Impact of Pasture

As autumn draws closer this is the time to rethink our horse’s requirements. It is a common observation among horse owners that late autumn grass does not have the same impact on their horse’s diets as that of spring or summer grass. So what changes we do we need to make in our feed programs? 

With the ever-changing weather keeping ahead of pasture changes can be difficult. With heavily stocked paddocks or small grazing areas these changes are even more noticeable. In such conditions damage from wear and tear compounds the problems as grass growth slows and cannot keep up with consumption. The lower intake combined with a drop in sugar and protein value can lead to quick changes in body condition.


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The protein in the grass reduces as the growing season progresses. This is because protein levels are linked to the grass growth stage and are affected by soil nutrition, topping and management.

The typical growing season will see a final flush of grass around September however values monitored in dairy farms are showing an earlier peak with growth rates now declining. As pasture is the primary source of nutrition for horses at this time of year being aware of changes and closely monitoring body condition is important.

Your feed program will now need to provide additional protein, calories and fibre to compensate for the decrease in quantity and quality of pasture available. Pasture is naturally high in the key amino acid lysine, the essential amino acid involved in repair of and development of tissues. For any horses that are prone to dropping condition it is important to choose a feed that provides adequate protein and provides a good level of lysine. By slowly introducing new feeds to the diet now any changes in increased requirements are easily made as the temperature drops and pasture access is reduced.

The requirement for extra calories is easily met through use of high calorie feeds and oils. Increasing calories does not have to equate to a significant increase in starch intake. Choosing conditioning supplements such as Build & Glow are an easy to feed way of increasing both oil and protein intake. Choice of fibre also plays a role. Higher protein and oil coated chaffs are an excellent way of improving total diet profile and provide additional fibre within a bucket feed.

Dodson and Horrell have particular feeds for particular horses so there is always an option.

Dodson & Horrell Feed

Feeding guide/day for additional calories  

Protein %



Build & Glow

100g/100kg bodyweight




Alfalfa Chaff

100-600g/100kg bodyweight




Alfalfa Oil Plus

100-600g/100kg bodyweight




Build Up Conditioning Mix

400g-1kg /100kg bodyweight




Build Up Conditioning Cubes

400g-1kg/100kg bodyweight




CushCare Condition

600g/100kg bodyweight




Fibre Fusion

100-600g/ 100kg bodyweight





·         Dodson & Horrell Build and Glow is an easy way a top up calories. This high oil, steady release, supplement provides additional calories and protein as is an easy addition to the diet.

·         Increasing the amount of Dodson & Horrell Alfalfa Chaff added to each meal, or changing to Alfalfa Oil Plus, provides easily digested calories from fibre.

·         Dodson & Horrell Build Up Conditioning Mix or Cubes supports horses preparing for increases in winter work.

·         Dodson & Horrell Fibre Fusion- a combination of alfalfa, sanfoin and grass with a rapeseed oil coating.

·         For those with Insulin concerns and weight loss consider Dodson & Horrell CushCare Condition which contains less than 10% sugar and starch combined, essential lysine, methionine and carnitine.

Always be vigilant with those horses that are prone to insulin resistance or laminitis as there are exceptions when sugar levels can significantly increase and be higher than normal, such as in bright sunshine especially when the grass is frosted or subjected to drought.