am i supposed to plant my pasture? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 21 Old 02-08-2014, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
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HI Jmike,
as Loosie has said, get rid of the clover. this can cause multiple problems for most horses. There are many ways of doing this - some people spray it with a broad leaf spray - personally I hate the idea of spraying anything so what we do is run a mob of sheep through pasture with clover just before the horses graze it. Don't leave the sheep there too long. What I've found is that clover is the FIRST thing sheep go for, they LOVE it. The other thing we do is we never graze short grass - we make sure that every time our horses go into a new paddock, the grass has seeded and is long and rank and fibrous. Clover doesn't stand a lot of chance in the long grass. A little bit of clover here and there won't hurt.
Don't fertilise, this adds nitrogen to the soil (as does clover incidentally) which is the last thing you want. Horses need rough UNFERTILISED grass.
We do top with lime once every couple of years and occasionally use a natural soil conditioner which helps the microbes and worm life.
For me, with multiple horses, this means I lease paddocks in the district for about 7-8 months of a year - a pain, but so worth it as we only have 11 acres. Other people feed hay most of the year - that is another option.
Secondly, assess what is already in your paddock - what you want is native grasses and grasses like Brown top, Timothy, Cocksfoot, Prairie Grass, Yorkshire Fog etc - a good mix of many species in other words. (I don't know what grows where you are but what you do NOT want is clover or rye.
A lot of people think that horses should be on lush,short green grass when this is the LAST thing you want a horse to be on. You will be amazed how well your horses will do on the rough stuff - that's what they are designed to eat.
As an example, this is my yearling galloping around in his 'crap' grass paddock.
I think you get the idea, not a blade of green to be seen and don't think he looks like he suffering The only time he gets green grass is for a few short weeks over spring and possibly autumn.
We never fertilise OR irrigate. He gets a daily feed (beet, copra and oaten chaff) with 1 Tbsp SALT, a quality mineral and, because our soils are very boron deficient (which causes magnesium deficiencies) an added magnesium supplement.
Hope this helps
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post #12 of 21 Old 02-08-2014, 05:48 PM
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He's gorgeous Merlot! Tho I am very biassed towards his colour! How old is Zephyr now?
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post #13 of 21 Old 02-08-2014, 06:09 PM
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He's One year and 2 months totally chilled out hilarious little boy

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post #14 of 21 Old 02-09-2014, 01:27 AM
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i was browsing some sites, and found that White vinegar sprayed onto bermuda grass will kill it, so maybe it will some of the nettles. Nettles , depending on the type , can be toxic if they get berries, cause problems if eaten. I get stinging nettles and I use the spray that contains Diquat which has a quick burn off rateas well as the 2D4 . Do go clean out the dried dead plants so they are not eaten.
I have to irrigate to have pasture or any grass . or I would have nothing but dirt. I wont use fescue of any sort. I planted a grazing bermuda, which is a blend of giant bermuda and common bermuda, to handle the drought and hot conditions here. I do not like to graze short grass or new grass and will put them out on the pasture after the grass is 6-8 inches tall , the taller the better, plus tall grass will choke out a lot of weeds. ;)
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post #15 of 21 Old 02-10-2014, 10:57 AM
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Call your county extension office, you can have someone come out and assess your pasture, tell you what you currently have in terms of species of grasses/weeds and give you direction in terms of pasture management. It is free & will be specific to YOUR situation. We spray for weeds, fertilize, and rotate pastures on a regular basis. I also drag my small "backyard" pastures to break up and spread manure. I don't agree with the "no fertilize" comment above....we had a soil analysis done and tailored our fertilization to add what was lacking. Good luck!
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post #16 of 21 Old 02-10-2014, 11:08 AM
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What is the issue with clover in horse pastures? Our horses have been grazing a pasture with a decent amount of clover in it for 20 years without issue...

I think everyone has really good points. We had the local farm supply come out and test the soil and top dressed with a formulated fertilizer. Otherwise we mow periodically and drag. I should be rotating, but I like the movement of the bigger pasture instead of very small ones.

The biggest issue I've run into and it's mostly because of our relatively small area is the ground becoming really compacted. This has led to a major ragweed problem in my pasture, which I'll be having to solve this summer. Otherwise the biggest weed issue I have are the thistles, the horses will eat the purple tops once in awhile, but not nearly as much as they multiply.

ETA - Obviously I understand that a pasture with only clover is a bad thing, akin to grazing a horse on straight alfalfa. I know about the slobber and photosensitivity issues caused by the mold/rust that can grow in thick stands of clover too. Aslike clover is not good because of arsenic as well. Just wasn't sure if there was some other issue I didn't know and haven't experienced that comes with horses eating clover.
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Last edited by MN Tigerstripes; 02-10-2014 at 11:15 AM.
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post #17 of 21 Old 02-10-2014, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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i only have a small patch of clover --- about 50 feet across

it is the "bathroom" --- i am positive that they are trying to kill it with their urine
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post #18 of 21 Old 02-10-2014, 11:20 AM
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My horses LOVE the clover area. If I let the rest of the grass stay long and stemmy they refuse to eat it and will use that as their bathroom. Then they'll just graze the clover area or the area where the grass is short. So I have to mow and keep the whole pasture relatively short, unless I do some really crazy looking grazing paddocks.
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post #19 of 21 Old 02-10-2014, 12:56 PM
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What we are finding more and more is major prob;lems with horses grazing clover due to the following...
Clover is very high in starch (complex sugars), contains phyto-estrogens which can upset hormones, contains photodynamic pigments which lead to mud-fever and sunburn and there is a very strong correlation between clover head-flicking.
Whether this is because of the newer varieties of clover being developed such as the insidious sub-terranean clover we have over here or what I'm not sure. It could be that you have a good old type of clover Tigerstripes, as when I was young there used to be no real issues with either, or, it could be the excessive use of nitrate/urea fertilisers over here in NZ are reacting, we really don't know. What we do know is that certainly over here and in parts of Australia too, clover is a big problem for most horses.
Hence me banging on about
If you don't have a problem with it though, there is nothing to fix therefore leave it be ;)

clover we have over here
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post #20 of 21 Old 02-10-2014, 01:11 PM
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That's interesting, yeah it could definitely be an issue with varietals and/or over fertilization. Like I said they've been on it for 20 some odd years without issue, well, not these two, they've only been on it 3-5 years.

I worry more about the sugar levels in the short/stressed grass than the clover. I really need to figure out some sort of temporary fencing this year...
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