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Welcome from north-central Connecticut! In this blog I will share whatever is in my heart, on my mind, or something interesting I've found to share. Thanks for stopping by!

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Surviving in weedy pastures...

I am compelled to write about a subject that has concerned me many times in the past. Last summer, while on vacation up in Maine, we toured quite a few back roads.
On this particular trip, we saw quite a few horses in various fields. What struck me most, and saddened me, was seeing them kept in what could be loosely termed as 'pasture'. (some didn't even get this, but that is for another post)
Apparently, people seem to think horses like weeds. As long as they look out their window and see green, and their horses' head down eating, they think everything is ok. Lots of green stuff out there yet.
So many people who own horses don't do their homework first. Horses eat grass - not weeds. They are not goats. That is why you sometimes see so much 'green' stuff still out there.
Have you taken the time lately to walk around your pasture, noting what it's comprised of? What condition it's in. Is the real grass grazed to mere nubs? What is the percentage of grass to weeds? Horses need nutrition. They can literally be starving to death in a field of green.
Have you done soil samples? Have you fertilized it? Horse manure can be a great inexpensive fertilizer when composted.
Are you seeing more brown patches than green? Is the soil holding water well, too well, or not enough? Different grasses provide different nutrients. Check to see which are best for horses and what mix is suitable for your area.

Please, horse owners, take responsibility for your fields. Go to the library and read up on pasture management. Go online and do some research. Your horse is relying on you to take care of them. Sure, they might survive on what you see above. But do you want to just 'survive' on substandard or inadequate food? You will get a much happier, healthier horse if it thrives, instead of just surviving. You will save money in vet costs and even in replacing your horse, if you take better care of it.
I love horses. I have owned several over the years. And I too have been guilty of poor pasture management in my younger years, because I couldn't 'see' what was right in front of my eyes.
Although this is not a comprehensive article on pasture management, I do hope I've intrigued you enough to see what's growing in your own back yards, regardless of what animals may be pastured there.
So take a walk around your pasture. Really see it from a horses' perspective. Do your research and plan your pasture management. Your horse will thank you. So will I.

Below are a few links I found doing a quick search regarding pasture management to get you started. Your best place to start would probably be your local extension office.
Minnesota Extension Office. an excellent site on pastures
New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
Horse Pasture Maintenance
HorseQuest Online Learning



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