Pasture management. I think it’s one of the hardest things for horse owners to get their minds around. It doesn’t matter where I go—Idaho, Washington State, Australia—I think it’s the number one question horse owners have.
Agency staff tell me the same thing, horse owners everywhere struggle with pasture issues: How do I get rid of weeds? How do I keep my horses from getting overweight? How can I improve my pastures? Why is an overgrazed pasture less healthy for my horse than tall grass?
The answer to each of these questions is the same: good pasture management. Good pasture management will keep weeds at bay by not creating bare spots where weeds can invade. Good pasture management will help keep your horse from getting overweight since short, overgrazed pasture grasses have more sugars and taller pasture contains more fiber.
The best way to manage pastures is always through rotational grazing (for a peek at one rotational grazing system, watch for an upcoming farm tour slide show by Alayne on TheHorse.com.)
An affirmation of this for me was from my recent trip to Australia. No matter what topic my presentations were on, afterwards the audiences’ questions were predominately on pasture management.
Several times when I presented the option of rotational grazing as a solution I was met with a very quiet room or the reply that that technique doesn’t work in Australia. The interesting point about that is that I didn’t invent the concept of rotational grazing. Guess where those practices originated? The sheep industry in New Zealand and Australia! I was merely the messenger bringing the message home, full circle.
If you need help or a refresher on summer horse pasture management see the article below, attend a Horses for Clean Water event, check out the HCW website for tip sheets, or contact me for a consultation, which can be in person or over the phone.
I hope you and your horses enjoy the best that summer offers!