To bask in the sense of fulfillment that accompanies horse ownership, start with finding the perfect property to call home. The right area will need to be close enough to essential resources like medical facilities and grocery stores, yet far enough from a big city so you can keep a few acres. Your horses need plenty of space to live happily, so ensure the property offers at least 2.5 acres for each horse you own. Before you make the purchase, carefully comb through the landscape and avoid steep mountainsides or swampy marshlands. Grassless landscapes make terrible pastures, and your horses’ diets will suffer from a lack of nutritious fields.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect piece of property, it’s time to invest in the essentials needed to make a prosperous pasture. You’ll need to clean and refill watering pails every day, so you must purchase buckets with efficient drainage spouts. Anticipate what your horses will need during the colder months and rainy seasons and install a warming barn or establish a dry lot where you can move your horses when pastures are excessively wet.
Without proper planning, your pasture quality and the lives of your equine pets will suffer. Follow this complete guide for fostering a flourishing property.
Planting your pasture
Your horses rely on balanced grass for a healthy digestive system, so a quality seed mix is the bedrock of your pasturing plans. When searching for a seed mix, consider your pasture’s environment. Cool-season ranges require long-living grasses like bluegrass and alfalfa. In contrast, warm-season pastures are better off with pearl millet or crabgrass.
A good seed mixture provides horses with diversity and nutrition and prevents future pasture erosion. Eroding areas can become flooding hazards, which means you should rotate your horses between pastures, giving each site a two-to-three-week break between grazing. In addition, invest in effective erosion control products like these to achieve a flourishing pasture.
Arguably one of the most critical aspects of your pasture is fencing. Cost, safety, maintenance, and installation are all factors you should carefully consider when deciding on your fencing. For example, while barbed wire is cost-efficient, it can pose life-threatening injuries to your beloved animals. Fencing should be highly visible and flexible enough to contain a charging horse without causing harm. Lastly, your fence must be durable, so consider weather exposure and material to avoid constant repairs.
Insidious weeds take up valuable space and can be toxic to your horses. While proper pasture management is the most effective weed management strategy, dire circumstances may require herbicide to repair damages. If choosing to apply herbicide, make sure to use a chemical that will not harm your existing vegetation. You may even have to apply a different weedkiller when attacking a variety of species.
Summer annual weeds are prolific during the warmer months and are best warded off with Quinclorac, although planting thick grasses can hinder regrowth. When dealing with weeds, it’s best to address their presence before establishing a pasture and performing regular maintenance.
Establishing a healthy pasture takes time and effort, but once fulfilled, your horses will live long, prosperous lives. Take the first step toward your dream farm life and give your hoofed companions the paradise they deserve.