Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You're responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the Forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it--details of personal disputes may be better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts, though are not legally obligated to do so, regardless of content.

Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting. Moderators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts unless they have been alerted and have determined that a post, thread or user has violated the Forums' policies. Moderators do not regularly independently monitor the Forums for such violations.

Profanity, outright vulgarity, blatant personal insults or otherwise inappropriate statements will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

Users may provide their positive or negative experiences with or opinions of companies, products, individuals, etc.; however, accounts involving allegations of criminal behavior against named individuals or companies MUST be first-hand accounts and may NOT be made anonymously.

If a situation has been reported upon by a reputable news source or addressed by law enforcement or the legal system it is open for discussion, but if an individual wants to make their own claims of criminal behavior against a named party in the course of that discussion, they too must identify themselves by first and last name and the account must be first-person.

Criminal allegations that do not satisfy these requirements, when brought to our attention, may be removed pending satisfaction of these criteria, and we reserve the right to err on the side of caution when making these determinations.

Credible threats of suicide will be reported to the police along with identifying user information at our disposal, in addition to referring the user to suicide helpline resources such as 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it's understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users' profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses -- Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it's related to a horse for sale, regardless of who's selling it, it doesn't belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions -- Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services -- Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products -- While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements -- Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be "bumped" excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues -- Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators' discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the �alert� button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your �Ignore� list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you'd rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user's membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 5/9/18)
See more
See less

Pasture Management VS Exercise Paddocks

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Pasture Management VS Exercise Paddocks

    Hello Again!

    So I am furiously plotting on our future farmette. We are under contract and property has passed termite, well, and home inspections. Bar something crazy happening, it’s really happening!!!!

    After barn, dry lot area, shop, arena, house, lawn area etc I am looking at about 1.5 acres of grass turn outs. I will be keeping a maximum of 2.5 horses (two horses and maybe a pony/donkey).

    Growing season is long and productive. I have the option to irrigate in times of drought. No snow or ice. Horse keeping plan is for horses to spend 12 hrs a day “stalled” (stall + runs). Yes, I’ll be feeding hay year round.

    Is intensive pasture management going to make an appreciable difference in the amount of quality grass I can produce? For example, is splitting the grass area into thirds going to be more productive than just splitting it into halves? Is it worth it to sacrifice size of paddock? I think thirds would be most useful when establishing winter grazing. But! larger paddocks seem to reduce paddock injuries. I suppose I could sacrifice my dream of an all weather arena and have a turf arena but I really don’t want to.

    I’m confident I can keep decent ground cover either way. Obviously I won’t know anything for sure until I’m actually out there with horses, but if anyone has a similar set up I would love to hear your experiences.

    #2
    I am not as optimistic. That is not a lot of grass. Horses can get thru that pretty fast. Good Luck, maybe someone else has some ideas.

    Comment


      #3
      The general rule of thumb for grass pastures is 1 acre per horse, and .5 acre each additional horse. However, I've found that as the # of horses increases over a limited area, the correlation of +X acreage needs to increase.

      The bigger in grass pastures, the better. The smaller you make them, the more you concentrate foot traffic over a specific area, which is a main way you lose 'grazeable' turf.

      Keep in mind, out of however many acres of grass you have, only a selective part of it is 'edible' according to the horse. They do not graze evenly, and will leave large patches of seemingly perfect grass, while grazing to stubble elsewhere. Out of that one acre, maybe 1/4th of it will be what the horse wants to graze. The smaller you make the pasture area, the smaller that number of "edible grass" - which leads to overgrazing very rapidly in smaller paddocks.

      I have a one acre grass paddock that we rotate single horses on, in 12 hr shifts. By the end of the summer it is tired. We have snow and ice here, so it is not a good source of any grazing from winter to early spring.

      A bigger threat than over-grazing is poaching; the more horses you have over grass, the more foot traffic, the more mud, the more you will lose grazing area to poaching (which is topsoil being destroyed by hoof punctures). I've found the best way to preserve turf and footing is to only have one horse out at a time in anything that is an acre or smaller. If you're determined to turn out multiple horses in smaller areas, you'll have to account for the fact that a big part of the paddock (especially near water and gateway) will quickly turn to dirt.

      Rather than section off into smaller areas, consider making a separate dry lot for when it is too muddy. Managing grass paddocks is more preventative than intensive, IME - in most climates you have to keep them off of the grass in muddy conditions if you want to keep turf in good condition.

