If you own a horse that is turned out to pasture, then it makes great sense to take care of your pasture. Good pasture management often doubles the amount of forage that grows on a piece of land. It can also help to make your horse healthier and happier. Here are some things that you may want to consider when managing your horse pasture.
Fertilize in the Fall
Collect a soil sample at various times throughout the year to discover the health of the soil under your horse pasture. Once you get the sample tested, then you will know what type of fertilizer will benefit your pasture the most. In most cases, apply the fertilizer in the fall right before the grass goes dormant to encourage growth and deep roots in the spring. You may need to apply additional fertilizer in the spring. Some pasture owners may also find that they need to add lime to the soil.
Use lawn sprinklers to water your horse pasture as needed. While you may want a specialist to determine the amount of water that you need, you can generally dig a hole that is six to 12 inches deep. Form the soil into a ball in the palm of your hand. If the soil remains in a ball shape when you open your hand, then the soil has enough water. If it does not, then you need to irrigate your pasture. Help conserve every drop of moisture by watering early in the morning.
While it may be tempted to turn your horse out and leave them out until you are ready to ride them, this can be damaging if you do not have enough grazing capacity. Generally, one horse needs two or more acres of pasture if they are left out all the time. If you only turn your horses out for 12 hours, then you need one acre. On the other hand, a horse can overgraze one-half acre of pasture in under four hours. If the grass gets shorter than three inches, then you are overgrazing.
Drag out Pastures
Dragging your grass regularly can help spread out the manure so that it can do the most good in fertilizing your pasture. If you also keep your horses in stalls part of the time, then consider using a manure spreader to spread inside manure across your pasture. It is best to apply manure when the pasture is dry. Try to find a time when it will not rain for several days after you spread the manure.
Using these tips can help you manage your pasture for your horse. Then, your horse will stay in top condition and be ready for you to ride them regularly. They will enjoy the time out of their stalls and get the nourishment that they need.