Pasture Management 101: Starting a New Horse Pasture from Scratch
Plan Your Paddocks and Pastures
When designing a pasture for your facility, keep in mind the total number of horses your land can support.
“Many horse owners want to have pasture provide a majority of their horse’s nutrition, but often overstock the land,” said Jennie Ivey, MS, PhD, assistant professor and extension equine specialist at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Thus, they “use turnout time strictly for exercise while providing additional hay” for nutrition, she said.
In general, the recommended stocking rate—which allows for a horse to graze pasture without stressing the grass stand and prevents overgrazing—is one mature horse per 2 to 3 acres of land. While pastures in some areas might be able to maintain horses on less land, keep in mind that varying weather patterns, soil fertility, manure presence, and weeds will impact how much forage is available for the horse to
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