      For that small an area I am not sure I would do any sort of management outside of keeping foot traffic low and eliminating it entirely when it is wet/unsuitable.

      To offset our limited grass availability, we have a large (1.5+ acre) dirt lot with a round bale. It used to be grass too, but since we have 4 horses on it 24/7, they've grazed down the grass. The benefit of the roundbale is, it keeps them fed 24/7, and we preserve the grass turnout time for the horses that really need it (geriatric and/or growing).
      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

      Comment

        Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Nezzy View Post
        I am not as optimistic. That is not a lot of grass. Horses can get thru that pretty fast. Good Luck, maybe someone else has some ideas.
        Horses are very hard on grass. Fortunately for me, the local climate is helpful. My neighbor keeps her horse and two minis on a 3/4 acre paddock year round and always has grass cover. Certainly it isn’t lush, but enough grass to prevent major erosion and provide recreational grazing for her little herd. And the grass is never rested! I’m just curious if doing a rotational system would make a major difference in grass production. Thanks for your input. I’ll keep in mind that I should consider a worst case scenario.

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          beowulf yes my plan includes a sacrifice area. So after sacrifice area/dry lot and all other buildings etc I’m left with 1.5 acres of grass. I’m planning on putting said dry lot directly behind the runs off the stalls. I’m hoping to swing a round bale pavilion that is accessible from the runs and the dry lot. Ultimate easy peasy hay feeding.

          Your comments on poaching are well taken. Keeping horses off the grass when it’s very wet is indeed part of the plan.

          Regarding the selective grazing. Amen to that. My horse is boarded currently and has a private half acre paddock. He has some spots nibbled down to the roots and some spots are untouched. He grazes a bit more evenly after it’s mowed, but when it gets long he sticks to his over grazed spots. It seems he dislikes the bahaia. I’m not sure if it’s the species in general or the fact that it gets too tall and tough so quickly!

          Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

          Comment


            #6
            Guess much will depend on your location. Without winter weather, consistant rain/irrigation, daily hay, you can probably keep the grass coning on year around. The right type of grass for your location will help too. Rye has a higher sugar content if that matter to you. Fescue are tough, but not great for bred mares, should you plan on a foal later. Even the endophyte free fescue seed does not keep the fescue uncontaminated very long.

            My best pasture keeping tool is my mower, set at 5 inches high. I never mow shorter, too hard on the grass. Taller leaf cover prevents erosion better, protects the grass roots better from sun heat, makes the grass produce new growth better. Mowing often, helps keep weeds from setting seed to resprout. I mow when grass gets up to about 7-10 inches or before it can set seed. Once grass sets seed,, dries the seed, it goes dormant, you get no more production.

            Mowing tall, often, keeps pastures nicer. That might be weekly in a rainy spring. Our horses are also stalled half a day, they do NOT need 24 hour grazing. They would be obese.

            Horses tend to graze all over with that new stuff coming up everywhere. They do not want those lush looking, OLD, tough leaves. Tender new stuff is much more attractive.

            You might consider good perimeter fencing, then temporary electric fence to break up the field. You can move the electric if there are too many wear spots or trails in time. Make a different paddock layout as needed. I often rotate the 2 or 3 smaller paddocks daily, letting one rest 24 or 48 hours with 3 paddocks, then they rest as I go back to paddock 1. Seems to allow a bit of grass growth daily, not ever getting down to dirt. Then drag, reseed spots, fence off the area to let grass get going in the bald spots again. With your small areas, hand seeding or a walk behind DROP spreader should work for you. Drop spreader seems to put seed exactly where I want it, when fixing spots. Then drag over the seed to cover. I have a chain harrow for that. Also handy for lots of other uses.

            I do other pasture upkeep too. Soil tests tell me specifically what I need in my fertilizer mix, no guessing. Not just putting on lime because everyone else says it is a good thing! I am careful to only put on the fertilizer minerals in the amounts soil test says that the land needs. Extra or the wrong fertilizer minerals spread is wasted money. Those minerals are not used by the grass, gets in the water shed to cause problems down stream by being excessive. I fertilize yearly, keep the horses off fields until fertilizer gets rained in. I lightly disc (really just making cut mark lines in dirt) the fields to open the soil to air, loosen soil hooves packed down and remove pock marks hooves leave in wet soil. Then fertilize and drag with chain harrow. Grass looks a bit raggedy but fills right back in fast.
            Last edited by goodhors; Sep. 15, 2020, 01:42 PM.

