Can horses survive by just eating grass?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Rookielearner, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Rookielearner

    Rookielearner Banned

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    I had a friend tell me that horses can survive by just eating grass. Thought that didnt sound quite right. Dont horses need grain and hay too for survival? Isnt grass more of a complimentary food compared to hay and grain?
     






  2. Barrel Racer123

    Barrel Racer123 Senior Member

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    Wild horses survive on just grass. I would think that they could although it might not be the best food.
     
  3. HowClever

    HowClever Senior Member+

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    Depends on the horse and quality of the grass. 4 of my 6 do just fine with nothing but grass. The pony does too well so is kept off the good grass and fed hay. My old thoroughbred has free access to the pasture as well as 24/7 hay and is just about to start on senior feed as he has dropped a little weight.
     
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  4. Rookielearner

    Rookielearner Banned

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    Oh i see. See the reason i ask is because i always wonder how abandoned horses survive? Im talking horses that the owners never come out to see the, play with them, care for them. So the horses pretty much eat grass all the time with no human interaction.

    this cant be very healthy for the horses. It breaks my heart just seeing them like this. No horse deserves to be abandoned. I know they still have each other, but horses need human interaction too.
     
  5. BlueDiamond

    BlueDiamond Senior Member

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    The only time my horses get hay is when there isn't any grass left. Horses are designed to eat grass as their main diet. The only time i grain is if the horse has a weight issue and needs the extra calories.
     
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  6. twisterlove

    twisterlove Senior Member

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    It depends on the horse and it activity.
    And how much grass there is.
    We had a gelding out here a whole summer and never needed hay or grain (but the grass was thick and tall)
    But I'm no exbert.
     
  7. coloredcowhorse

    coloredcowhorse Senior Member+

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    Many horses live in climates where there is grass available all or most of the year....and are fed hay (which is nothing more than dried grass or other forage foods such as alfalfa) only when there isn't grass. Horses do not need grain unless they are working hard, stallions in breeding season, late pregnancy and lactating mares (and if there's plenty of grass most of those don't need grain either). The 40,000 or so feral horses in this country live fine on native grasses...no one is feeding them hay or grain. They sometimes look poorly by spring if it has been a difficult winter but if there is sufficient grass they do fine. When I lived in the Pacific NW and had decent sized farms to rent my horses generally went from March to about late Oct or even early Nov without hay (except for the stallions as they were kept in pens so didn't have access to the pasture grass) and were fed hay only for about 4-5 months of the year.

    Horses do not need human interaction to be healthy....the feral horses do fine without it. Horses on large ranches do fine without it. It is actually much more important to them to have other horses for interaction but many horses live as singles and generally do well....these may be happier with more human interaction since they lack equine companions.
     
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  8. CessBee

    CessBee Senior Member+

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    Grain/hard feed and Hay are only needed if the horse isn't getting enough calories and/or other nutrients from the grass.
     
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  9. PizzazzandMe

    PizzazzandMe Senior Member+

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    It depends on the horse. My barn owner's QH broodmares are in a huge pasture (20 acres maybe?) and are fat as ticks on just grass. A boarder tried putting her older TB mare back there and she lost weight pretty quickly.
     
  10. meljean

    meljean Senior Member+

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    You are wrong here, horses do just fine without any humans around at all. We add nothing to their lives in other words. They are not out there pining in the wild horse herds for a "human of their very own." And in fact, even horses that are around humans daily, would be just fine never seeing us again. As long as there is food and water? They are perfectly content.

    While there are a few horses that are more interested in humans, in that they will leave their feed to come visit, the vast majority of them won't.

    Horses are not dogs, nor are they human, they are just fine without us interfering with them at all.

    For that matter, all species are just fine without interacting with humans. Left to their own devices they do well all by themselves.

    I can think of no species that have benefited from interaction with humans for that matter. Sad commentary.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
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