U.K. Researchers Study Pony Grazing Management

Restricting feed intake for horses and ponies on pasture is often an important aspect of preventing obesity and obesity-related complications including laminitis.

Researchers in the United Kingdom examined the utility of using strip grazing to limit forage intake and evaluated the effects of this grazing system on dry matter intake, body weight, body condition and cresty neck scores, as well as heart girth, belly girth and rump width measurements of healthy ponies.

Movable fences were adjusted daily to restrict access to available forage on grass pastures. This successfully limited dry matter intake to 1.5% of body weight per day compared with 2.3% dry matter intake for ponies on unrestricted pastures. Body weight, body condition scores and cresty neck scores, as well as all body measurements, were significantly lower on the strip grazing pastures compared with the unrestricted grazing.

The authors concluded that strip grazing was a useful tool for managing weight gain in ponies on pasture. They advise monitoring forage yields to ensure the size of grazing areas can be properly adjusted to achieve desired dry matter intake.

— Longland AC et al. EVJ 2022;54:159-166

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Albert Kane

Albert J. Kane, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D.

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