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How to Create a Healthy Horse Pasture For Feeding and Exercise

While a pasture with lush green grass is the dream of every horse owner, the sad reality is more in keeping with a weed-overgrown patch of dirt that has little grass and turns into a mud hole at the first few drops of rain.

Yet did you know that with a bit of know-how, you too will be able to turn your patch of shame into a pasture your horses will be able to use a source of healthy nutrition as well as an area for much needed exercise?

First and foremost, you will need to get to the bottom of your grass problem. If grass is not growing properly on your pasture, you will need to find out what the pH level of the soil is. If the acid levels are too high, no amount of fertilization will yield any positive results. To reduce the acidity of the soil, you can add lime yet keep in mind that this is a time consuming process, so go ahead

and get started sooner rather than later. Generally speaking, fall is the preferred time of year for applying for lime and a fertilizer to your pasture to help the grass grow lush and healthy.

Secondly, keep in mind that not all fertilizers are created equal for a good reason: not all soils are created equal! Nutrients are found in most all soils, but they are found in different concentrations. Thus, you will need to find a fertilizer that will supplement what your soil is lacking, rather than piling on more of that which you already have in abundance. A soil test will quickly tell you what kind of plant food will help your grass grow.

Consider planting the pasture. This is a much neglected aspect of proper pasture maintenance, yet even there it pays to pay attention to the details. Grass-legume mixtures are a good bet, as is fungus-free fescue. Stay away from the kind of fescue that used to be sold under the moniker KY 31. It has been associated with a variety of health problems for horses, including death. White clover adds nutrition for the horses while at the same time providing nitrogen for the soil. Generally speaking, fall is the best time of year to plant your pasture, while spring is also acceptable.

If this project looks like more than you bargained for, consider hiring someone who will do the work for you. Hire a professional who knows how to measure the lime and properly apply it, rather than a private party without professional references. Sometimes these professionals will be able to do the soil tests for you as well, saving you an expense at the onset of this project.



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