Natural Horse World

Native Grasses for Horses

Native horse pasture
Native horse pasture – photo by Adriana Nielsen

I was very excited to see an Australian native grass seed company that has several pasture mixes for horses to help prevent laminitis.
Most pasture seed sold at your local produce store is designed for food production so beef, lamb, and dairy animals make the end product faster.

These predominantly ryegrass and clover mixes are deadly for horses who can’t process the fructans (sugars), causing laminitis and founder.
Australian native grasses have a much lower level of NSCs (non-structural carbs) so are much safer to graze in larger quantities by our equines.

The generally recognized threshold used to avoid pasture-induced laminitis require the pasture NSCs to be below 10 g/100g.

To give you an example of how safe native grasses are, two of the commonly used native grasses, Weeping grass and Wallaby grass, easily fall under this threshold. They have contents for Fructose of less than 0.2, Glucose of less than 0.2, and total sugars of less than 1.0 g/100g.

In comparison, the content of NSCs in exotic species such as Ryegrass can show an average of the simple sugars at 10.9g/100g.
So you can have confidence that native grasses will not cause equine laminitis even when they are growing in favored conditions.

Mature southern horse native pasture.

Native Seeds have made their FREE eBook “Equine laminitis: How native grasses can help in its prevention” available to us for download here.

It explains the difference between the native grasses and introduced grasses, along with how horses digest these differently.
The description and photos of all the Australian Native grasses are excellent.

Currently, they have three products for equine pastures in different areas: Gallop horse pasture mix for Northern and Southern parts of Australia, plus low rainfall hay and pasture mix.

These seed mixes contain low NSC grasses that are perfect for all areas of Australia. Check out the Gallop pasture mixes here.

To learn more about native grasses and producing seeds have a look at this video.

YouTube player

For more information on laminitis visit these links: Laminitis: Safer Grazing Times: HoofXtra Can Help Laminitis

6 thoughts on “Native Grasses for Horses”

    1. Cynthia

      Please click on the link in the story to the Native Seeds website to get them.

    1. Cynthia

      Hi Lyn, I didn’t re-seed as the grasses are left to seed naturally here so they spread when you can leave areas of the land untouched by grazing or hay-making. I don’t see any evidence of wallaby grass seed getting stuck in their teeth.
      Cheers, Cynthia.

    1. Cynthia

      There may be native grass seeds available in Canada, but these particular Australian native seeds are probably not available due to import quarantine restrictions.

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