Owners may protect horses from many health related issues by maintaining a pasture that is mostly mud free and planted in nutritious grasses. Flies and mosquitoes thrive in wet muddy environments along with bacteria and fungi. Due to the slippery nature of mud, horses often lose footing and become injured. There are measures an owner may adopt to maintain a pasture that is both healthy and nourishing for horses.
By reducing suitable habitats for flies and mosquitos, owners may prevent a host of health issues for the horse. Horses often injure hooves stomping to shoo flies and mosquitos away. Flies may infect horses with dermatophilosis, equine infectious anemia, Potomac horse fever and a number of other diseases and infections. Mosquitos are known to cause equine encephalitis and the dreaded West Nile Virus.
Do not allow grazing below three to four inches. Installing cross fencing measures will assist owners to control grazing. Divert rainwater away from pasture lands to ponds, stock watering tanks, dry wells and etc… When it rains place horses in heavily grassy paddocks, as horses will trample down shorter thin grass. The trampled area will then become muddy. Maintain several paddocks and rotate horses.
Consider utilizing wood shavings or crushed limestone in high traffic areas leading from the pasture to the barn. In extremely wet locations, it may be necessary to place a layer of filter fabric under the wood shavings or crushed limestone. The filter fabric may be purchased at most co-ops.
Planting nutritional grasses provides grazing for horses and assists with mud control. Experts recommend planting two acres of grass for each horse. An ideal pasture should be reseeded and fertilized consistently. Clover may be planted to choke out weeds instead of utilizing dangerous herbicides. Look for grass seed that guarantees high rates of germination.
Cocksfoot, Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, reed canarygrass or timothy are hardy cool weather grasses. Alfalfa, clover and vetch are nutritious cool season legumes that should be provided in a horse’s diet. Crabgrass and pearl millet are warm season grasses that thrive even during droughts. Sheep’s parsley is rich in Vitamin C and iron. Rye grass should be planted in pastures with horse’s that are overweight due to its’ low carbohydrates and high nutritional value. A combination of controlling mud issues and planting healthy grasses will provide a healthy environment for horses.
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