Natural Horse World

Autumn Flush brings on Toxic Grass

It’s wonderful to have finally had some rain and with a tank full of water it feels like the drought has broken. The weather is still warm enough to grow grass but the lovely green tinge is already presenting problems for some horse and pony owners.

When grass has been stressed by drought and suddenly has a growth spurt, it contains toxins which are designed to protect it from over grazing. Our domestic horses not having a lot of choice when confined to small areas (less than 1,000 acres!) can be affected by this grass, commonly called the ‘Autumn flush’. Cases of lamintis in prone equines increase at this time of year, almost the same as in spring.

Horses who haven’t had a severe laminitic epsiode may show minor symptoms such as tenderness when ridden on gravel, or shortness of stride and refusal to jump.

Some horses can even show signs of ‘ grass staggers’ – which are exciteability, nervousness, a staggering unsteady gait or trembling. An excellent site for information of how mycotoxins affect horses (and these occur in other grasses, grains and hay as well) is

Horses that show symptoms of any being affected by grass or other toxic plants such as capeweed and flatweed (false dandelion) do well if fed additional magnesium.

Magnesium plays a role in the metabilism of the muscular and nervous systems. One very good high quality source is a product developed in New Zealand called Alleviate. It is an organic chelate – the highest grade available and inlcudes boron which is required to reduce the excretion levels of magnesium. Alleviate is now available through the Natural Horse World Store and you can read a more detailed product review here.

The Horsetalk link above also has some interesting info on magnesium and for feeding magnesium as a part of a custom mineral mix for maintenance, has high quality magnesium oxide.

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