Think of pasture management as “grass farming” - grasses are the crop you grow and your horses “harvest”. The difference between a good crop (abundant, high quality grass) and a poor crop (weeds and unappetizing grass) is dependent on good pasture management. These include:1. Do a Pasture inspection
Take a walk through each pasture and conduct an inventory of the grass and weed species, fences, gates, and water troughs. Identify weeds in your pastures, specifically looking for any that may be poisonous. Some trees, flowers and shrubs may also be poisonous. Note areas that need attention.
2. Give Your Pastures A Rest
Allowing your horses to graze throughout the year, especially during wet winter months, significantly reduces grass growth later by compacting the soil. Overgrazing in the summer can also stress plants. To prevent overgrazing, create a rotational grazing plan by dividing larger pastures into small areas with electrical temporary fencing, then rotate the horses weekly to a new pasture.
3. Mow and Manure Cleanup
Mowing after horses are moved off a pasture evens out the grass height and promotes grass growth. Mowing also helps control some weeds by preventing them from going to seed and reproducing. Harrowing (dragging) your pasture after grazing breaks up manure and distributes the nutrients into the ground and prevents the grass from being smothered.
Healthy, properly managed pastures produce better quality and greater quantities of forage for your horses, helping reduce costs of supplementing forage with store bought hay. Don't forget, Classic Equine Equipment offers a variety of pasture gates and entrance gates available for customization.