<P>ily or the nassella family, its native. Those grasses will be present to some degree throughout the Great Plains, so from Montana or North Dakota all the way down to the southern tip of Texas, Morgan says. How much of that grass is present in terms of production or fre- quency is a direct result of the grazing management of that particular plant community or that pasture. Needle grass is an opportunist, barging into pastures during hard times. Usually those are the first to colonize an area, so if a wildfire went through an area or any other type of disturbance, maybe drought or overgrazing, those plants are the first to respond, Morgan says. That characterization fits Rajeanas timeline: She bought the hay during a dry spell in Texas, and she didnt notice anything different about her bales. We went back and looked at the hay, and its so fine that if you dont know what youre look- ing for – not having been exposed to it – you wouldnt know what youre looking at, she says. I feel fortunate that we caught it when we did and that Dr. Ramey knew what it was. Treating the Horses WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE, I WAS THE TYPICAL COLLEGE STUDENT who had more horses than money, so I was trying to buy Dried grass was jammed into pockets between the teeth and gum. Rajeana called her equine veterinarian immediately and started driving toward his clinic. He knew what it was immediately because he had seen it when he was in college, Rajeana says. He showed us how to clean it out. The culprit? A slender, hair-sized grass that her veterinar- ian, Dr. Charter Ramey, calls needle grass. What is Needle Grass? NEEDLE GRASS IS ONE COMMON NAME, SAYS MOR- gan Russell, a range specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Sometimes its referred to as spear grass. Down here in the San Angelo area, we refer to it as Texas winter grass, but there are other species. Texas winter grass is from the nassella family. When I spent time in the northern mixed- grass prairies, people in the area referred to pur- ple threeawn as needle grass. The tag needle grass can refer to any num- ber of different species, depending on location, but they have one common end: Theyre sharp. The most problematic species with sharp-ended awns are the threeawn species, which is in the aristida family, or Texas winter grass, which is the nassella species, Morgan says. Whether the lurker in your pasture is in the aristeda fam- 62 JUNE 2016 RANCH HORSE JOURNAL Purple threeawn is one of the varieties of threeawns that some people refer to as needle grass. COURTESY OF MORGAN RUSSELL OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY</p> <UL><LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/1310/ohwywrpjs/1/1/">Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/1310/ohwywrpjs/2/2/">Inside-Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/1310/ohwywrpjs/3/3/">Page-1</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/1310/ohwywrpjs/4/4/">Page-2</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/1310/ohwywrpjs/5/5/">Page-3</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/1310/ohwywrpjs/6/6/">Page-4</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/1310/ohwywrpjs/7/7/">Page-5</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/1310/ohwywrpjs/8/8/">Page-6</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/1310/ohwywrpjs/9/9/">Page-7</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/1310/ohwywrpjs/10/10/">Page-8</a></LI> <LI><a 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