            Comment

              Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by goodhors View Post
              Guess much will depend on your location. Without winter weather, consistant rain/irrigation, daily hay, you can probably keep the grass coning on year around. The right type of grass for your location will help too. Rye has a higher sugar content if that matter to you. Fescue are tough, but not great for bred mares, should you plan on a foal later. Even the endophyte free fescue seed does not keep the fescue uncontaminated very long.

              My best pasture keeping tool is my mower, set at 5 inches high. I never mow shorter, too hard on the grass. Taller leaf cover prevents erosion better, protects the grass roots better from sun heat, makes the grass produce new growth better. Mowing often, helps keep weeds from setting seed to resprout. I mow when grass gets up to about 7-10 inches or before it can set seed. Once grass sets seed,, dries the seed, it goes dormant, you get no more production.

              Mowing tall, often, keeps pastures nicer. That might be weekly in a rainy spring. Our horses are also stalled half a day, they do NOT need 24 hour grazing. They would be obese.

              Horses tend to graze all over with that new stuff coming up everywhere. They do not want those lush looking, OLD, tough leaves. Tender new stuff is much more attractive.

              You might consider good perimeter fencing, then temporary electric fence to break up the field. You can move the electric if there are too many wear spots or trails. Make a different paddock layout as needed. I often rotate the 2 or 3 smaller paddocks daily, letting one rest 24 or 48 hours with 3 paddocks, then rest back to paddock 1. Seems to allow a bit of grass growth daily, not ever getting down to dirt. Then drag, reseed, fence off the area to let grass get going in the bald spots again. With your small areas, hand seeding or walk behind DROP spreader should work for you. Drop spreader seems to put seed exactly where I want it, fixing spots. Then drag over the seed to cover. I have a chain harrow for that. Also handy for lots of other uses.

              I do other pasture upkeep too. Soil tests tell me specifically what I need in my fertilizer mix, no guessing. Not just putting on lime because everyone else says it is a good thing!. I am careful to only put on the fertilizer minerals that the land needs. Extra or the wrong fertilizer minerals spread is wasted money. Those minerals are not used by the grass, gets in the water shed to ca use pRobles by being excessive. I fertilize yearly, keep the horses off fields until fertilizer gets rained in. I lightly disc (really just making cut mark lines in dirt) the fields to open the soil to air, loosen soil hooves pack down and remove pock marks hooves leave in wet soil. Grass looks a bit raggedy but fills right back in fast.
              Yes. No winter here. We have hot, deathly hot, and cool. Lol. Seriously though, if we have 6 nights a year that temps drop below freezing we call it a hard winter. Lots of rain and can irrigate during the two dry months.

              Fescue doesn’t grow well here. Too hot as I understand. Bermuda and Bahaia are the pasture grasses of choice. Bahaia is cheaper, quicker and easier to get going (tough as nails to boot) but it seems like it’s less tasty to horses.

              First order of business will be a soil test. While it’s pretty much a given we need lime here, it’s good to know exactly how much to put and what fertilizer is needed for sure.

              Do you find that mowing encourages more even grazing? I’ve been reading up on the local ag university sites about recommended mowing heights for different species.

              That is a great suggestion to keep the cross fencing flexible to help avoid wearing down particular areas!

              Thank you so much for sharing!

              Comment


                #8
                After horses poop in a field the poop grass comes up nice and green, but horses won't eat it for about a year. Around here in a small pasture they stop eating much of the grass in the fall and after the pasture rests through a rainy chilly winter the manure has broken down, fertilized the grass, and they love the spring grass. I could see a small year round pasture becoming too poopy for horses to eat.

                Comment

                  Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                  After horses poop in a field the poop grass comes up nice and green, but horses won't eat it for about a year. Around here in a small pasture they stop eating much of the grass in the fall and after the pasture rests through a rainy chilly winter the manure has broken down, fertilized the grass, and they love the spring grass. I could see a small year round pasture becoming too poopy for horses to eat.
                  That is an excellent point! Horses are very particular about poop. I’m not sure if manure picking would help. Seems to work well for my neighbor. Definitely something to consider!

                  Thanks for sharing!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                    After horses poop in a field the poop grass comes up nice and green, but horses won't eat it for about a year. Around here in a small pasture they stop eating much of the grass in the fall and after the pasture rests through a rainy chilly winter the manure has broken down, fertilized the grass, and they love the spring grass. I could see a small year round pasture becoming too poopy for horses to eat.
                    I was not sure if she would be picking up poop or dragging it into fragments. You have to do something with poop on very small pastures. My friend uses her lawn mower vacuum, cleans up only poop with that, over shoveling it daily. Dry (or frozen piles in spring) poop piles are not hard to suck up!

