Kentucky is known for its beautiful rolling green pastures filled with broodmares and their young, but there can be an ugly side to this picture: the half acre turnout paddock next to every barn. You know the one—new mares and foals, mares close to foaling, or horses on layup are turned out here every day.
What grows in your pasture? Ideally, abundant forage that is nutritious to horses. However, a perusal of most Kentucky horse pastures will uncover 20 plant species, many of which are weeds. The abundance of weedy species depends greatly on pasture management: Overgrazing of pasture grasses and soil compaction are primary causes of weed occurrence.
University of Kentucky (UK) Ag Equine Programs will host a UK Equine Showcase Jan. 18 and the 4th Annual Kentucky Breeders' Short Course Jan. 19, both at the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, 1490 Bull Lea Road, Lexington.
Common name: Chicory Scientific name: Cichorium intybus L.
Central Kentucky horse farms interested in assistance in evaluating their pastures now have access to the Horse Pasture Evaluation Program offered by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.
Comparing pasture samples from 2002 and 2003 didn't associate Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome with anything other than the Eastern tent caterpillar. However, Wayne Long of the University of Kentucky's Department of Agronomy provided some insight on pasture management in Central Kentucky and stressed the dangers of tall fescue toxicosis.
MRLS took the lives of some 3,500 foals in Central Kentucky, but a recent study indicates it did not affect the quality of life for surviving foals.
Weather forecasts for the evening of April 24 in Central Kentucky have prompted University of Kentucky scientists to advise farm owners to temporarily restrict horses from eating pasture grass. The advisory is because of mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS), which hit at this time last year after an unusual weather pattern.
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