Creating the Best Conditions for a Quality Horse Pasture

Creating and managing a horse pasture can be a lot of hard work, especially if you’re new to horse care and ownership. It might seem incredibly expensive at first, but if you want to create the perfect conditions for your horses then it’s not going to come cheaply. If you’re tired of keeping your horses in a cheap pasture or in stalls and you want to treat them better, then here are a couple of tips to help you create the best conditions for the perfect horse pasture.




Advantages of a Pasture
While stalls can provide protection against the elements and a roof over their head, your horses are in a more natural state when they’re not locked in a stall. Being able to frolic and play in an open field is much more enjoyable for a horse than being stuck in a stall for most of their time. It does require a more extra work than keeping your horses in a stall, but horses are social creatures and allowing them to play in a field is much better for them than keeping them in individual cubicles.

Horses can also show aggression when being kept in constant confinement. They might also become bored and exhibit some behavioural problems, so if you want the best for your horses you’ll need to consider moving them to a pasture instead. Pastures are difficult to manage because of all the bugs, parasites and the possibility of some horses not getting enough grazing time due to alpha horses in the group. However, if you’re willing to put in the effort and care for your horses, then there’s no better option than letting them free in a well-managed pasture.

Land and Soil Conditions

The perfect pasture will need to be an ideal place for your horses to grave. The soil needs to be rich in nutrients and there have to be zero poisonous plants that could harm your horses. The climate needs to be agreeable with your horse and you’ll need roughly an acre of land per horse you own if you want to give them ample space. You’ll want to get in touch with a soil testing company in order to check your conditions before you decide on a location. If the quality of the soil is poor, then you’ll need several more acres of land per horse and this can get incredibly expensive. However, if you have no choice but to manage your horses on a smaller pasture, then it’s better than having nothing and you can always improve the forage conditions as long as you don’t neglect your responsibilities.

If you’re in need of extra assistance, then consider speaking to a local agricultural extension agent, a nearby farm or pasture, or even a feed store to ask for advice on the type of forage that you can safely plant in the local soil conditions. They’ll also be able to tell you about drainage, the types of pests you’ll need to deal with and also give you any warnings that they feel like you should know.


Ideal Plants for Horses
The perfect pasture should ideally contain a good mix of different plants with various benefits and growth rates. This will heavily depend on the climate that you’re raising your horses in and you’ll also be limited by the type of soil you have. Pests can also become a factor and you’ll need to check for local plant diseases that could ruin your pasture entirely. The basic idea is to include several different types of plants that can function in cool and warm seasons. For instance, legumes and perennials are great because they will continue to come back after they have been planted. However, annual grasses like winter wheat have a much higher nutritional value.

You’ll want to take a good look at your local climate and the results of your soil test before you plant anything in your new pasture because the combination of forage plants available to you will change drastically. If you’re unsure what types of grass or legumes you can plant or need suggestions, then you may want to speak with a local feed and seed store or an agriculture extension agent in the area. They’ll likely be able to offer you some valuable advice on pasture mixes. If there are local pastures nearby, then consulting them for some information can also be an option.

Overgrazing Concerns

If your pasture is rather small it will require a bit more management in terms of what you plant and it’s important to consider the nutritional content of forage available. Take extra care when it comes to pasture management because you don’t want your horses to overgraze. If you feel like your pasture is in danger of this, then consider moving the horses to a different field for a while to allow the plants to seed again. Overgrazing is a common pitfall that leads to poor pasture value. Alternatives to this problem include rotational grazing and you may need to change the types of grass or legumes in order to bolster your forage production.

Rotational grazing is one of the better solutions for overgrazing. It takes a bit of timing to get it down, but it’s worth the effort if you’re worried about your pasture being completely grazed. The easiest way to use rotational grazing is to divide your grazing areas with a portable electric fence. Once a pasture is ready for grazing, you should move the horses into the area and replace the electric fencing to protect areas where the pasture is not yet mature.

Summary

Hopefully, this article has given you some valuable advice on the perfect conditions for a quality horse pasture. It does take a lot of analysis, some research and some trial and error, but your hard work will pay off and create a fantastic environment for your horses to frolic and you’ll have a much easier time taking care of them.

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