There are many benefits to keeping your pastures and paddocks mowed besides making it aesthetical.
Pasture mowing controls weeds, grows better grass and reduces “sweet spots”, ideally cut at approximately 4”, making sure soil doesn’t get mixed with the clippings.
But what are the dangers of a horse eating freshly mowed grass?
Basically, think about uncured hay being baled. It is subject to mold! Mowed grass doesn’t get turned like hay and the moisture that stays on the bottom of the grass, in rows or clumps, stays wet and subject to molding. (You can drag the pasture, to help it dry out quicker, by breaking down the rows and clumps.)
It is common knowledge that mold can cause many problems with a horse, even in extreme cases, death.
Consuming too much grass to quickly, unlike grazing in the pasture, can possibly cause choking for lack of saliva, and can potentially upset fermentation in the digestive system.
Horses love the sugar-laden cut grass and often do not even chew it. Without being chewed it causes the starch/sugar bacteria in the hind gut to go into overdrive producing an increased level of lactic acid.
This lactic acid lowers the pH of the hindgut, killing the fiber digesting bacteria, releasing toxins and causes an inflammatory reaction that can cause colic or laminitis.
Lawn clippings can also cause problems and should never be fed. Weed control and fertilizer can be toxic and lawn grass does not have the nutritional needs of a horse.
According to a press release issued by the United States Equestrian Federation, this should be the last thing you encourage your horse to eat. It has to do with that extra step: raking. Would you like to learn more about how grass clippings in pastures are bad for horses?