Having horses on your own property or farm is fun, but it is by no means an easy task. To be able to take care of a horse or horses, you’ll need to have pastures that you manage properly. With high-quality pastures, you can make sure that your horses have excellent nutrition.

On the surface, it sounds easy, but adequate pasture management is a challenging task, largely due to changing environmental conditions. But do not worry, if you want to know more about pasture management, grazing, and grooming your horses, you’ve come to the right place.

Why Is Proper Pasture Management Important?

As we already stated above, the biggest advantage of pasture management is improved nutrition for your horses. But that’s not all that proper pasture management can do for you.

If you take care of your pastures correctly, you can also improve grazing for your horses. If your horses are receiving most of their nutrition from grazing, you won’t need to spend as much on hay. So, in the long run, you’ll save yourself on hay costs as well!

How To Manage Your Pastures The Right Way

Below we’ve detailed a step by step process for efficient pasture management.

Asses Your Pasture

Before you do anything else, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with. Take a walk around your pasture and assess the plants you have. See if there’s a variety of different species or if its primary grass.

If your pasture is mostly weeds, you may need a complete renovation. If, however, it is mostly grass or plant species, you just need good pasture management techniques to ensure that your horses get the best nutrition.

Test Your Soil

It’s important to know what kind of soil you have in order to care for it adequately. Nutrients and the pH of the soil are different from place to place. You can easily get a soil testing kit, and then, if you have the skills and knowledge, you can interpret the results yourself. If not, you can send the results to a lab that will do so for you. Knowing what kind of soil you have will help you determine which fertilizer is best for your land.

Apply Lime

Applying lime is necessary to maintain a proper soil pH, which you need for healthy forages. So, what kind of soil pH should you aim for? Ideally, a pH between 6 and 7. Anything less than six would be too acidic, which can make the soil less nutritious. Lime increases the pH of the soil to make nutrients available to horses. So, if your soil pH is too low, apply some lime.

Apply Fertilizer

Soil and forages also require nutrients in order to grow. Fertilizers primarily have three nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If your grass is a pale green or yellow color, it indicates a lack of nitrogen, which can stunt the growth of the grass.

At the same time, too much nitrogen can also be harmful to horse health. Hence, the best way to apply nitrogen is in small, multiple applications.

Mow Your Land

The secret to a high-quality pasture is frequent grooming through mowing, which helps grow leafy vegetation. Mowing also helps reduce the growth of weeds by reducing the production of weed seeds in the land.

It’s also important to know how to mow. Mowing too low can deplete the energy reserves in the grass and can lower the chances of regrowth. Hence, it’s a good idea to try to maintain a height of 2 to 3 inches if the grass is bladed and short. If it’s a taller species, keep a higher height of 3 to 5 inches.

Division and Rotational Grazing

The most productive way to manage a pasture is by dividing it into smaller paddocks. Horses are already selective gazers, which means they will eat the forage they prefer and disregard other areas. If you allow your horses to roam around the whole pasture, some areas will be overgrazed quickly. Overgrazing is an important reason for poor pasture management.

Good pasture management entails that first grazing should happen once the plants are 3 to 4 inches high. You should also aim to keep rotating horses into a new paddock (preferably every five days). By keeping your horses limited to one space, they’ll be forced to eat the forage there, even if it’s not the most desirable one on the whole pasture. Regular rotation will thus reduce overgrazing on your pasture.

Just as you should not move the plants to below 2 to 3 inches, the plants must not be grazed below 2 to 3 inches, either. After the first grazing, move your horses to a new paddock and allow your plants to grow back to 8 to 10 inches high.

Eliminate Weeds

Weeds are the last thing you want on your pasture. They compete for nutrients and water with healthy forages and can thus deplete your pasture of its nutritious value. Some weeds can also be toxic or harmful to your horses’ health.

With proper maintenance and mowing, you should be able to eliminate weeds. However, if weeds persist despite proper maintenance, it may be a sign that your pasture requires plowing or re-seeding.


There are many things you must consider when managing a pasture. Your pasture won’t do you or your horses any good if it is not cared for properly. It won’t be nutritious for your horses and can cost you if you end up requiring a complete renovation. Luckily, with these tips, you can manage your pastures well!

Author’s Biography

This article was written Scarlett Hobler an author from Tooly. The author has extensive experience in the area, having grown up on a farm. After obtaining a BS in Agricultural Sciences, the author currently works on their family farm. In their free time, they aim to educate people on the different areas of farming.

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