If you have your horse at home, does he (or she) have a wonderful field you can turn them out to graze? Or do you daydream about looking out your kitchen window and seeing your horses happily grazing in the back pasture? I did! So we fenced off an area to be a pasture for our horses.
But over time, that area that we had blocked off to be a horse pasture had gotten so bad, all that would grow were weeds. And last year I finally decided to make a change, and make this a real pasture that my horses would be happy to go into. I talked a little bit about the process when I did my real riding challenge last year.
And you know what? It wasn’t as hard as I had made it out to be. So today, I want to show you how you can go about improving a horse pasture, so you too can have a beautiful view like this:
First Things First – Fencing
If you are just getting started, the first thing you need to do is determine where you want your pasture to go. Ours was built out of necessity. About 10 years ago, when I got my new horse barn delivered, we had to have a place for the horses to live while we waited for the barn to be delivered.
That was a challenge! I had to make 2 pens for my horses to sleep in (uncovered). And then we had to literally make a pasture that would keep the horses safe, and far away from the barn building process. That was a challenging time. But in the end, it was worth it. Not only did I get a new barn, but we made a pasture to turn our horses out into.
This photo is of my little barn before it underwent its transformation to what it is today.
So we made use of one side of fencing that was already built. And then we fenced off the other three sides. And while I would have loved to continue the vinyl fencing on the other 3 sides, that just wasn’t in our budget. So we opted for braided electrical fencing.
This was a MUCH more affordable option, and being able to electrify one strand gave me peace of mind that my horses will not try and escape. And they don’t. The one wire of electrification is enough to remind them to stay behind the white fence line.
We did have to install an energizer, which is pretty affordable when you consider how much ground it covers. Not only did we electrify the back pasture that we made, we also did the front fenced area as well.
This has been so helpful. Because now the horses have some respect for the fence, even though its only vinyl. If you are thinking about putting in a vinyl post and rail fence, I highly encourage you to add a line of electric fence too. Otherwise your fences could end up looking like this:
Preparing the Pasture
When we started our pasture was awesome. But over the years, the horses took their toll on the ground. They grazed it down to nothing. So last summer, I decided to reseed the pasture to make it green again.
And when I started, I knew I had to rake the ground first. So I brought my arena drag out to the pasture, and drug, and drug, and drug. This gave basically lines for the seeds to go into. And then I got the materials I would need. Seed, peat moss, and water. Not too much right?
What to Plant
I did some research on what type of grass would grow where we live, and I decided to use mostly a dry-land mixture pasture blend. And yes, they sell it on Amazon. But I also wanted some alfalfa, so I bought some alfalfa seed too.
The grass seed was a lot more affordable than the alfalfa. But I wanted alfalfa, so I bought about 2 pounds of it to spread throughout my pasture.
Spreading the Seed
I did the seed spreading by hand. I would sprinkle the seed, and then follow that up with re-raking the seed into the area (with a rake) to cover the seeds with dirt. Then I sprinkled peat moss on top of that. And then I watered. I watered a LOT. Twice a day, I would soak the area to make sure it stayed damp. I think the peat moss helped to hold the moisture in so it wouldn’t get too dry.
And after I had planted my seed, I read that alfalfa doesn’t grow well in our region. So I was a little concerned that I had wasted my money. But I just stayed diligent with watering, and not turning the horses out in the back pasture until it was established.
Hurry Up and Wait
And then, all I had to do was wait. Well, and water too. So I watered, and waited. And eventually, the little seeds started to sprout! I was so excited!
So I continued to care for the pasture, and keep the horses off of it. And this summer, the work I did last year really paid off. This is my pasture now:
Isn’t it marvelous? I am so happy, and I know my horses are too!
Improving a Horse Pasture
I don’t let them have free turn out back here. No, instead I use this as a treat for them. They take turns being turned out for about an hour on Saturday and Sunday.
And after a work out session, their ultimate reward is to come out back and have a snack. Plezant has learned this happens. So every time after we get done working, he always wants to go to the back gate.
Improving a Horse Pasture
For me, this was well worth the work it involved. I wish we had 40 acres of pasture, but we don’t. So I work with what I have to make the most of it. I think it’s worth it, and I know my horses appreciate it too!