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Pasture feed?

This is a discussion on Pasture feed? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        03-11-2009, 12:25 AM
      #11
    Weanling
    I have pasture horses as well!!! They get some pony pellets and hay duing winter or if the grass is low. We don't have stables here, I've never stabled my horses really. We have an open front shelter in the back paddock, that's about as close as we've got to a stable!! I think pasture is definitely the way to go!!! Your not letting them be horses if they are locked up all the time :(
         
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        03-11-2009, 02:41 PM
      #12
    Started
    Most pastures and hay nowdays is not nutritionally complete for our horses they need at least SOMEM vitamin/mineral supplement to balance it all out :) UNLESS you have lots of acreage with tons of variety they most likely will need something more :)
         
        03-11-2009, 03:49 PM
      #13
    Foal
    Wow, that is some awesome advice!! Thanks everyone! I actually ask because I am selling one of my mares. Someone looked at her and really liked her, but they asked if I thought she would be okay on pasture with nothing else to eat. The idea really shocked me at first, because I keep my horses in stall or paddocks with hay and sometimes grain. I worry about turning them out on long grass because I've heard of obstructions from overgrazing on long grass. I let them graze on short grass all the time. I also worry about inadequate grass supply, lack of nutrition, and lack of shelter in a pasture situation. How many acres would it take to support one horse on pasture alone? This person says she has 10 acres with another horse already on it, and she wants to buy my mare and put her out there. 10 acres with NO hay or grain seems like not enough to support 2 horses. What do you think?
         
        03-11-2009, 04:21 PM
      #14
    Trained
    It depends on the area, what type of grass the pasture has, the soil fertility, and a lot of other factors.

    If she's in a drought type area with a lot of weeds or un-palatable grasses that may not be enough. Like where I live you can support one horse for every 1-2 acres (with proper fertilization of the soil & pasture care) we can up that by rotational grazing, but you want to be careful then that you don't over stress the pasture. Is the pasture mostly grass or is it one of those "wooded pastures" basically in a forest? If it is mostly woods the actual usable grass is much less than 10 acres. Peggysue is correct about a lot of pastures not being nutritionally enough now but that is due to our (horse peoples) tendency to WAY overstock pastures (I know lots of people that have 2-3x as many horses as they should on tiny, mud filled pastures)... and the fact that very few of us soil test and fertilize properly.

    I don't know a lot about CA pasture loads though so you guys could be totally different in terms of pasture loads.

    One extra thing too for the health of your pasture (and therefore your horses) you should take them off of it once it is below 3". The best height to turn out on is 6-8" of grass (dependent upon the grass species) and to take them off when it hits 3-4". Basically you want to put them on before it seeds/flowers and take them off before you hurt the grasses ability to maintain itself. This way you reduce stress on the grass, because stressed grass = room for weeds to move in = less grass = horses eating things they shouldn't.

    I should show my Equine Nutrition prof this, maybe extra points to prove I learned lots in class?
         

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