The search for safer grass needs your help.


The racehorse industry directs research in equine nutrition.

Ponies can't eat like racehorses.

Research for the backyard horse must be funded by the backyard horse owner .

Kathryn Watts

The racehorse industry directs research in equine nutrition

As I continue to seek out information on equine nutrition, it becomes increasingly apparent that the racehorse and performance horse industry is directing research in the universities. Take notice of the breeds found at university research facilities.
So many studies start out “12 thoroughbred geldings in light race training were fed….” Have you seen many studies that start out “12 grade pony cross geldings, ridden lightly on Sunday afternoons…” ? While we can’t feed our easy keeper breeds like a cow, you can get away with feeding racehorses like a cow. Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, and racing Quarter horses are ‘hot house flowers’ when compared to our pony, draft, warm blood breeds, and probably most ‘grade’ horses. They breed for speed in an artificial environment, and feed them an artificial diet. Their goal is a 16H 2 YO ready to race. The rest of us may have other goals.

Ponies can't eat like racehorses

Other breeds have been selected by nature to thrive in a harsh environment, on low carb, high fiber forage. Of course we can’t feed them the same as a TB!
While we want to optimize our pleasure horse’s nutrition, we must acknowledge that they have less need for grain, AND for the high sugar grasses that dominate the forage industry today. The research for optimum nutrition for the average backyard horse is going to have to be supported by the average backyard horse owner. We are the ones who really NEED safer grass. We are the people whose horses are suffering from the excess sugars in the new varieties of grass being produced for the racehorse and dairy industry.
While the foundered ponies in our backyards may have little importance to the system focused on supporting the performance horse industry, they are the focus of our lives. Their pain is our pain.
Our happiness is dependant on how comfortably they walk each day.

Research for the backyard horse must be funded by the
backyard horse owner

We are the ones who must shoulder the task of funding and doing this important research. I am not paid to do this work. I derive no income from the articles I have written for veterinary journals or popular horse magazines to spread the word about possibly dangerous levels of sugar in grass.
Because I am not affiliated with a university, and am not a 501 (c), most research grants are not available to me. The Animal Health Foundation has been my only supporter, but as they are funding some very important work elsewhere, their funding was very limited, and has stopped as of 2010.
It has offset the out of pocket expense from my plots here, but has in no way begun to compensate for the amount of time and personal resources I have devoted to these projects. While my grass research is my passion, and I’d rather do it than anything else, I cannot afford to continue to spend so much time and resources on these projects.
Unless the people whose horses are benefiting from this research help support this effort, it will be very limited.

THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, and the bottom of your horse’s feet, and from the pony down the street whose owners are feeding it to death out of ignorance and good intentions. Help me teach them with your contribution.

Katy Watts

“It is not possible for people who perpetuate and are comfortable with the status quo to make prolific changes; only those people who cannot live within the status quo do”.
~Susan Jeyes, a Safergrass supporter whose pony now gallops and bucks.