Grass- one of the most natural things a horse can eat, but to a PSSM1 horse, grass is one of their biggest enemies.
Changes of season can be a real big worry for PSSM1 owners, as with changes of season comes changes in grass growth and its contents. When the grass is growing at a rate of knots and you are the owner of a PSSM1 horse who can’t eat it down, it can be hard to know exactly how to deal with it.
Which is why we have compiled the top 5 ways to reduce your PSSM1 horses grass intake to help you! All of these methods have been tried and tested by PSSM1 horse owners themselves.
1) Grazing Muzzle
Also used for laminitic horses, and horses prone to obesity. The grazing muzzle is one of the easiest ways to reduce your PSSM1 horse’s grass intake. Grazing muzzles can be used in any scenario, including horses that are on herd turnout where restricting grazing is just not possible.
A grazing muzzle works by limiting the amount of grass a horse can eat. Grazing muzzles come in many different sizes, colours, and designs meaning there is a grazing muzzle to suit every horse!
However, it should be noted that prolonged use of some grazing muzzles can cause wearing of the front teeth so they should be used with caution.
2) Restricted/Strip Grazing
If you have your own yard, or are on individual turnout at your livery yard. Then restricted/strip grazing is a great way to reduce your PSSM1 horse’s grass intake. Restricted/strip grazing is also useful if you move to a new yard and end up with a paddock full of grass!
To make your horse a restricted paddock all you need to do is simply make your horse a small square paddock, it’s easiest to use a corner to start with. Then once your horse has eaten the paddock right down you can gradually increase the size of the paddock one length at a time.
By adjusting the size of the paddock this way you are restricting the amount of grass your PSSM1 horse can eat in 1 go, the size of the paddock can eventually be extended to the whole field as the horse eats the paddock down.
Please note this will only work if your fence is electrified and your horse respects electric fencing, greedy horses may go through fences, lean over, or under fences to reach more grass.
3) Dry Lot
A dry lot is simply turnout in a ménage or on a concrete, matted, sand, or mud paddock area with hay or haylage instead of hay. Dry lot turnout means the horse has no grass at all.
This method is suitable for PSSM1 horses who are really sensitive to grass, or for a PSSM1 horse who has gone symptomatic as the dry lot can be used as a form of strict rehab to help reduce the horses Glycogen levels.
4) Grass Mats
Also useful for if your horse is laminitic, grass mats are perfect in any scenario including livery yards, as they don’t kill the grass!
Grass mats work a bit like a grazing muzzle except instead of the muzzle being on the horse, it’s like the muzzle is on the ground instead, only a certain amount of grass can grow through the grass mats limiting the horses grazing.
To make your horse a grass mat paddock simply section off the sized paddock of your choice and place grass mats down to cover the area, these can be picked up and moved as and where needed.
5) Eaten Down Paddock With Soaked Hay
If you’re on individual turnout or have your own yard, you can keep your horse on the same paddock all year round. Providing the paddock is not too large a horse on the same paddock all year round that’s never rested (even in winter) will keep it eaten down, meaning there won’t be much grass that grows on it at all as the paddock will never get a rest, you can substitute grass with soaked hay, or haylage.
For more information of how to reduce your PSSM1 horses grass intake please check out our Youtube video by clicking this link