The Effect of Grass Staggers



Symptoms on arrival


  • Possible grass tetany – laying down and not wanting to get up. Possible blood potassium over 5 on scale.
  • Very uptight to ride.
  • Sweating excessively.
  • Terrible to float – bucking, kicking. Has severely damaged sides of float.
  • Easily tires, excessive puffing and appears thick winded.
  • Equine Metabolic Syndrome.
  • Potassium in blood test 4.3 after 2 weeks off grass.
  • Poor coat.


Symptoms in round pen work


  • Back legs together in canter.
  • Disuniting in canter.
  • Leaning in on circle like a motorbike.
  • Tripping and stumbling.
  • Very on forehand when trotting and cantering.


Feeding changes 
  • Removed from pasture due to severity of symptoms and Equine Metabolic Syndrome. Calorie intake needed to be reduced. When the mare was on grass she would not eat hay or feed. To ensure she recovered as quickly as possible we needed her to eat hay and supplements in a small amount of feed. 
  • Salt 60g.
  • Duwell Minerals and Vitamins Powder, Duwell Magnesium Liquid.
  • Oat chaff, ezibeet, ½ cup oats and ½ bale of hay per day.




  • Symptoms reduced greatly within 2 weeks.
  • No training done during rehab. Balance in free lunging in round pen was regained solely due to neurological effects induced by high potassium in grass no longer being a problem.   
  • Floating perfectly.
  • Round pen work improved within 4 weeks.
  • EMS has reduced and over-all health has improved.
  • Blood potassium estimated to be under 4.
  • Breathing no longer laboured.
  • Fit without work.
  • Sweat pattern normal.
  • Moving freely, tracking up, balanced and upright on circles.
  • Cantering correctly every transition.
  • Greatly improved coat sine and condition
  • Excellent to ride.
  • Owner stated Moonie is moving better than ever before in her life.

Now relaxed and balanced in trot and canter and has gone on to clock up 250km of trail riding, loving every minute!