As a horse owner you’ll find that your fields require a little rejuvenation from time to time.
From seeding after ploughing or reseeding existing grassland, there are many components to horse field pasture management.
Here we look at the main ones to help you get started.
Seeding and re-seeding
If you can, try to replenish your grass every 10-15 years. You can do this one of two ways; the first involves a complete revamp whilst the second requires you to re-seed the fields only.
Before beginning the restoration of your fields, it’s extremely important to carry out a soil analysis. This will help you to discover any flaws or deficiencies in the soil.
Once you’re sure your soil is in tip-top condition only then should you begin the seeding process. It’s essential to use the correct seed when carrying out this procedure. For example, grass seed should only be used for horse pasture as opposed to cattle pasture.
If you’ve decided to embark on a complete re-seeding process, the best times to carry out this process is not the summer season but in the autumn or spring months.
Grass seed and mixture
The standard seed mixture (available in the UK) comprises meadow fescue, perennial ryegrass (of which there are 3 to 4 varieties), Timothy (2 varieties), smooth stalked meadow grass and creeping red fescue.
To cater to an acre of land, you will need approximately 14kg of mixture. Horses and ponies tend to prefer structure-rich and finer grasses whilst cows favour ryegrass.
This particular mixture contains a large amount of protein, which is good for milk production.
If you’re looking to invest in one of the best mixtures on the market, opt for a tailor-made mixture of creeping red fescue created without ryegrass but with wildflowers and herbs instead.
Maintaining your pasture
To maintain your fields, it’s a good idea to top them up in-between grazing intervals.
Additionally, it’s also important to remove horse droppings on a daily basis. This is something that is often overlooked as people believe manure is good for fertilisation but simply leaving waste throughout fields can allow rough vegetation to appear in the latrines and even lead to worm contamination.
Another way to get rid of any rough vegetation involves harrowing the fields at least once every year and this is something you should always set out to do.
Keeping your fields and pastures clear and well maintained will only be of benefit to you and your horse so make sure you take regular inspections of your land. If you don’t have enough grazing animals then you may also need to trim some areas of longer grass too.
You’ll also need to fertilise the fields on a regular basis using the correct fertiliser rather than simply manure. This will not only ensure the quality of the fields but also the health of your horse so it’s a worthwhile investment.