Why Have A Dry Lot?
Nothing is prettier than horses grazing in lush green pastures… just not all day long. If you’ve ever pulled into the clinic you will see that we have several dry lots with shelters surrounded by a large lush pasture which the horses are only turned out a few hours at a time. In fact, we cannot stress enough the importance of controlled grazing and the need for dry lots.
Horses allowed to graze unfettered can easily take in more calories than required, resulting in obesity. Obese horses are likely to develop Insulin Resistance (IR). The glucose and insulin levels in IR horses become abnormally high, making them susceptible to laminitis.
Horses with Cushings Disease and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) also fall in the high risk category. When over-grazed, their insulin levels can spike, resulting in laminitic episodes.
While dry lots may not be as “pretty” as our horses leisurely grazing in lush green pastures, they can improve a horse’s health and quality of life.
Dry Lot Benefits Include:
– Horses can spend more time outside where they can exercise, stimulate their brains, enjoy sun bathing, bond with the herd or relax in the shade.
– You have complete control over their diet which is exceedingly important for IR, EMD, and Cushings horses.
– Dry lots are easy to clean.
– By using a slow feeder like Porta-Grazer, which comes with different sized holes to adjust feeding rates, horses can “graze” all day without over eating.
– By placing the feeder, water trough, and shelter in different areas of the lot you can encourage exercise.
If creating a dry lot is not possible for you, consider fitting your horses with grazing muzzles. The muzzles will limit the amount of grass they can take in one bite and allow to them be turned out for longer periods of time.