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Managing your Horse or Ponies Pasture

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Avoid ‘horse sick’ pasture!

If your pasture isn’t managed correctly it will become ‘horse sick’. Horses are selective grazers and will leave any areas they find unpalatable and overgraze any tasty areas. The ground will become poached and weeds will start to invade.

How to improve your pasture with Seasonal Maintenance

SPRING

1) Harrow to remove dead vegetation, weeds and to aerate the soil
2) Reseed any bare patches using a Jubilee Equine Grass Mix
3) Roll the pasture to repair any winter damage
4) If hay is going to be grown on this pasture livestock will need to be removed
5) Remove weeds and poisonous plants
6) Apply fertiliser to encourage growth

SUMMER

1) Keep removing weeds and poisonous plants
2) Top the pasture (make sure you do not top ragwort) to a height of 5cm so it can better withstand wear from hooves
3) Cut and bale hay

AUTUMN

1) Look out for falling acorns and sycamore seeds
1) Top the pasture (make sure you do not top Ragwort)

WINTER

1) Where possible rotate pastures to prevent severe winter damage
2) Pick up droppings to encourage grazing the whole pasture and reduce the number of parasites
3) At the end of the winter test the soil to identify any nutrients that are lacking, then we can advise you on the best fertiliser to use

Harrowing and Rolling

Traditionally harrowing is used to spread the droppings across the pasture to act as a natural fertiliser. We don’t recommend this for horses and ponies because it can make the pasture unpalatable and any parasites will be spread across the whole pasture.

We recommend harrowing to remove dead grass, weeds and level the ground.

Rolling when the ground has dried out will restore uneven and poached land but avoid very heavy clay soils because it will cause compaction which will have a negative effect on drainage and grass growth.

Poisonous Plants and Weeds

If you don’t look after your pasture poisonous plants and weeds will thrive. Below is a list of a few:

Poisonous Plants – Ragwort, Sycamore/Maple, Oak/Acorns, Yew, Bracken, Foxglove, Deadly Night Shade, Buttercups, Privet and Rhododendron

Weeds – Docks, Thistles, Nettles and Brambles

DIG RAGWORT OUT! DO NOT TOP!

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