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Advice needed on pasture maintenance!

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    Advice needed on pasture maintenance!

    The set up is this.

    BOs have been abroad since January, returning early next month, and there have been no horses living on property in their absence, mine being one of them.

    The pasture has grown long and dense this spring, naturally, and is beginning to go to seed, ready for a first cut if we were haying.

    Horses return in July, also.


    Is it better to cut now, or simply leave as is, for the well being of the horses? Will the sugars be too high if cut? I know my horse has not been on much grass, and don't know about the others.

    Owners have asked me to look into this, and I'd sure like to know!
    Form follows function, or does function follow form?

    To my knowledge sugars have nothing to do with the length of the grass--it has everything to do with the time of day. You might want to check out Katy Watts' website at for more information.

    Personally, I would cut the grass at least twice to chop it up in small pieces to keep it from fermenting and smothering the grass underneath.
    I'm not much into conspiracy theories, but if everyone thinks alike you don't need a plot....


      Is it a large enough area for it to be worth taking a first cutting off of? That might be the way to go.
      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

      ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


        I'd mow now-- leaving that pasture long and putting horses on it will simply smash down and degrade the grass. Once it goes to seed, it really stops growing. Mow, either bale or leave it to decompose/dry a bit and let the grass regrow. It will also help control weeds to mow it. And all those seed heads can be a bit like munching on grain.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


          Take hay off. Grow to height of standing water bottle Turn horses out til grass is height of water bottle on side Rotate paddocks

          That's my routine and it works well here.
          Time management tough for you? 42 great tips and support through this course!


            Horses don't really eat tall grasses. They are more into the medium to short stuff.

            if you cut it, you either have to remove the stuff (hay it, why not), or mulch it thoroughly, as suggested because the mass of dead grass would be bad.

            or put cows on. They eat the tall stuff!


              I always mow the tall grass if it's above eye level of a grazing horse. I find fewer horse eye problems.
              Equus makus brokus but happy


                I mow all tall grass when it reaches 8 or 10 inches and cut it to 5".


                  IMO and experience it would be best to hay it off. If this is not possible I would not mow it down to proper height, 5-6" in one mowing. As another said the mass of mowed grass will smother what's under it. Mow it several times taking a few inches off each time. The amount to take off depends on the height, type of grass and how thick it is. Let the stuff mowed dry down and work its way to the ground before mowing the second time.

                  As another said horses don't like long course grass. They will seek out the "short stuff" areas and graze there constantly. Because this has been unmanaged it may take a few weeks for the more desirable "softer" grass to grow in.

                  I never worry/think about the "sugar" content in my paddocks/pastures. IMO this is blown way out of proportion. Unless of course you have a horse/s that have pre-existing issues with "sugar". I have been working with/around horses my whole life, pretty much TBs only and have never had a horse with "sugar issues". On this farm we have had a population of over 50 at times. All shapes and sizes.

                  To each their own on this.


                    Oh, and if the grass is going to seed, it's past it's prime as hay as well, but would probably make a decent hay for easy keepers.


                      Original Poster

                      Thanks, everyone. You have validated my thoughts. It has never been cut, just over grazed and weedy. Since the horses have not been on it, it has become quite lush.

                      Now, to find someone to cut it!
                      Form follows function, or does function follow form?