Workshop Dates

Managing Properties and Feeding Programs

presented by WA Horse Council and Perth Natural Resource Management

Click here for flyer with further information


Sunday 14th 2016



Sunday 20th 2016



Sunday 3rd 2016

Henley Brook


The Functional Hoof Australian Conference

Start saving your pennies and make a note in your diary for......

The Functional Hoof Conference

Wednesday, February 2nd through to Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Werribee Victoria

 A conference for anyone interested in learning more about the hoof.  A great line up of International and Australian speakers.

For more information click here


A must read publication for horse owners

A recently released publication from Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) called Equine Laminitis - Managing Pasture to Reduce the Risk is a MUST READ for all horse owners.

It details all the risk factors in pasture and feed and ways to manage these risks to reduce the incidence of laminitis.  Even if you don't have a horse or pony prone to laminitis....this publication still contains useful information on the management of your pastures!

Click here to download or purchase a copy

Some interesting points to note are:

  • Stressed pasture (through cold, drought, lack of fertiliser etc.) is higher in sugars than unstressed pasture.
  • Ryegrass and clover pastures (common to WA) are some of the worst pastures to graze horses on due to the high sugar content of these pasture species.
  • Australian native grass species are low in sugars and well adapted to our conditions and hence are valuable pasture species for horses.  Species such as Wallaby grass, Weeping grass and Kangaroo grasses are worth adding to your pastures.
  • Sugars are generally stored in the base of the plant, hence grazing the pasture too low may actually increase the amount of sugar per mouthful your horse eats!
  • Commonly fed grains, hay and chaff are some of the highest sources of sugars - and are generally not required for the average pleasure horse.

When it comes to the amount of sugar in your pasture, it seems environmental conditions can have more of an impact than genetics.  Hence if you are a horse owner grazing your horses on pasture, you must learn to manage your pastures well..... and this means learning what factors will increase or decrease the sugar levels of your pasture.

As an example:

A client of mine recently started supplementary feeding her TB gelding.  She was unable to get Copra and instead used a bran/pollard mix thinking this would do a similar job.  At the next trim the gelding had blood in his white line.  When the diet was analysed it turns out switching from Copra to the bran/pollard mix had increased the sugar content of his diet by around 20%.  Around the same time there was a stretch of cold nights and bright sunny days.  This too would have increased the sugar levels in the pasture he was grazing.   These two factors combined had enough of an impact to cause damage to the laminae in his feet!


Finally some decent rain....

Now that we have finally got some rain, balanced with all those sunny days in between, the grass (and weeds) are really starting to kick along.  All that moisture and sunlight makes for perfect growing conditions for our pastures.  The plants start really photosynthesizing and if they are not constantly grazed they will be building up their carbohydrate stores.  Hence if you have ryegrass based pastures, you might want to limit your horses access to the grass, or make sure they have filled up with hay before letting them onto the grass to prevent them gorging themselves on high sugar feed.

The one down side from all the sunlight is the cold nights that help to drop soil temperature.  When soil temperature constantly gets below about 12-13 degrees it slows the pasture growth significantly.  In order not to damage your pasture, you will want to rotationally grazing your paddocks, to give each paddock a chance to recover prior to being regrazed.   If you are already rotationally grazing then you will need to slow you rotation speed down, to take into consideration the slower growth rates of the pasture.

If your pasture is Rhodes or Kikuyu, then the cooler temperatures will often shut down its growth altogther.  So now is the time to make sure your any long or rank areas are slashed or grazed down so that winter active pasture species can get enough sunlight to grow throughout winter and spring. 


Welcome to my journal

Hello all,

This journal is where I will be discussing what is going on out in the paddocks and under the horse from time to time.  I'll be looking at weather conditions, their impact on the feed value of grasses and how this might affect your horses health and feet. 

Stay tuned!

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