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Natural grazing vs pastures and hay

From: Lanie

Dear Jessica, I have a strange question but this has been worrying me for some time. I try to keep my horses in as "natural" a way as possible. They spend most of their time in a large (bluegrass) pasture with a big shed for inclement weather. In the early spring I have to put them in stalls with small paddocks attached for at least two months as our pasture gets very wet and I know that the horses' hooves would destroy it if I turned them out on it then. My question is about the quality of our pasture grass and whether there is a way to make it more "natural". I have read that some weeds are actually good for horses, and that "natural grazing" would allow the horses to eat certain herbs that would make them more healthy. We keep the pasture mowed short, we pick up the manure, and every year, we re-seed any bare parts of our pasture. We have been using just the bluegrass seed, but could you recommend some herbs or "good weeds" that would add to the pasture "mix" and make it more healthy for our horses?

Thank you, your HORSE-SENSE service has helped me so many times before and I hope you can help me again.

Lanie


Hi Lanie! It sounds to me as though you are managing your pasture wonderfully, congratulations! And yes, there are ways of adding what vets are now calling "grazing herbs" to your horse's diet by planting them in your pasture. Some people like to do this themselves, seeking out the particular herbs that they want to offer their horses, but there is an easier way. You can get in touch with Equilite, Inc., a New York-based company that sells equine nutritional supplements. The company has a product line called "Sow Your Seeds". The toll-free telephone number is 1-800-942-5483.

Ask them about two different mixes: "Pasture Blend" can be mixed in with your grass seed when you reseed the pasture, and "Fence Line Mix" is made up of less hardy plants that need to be planted near the fence, where they'll be eaten but not stepped on.

Jessica

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