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Dragging pastures

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  • Dragging pastures

    Used to pay someone to pick up all the poo piles in all the pastures. That is no longer an option. So, any pasture dragging experts here? I think I read somewhere that dragging at a certain time can increase worm load in horses. Myth, or truth?

    Here are my questions:
    - what are the benefits?
    - what is the down side?
    - what if you DON'T drag the pasture, but just leave the piles to desinegrate on their own?
    - do you let pasture manure age (how long), and then drag, or just drag fresh poo?
    - how often for maximum effect?
    - does it make the horses not want to eat the grass?
    - if so, then how long do you keep them off the grass?

    I'm off to go back outside to work! Will check for replies later. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Here are my questions:
    - what are the benefits? breaks up the piles, and gives you a CHANCE to reclaim the soiled area for grazing. Otherwise that patch of the pasture will be rejected by the horses for ever.
    - what is the down side? it's a pain to do, but other than that I can't think of one.
    - what if you DON'T drag the pasture, but just leave the piles to desinegrate on their own? Kiss that section of the pasture good-bye as far as being useful for grazing. The "natural disintegration" process is measured in years, not weeks or months.
    - do you let pasture manure age (how long), and then drag, or just drag fresh poo? I pick it up every month or so in the really heavy "bathroom" area, drag the rest every couple of weeks. So some is fresh and some is a couple of weeks old. The stuff I pick up gets composted.
    - how often for maximum effect? Can't give you anything scientific, the above is just what I do For larger or smaller herds/pastures it will vary.
    - does it make the horses not want to eat the grass? They definitely won't eat grass in their bathroom area, but usually the year after they will if I keep up with it. Then the bathroom area moves somewhere else. They usually don't go out on the grass after I drag it (see below) because dragging (and mowing) is part of my pre-resting prep for a paddock.
    - if so, then how long do you keep them off the grass? A week or so, only because I harrow the pasture just before letting it get its normal rest/rotation.

    As to dragging increasing worm-load, I'd be skeptical--my horses are regularly dewormed and won't graze where there is soiled grass anyway. In a situation with heavy horse traffic and very sparse grass, I suppose it's theoretically possible. But exposure to heat/air/ultraviolet is a pretty good way of killing worm eggs.


    Click here before you buy.

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    • #3
      I don't drag...ever
      Don't have the equipment

      What I DO, is mow the piles when I mow the pasture - in effect "mulching" them.
      Horses don't seem to mind - they won't eat the roughs, but they sometimes follow me when I'm mowing & eat the fresh clippings like I'm some sort of Equine Good Humor truck.

      You don't say how large your fields are, or how many horses are on them.
      For me it is one large - 1.5ac - and one small - .5ac - pasture and 2 horses.
      I've been doing this for 5 years now and pastures aren't golf course greens, but I do feed a lot less hay in the Summer.
      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
        I don't drag...ever
        Don't have the equipment

        What I DO, is mow the piles when I mow the pasture - in effect "mulching" them.
        Horses don't seem to mind - they won't eat the roughs, but they sometimes follow me when I'm mowing & eat the fresh clippings like I'm some sort of Equine Good Humor truck.

        You don't say how large your fields are, or how many horses are on them.
        For me it is one large - 1.5ac - and one small - .5ac - pasture and 2 horses.
        I've been doing this for 5 years now and pastures aren't golf course greens, but I do feed a lot less hay in the Summer.
        Same here, a pasture drag is on my "to buy" list.

        I have 9 acres - 3 horses on it. I do hand pick the roughs occasionally, in an attempt to reclaim them, and I do mow over the existing piles, which does help them to scatter/break down a bit faster. The hand picked stuff gets piled into some low spots in the pasture in an attempt to a) relocate the "rough" and b) level out the low spots (read holes).
        There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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        • #5
          Here's a good cheap alternative for a drag. Box our a frame and then nail chain link fence to it. To put extra weight use an old tire. Add chain or heavy wire to hook to 4-wheeler or lawn mower in there you go. I have one that has lasted over five years and does a great job. That is what I will be doing this weekend.

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          • #6
            Deltawave anwered everything well enough.

            I have a small drag and drag our sacrifice pasture (3 acres, five horses on it sunrise to sunset, with round bales) over the winter about once a month (often enough to avoid having heavily used latrine areas), but only when the ground is dry or frozen. I also drag with the tines up to minimize damage to the existing grass. I try to do it a day or two before a rain or snow, to help it break down efficiently. Only their latrine areas need to be dragged -- and the horses have little interest in grazing there. I usually drag with the horses in the field. They're used to it.

            I've never heard about issues with dragging and increased worm load, but we're also on a worming program, and worm right when the horses are brought in the barn in the evening (the theory being that the manure with purged worms will be mucked and composted, and not out in the field. But I have no idea if that's actually true).