                    With short grass, poop area cleaned often, there is more grazing area in the small pastures. I mow any poop areas every time i do the field and then drag them so no big pieces.

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by goodhors View Post

                      I was not sure if she would be picking up poop or dragging it into fragments. You have to do something with poop on very small pastures. My friend uses her lawn mower vacuum, cleans up only poop with that, over shoveling it daily. Dry (or frozen piles in spring) poop piles are not hard to suck up!

                      With short grass, poop area cleaned often, there is more grazing area in the small pastures. I mow any poop areas every time i do the field and then drag them so no big pieces.
                      Yup. Not sure if I’ll be picking or dragging. Probably a bit of both.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I could SO share with you as it sounds exactly in useable space as mine is. Can't share the exact same weather conditions ...I'm in Central SE VA. So that would differ for us. But, I have about 1.5 acre turnout with 2.5 max horses (one is now with daughter in SC)....so now its one retired gelding and his mini. I'll return with some additional of 'what i chose' but do you think you could either share an overhead of the property marked up with your 'ideal' positioning of things, or a sketch? HOW things will have to be worked with makes a big difference!
                        ayrabz
                        "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                        --Jimmy Buffett

                        Comment


                          #13
                          My last property was a total of 3 acres, and that included house, arena, barn and paddocks. Stalls were attached to all weather paddocks and horses had 24/7 access to both. I had MAYBE 1.5 acres of grass fenced (probably a little less) and it was split into two paddocks. I had two horses that I turned out on grass for about 5-6 hours per day. I would rotate paddocks weekly and made sure to pick all manure a few times per week. I think that was the best thing I could have done, the horses never had areas they were unwilling to graze because the paddock was constantly picked.

                          My pastures weren't super lush, but provided them with plenty of grazing. I couldn't have kept them out on grass 12 hours a day though, and in times of drought they might only go out for 3 hours on grass. I made sure the paddocks attached to my stalls were plenty big since that was their primary turnout area. Oh, and I never turned them out on my precious grass paddocks if it was wet!

                          Now, I have nearly 15 acres and my dingbat horses would rather eat hay than graze, even though there appears to be plenty of grass. My guess is it's because I'm not picking manure in that large of a field. In some aspects, my smaller grass paddocks were much easier to manage.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If it's possible, have stalls that have short runs off of them that lead to a dry lot with a run in that leads to your subdivided paddocks. This will allow you to have horses off of pasture, but not locked into a 12x12 space. They will be less rowdy when they get turned out. You will also be able to protect your grass when it's stressed due to weather or overgrazing. If you can subdivide your pasture area into 3 or 4 paddocks, you will be able to rotate and rest your paddocks better.

                            I have a 36x150 sacrifice lot, 3 large paddocks and 3 small paddocks on 2 acres. I have 2 and 3/4 horses. During certain times of the year I have to keep them off of the paddocks to protect them so the grass will grow. Weed management, fertilizing, dragging and mowing are very important for me to have 6+ months of good grazing and some time out the other months.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              How much can you / will you be able to set aside for fencing? I don't know how your property is laid out....mine would not accomodate the paddock paradise kinda idea. https://sam.extension.colostate.edu/...em-for-horses/ I WISH I could have. I would have the perimeter fence total surround of prop...and at least a 12 ft wide (minimum) second fence making an alleyway of the whole perimeter, that I could utilze for movement of my horses, ease on a garden tractor , gator or small tractor to travel/work/drop hay at stations...and figure water lines to at least two opposite distance locations for troughs. My property has the majority of the plat in direct drop off in woods to a creek...circling it wasn't doable. But I LOVE the idea. kinda like their 'mosey' sacrifice area. leaving you the interior to work out the other needs.

                              and no matter WHAT you do. Manure management is going to be your biggest issue. Hay storage will be a biggie too...with easy access for deliveries. Figure what you have to have in structures/areas. I had to get VERY creative on this property. !! There was NO way for me to have a footed arena. I made one cross fence area the dressage arena size in fencing. But it is in grass. it has to do double duty here. The other side of the driveway is another 'turnout' (I never know what to call my spaces....paddocks? turnouts? small fields? hahaha) Originally it was not cross fenced. Since, I have split it into two but.....its split horizontally across the center of it...and I put a 12 ft. full fold back gate on each end, so I can open it to full circling for riding/grazing when that is wanted. (I'd like to also figure a way to utilize those openings for a cross rail, or a tiny coop...something fun to work over )
                              ayrabz
                              "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                              --Jimmy Buffett

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by SugarCubes View Post
                                My last property was a total of 3 acres, and that included house, arena, barn and paddocks. Stalls were attached to all weather paddocks and horses had 24/7 access to both. I had MAYBE 1.5 acres of grass fenced (probably a little less) and it was split into two paddocks. I had two horses that I turned out on grass for about 5-6 hours per day. I would rotate paddocks weekly and made sure to pick all manure a few times per week. I think that was the best thing I could have done, the horses never had areas they were unwilling to graze because the paddock was constantly picked.

