How do I wean my horse onto pasture grass?

My horse is a 6 year old TB Mare. She has been boarded out at the stable where she was born all her life. The pasture there is bare of any grass. She receives Hay thrown out each day to forage on.My horse is a 6 year old TB Mare. She has been boarded out at the stable where she was born all her life. The pasture there is bare of any grass. She receives Hay thrown out each day to forage on.

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dr. Lowder,

My horse is a 6 year old TB Mare. She has been boarded out at the stable where she was born all her life. The pasture there is bare of any grass. She receives Hay thrown out each day to forage on.

Her routine at the stable during the summer is in all day and out at night then this is reversed in the winter. She is fed grain twice a day.

I’m bringing her home at the end of this month. We have a new barn and have established pasture for her. My concern is putting her out right away on the grass. We have about 3 acres of new fescue (planted last fall). Its not particularly thick and lush yet, but it is much more than is available to her now.

How exactly do I wean her out on her new pasture? I’ve been told to do it slowly, but I’m not sure how slow. Can you tell me how many hours to start with and how to increase her time so eventually she can be turned out all day (or night).

Thank you very much.
Martina Wilson

Martina,

Start with about 2 hours a day and increase by 15 minutes every other day.

Thanks,
Dr. Lowder