Keeping your horse out on pasture is the absolute ideal when it comes to giving your horse a more natural life and allowing him free movement that prevents such difficulties as stocking up and arthritis.? However, not all pastures are created equal.? Here are some things to look out for when evaluating possible pastureland for your horse.
- Pasture should be rich in grass and short on weeds.? Where there are a lot of weeds and little grass, your horse will have a harder time keeping his nutritional needs met.?
- Know what poisonous weeds are common in your area and walk the pasture thoroughly to ensure that none are available to your horse.? Don?t forget to check trees and shrubs as well and also check areas beyond the fence line that your horse might be able to reach.
- All pastures should have secure and safe fencing and gates to prevent your horse from escaping, and also prevent injury should your horse interact with it.? Fences should be at least five feet tall.? Electric fencing can be an excellent option to be used in conjunction with traditional fencing, as it can prevent the horses from inflicting daily wear and tear.? Barbed wire is never a good option for horses.
- Make sure the pasture is free from debris.? Horses can easily hurt themselves by tripping over or stepping on items hidden around the field.? Check for the possibility of construction materials, in particular nails and sharp objects that could cause a hoof puncture.
- Provide shelter for your horse, either with a run-in shed or trees that provide good cover and shade.
- Your horse must have easy access to drinking water.? If in a trough, ensure that the water does not go dry by checking it daily, and if relying on natural water sources keep in mind they should be running and clear, rather than stagnant.
- The pasture should have good drainage and not have large areas of boggy, muddy ground.? Not only can deep mud cause your horse to pull shoes and come up with injuries, it can also provide the right environment for skin infections and thrush, not to mention making it difficult for an owner to access the field to catch their horse.