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Can I ask a stupid question about mowing pastures?

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  • Can I ask a stupid question about mowing pastures?

    Keep in mind this is our first time with actual GRASS pastures. Heavenly.... I know you're not supposed to feed grass clippings to horses, but what do you do when you mow your pastures!? I have no way to rake up the entire field. If there's actual grass will they leave them alone? I feel dumb. I also have found HUGE hoof prints that I apparently need to get filled in before the grass gets any taller. How do people keep pastures nice!?! I was going to introduce the pony to the big guy but I can't with holes everywhere in the ground.

  • #2
    Hoof prints will not hurt your pony. Ground hog holes, fox dens, etc., are a different matter.

    Forget the hoof prints.

    Feeding a pile of clippings that have started molding or fermenting is a bad deal, but the clippings from mowing are not the same.

    Millions of horses have remained in pasture during and after mowing with no harm done.

    Your horses will eat the green stuff and ignore the clippings.

    Forget it.

    CSSJR

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks. I guess hoof prints was a bad description. I'm shock that he didn't get injured or pull something making them. Some literally are almost a foot deep. Surely that can't be safe...

      Comment


      • #4
        You said it was gonna be a dumb question!

        Anyhow, Mulching: the clippings are kicked up and cut again a few times, by the time you are done you can hardly tell you didn't back it. My grass cutting guy has - for residential applications - huge riding mower, I had raked last year's leaves on the grass, forgot to pick up some small branches I had clipped...I could not find traces of either...

        It should be on the top of your investment list to get a top notch mulching mower into the equipment shed, worth it's weight in gold!
        Originally posted by BigMama1
        Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
        GNU Terry Prachett

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        • #5
          As cssutton says, millions of horses have remained in pasture during and after mowing with no harm done. If you're nervous about it though -- do what I did the first few years we moved to our horse farm -- split your pasture and let the clippings dry out a bit before putting the horses back in the mowed area. We now have our land split into four rotation pastures -- it really helps give the grass a chance to grow and the land to rest. I rotate every 7 days, and cut the pasture to 6 inches when they rotate off. We've got 5 horses on about 9 acres, and it's allowed us to really keep everything in good shape.
          "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
          <>< I.I.

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          • #6
            Don't worry - my boys used to line up at the fenceline when I mowed the lawns so they could get the clippings as they spewed from the mower.
            When I mowed the pastures they'd follow me - like a Vegas buffet

            As long as you are not talking honking huge heaps of clippings that sit in the wet & mold your horses s/b fine.
            Think hayfield. The mown hay sits tedded in rows before it's baled.

            As for your ruts - as long as they are not burrows but just hoofprints they will even out from the horses walking on them.
            It will make mowing the pastures kind of a thrill ride for you until they do, but they don't do any harm.
            *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

            Comment


            • #7
              Cross another one off your list of worries. Mow away, they'll be fine. Hoof pocks won't hurt them and will move somewhere else with the next rainfall.
              Click here before you buy.

              Comment


              • #8
                http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=5145

                Not directly related but useful:
                http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=112

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you want to reduce pocking, keep the horses off until the ground has had a little chance to dry after a rain. This will also reduce the creation of mud in heavily used areas like around gates. (There's other stuff to do around gates, such as putting in base, geotextile such as cow carpet, trust me, you'll be happy if you do it.)

                  You can also roll your pastures, which kind of flattens them out, and you can do some filling with sand if it is really important to you. The pocky stuff will be the most annoying when the ground is frozen because if you aren't careful you could get serious "craters of the moon" especially in muddy areas, that the horses have to pick their way across and may make you turn your ankle if you try to walk across it.

                  It's all a learning experience.
                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                  Incredible Invisible

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                    Don't worry - my boys used to line up at the fenceline when I mowed the lawns so they could get the clippings as they spewed from the mower.
                    When I mowed the pastures they'd follow me - like a Vegas buffet

                    As long as you are not talking honking huge heaps of clippings that sit in the wet & mold your horses s/b fine.
                    Think hayfield. The mown hay sits tedded in rows before it's baled.

                    As for your ruts - as long as they are not burrows but just hoofprints they will even out from the horses walking on them.
                    It will make mowing the pastures kind of a thrill ride for you until they do, but they don't do any harm.
                    A lot depends on the type of mower you are using. We had a MF Belly mounted mower which spit the clippings out to the side in nice neat windrows of two inch pieces. I fed that to the horses for years

                    It died and we switched to a tow behind finishing or mulching mower which practically purees the clippings. I never felt comfortable feeding more than a few handfulls of that at a time
                    I wasn't always a Smurf
                    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
                      You said it was gonna be a dumb question!

