Why you should avoid too much clover/red clover in a horse’s pasture/hay.
Clovers can be associated with less common conditions in horses such as photosensitivity and liver disease. The specific toxins that cause these conditions have not yet been identified and are hypothesized to be either mycotoxins or secondary plant metabolites that are produced only under specific circumstances. Horses with photosensitivity due to clover ingestion develop sunburn-type lesions on nonpigmented (white markings) areas of skin and mucous membranes. Occurrence of clover-related photosensitization and liver disease varies greatly from year to year and from region to region, which suggests the toxin involved might be influenced by environmental conditions. Signs can be associated with ingestion of clover in pasture or hay and can occur any time of year, although cases are less common in winter months. The exact amount of clover that must be ingested before signs develop is unclear. However, most cases have been associated with diets consisting of at least 20% clover, and consumption of the flower appears to increase the risk for disease. Prevention is key and consists of minimizing or avoiding clover in equine diets. Read the complete article here at the Horse.com
Grass: The Horse Food that Kills Horses
If you’re a member of a metabolic horse Internet list, you are probably being cautioned strongly about certain types of grasses as being higher in sugar than other types. I am certain that many of you are desperately seeking exotic types of hay, such as Teff, because they are said to be lower in sugar than some other varieties. Perhaps you are thinking about plowing up your pasture and planting some recommended variety of “horse-friendly” grass.
The former will in many cases be an exercise in frustration and the latter is an extraordinary step, somewhat equivalent to bombing a large population of innocent civilians and should only be considered as a last resort.
My intention here is ABSOLUTELY NOT to de-emphasize the critical importance of looking first at grass and hay varieties that are demonstrated to be better for metabolic horses on average.
The difficulty lies in the fact that these horse friendly grasses may still rocket off the sugar and starch scales if they lack the soil elements to maximize their horse-friendly capabilities. That is what this article is about. It in no way challenges the work of those who have painstakingly shared their knowledge of grass species. I hope that the reader will ADD this list of possibilities to their possibilities data bank, not delete ANYTHING that they have learned previously.