Most horses in the Netherlands graze in pastures that are suitable for intensive cattle farming. Those pastures have been seeded with grass seed mixtures containing perennial ryegrass with a high feed value. That perennial ryegrass is excellent for cows, which need a lot of protein for their milk production. Horses, however, need grass with a low fructan (sugar) concentration and a high effective fibre content. Horse Master consists of grasses specifically selected to meet horses’ needs.
Horses graze grass by biting it off very close to the roots. Cows eat with their tongues, grazing the grass at a much higher level.
It is important for horse grass to have strong roots to prevent the risk of the horses pulling the entire grass plant out of the ground. Grass that is grazed so short has difficulty regrowing. That results in bare patches that involve a risk of sand colic. Sand colic is caused by horses ingesting large amounts of sand while grazing. We have developed horse grass comprising varieties with a very low growing point to promote horses’ health and minimise the risk of sand colic. Our horse grass tolerates short grazing and discourages weed growth.
It is often claimed that poor pastures are suitable for horses. This is actually incorrect. A shortage of nutrients causes stress in grass, resulting in poor growth and the production of large amounts of sugar (fructan). Such high fructan contents may cause health problems such as laminitis. Another problem is the high risk of weeds in poor pastures. Good horse grass is long, tall, fully grown, low in energy and with a relatively high fibre content.