            During the spring/summer/fall our guys go into a four pasture rotation, so dragging is needed less often. Usually every two months...
            "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
            <>< I.I.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by horsegirl123 View Post
              Here's a good cheap alternative for a drag. Box our a frame and then nail chain link fence to it. To put extra weight use an old tire. Add chain or heavy wire to hook to 4-wheeler or lawn mower in there you go. I have one that has lasted over five years and does a great job. That is what I will be doing this weekend.
              Our variation was to use a chain link gate, thus already framed. We put a few tires on it. Works great to break-up piles
              Epona Farm
              Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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              • #8
                Recommendations are now to not drag except for when very hot, middle of the summer. Otherwise, you are just spreading worms from their "bathrooms" to contaminate the rest of the pasture.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Ah-ha! This is so helpful! Great replies! Fairview - that was exactly what I thought I heard; Please do tell more!

                  I have one of those drag thingies with the finger tines on it and also a chain link gate that was left here about 7 years ago. I admit that I've never dragged the pastures. I think it's time.

                  Some of you mention that only the "bathroom" or "latrine" areas need to be dragged - What? Have you trained your horses to go in just one area? Mine eat and poop on the run, poop and eat on the run. They don't have areas that they go to to poo. They just stop, squat, and pinch. And then eat some more.

                  Oh - my pastures are about 19ish acres. There are 22 horses, but not all of them are out on pasture. I have a bunch of various sized of pastures. The entire property is 24 acres, but there are outbuildings, an indoor, an outdoor, etc.

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                  • #10
                    Our drag is also a section of chain link and we use cinder blocks to weigh it down. I love the idea of using a gate though so it's framed. I'll have to check on that. Pulled behind the lawn tractor by my son who thinks pasture dragging is FUN! If I let him (more tractor time) he'd drag it once a month, if not more. But for now it gets done 3-4 times in the spring and summer months and then once in the fall before the snow flies. I love how it looks after it's been dragged. He does a nice job and the horses don't mind him being out there at all.

                    Mine have "bathroom" areas, as well. Nope, not trained, they do it all on their own. They seem to like corners for some reason. My old gelding seems to have trained everyone well. He refuses to go where he eats, even if he's standing at the round bale. So I have my son spend more time on those areas then on the rest, but he does the whole thing eventually.

                    Happy draggin'.
                    A Merrick N Dream Farm
                    Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique

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                    • #11
                      IME unless the pastures are REALLY big the horses generally choose one or two areas where they go to poop preferentially. In my bigger pasture (4+ acres) it's not as evident, but the smaller one definitely has two specific spots where they "go". Of course the grass is amazingly lush there, (well fertilized!) but they won't touch it. If I keep at it the spot is tolerable to them the next year, but they have then chosen another spot or two to go and poop/pee.

                      Bless my young boss-mare's heart, she is VERY fastidious about pooping in one tiny corner of the dirt paddock, and the other horses follow her lead. It is conveniently very close to the gate, so picking out that paddock is a breeze. Good girl!!
                      Click here before you buy.

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                      • #12
                        Worthless bit of trivia......

                        The "bathroom" area is referred to as a "rough".

                        The parts of the pastures where the livestock graze is referred to as a "lawn".

                        Golf uses those terms too but when the game was developed it was played in pastures - and if you hit the ball into the poo poo area it was actually landing in a rough.

                        Probably why golf players wear gloves.
                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                        -Rudyard Kipling

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                        • #13
                          This is a link to a seminar Deworming your Horse Craig Reinemeyer, DVM, PhD .
                          You have to sign up for a free membership on thehorse.com and be signed in to see this video
                          It takes about an hour and 10 minutes to view, but very much worth it to see.
                          http://www.thehorse.com/Video.aspx?vID=183

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                          • #14
                            One Pro: Dragging in the heat of summer breaks up the turds but also exposes them to the sun and dries them out to kill the parasite eggs.
                            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                              One Pro: Dragging in the heat of summer breaks up the turds but also exposes them to the sun and dries them out to kill the parasite eggs.
                              Actually, exposing them to sun & drying is not very effective in killing them. Some parasite eggs have been shown to remain infective to new horses in the pasture through up to ten years of rain, freezing, snow, sunshine & whatever else nature can hand out.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                [QUOTE]
                                Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
                                Ah-ha! This is so helpful! Great replies! Fairview - that was exactly what I thought I heard; Please do tell more!
                                we use a rear tractor tire cut in half and dragged with a tractor....nothing expensive or pretty but it works like a charm


                                best
                                Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

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                                • #17
                                  [QUOTE]
                                  Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                                  This is a link to a seminar Deworming your Horse Craig Reinemeyer, DVM, PhD .
                                  he's a great guy...his farm is about 15 miles from us

                                  best
                                  Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                  I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

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