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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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grass freezing and warming up/eating in sand arena

Hi there Doc, Hope all is well with you this holiday season.
I have a few questions that Have been on my mind here in Maine. The weather is changing "again" I have some pasture turnout and wondered if the grass freezing and thawing will cause a problem in my horses. I know that frozen/thawing grass can change the insulin levels and cause colic. How worried about this should I be?
I also have a round pen in my outdoor arena that I use as a paddock at this time of year and I do not feed hay in it because I am thinking of sand colic. Is it ok for horses to eat from the ground when it is a sand arena? It would be much easier to feed out there than to bring them in and out for eating hay.

Re: grass freezing and warming up/eating in sand arena

Hi Sass,

Actually, the freezing and thawing of grass can cause higher levels of sugars (fructans) to accumulate in the grass, which can lead to laminitis in some horses. So, it may be perfectly safe for you to let your horses graze, depending on their current health and their history. If they are not overweight, and have had no history of laminitis (sometimes called founder), you can let them graze in the grassy area.

Eating hay off the ground, if it is in a sandy area, is not desirable. Consider hanging hay nets from the panels to minimize their dirt consumption. If they'll eat over a tarp, you could place one under the hay net.

The best way to prevent sand colic is to feed lots of hay and grass pasture and making sure that they drink plenty of water. Adding a psyllium seed hull product such as Sand Relief is helpful, as well. I give this to my horses for one week out of the month as insurance, since, I too, live in a sandy area.

Hope this is helpful!

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO