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Grasing land

If already possessing an open stable the proud owner surely will be interested in his horses not only having the options to walk around in their paddocks but also to enjoy regular pasture walks. However, in this connection a lot of things are to be considered and a pasture is causing a lot of additional work.

  • You need a pasture of sufficient size, if possible in immediate reach of the stable and without the need of crossing streets with heavy traffic, railway tracks, or similar on the way there. If you are lucky a near by farmer can be persuaded to lease you a small piece of cropland. However, you should be clear about the fact that it has to be some square meters. With our eight horses the less than two hectares of farmland we could lease are in fact still too little. Anyway, better than nothing at all.
  • Of course the meadow must - as the open stable itself - be properly corraled, especially if roads are located nearby, so that you could let the horses graze unattended for a couple of hours. Concerning the topic fencing we already wrote something. In addition to the outer fences you should provide for intermediate fences so you can subdivide the meadow in smaller allotments or to partition the horses in grazing groups. The intermediate fences should consist of poles only, so they can be easily relocated or removed, e. g. because thankfully the next-door farmer mulches your meadow with his tractor at the end of season.
  • As the available area usually is scarce, you are compelled to ration the pasturing. This means pasturing for a couple of hours a day only and only on a part of the meadow, so that the gras can grow again onto the rest. Likewise you must cease or interrupt the pasturing if the weater conditions don't allow it, e. g. due to a rain soaked ground or if it's too cold so that the plants stop their growth. The bottom line is of course that sometime in late autumn the pasture season is finished and is restarted not before the next spring.
  • If the horses stand on the meadows for some hours you should never forget to provide sufficient water. Movable pasture barrels with automatic drinking troughs are available that can store a considerable amount of water. Nevertheless, large tubs, checked and refilled daily, will do as well, especially if the own meadow is not so huge.
  • At the beginning of the pasture season the responsible horse owner makes sure that the horses are properly feed up. Namely slowly raise the daily grazing quota instead of putting the horses on the pasture for the hole day in an instant. Particularly at the beginning and end of the grwoing season during the cool time of the year the grasses in part have a high fructan content, laminitis impends! In case of light-feed horses the owner should alway keep an eye on the weight of his sweethearts, baroque styple body shapes shouldn't be the dream silhouette of horses as well!
  • An important topic: Tapeworms. The eggs of the worms can be ingested via the gras, therefor it is essential to keep the worm hazard small. To this pertains the regular, accurate deworming of all horses in a stable at a joint time in each case. However, to this pertains also the careful fostering of the pasture and this means the regular removal of the manure on the used pasture. We normally do this daily after each pasturing. Ideally you perform an alternating pasturing with different species on your meadow to further embank the worm hazard but the fewest people will have the time and delight to keep an extra cow just for this purpose.

Generally is the pasture fosterage an important topic, else you will rapidly rejoice in your piece of meadow as little as the horses do. And the fostering needs to be done sustainable and consequent in order that it works. Such as:

  • Provided you down own the necessary equipement you should ask a farmer within reach at the end of the pasturing season to mulch the meadow with his tractor. If the plants despised by the horses are not eaten away by grazing by other species or mulched away they will spread further and after one or two years the whole pasture is full of e. g. sorrel. Not toxic indeed, but the horses don't eat it and these plants do spread very, very intensely and are rather resistant against sole scytheing. Here only the trepanning of the partially unbelievably long and large roots does help. Therefor it is essential to keep objectionable plants on the pasture small right from the start.
  • You should also aks your neighbouring farmer to fertilize the pasture outside the growing season. On the one hand to feed the grass energy for its growth, on the other hand a couple of unwanted plants are adapted to a meager food supply and don't cope well with an ample nutrient suppy.
  • The consequent and immediate combating of toxic plants mustn't be neglected on no account. Spearheading is to name here of course the infamous ragwort, but certainly there are many other plants that are toxic for horses. You should inform yourself appropriately about this. Plants like ragwort should categorically and immediately be unearthed completely (wear gloves and avoid skin contact!) and disposed of (bin for residual waste). Important: In some fedral states ragwort meanwhile has become notifiable!
  • And in the end a good pasture fosterage unfortunately includes also the elimination of recurrent annoyances. Dogs that are not being hindered by their owners to run onto the meadow and do their buisiness, carelessly littered waste blow onto the pasture by the wind, ignorant, unknowing people throwing unsuitable forage onto the pasture, etc., the list could be continued for a long time. You have to pay attention on this routinely and abolish it accordingly so that you eduringly benefit from your meadow.

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This page was last modified on 19/01/2015 from Sabine Brockamp