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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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lawn seedmix used for my horse pasture

Dear Dr Getty,

I'm upset as well as very worried.
I used a landscaper that also advertised as "pasture restoration" to re-seed and create some small 1 acre rotational paddocks, this just prior to spring.

These paddocks are now lush & green and I was going to put my 2 geldings in there to re-generate my larger 3 acre paddock.

Just now I come to find out the landscaper used a fescue/rye mix recommended for lawns, withstanding drought etc. I rang the seed manufacturer and they adviced me NOT to graze my horses on this grass mix as it was not suitable for horses.
I am assuming, but I will try to find out exact %, that this mixture is endophyte enhanced.

What to do now?
How dangerous is this asumingly endophyte enhanced pasture to my horses? How do I deal with this?
Should I have the grass spray-killed and re-seed with a suitable horsepasture mix seed?
Will spray killing be enough re-assurance that this fescue/rye will not be re-appearing in a couple of years time?

I'm really worked up over this.
I just had one horse diagnosed with shivers and another with atrial fibrillation, and I do not need anymore trouble or added risk to these boys?

How do I determine if these grasses are safe (eventhough the manufacturer told me 'not recommended for horses')?
I don't know what to do, other then being upset with my landscaper .

Also if these grasses are risky for grazing and could potentially pause a health concern, should I inform my insurance company of this, both horses are fully insured (medical included)

Thank you very much for any info/advice on this matter.

Kind regards,

Where are you from? Alpha, NJ

How did you locate this forum? via Chronicle of the Horse

Re: lawn seedmix used for my horse pasture

Hi Patsy!

I can feel your frustration through the airwaves!

But, the good news is, endophyte fungus is more of a problem for broodmares than for geldings or stallions. So, your boys are not in any real danger. However, this in general, is not the ideal pasture mix for horses to graze on 24/7. Especially rye -- this is higher in sugar and if it goes to seed, can be dangerous for horses that are prone toward laminitis.

So, limit your grazing to early morning hours, if possible. And, perhaps you can seed it with another type of grass during this spring, to dilute the grass mixture. I would suggest contacting your county extension agent for assistance with what will grow in your area.

Keep me posted!

Dr. Getty

P.S. Since your horses are experiencing health problems, you may want to consider a phone visit to go over the nutritional aspects of managing these disorders. I would be delighted to be part of your health-management team. Please let me know if I can be of more assistance.

Dr. G

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO

Re: lawn seedmix used for my horse pasture

Hi Dr Getty,

Thank you very much for your reply.
And actually it starts to look like I shouldn't have too much to worry about anymore.

Yesterday I had a call from Lesco, the seed manufacturer and they had been extensively looking into the seeds that were used, storage, purchase order etc.
Turned out that allthough the initial endophyte level for the particular seed was about 98%, the landscaper had purchased it about 2 years prior to seeding and just stored it in his warehouse.
Hence Lesco felt confident in telling me that the endophyte level as a result of this long storage periode would have gone down substantially and might even be close to nothing. They said I could still have it lab tested in Alabama, but they did not think that it would do anymore harm.
Now, combining this with your re-assuring answer, with my boys being geldings, it looks like I should be able to sleep on both ears when I put them out to graze on it !

Yes, correct, I'm dealing with some unpleasant health issues at present.
I will give you a call after our New Bolton visit next week.
My one boy will have an attempt at converting the Atrial Fibrillation at New Bolton Center next week with oral Quinidine. I am very worried about it, but felt I should give it a go as the onset of the AF is very recent, about 3 to 4 weeks ago. Fingers crossed the outcome will be good and he'll be back home with me alive & in sinus rythm soon.

I've done tons of reading on supplementation for both my shivers horse & heartproblem boy.
And apart from the Quiessence, nat Vit E, increased oil, low carb/starch etc. I am very interested in trying to add some Coenzyme 10 to their diets, as in humans this apparently strenghtens the heart and has had breakthrough results in the treatment of Parkinsons' disease, halting the progressiveness of PK.
It might be a wild guess today, but I seem to think there are some similarities between PK in humans and shivers in horses. Only downside with the CoQ10, so far no vet can tell me how much to add and how to make it absorbably into the bloodstream. Attempting to feed softgels to the boys turns out to be a no-no at present .

Another supplement I'm trying to find in horse quantities so to speak is L-carnitine and Lipoic Acid for my AFib boy, but so far no luck finding any high doses of this stuff, only human quantities .

Although not confirmed by any vet, my gut feeling is that both health problems of my boys are some type of mitochondria dysfunction, hence my keenness to trial CoQ10, but it seems that no studies on horses have ever been done in this direction.

So yes, I would certainly like to discuss a few possibilities with you.

Thanks again, Patsy.

Where are you from? Alpha, NJ

How did you locate this forum? via Chronicle of the Horse

Re: lawn seedmix used for my horse pasture

Hello Patsy,

You're investigation into Coenzyme Q10, l-carnitine, and lipoic acid is worthwhile. And, it's true that these nutrients are not readily available for horses. But, I can either help you find where to locate them or give you a proper dosage for your horse.

I'm delighted that the fescue situation has been resolved. And, I look forward to talking to you when you feel it's convenient. Please email me with times that you're available and we can set up a phone appointment. My email address is:

I wish you well,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO