Your horse spends a large portion of his time out in the pasture, and managing your pastures well can help to keep them in good, safe condition. There are certain things we as responsible horse owners should do to keep them safe, and some of them you may already be doing! (Pat yourself on the back, woohoo!)
Are you aware of these six important pasture management tips?
It’s so important to check your pasture fencing on a regular basis. Look for areas which are damaged or weakened, and repair them before you turn horses out in the pasture. If you use electric fencing, then carry a fence tester with you and check the fence in multiple areas to make sure that it is properly functioning.
Look for Poisonous Plants
Make a point of walking your pasture at least twice a year to check for the presence of poisonous plants. Plants which are toxic to horses can cause serious medical issues, including death. Don’t forget that Maple leaves are toxic to horses – if Maple trees surround your pastures, then you will want to carefully monitor them during the fall to make sure that the leaves stay out of reach.
Horses can quickly wear down a pasture. To give your pasture some time to recover, consider rotating your horses amongst your pastures so that one pasture is left empty and is given time to regrow. Pasture rotation can keep your pastures in better overall condition.
If you have muddy areas in your pasture, consider fencing them off to keep your horses safe. You may also want to bring in pea gravel to help with drainage and to reduce the mud.
Mow Down Weeds
Horses dislike the bitter taste of weeds, so while they’ll graze down the grass in your pasture, the weeds will be left to grow. If weeds grow too large, they can choke out the grass. Mow weeds regularly throughout the summer to help keep them under control and to keep your pasture healthy and balanced.
Clean Water Troughs
Don’t forget about the water troughs in your pasture. Water troughs need to be cleaned as often as every two or three days in the summer to prevent algae buildup. You might also locate the water troughs in a shaded area, since the sun can speed along the growth of algae.
Clean, fresh water can help encourage your horses to drink, so stay on top of water trough cleaning.
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Pasture management requires some work, but it can help to keep your pastures safe and healthy for your horses.