<P>RANCH HORSE JOURNAL JUNE 2016 63 them cheap forage, says Dr. Ramey. I was grain- ing them also and just wanted filler, so I thought the less expensive hay would be great. Everything rocked along for about three days, then I noticed one of my horses was drooling. Dr. Ramey – then pre- vet student Ramey – slid a thumb in the horses mouth to take a look. I was appalled at what was inside my horses mouth, he says. The grass doesnt bend easily, and it will get between the tooth and gingiva and start filling in there: one, two, then 30, in little clusters stuck in the periodontal space. Its nasty. Besides the blood in the mouth and drooling, horses that have eaten dried needle grass will have bad breath and red, swollen gums, he says. For his own horses and for Rajeanas initial visit, Dr. Ramey used a hemostat to pick the compacted, dried grass out, but he sent Rajeana home with instructions to use gauze. Dry gauze has a lot of fiber to it, and it will cling onto that needle grass really well, Dr. Ramey says. Rajeana spent the next week pulling out little pieces of needle grass morning and night as it emerged from the teeth. The way that gets up between their teeth and gums, its gotta hurt, she says. The wounds never festered, but in the same spot, I could get several out every day, just because of the way they packed down in there and the way they came out. The gelding that went to the barrel race had the worst of it, because he had snacked steadily on his hay bag during the trailer ride. The others were less affected, but all of them figured out the daily routine. They got really good, Rajeana says. I didnt even have to catch them. First on the treatment list is removing the offending hay, Dr. Ramey says, then removing the grass from the horses mouth. Painkillers and antibiotics are also important. Its painful, he says. Its not going to endanger their wellbeing in the short-term, but it could lead to them being unable to eat, and that would be a much bigger problem. Rajeana buys from a reputable feed store, which immediately took back her hay purchase and pulled that load of hay out of stock. Treating the Pastures BECAUSE NEEDLE GRASSES are native, theyre going to be difficult to eradicate, especially if the weather has been hot and dry, kill- ing off the more desirable plants. Native grasses are built to withstand the vagaries of climate. As far as quality of forage, theyre considered your rescue grasses or your emergency grasses, Morgan says. They get the livestock through the hard times, but theyre not the ice cream plants that are high in protein or have increased digestibility. Savvy pasture managers will avoid overgrazing their lands. If you keep your pastures in balance, if you keep your grazing management in sync with your environmental condi- tions, then those plants should be minimal in the plant com- munity, maybe 10-15 percent of your entire pasture grasses, she says. The aristida species – the threeawns – typically have three awns, or stiff bristles extending from the seedheads, making them easy to identify. There are several different species within the family of aristida, Morgan says. Theres red threeawn, purple three- awn and Wrights threeawn. They all look a little bit differ- ent but they will always have those three awns sticking out of the seedhead. All of the threeawns have grazing benefits, Morgan says. The key to getting away from those challenging awn issues is to graze it earlier in the year before it goes to seed, she says. That goes for baling, too. If youre going to bale prairie hay, get it earlier in the year before it matures into that seedhead, and youll avoid all of these issues entirely. Larri Jo Starkey is the editor of our flagship magazine, The American Quarter Horse Journal. To comment, write to lstarkey@aqha.org. RAJEANA THOMPSON Needle grass packs into a horses teeth, causing blisters and becoming compacted between the teeth and gums.</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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