“Its great,” he said. “It's a real mower.” “As opposed to a ‘fake’ mower?” I responded. “No, a R-E-E-L mower,” he said with a smile. And then I saw it. It is a modern version of the old fashioned, non-motorized, blades spin in a circle in some scissor like motion, who even knows how the grass gets cut, probably what Tom Sawyer used after he was done white-washing Aunt Polly’s fence, mower. To get it to work, the blades have to be moving fast enough for it to cut the grass, rather than just bend it over, which (without a motor) takes a bit of work, and in such a tiny yard as ours, there’s not a lot of room to get a running start. And if the grass is too long it won’t work, you have to raise the blades, cut it once, lower the blades and cut it again! That is NOT what I consider instant gratification. But as much as I complain and refuse to ever help out in the yard (this also has to do with Chiggers, which we do not have where I grew up and who consider me a delicacy), the reel mower is cheaper (no gas/oil), quieter (he has no excuse not to listen to me while he mows) and is much better for the grass. So that now, just a week into spring, our lawn is thick and lush and needs to be mowed (by someone other than me) at least once a week.
- Identify the horses and ponies who are at a higher risk of developing laminitis. Test “easy keepers,” geriatric horses and those with a history of laminitis for EMS and/or Cushing’s Disease.
- Treat any predisposing condition with diet, exercise and proper medications.
- For horses with a lower threshold, consider a zero grazing environment, such as a dry lot (while providing the horse with suitable forage alternatives).
- Limit turnout of pasture when grass is lush and when fructans are high.
- Turn horses out to pasture when fructan levels are likely to be at their lowest, such as from late night to early morning, removing them from the pasture by mid-morning.
- Employ the use of grazing muzzles to allow horses out on pasture but still limit their intake of grass.
- Maintain pastures regularly to prevent grass from becoming mature and stemmy (they contain high levels of fructans).
If you have any questions about pasture associated laminitis and whether your horse is at a higher risk, contact your veterinarian for proper testing and specific recommendations that will work for you.