So be careful.
And we know that young spring grass is tempting to your horse after a long winter of hay and grain, for example, but eating too much of it can bring on serious abdominal pain known as colic. As with the founder that also can follow too much spring grass consumption, moderation is the key to the prevention of grass colic.
Many people also find that allowing their horses to be outside 24/7 is beneficial for the mental health of the animal. The extra freedom leads to fewer behavior problems and also makes the horse easier to train.