How can the Paddock Likit help?
"Modern" grasslands are mostly composed of specially developed
grasses that respond well to fertiliser applications and provide
essential forage for high yielding farm animals (dairy/beef/sheep).
Such pastures can be detrimental for horses and
ponies as it is easy for both to become obese and
subsequently suffer from metabolic diseases/laminitis.
Traditionally horses and ponies grazed on extensive pastures
containing a broad range of unimproved grasses as well as various
naturally occurring herbs such as garlic and numerous weed species.
Thus, their nutrient intake would be obtained from a wide variety
of different plants of diverse composition.
Nowadays grazing horses and ponies obtain their nutrients from a
limited range of "improved" grasses grown in the absence of weeds
and herbs. These highly managed grasslands cannot provide the
diversity and quantities of nutrients to horses and ponies that
were previously available from the more traditional pastures.
Therefore it is possible that these animals are not getting
all they need from modern pastures. Furthermore, many
animals are kept outside on "horse-sick" pastures that are
obviously nutrient deficient, particularly common in warm/dry
How to address these problems? In a grazing situation it is
difficult to directly feed supplements as it requires feeding
buckets for each animal and someone to "stand guard" to prevent
dominant animals from bullying or stealing feed from the other
animals. So, we need a practical solution to deal with this. The
recent development of a self-help lick in the form of the
has solved the problem by giving horses 24 hour access to a
multivitamin/mineral mixture that will make up for any nutrient
deficits in the pasture. There is no need for supervision
and there is little risk of bullying since, with unrestricted
access, animals can visit the lick at any time of the day or
Likit is also suitable for use in the stall, giving stabled
horses free access to essential vitamins & minerals that they
may be missing from their diet.
Dr Derek Cuddeford BSc, MSc, PhD
(Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh
University, Scotland, UK)