Tip #6: Feed carefully.
Never feed horses on grass or pre-existing mud. Instead, feed in feeders placed on gravel (or whatever footing you’ve chosen). Feeding hay on the grass pasture will contribute to vegetation breakdown, and leftover hay scraps will break down in the soil, adding organic material to the mix and making mud worse. Remember: All graveled areas should be raked and cleaned daily, which will prevent any hay scraps from breaking down and contributing to mud. tribute to vegetation breakdown. There’s no doubt about it: Less horse traffic means less mud. As a rule of thumb, each horse should have between one and two acres of pasture available for a fulltime turned-out lifestyle.
If that space isn’t available, consider setting up sacrifice areas on your farm—gravel paddocks where horses can be kept to protect grass pastures during rainy periods. If sacrifice areas aren’t an option, you might have to cut back turnout time, especially during winter months.
it’s less likely to break down under the demands of grazing horses. A happy pasture requires careful management. Collect a soil sample every few years and submit it for analysis. Your local feed store can probably recommend a lab to analyze the sample. Based on the results, you should determine what additives your soil requires, including fertilizer, lime, or other minerals.
Fertilizing is best done in the fall, when weeds have died back and grasses are dormant, allowing fertilizer to impact the roots. Grass with a healthy root system is more likely to flourish, and deeper roots can reach farther in the ground for water, allowing pastures to survive even during dry summer months.
The pH of your soil is equally important. If the pH is too low, the nutrients will be unavailable for absorption by the grasses. Lime helps to raise the pH of your soil, and can be added at any time of year.
Finally, occasional over-seeding will help fortify the grass and keep it growing strong. Although it’s best to seed when pastures are resting, you can still get good results as long as the area isn’t too overcrowded. In fact, horses’ hooves can help push the seed into the soil and encourage it to grow. If you have completely bare areas that require more renovation, use temporary fences to protect the areas while grasses grow. Be sure to clean them carefully several times each week, and inspect the skin underneath to ensure that it’s still healthy. If you must trim your horse’s legs, consider a thick application of Desitin ointment over the pastern area to act as a moisture barrier and prevent bacteria or other organisms from gaining ground.