Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

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greybeard
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Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

Postby greybeard » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:46 pm

I know about cattle stocking rates, but I see 2 kinds of horse pastures around here. One, eaten down to dirt, the other with grass 2 ft high and mostly wasted at the end of the growing season. Is there a rule of thumb for horses/acre, to keep the pasture (no hay cut and no cattle included) in good shape without going to either extreme?
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Re: Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

Postby Bigfoot » Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:23 pm

You need to rotate horses frequently, because of their ability to eat close, and tendency to pull grass up (may not be a problem with Bermuda, but it is with fescue)

I run 5 head on 4 acres. That's a heavier stocking rate than my cattle. I start feeding hay later, and quit sooner than my cows. Reason being is I have very intensive management on those pastures. I even graze a few calves behind the horses.

Unmanaged , those 4 acres would look like a desert.

Some people do intentionally dry lot a horse. I always dry potted my mules, year round.
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Re: Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

Postby M-5 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:27 pm

a horse eats 24hrs a day , they are selective on grazing for the most part , On pasture here I can 2 pair to one horse. Its a fine line. My son and his GF had 2 horses use 5 acres to keep them on , I would have to mow it a couple times in summer to keep the weeds in check and desirable grass growing. she got a rescue form some one and put in pasture with others and in 2 weeks it was down to the dirt. It seems to be a good practice to allow free choice hay while on summer pasture as it give the grass a break.
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Re: Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

Postby greybeard » Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:36 pm

Thanks. Reason I asked..
I sold 17 acres last year and the new owner just runs horses on it. He didn't get it sprayed this year because we had so much rain and high water (I was barely able to get mine done between rains and it was late then) so he asked if I could mow the 17 acres. I agreed to it for a price and started yesterday. He's a nice fella, but doesn't know much about pasture or grass management. Bahia is nearly up to the horses' bellies. Cutting hay isn't an option for him right now, and I don't cut any either. He keeps 4-7 horses on it all the time and they're looking pretty good with no supplemental feeding in summer except on weekends when he comes down from Houston. He has told me I could run some cows on it, but I don't want to--you know how cows are--into everything, rubbing on anything and he has lots of stuff stacked up and no fence around his new buildings or "good" junk. His horses don't bother any of it but cows sure will. Mowing it high but still cutting lots of good grass and wondered if he just needed to bring more horses in from his other place out near Schulenburgh. I hate to see good grass go to waste.
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Re: Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

Postby callmefence » Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:44 pm

I can't add much to what's been said. Except nothing grazes more selective than a horse. They eat the good and when it's gone they paw up the roots and eat them. They won't touch the other stuff. I hardly ever feed my horses , I run them with cattle on pasture.
The exception is when I'm feeding the cattle the horses have to be moved . They won't let the cows eat. Using horses for pasture management is really no good.
They are the best grazing animal I know of mowing the lawn. Cut the grass nice and short and don't touch the ornamental plants.

Exception is that ground cover called purple Jew. Everything loves that stuff.
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Re: Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

Postby greybeard » Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:52 pm

Dang hoofprints in my yard would be rough on my lawnmower--and me.
Thanks for the education folks.
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Re: Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

Postby pdfangus » Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:18 am

throw in the fact that most horse owners, at least around here, know nothing about any kind of grass management and will believe what some other horse owner tells them over any forage or extension professional.
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Re: Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

Postby mooo » Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:25 pm

yes horses are selective and most people around here wont turn them out on most grass they rather keep them stalled feed expensive grain ration and only top choice hay no junk .the sad part is most that put there kids in 4 H and thats where they get there heads full of bull ! my daughter used to get mad when she took horses out to show or compete ,mad at me for haveing clover in there pasture ,finally one judge kept her in the arena till last he cuaght her trying to wipe it mouth before she came in arena ,that was a waste of time !as she stood there woundering what was going on judge started a conversation how healthy her horse looked she made comment that we lived on a farm and dad wouldnt let her use good hay for them and his pastures were full of clover.that made there mouths look horrible .as he agreed and told her she could go he stoped her and said one more thing young lady clover is good for them. they will destroy some spot and never touch others,have had 7 or so head on 5 acre at one point in time .the two we have left are ridden couple dozzen time a year now apox 20 yr olds if a storm knocks down the fence or someone leave a gate open they can most time be found in the yard !
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Re: Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

Postby 1982vett » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:52 pm

greybeard wrote:Thanks. Reason I asked..
I sold 17 acres last year and the new owner just runs horses on it. He didn't get it sprayed this year because we had so much rain and high water (I was barely able to get mine done between rains and it was late then) so he asked if I could mow the 17 acres. I agreed to it for a price and started yesterday. He's a nice fella, but doesn't know much about pasture or grass management. Bahia is nearly up to the horses' bellies. Cutting hay isn't an option for him right now, and I don't cut any either. He keeps 4-7 horses on it all the time and they're looking pretty good with no supplemental feeding in summer except on weekends when he comes down from Houston. He has told me I could run some cows on it, but I don't want to--you know how cows are--into everything, rubbing on anything and he has lots of stuff stacked up and no fence around his new buildings or "good" junk. His horses don't bother any of it but cows sure will. Mowing it high but still cutting lots of good grass and wondered if he just needed to bring more horses in from his other place out near Schulenburgh. I hate to see good grass go to waste.

.
For certain, this has been the year for under utilized grass. Even with last years record breaking rainfall, pastures were short but not this year. Can't say I've ever had the abundance of grass I have now. But then, if I did I guess I was cutting it for hay.
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Re: Not a horse person. Educate me on something.

Postby TexasBred » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:50 pm

greybeard wrote:Thanks. Reason I asked..
I sold 17 acres last year and the new owner just runs horses on it. He didn't get it sprayed this year because we had so much rain and high water (I was barely able to get mine done between rains and it was late then) so he asked if I could mow the 17 acres. I agreed to it for a price and started yesterday. He's a nice fella, but doesn't know much about pasture or grass management. Bahia is nearly up to the horses' bellies. Cutting hay isn't an option for him right now, and I don't cut any either. He keeps 4-7 horses on it all the time and they're looking pretty good with no supplemental feeding in summer except on weekends when he comes down from Houston. He has told me I could run some cows on it, but I don't want to--you know how cows are--into everything, rubbing on anything and he has lots of stuff stacked up and no fence around his new buildings or "good" junk. His horses don't bother any of it but cows sure will. Mowing it high but still cutting lots of good grass and wondered if he just needed to bring more horses in from his other place out near Schulenburgh. I hate to see good grass go to waste.

Horses usually love bahia because of the high sugar content, however, horses are bad about eating nothing but the seed heads often leading to constipation. And yes horses can be very selective. The more narrow muzzle and ability to move it around in any direction allows them to pick and choose instead of just grabbing a mouthful of whatever is there like a cows has to do.
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