                      Anyhow, Mulching: the clippings are kicked up and cut again a few times, by the time you are done you can hardly tell you didn't back it. My grass cutting guy has - for residential applications - huge riding mower, I had raked last year's leaves on the grass, forgot to pick up some small branches I had clipped...I could not find traces of either...

                      It should be on the top of your investment list to get a top notch mulching mower into the equipment shed, worth it's weight in gold!

                      HEH... I mulch my rough..... shred all those piles of poo up, let the chickens out for a while, then do the rain dance.... gorgeous grass that after a good heavey rain. the horses munch away on until somebody starts pottying on it again.

                      For all intense purposes we have just the perfect amount of pasture for my herd that I rarely have to mow for the sake of the grass, but I mulch the poo piles by setting the blades pretty low and then running the piles over a time or two. Works really well so far.
                      If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Don't feel stupid, OP.....this will be my first summer with horses at home soon, and we will have grass pastures too. I was wondering the exact same thing about mowing and horse turnout, lol.
                        <3 Vinnie <3
                        1992-2010
                        Jackie's Punt ("Bailey") My Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbred

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My equine vet told me "you would be taking a chance letting them eat lawn clippings...too fine of peices" He said a bushhog is Ok, not a lawn mower. So Ive always keep my pastures divided and put the horses in the other section for a few days. FWIW~~Mine wont eat moldy anything...as long as there is something else available, so I dont worry about that.

                          Leslie

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Apparently your vet has more book knowledge than real life experience.

                            By the way, for those of you with a tractor large enough, I mow pastures with a flail mower. It will not throw a rock at your horses (mine will never move over far enough when I mow past them).

                            It also almost never scalps because it has a full length roller for setting the height of cut.

                            The pasture ends up looking as smooth as a lawn.

                            It is much noisier than a bush hog. Hearing protection is a must.

                            I use the bush hog now only for idle land that gets mowed only once or twice a year.

                            Entrance roads, drives, etc., look much better when mowed with the flail mower.

                            CSSJR

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You worry too much. We live in a giant sandbox. Badgers, skunks and fox excavate huge holes in the middle of the pastures and somehow over the 14 years we've been here, we have never had a single leg injury from somebody stepping in a hole. The only catastrophic leg injury I've had, happened in a perfectly smooth, square paddock up by the barn without a single hole or divet or lump in site. And the horse had DSLD and the limb was already weak and in trouble.

                              Yes, we backfill everywhere possible but I can't walk the fields every day with a bucket of dirt and a shovel. Every time I mow the fields, I see a fresh excavated hole made by some kind of varmit. Horses somehow survived for eons without nomads scouting in front of them filling in gopher holes or hoofprints with a bucket of dirt and a shovel. I've got trail horses and they seem to be pretty darned savy.

                              And the mowing is fine. Never had a problem in all the years we've been mowing the pastures every month.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Cut it and leave it lying and they'll eat it.

                                It's not a problem unless it's short clipping and/or they're damp and they start to ferment.

                                So short lawn clippings are a NO. I'm in total agreement with the vet on that one.

                                If it's hot where you are though and it's just a long cut then it should quickly turn to hay - at least it would here in the weather we're having just now and then it will be absolutely fine.

                                As for filling in hoof prints and keeping pastures nice..... I wouldn't have a clue! It's a field isn't it. It's got horses in. It will get rutted and poached unless you've a shed load of money, time and staff to prat about doing something pretty useless and futile and over and over again.

                                I confess to running a roller over mine every March/April.
                                Last edited by Thomas_1; Jun. 28, 2010, 04:14 AM.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  2 dogs, that is a hilarious image! We just mow with our JD riding mower without the bags on. It chops up everyting very fine and even grinds up the manure. It works well and we have not had a problem.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Mine don't bother with the bits and pieces of green the mower spits out. They prefer to graze the living plants.

                                    I don't bother with the "hoof prints". The horses do just fine walking over them.
                                    Veterinarians for Equine Welfare

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by cssutton View Post
                                      Apparently your vet has more book knowledge than real life experience.
                                      CSSJR


                                      yeah...I doubt that since he works at Rood and Riddle . But I would be inclined to think that any vet would have more real life expeirence than you...I mean that is what they do, isnt it...
                                      its not as if they are sitting in an office reading Gone with the Wind all day...the vets Ive seen are actually out there working.

                                      I know for a fact that he's not the only vet to have dealt with horses that have ingested lawn clippings. You can even google it and see that yea...it can cause a problem with some animals.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                                        Don't worry - my boys used to line up at the fenceline when I mowed the lawns so they could get the clippings as they spewed from the mower.
                                        When I mowed the pastures they'd follow me - like a Vegas buffet
                                        hehehe mine does that too!

                                        I wil however will feed a bag of grass clipping to my horse...but I spread it over a lager area so it can dry rather than ferment.

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