Keeping Horses On Pasture: Quick and Easy Tips For Every Horse Owner

Grace cantering around the field after a hose down

Keeping Horses On Pasture: Quick and Easy Tips For Every Horse Owner

Keeping horses on pasture is quick, easy, and cheaper... isn't it?

When keeping horses on pasture, the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence line. Descending into autumn, summer grazing is starts to become sparse and giving reason to why our horses are choosing to nibble at unreachable pasture. To keep horses on pasture and summer rolling right through September, we’ve put together some quick and easy pasture management tips that every horse owner can do! No need for fancy and expensive equipment, just your basic yard tools and a bit of man-power!

Remove Manure

To ensure of horse’s are receiving the optimal benefit from their turnout experience, most horse owners already incorporate regular poo-picking into their routine. This is because it is an essential, not only to maintain the quality of pasture, but for horse health too. Removing manure from paddocks will reduce patches of dead or damaged grazing, caused by the acidity and suffocation the manure causes. Additionally, as notoriously fussy eaters, horse’s won’t want to eat where there is manure, therefore removing it increases grazing availability too!

Removing manure will also reduce worm burdens of paddocks, therefore is an essential to horse health. Some horse owner’s fore-go regular poo-picking in favour of a worming routine. However, this should not be the case as worms are becoming increasingly resistant to the drugs we use to fight them (anthelmintics). Owner’s should be implementing regular poo-picking into their routines, along with worm egg counts to protect their horse from worm burdens and decipher whether or not they need worming.

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Keeping horses on pasture

Remove Weeds

Removing weeds is also an essential for keeping horses on pasture and overall pasture health. Weeds often growth prolifically during the summer months, and often begin flowering during this period, right up until winter hits. Removing weeds, as soon as they become apparent can spot the spread. Although horse’s don’t normally opt to eat weeds, due to their bitter taste, in circumstances where grazing is sparse some horse’s may have a nibble. Getting rid of weeds is therefore the best course of action as it leaves more room for nutrient-rich grass to grow and reduces the chance of your horse eating them, possibly becoming poisoned. Additionally, nutrient-rich grazing can aid hoof quality, coat condition and weight maintenance.

Remove weeds by hand. This ensures they are removed from the root and prevent them from springing up next year. Removing weeds manually can also reduce the spread of seeds, therefore manual removable will be less work in the long run!

 

Keeping horses on pasture
Keeping Horses On Pasture; Make sure your horse is responsive toward the electric fence you use, otherwise your pasture management may not be effective!

Rotate Grazing

Grazing should be rotated regularly to ensure pasture is not over-grazed. Over-grazing pasture reduces nutrients and grass availability. In the summer months, especially in the hot weather, this can cause areas of pasture to become scorched and further increasing the regrowth period and patches of soil. Not only does this reduce grazing available but makes ground prone to weeds. During the summer months, consider rotating more regularly to reduce the chance of grass becoming too short and weather damaged.

Rotation can be done from paddock to paddock, or within a paddock via strip grazing. If your yard has the facilities to rest paddocks regularly, this is the best option. However, if you have limited access to paddocks consider splitting your paddock into sections and rotating your horse throughout them. This will give areas of your field chance to rest and regrow, also prevent hoof problems if the ground does become water logged and muddy. Just make sure your horse is responsive to the electric fence you use!

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Splitting up your paddock is also a great technique for weight control, if your horse has over indulged this summer.

Sacrifice A Space

During the remaining days of summer, where you think you could just be in the depths of winter but still want to turnout, consider sacrificing a small section of your field dedicating to getting a bit wrecked! Wet ground can be easily churned up by horse’s hooves and damage the grazing it provides, which can take months to grow back. Allowing your horse a smaller turnout area, dedicated to those wintery days, can prolong the life of your pasture and keep your horse reaping the benefits of turnout for longer! You can also use the area during winter for when your horse really needs it.

The grass will be quickly grazed off so make sure you are supplementing with extra forage, to prevent the likelihood of gastric conditions, such as colic and gastric ulcers.