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Why Can’t Horses Eat Grass Clippings?



Why Can’t Horses Eat Grass Clippings

Horses are majestic animals that require a significant amount of care and attention. Proper nutrition is a crucial factor in keeping your horse healthy and happy, but it’s not just what you feed them, it’s also what you don’t feed them. One question that often comes up among horse owners is why can’t horses eat grass clippings? While many may think that it’s a convenient and natural source of food for horses, the truth is that it can be dangerous.

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why horses should not consume grass clippings and the potential risks associated with it.

1. Fermentation and Toxicity

Grass clippings may seem like a harmless snack for your horse, but when they are left in a pile, they create an ideal environment for fermentation to take place. Fermented grass clippings can cause colic, laminitis, and other health issues for horses. Additionally, grass clippings can contain toxins that can be harmful to horses, such as nitrate and nitrite toxicity, which can lead to serious health complications.

2. Risk of Choking and Impaction

Horses are grazing animals that are designed to eat small amounts of food throughout the day. When horses are fed large amounts of grass clippings, they may not be able to chew and digest it properly, leading to a higher risk of choking and impaction. This can result in life-threatening complications and require immediate veterinary attention.

3. Quality and Nutritional Value

Grass clippings may appear similar to fresh grass, but they differ significantly in nutritional value. Once the grass is mowed, it begins to lose its nutritional value as it begins to dry. As a result, clippings may contain less desirable levels of valuable nutrients such as fiber, protein, and energy that are required for your horse’s growth and health. Moreover, the quality and nutritional value of grass clippings can be compromised by pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that may have been applied to the lawn.

4. Risks of Digestive Imbalance

Horses have a sensitive digestive system that requires a specific balance of nutrients to remain healthy. Feeding your horse grass clippings can disrupt this balance and cause digestive issues or bacterial overgrowth. This is because grass clippings are a concentrated source of carbohydrates, which can upset the balance in their digestive system and cause colic, ulcers, and other digestive issues.

5. Alternative Feeding Options

While it may be tempting to feed your horse grass clippings for convenience, it’s not worth the risk to their health. There are plenty of alternative feeding options that can provide your horse with the proper nutrition they require. High-quality hay or grass, fortified grains, and supplements can all be incorporated into your horse’s diet to meet their nutritional needs. If you’re unsure of what to feed your horse, consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to determine the best options.


While grass clippings may seem like a harmless snack or source of nutrition for your horse, it can pose serious risks to their health.

Fermentation, toxicity, choking, impaction, digestive imbalance, and compromised nutritional value are all potential dangers associated with feeding horses grass clippings. Therefore, it’s essential to be mindful of what food sources you provide your horse and prioritize their health and well-being.

By working with equine nutritionists, veterinarians, and providing high-quality foods, you can keep your horse healthy and happy.

I am Tommy, an avid equestrian who is passionate about the lifestyle. Writing for an equestrian blog has been a lifelong dream of mine, as I have been around horses my whole life. My mission is to share all the knowledge and experiences I have gathered throughout the years in order to help others reach their goals in this amazing sport. My dedication and enthusiasm towards horses and all things related to them never cease to amaze me!

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