Sunday, April 5, 2009

13/365 The dangerous side of spring

One thing I've found interesting to learn since having horses is the danger that comes with spring grass.

I know, that sounds like an oxymoron -- "danger" and "spring grass" don't seem like two ideas that fit together.

But here's the idea: When the grass begins growing again in the spring, loads of nutrients flood into the new growth.

Enter, horses. They've spent the winter eating grain, last year's hay, and any little bits of grass left and worth eating in a field. Then all of a sudden, the grass in the field is growing again, which makes it incredibly tasty. They think about it the same way I think about fresh fruits and vegetables at this time of year: "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!"

But this drastic change in food to their systems is dangerous. The horses will gorge themselves on spring grass, and since their digestive systems aren't used to that, their bodies go haywire.

Not only can they develop serious internal problems, but they can quickly put on weight, which is just as hard on the body of a horse as it is on the body of a human.

Who'd have thought that green grass could be dangerous? The key lies in moderating the horse's intake of lush spring grass, a process they despise because it means being held in a dirt lot, gazing out into to the pasture.

And in this case, the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 at about 8:00 a.m.

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