                                My pastures weren't super lush, but provided them with plenty of grazing. I couldn't have kept them out on grass 12 hours a day though, and in times of drought they might only go out for 3 hours on grass. I made sure the paddocks attached to my stalls were plenty big since that was their primary turnout area. Oh, and I never turned them out on my precious grass paddocks if it was wet!

                                Now, I have nearly 15 acres and my dingbat horses would rather eat hay than graze, even though there appears to be plenty of grass. My guess is it's because I'm not picking manure in that large of a field. In some aspects, my smaller grass paddocks were much easier to manage.
                                Thank you! That is very helpful! This property is a total of 3.37 acres so very similar in size. It is set up for irrigation so that’s a big bonus. You were happy with the grass split into two paddocks? Do you think three would have been better or worse?

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by lenapesadie View Post

                                  Yup. Not sure if I’ll be picking or dragging. Probably a bit of both.
                                  Dragging can just spread around your parasites, so be aware of when you do it (plenty of reference on google). Since you said you don't get winter, you want to drag only when it's hot enough to kill everything (95F+). It makes me twitchy to just leave everything sit in spring & fall, but that's the way it goes. So one option for you would be to pick when the weather is not right for dragging.

                                  Otherwise, goodhors provides excellent advice. Mowing is also my most valuable tool & I never mow anything short (less than ~6") unless it's really just all junk I don't want in the pastures (like blackberries or horse nettle).
                                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                  Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                  We Are Flying Solo

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    I have about 2 acres of grass split between two fields. Four horses, that are out during the day. Yes, having the option to pull them off one field and use the other (or not use either--a good sacrifice area is of HUGE importance) does mean that I get better grass than if it was all one big field. Both fields were ugly when we moved in...they'd been badly managed and were full of weeds. Spraying in the spring and mowing gave me space this year with real, actual grass and I have not had to feed hay in the field this summer, which is very nice.

                                    It's not ideal by any stretch, and we're actively working to expand and clear forest to get more pasture. But it certainly can be done, and being able to rest portions makes a big difference.

                                    Comment

                                      Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by jawa View Post
                                      If it's possible, have stalls that have short runs off of them that lead to a dry lot with a run in that leads to your subdivided paddocks. This will allow you to have horses off of pasture, but not locked into a 12x12 space. They will be less rowdy when they get turned out. You will also be able to protect your grass when it's stressed due to weather or overgrazing. If you can subdivide your pasture area into 3 or 4 paddocks, you will be able to rotate and rest your paddocks better.

                                      I have a 36x150 sacrifice lot, 3 large paddocks and 3 small paddocks on 2 acres. I have 2 and 3/4 horses. During certain times of the year I have to keep them off of the paddocks to protect them so the grass will grow. Weed management, fertilizing, dragging and mowing are very important for me to have 6+ months of good grazing and some time out the other months.
                                      Thank you so much! No issues with the horses on the smaller paddocks? Do the horses go out together or individually?

                                      My plan absolutely includes runs of the stalls. My last boarding barn had 12x50 runs on the stalls and it made me a believer. I’m planning on 24 x 50 runs on stalls plus a small dry lot.

                                      Comment

                                        Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by wildlifer View Post

                                        Dragging can just spread around your parasites, so be aware of when you do it (plenty of reference on google). Since you said you don't get winter, you want to drag only when it's hot enough to kill everything (95F+). It makes me twitchy to just leave everything sit in spring & fall, but that's the way it goes. So one option for you would be to pick when the weather is not right for dragging.

                                        Otherwise, goodhors provides excellent advice. Mowing is also my most valuable tool & I never mow anything short (less than ~6") unless it's really just all junk I don't want in the pastures (like blackberries or horse nettle).
                                        Good point. Could drag in summer and pick in off season! Definitely planning on mowing. My horse hates y’all grass plus weed control!

                                        Thank you!

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X