The maintenance routine will include frequently spreading manure droppings or picking them up. Horses can wear bald patches in the ground. This typically occurs in wet weather. A useful economic tip is to spread seeds that fall from the hay onto the bald patches. This will take care of those patches with new grass in season for your horses.
Maintaining your horse pasture with a variety of grasses should be your goal for good care. Safe herbs and other plants can also be included. Some horses enjoy eating blackberries which contain vitamin C. Brambles may be left in hedges many horses enjoy eating the young leaves of these plants. Dandelions are another highly nutritious plant for horses. They are also easy to seed. Good edible plants should be encouraged in your horse pasture.
Routine pasture inspection is practical horse care. Make sure all fences are in good repair. Carefully check for any poisonous plants frequently. Most people do not have the knowledge to identify poisonous plants in their horse pasture. If you are not familiar enough with the poisonous plants for the area where you live to readily identify them, purchase a good photographic guide to poisonous plants. Inspections for these plants should take place often because seeds from these plants can blow in and sprout anytime.
Here is a list of plants using their common names that may reduce the quality of your horse pasture and those that are unsafe for horses. If you find them in you horse grazing area take care that they are removed.
- Beech – Beech mast or the fruit is poisonous to horses.
- Box – This plant is often used as a hedge for gardens.
- Bracken – This plant is not usually eaten by horses. It should be pulled up and burned because it wastes valuable grazing and spreads.
- Buttercups – Horses usually do not eat this plant but weed killers can change the taste and they may be eaten then.
- Daffodil – If growing wild can be eaten.
- Deadly night shade – Can be eaten by horses that browse a hedgerow accidentally.
- Foxglove – Not usually eaten but it commonly grows in paddocks.
- Hemlock – The whole plant is deadly. Young shoots appearing in spring are sometimes eaten.
- Holly – The poisonous berries are at times eaten.
- Horse chestnut – Horses can not eat the fruit of this plant but they can eat the leaves.
- Ivy – This plant seems to do no harm is small quantities but not eaten in large amounts.
- Laburnum – If this plant is near a grazing area it should be removed, normally it is only grown in gardens.
- Oak – Consuming large amounts can cause colic in a horse and could be fatal. Sometimes a horse may crave acorns and in this case the acorns must be swept up and removed or select another pasture for the horse to graze.
- Oleander – This plant is deadly to both humans and horses. It is often used as an ornamental plant. Do not pasture a horse near this plant.
- Privet – This plant is poisonous to horses. It is commonly used as a hedge.
- Ragwort – This plant should be pulled up and burned. It can be fatal to horses.
- Yew – Poisoning from this plant happens quickly. Horses can be found dead with the plant still in its mouth.