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It depends. My hay man uses RoundUP to kill off everything, first, then plants. I don't like doing that bc RoundUp keeps getting stronger every year. But, after planting you need to keep your horses off of the pasture for one year. The pasture comes in with tender grasses. Horses will rip those out while grazing and you'll just have to replant.
MY horses planting their own pasture, which was in corn when I moved in, by passing through grass seeds from the grass hay I was feeding them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It depends. My hay man uses RoundUP to kill off everything, first, then plants. I don't like doing that bc RoundUp keeps getting stronger every year. But, after planting you need to keep your horses off of the pasture for one year. The pasture comes in with tender grasses. Horses will rip those out while grazing and you'll just have to replant.
MY horses planting their own pasture, which was in corn when I moved in, by passing through grass seeds from the grass hay I was feeding them.
hmmm ... not sure where to start ...

i have 20 acres fenced in -- part pasture and part forest --- i don't currently have a method to section anything off or keep the horses off of it

pasture has grass ... am i supposed to replant grass? ... overseed it? or something like that?
 

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If the grass is in good shape no need to reseed. Might take a soil sample to an ag place that sells fertilizer and they can tell you what if any fertilizer your ground needs. We've lived on this farm for 15 years and have never had to reseed, just some lime sprinkled over the top and then allowed to soak in from a decent rain before turning the horses back out.
 

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Hi,

As there are so many different ideas & desires, you will get different views whoever you ask. Traditionally, especially if there's any chance of commercial hay production, people kill off all the different plants that may naturally grow in a pasture, then fertilise, often with super phosphate or such, then seed with 'improved' varieties, such as rye, clover, etc.

BUT if you want healthy pastures, for healthy horses, I'd be inclined to leave the weeds, or selectively knock some of them out, depending what you've got.... unless it's rye & clover, in which case I'd kill it all & start from scratch. I would NOT fertilise with super, but would consider getting a soil analysis & consider top dressing with minerals that may be deficient. And if I felt the need to spread seed, I'd be looking particularly for native, not improved varieties.
 

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how large is your pasture? is there currently grass in it ? Do you irrigate your pasture or 'dry farm ' it ( as in it only gets watered when it rains)?
Are there other neighbors near you that could give you some advice? You need to make sure you do not have any toxic weeds, you can get weed killers and find the burn off time and if they are safe for pastures. I dont recall what the round up time is, 21 days ? or 2d4 which is another good killer for pastures , i also use a weed killer that has Diquat in it, for stinging nettles. You can go to home depot lowes tractor supply etc. Your ground may not need nitrogen, so a soil sample is a good idea. Potassium and phospherous is needed for good pasture, as well as a list of other micro nutrients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
how large is your pasture? is there currently grass in it ? Do you irrigate your pasture or 'dry farm ' it ( as in it only gets watered when it rains)?
Are there other neighbors near you that could give you some advice? You need to make sure you do not have any toxic weeds, you can get weed killers and find the burn off time and if they are safe for pastures. I dont recall what the round up time is, 21 days ? or 2d4 which is another good killer for pastures , i also use a weed killer that has Diquat in it, for stinging nettles. You can go to home depot lowes tractor supply etc. Your ground may not need nitrogen, so a soil sample is a good idea. Potassium and phospherous is needed for good pasture, as well as a list of other micro nutrients.

pasture is +/- 10 acres -- horses have free access --- lots of grass in the summer and lots of clover ... some weeds, blackberries, and bull nettle

i do not irrigate or farm at all -- pasture it solely for the horses
 

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I would kill the nettles and transplant the blackberries to a garden site.. yumm black berries !
You should have a farm agency in your area, or good nursery/garden business who could tell you what type of clover, there are pasture mixes with clover in them, Google clover for horses, and you will get all types of info. Some clover is okay some clover is bad.
The County Farm bureau or Ag commissioner should be able to help you.
 

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I'd use a selective spray to knock out the majority of clover to start with. Wouldn't worry about the nettles so much, if the horses eat them. You can do a google search to look at different grass types, to see what you've got. Remember, 'poorer', stemmier stuff on average is better for horses, not rich, green... You might like to ask Merlot here, as they have been doing a heap of research/rehab around the subject of pasture & nutrients.
 

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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 :)
Horse Mammal Vertebrate Mane Stallion
 

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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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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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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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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. :lol:
 

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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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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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