One further point is that fescue alone is usually blamed for abortions in mares when it is actually the fungus like organisms on the fescue that cause the problems. BUT again it is elevated potassium that generally makes these organisms more deadly! The bottom line here is that less fertilizer is better and fescue should be avoided for pregnant mares. It would also seem obvious to me to avoid hay that has been grown on heavily fertilized fields especially for pregnant mares. Now the big question is how can I make my field better if I can’t fertilize? The answer is to avoid the typical types of fertilizers - those that are salt based. Salt fertilizers are destroying our environment as well as our soils. Year after year of fertilizer use kills beneficial earthworms that oxygenate the soil with their tunnels. Lack of oxygen kills the soil just like it would us.
Until you get the minerals right, nothing else matters. -Dan Moore, DVM
Fortunately, there are “time tested” ways to fertilize that are often even more economical and certainly more beneficial. Unfortunately because of all the “politics” involved, major universities seldom teach their use. One of the healthiest ways to make good pastures and again, often the most economical is to heavily lime your fields twice per year. Lime is Calcium Carbonate. Calcium keeps the soil basic rather than acid. Basic soil is healthy just as a more basic pH is healthier for people. Calcium in the form of lime is cheap and I promise if you have many weeds at all growing in your pasture, you need lime. Don’t expect immediate results however, because it takes time for the lime to be absorbed and utilized. But it will help tremendously over time.
Natural salt and minerals from an ancient sea bed.
While your pastures are improving, it is important to supplement the diet. Most horses I have found, at least in the eastern US, are calcium deficient. Typically, soils in the western United States contain more calcium - which is why the buffalo once flourished there and not in the east. Tremendous calcium is needed for the buffalo’s huge bones. For many years now, ring neck pheasant have not grown in the southeastern United States either, simply because there is not enough calcium in the soil to support their egg shells. Most horses have plenty of phosphorus in their diets, so I don’t worry too much about balancing the calcium to phosphorous ratio. An exception would be older horses, which occasionally can use more phosphorus.
The answer to perfect pastures is simple - do not use fertilizer and if you do, use liquid, non-salt types, plenty of lime for the pasture and keep a bucket full of NATURAL salt and minerals readily available to your horses at all times! Consider the use of crude, unrefined, essential fatty acids because horses today just can’t get them naturally, and because they are so important to overall health. One final suggestion: If your horse does not have access to grass, such as in the winter, or if the grass is poor, always supplement with Beta Carotene. Green grass generally provides plenty of Beta Carotene (vitamin A, by the way, is not enough) but hay provides hardly any. Beta Carotene is crucial for reproductive health, lactation, immune function and hundreds of other benefits. I believe it, too, will be considered “essential” in the future.
Two Great Products For Your “Less-Than-Perfect-Pasture” Horses! RED CAL
With natural sea salt, colloidal PROFESSIONAL trace minerals, calcium and CONCENTRATED FORMULA herbs. CONTAINS: For horses, cattle, sheep and goats. Feed "Free Choice" or top dress. Truly the healthiest product yet! Even exposure to rain and weather doesn’t diminish effectiveness. See page 46.
• Biotin • Silicon • Amino Acids Methionine and Lysine • Chelated, Proteinated, Naturally Sourced Minerals • Direct Fed Microbials • Vitamins
Available in 3, 12 and 36 lbs. See page 52.
“All horses, especially those pastured horses, must have access to loose (preferably naturally sourced) salt and minerals at all times! In my humble opinion, RED CAL is the single most healthy thing you can give your horse to prevent problems. Just hang a bucket on a fence post and make sure there is always some in it.” -Dan Moore, The Natural Vet®
Visit www.PerfectPastures.com For More Info