Wednesday, April 8, 2009

First Grass and Noble's Nose

Today was our official first day to start turnout on grass.  In the winter months (very, very long in these parts) our horses are on dry lot - for more than 5 months.  The dry lots are seeded with grass in the spring after the horses come out, so they do have some grass for a while in the fall.  Then we use round bales through the winter and spring.  For the past several weeks, the horses have been nibbling the grass as it resprouts in the dry lots - it's amazing how nimble their lips and teeth are to bite off the tiniest morsels.  But today we started true grazing, only for an hour or so - we ease into it, adding an hour a day until we're up to 6 hours and then the horses go out all day.  This process involves turning out to dry lot in the morning and then moving all the horses to the pastures at earlier times every day until we're worked up to full day turnout on grass.  Luckily for me, the boarders are very helpful with this.

The horses find this process very exciting.  Some gallop off from the gate, and there is also bucking and rolling.  Some just dive for the grass as soon as their halters are off.  Even Blackjack, our most senior horse, got to go out with the other geldings.  He had been in a separate paddock for a while because he was being harassed by the younger horses, particularly Scout.  They all seem to have enjoyed their grazing time - more tomorrow!

When we were moving the geldings to grass this afternoon, Noble had a bloody nose on the left side - a wide swath of blood mixed with colorless liquid.  It was still wet but whatever it was had apparently stopped bleeding.  It didn't look like the result of a scratch inside the nose.  He was coughing a bit and his breathing sounded a little wet.  But he wasn't in distress and the head down position of grazing would help clear out anything in his airway.  He was very interested in going out and even galloped around the pasture before settling down to graze.  I knew I would see him in an hour or so, so I wasn't too worried.

When he came in, there was no sign that there had ever been any bleeding.  His breathing and demeanor were normal and he seemed fine.  I listened with a stethoscope, but everything sounded normal.  We may never know for sure what it was, unless it reoccurs.  I suspect a little blood vessel popped somewhere in his airway and bled for a little bit, then stopped.  At his age (almost 29) anything can happen at any time.  I consider every day I have him to be a good day.


  1. Sounds like they are all enjoying their grass turnout. We do basically the same routine. When the grass really comes up they start getting grazing muzzles on or else we'd have to roll them back into the barn. They are all a bunch of hoovers. Glad to hear Noble had nothing drastically wrong with him.

  2. I don't have enough grass to worry about it...for good or ill. The Boys are out in the "pasture" as a routine and the grass doesn't grow much. I do not have the acreage to really offer quality pasture, so I feed hay all year round.

  3. One of the retirees here will get random nose bleeds. His owner told me about it before he came and warned me. She'd had him scoped and thoroughly examined more than once over the years and a cause was never found. It happens very rarely and doesn't seem to phase him at all, (even when he was still in work it apparently didn't bother him at all).

  4. Oh how they love green grass! I wish we had grass pastures! Hand grazing is all my horse gets :-(. There aren't too many grass pastures in LA, so sad for the horses. I kept my young horse over an hour away just so she could grow up in a lush pasture. It makes for a healthy happy horse!


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