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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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Re: HELP...I'm so confused about pasture feeding

Hello Erin,

I apologize for not being able to answer your questions -- I'm finally able to type with two hands.

This time of year, your pasture is likely considerably lower in sugar and starch than earlier in the year and may be fine for your horse. The best, and frankly, the only way to know, is to test it. Go to and email them or call for a free forage-collecting kit. And read the instructions on the website for collecting fresh pasture. You can order the Fast-Trac test -- the least expensive one -- and add together %WSC and %Starch to give you %NSC. NSC should be less than 12% to be considered safe for an overweight horse.

The safest time of day to allow your horse to graze on pasture would be before dawn, before the sun rises. During the night, the grass uses up all the sugar and starch it produced during the day before, and therefore, the levels are at their lowest before dawn. Throughout the day, as the grass is exposed to sunlight, it produces more sugar and starch via photosynthesis, making the most dangerous time in the late afternoon on a sunny day.

I hope this is helpful. Keep me posted.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

I've spent hours poring over your website and forum posts to figure out how to feed my 11 yo Arab. He is not obese, but a little overweight in my opinion. I have been giving him free access 24/7 to pasture grass for a while now. While doing this I have discontinued all other forms of feed, except a once a day small bowl of Triple Crown Safe Starch Forage with a cup of alfalfa pellets with Purina 12:12 loose minerals.

After reading through your website I'm not sure if the free access to pasture is making him fat, or if limiting his access to pasture (I would have to keep him in my 60 ft. roundpen) will stress him out and make him fat.

I've just put in an order of Quiessence, but I'm so confused about pasture grazing...any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO