Rotating Pastures, and Why It's Important

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Hey, y’all! Sam here with a short post about rotating pastures. If you work with horses, you’ve probably heard this term before, but let me go ahead and refresh your memory.

Rotating pastures is when you keep your horse in a pasture for a certain amount of time, then move the horse to another pasture for a certain amount of time. This is done solely for the purpose of grass growth.

Horses will eat grass like nobody’s business. They’ll pull it up by the roots, completely killing the grass so it doesn’t grow back. In order to prevent this, you rotate their pasture.

But how do you know how long a horse should be in a pasture? This varies by how big the pasture is and how quickly the grass grows. Normally, though, you’d want to switch pastures about once a week.

Did y’all know that horses actually (in a way) switch their own pastures? Most horses have huge spots in the pasture that they use as a restroom while they go and eat everywhere else. After a few months, they’ll start eating where they were pottying and pottying where they were eating. That way their manure can compost, making the soil healthier in the spot. With healthier soil comes tastier grass. Then a few months later, they’ll switch again. Isn’t that incredible? Horses are such intelligent animals (even though that kind of thing may seem gross to some people), and that’s the exact reason I work with them.

When it comes to switching my horse’s pasture, I’m super inconsistent. It’s just so much easier to throw her back in the same field I got her out of. But next thing I know, there will be way too much grass in all the other pastures (too much grass is a snake’s dream), and almost no grass in the one Ellie’s been in. Then it ends up taking months for all the grass Ellie pulled up by the roots to grow back. So I just keep reminding myself: It’s either two minutes to switch her pasture or months of waiting for the grass to come back.

What if you only have one pasture? What if you don’t even have a pasture? Well, you should make the most of what you do have. If your horse is a stable horse, make sure they have good quality food specifically for their breed and use. If your horse only has one pasture, make sure you water that grass as needed so that it grows back fast enough.

That about wraps this post up (yeah, it was a pretty short one). Comment below on what YOU learned from this piece! Sam out!

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