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What Kind of Grass for a Grass Hunt Field?

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  • What Kind of Grass for a Grass Hunt Field?

    There is so much confusing information on the internet - I am hoping someone here knows the answer.

    We live in Northern California and we are going to put in a grass hunt field on two acres. Its about to start raining and its time to seed the area! What kind of grass is good to ride on and also good for grazing the horses for a few hours a day?

    Will my hunters need to have studs to jump on the grass?

  • #2
    I am in Central Texas and spent the summer turning my (unused for grazing) front pasture into a hunt field. I did not seed it, I let whatever wants to grow thrive, and concentrate on weed control. My field is a combination of bermuda (it was once sprigged with coastal bermduda), bluestem, and lots of other native grasses. The bermuda and bluestem seem hold up the best to hoof traffic. But I don't fight the native grasses and in some areas, that's all that seems to want to grow.

    I walk my field with a wheelbarrow and a maddox (I think that's the name of it... like a pick ax but broader) and dig up weeds. I also mow it constantly. That is resulting in good strong grass. I use paper shavings for bedding, and when I clean stallls, I spread the manure/shavings on my pastures. The paper shavings decompose much better than wood shavings. These are all my secrets to good pasture grass! Plus, being a scrooge about riding in it when it's wet. My barefoot horse gets to ride in it the most!

    For your second question, the field is most slippery when it has not rained. When the grass gets dry and the ground hard, the field is slick and I don't use it much.

    My horses are shod in front (one of them) or barefoot all around (the other one). I don't notice a problem at all with traction. I have heard all kinds of thoughts on barefeet, footing, and traction, and to me, the slipperiest footing is round beach-type sand (not the angular sand). They do fine in grass, field sand, and sandy loam footing, and to be honest, I don't notice any difference in traction, just in degees of hardness. To me, there is no nicer feel underfoot than a newly mowed grass field. My arena was sand that I let go to grass, and that is my favorite footing if it is not too dry and hard.

    I can't spreak to whether there would be a difference between my experience (all barefoot behind) and shoes, although my unscientific opinion is that shoes are more slippery when it's hard and more sticky when it's deep.
    Last edited by ToTheNines; Oct. 10, 2009, 12:40 PM.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


    • #3
      Local sources are best for your needs; http://ucanr.org/freepubs/docs/8163.pdf
      ... _. ._ .._. .._


      • Original Poster

        Thank you. Great information! Thank you for taking the time to answer my post!


        • #5
          Bermuda grass is the best for durablity. It is a warm season grass, so if you want grass year round you will have to overseed with a cool season grass for the winter. Usually the Bermuda goes doormat with a soil temperature below 65 degrees. I have had good luck overseeding with annual rye. It comes up quick and will last until the days get warm and then the Bermuda Grass comes back. My horses don't slip unless the grass is wet.


          • #6
            How about for NC/SC? What types of "foundations" should you put down first to make it stay nice and drain well? Let's face it - red clay isn't so nifty!


            • #7
              I'm in the North Bay. I had seed shipped to me from: http://www.leballistersseed.com in Santa Rosa for my hunt field and had fabulous results. I don't recall specifically the mix I used (it's been a few years since I seeded) but just make certain whoever you buy mix from knows that you will be using it for both grazing and riding.