Managing the grassland on your horse pasture

Your pasture needs renewal every now and then. You can reseed it or, a slightly less drastic method, overseed the existing grass. Try to reseed your pasture again every 5 years and overseed the pasture every year.

Reseeding a new pasture


How?

  • First, destroy the weeds that are abundantly present.
  • Afterwards, plough or dig over the land to a depth of 18 cm.
  • Then, mill or rake the soil, so that the land is nicely flat with a loose top layer of 1 to 2 cm.
  • The soil is now ready for reseeding. Spread the grass seed evenly over the land and rake it lightly. By subsequently rolling or trampling the land, a good seedbed is created.
  • As soon as the grass is a few centimetres tall, you roll it again. This creates a nice dense turf.

How much seed?

For reseeding use 50 to 60 kg per ha (6 to 8 g/m²). Reseed large parcels mechanically. Small parcels can be reseeded by hand.

When?

The best time to renew your grassland is August/September. Then the temperature of the soil and the environment is optimal and there is sufficient moisture, which is important for the germination of the seed. This also prevents too much weed in the spring. Early October is the last possible time for seeding. If you seed later, there is a risk of frost damage.

Overseeding an existing pasture

You can also revive a pasture by overseeding it with a special herbage mixture such as Verla Horseseed. You then reseed the existing grass cover.

How?

When overseeding, small cuts are made in the grass cover and new seed is added.

How much seed?

For overseeding, 30 to 40 kg/ha (3 to 4 g/m²) is recommended. Reseed large parcels mechanically. Small parcels can be seeded by hand.

When?

The best time to overseed your horse pasture is March/April. The seed then germinates faster than the existing turf starts to grow.

Why does your horse pasture need a special herbage mixture?

The most commonly used grass mixtures are mainly suited to cattle. These herbage mixtures consist mainly of perennial ryegrass, which grows very fast, has a high protein content and is not structurally rich. This mixture is clearly less suitable for horses.

Horses generally receive far too much protein and have a much higher need for structurally rich grass. Moreover, 'normal' grass is not very resistant to the way horses graze. Cows pull the grass with their tongues while horses bite it off (very close to the roots) with their teeth.

Grass starts to grow again from the 'growth point' (= where the leaves sprout from the stem). If that growth point has been eaten, the grass will have a hard time growing again. A good horse mixture also contains grass with a very low growth point (close to the ground), so that the grass can quickly grow again after your horse has eaten it.

Three tips to maintain your pasture

  1. To keep your pasture in a good condition, it is best to alternate pasturing with mowing. Mowing occasionally will considerably increase the longevity of your pasture.
  2. Remove the horse manure from the pasture. Every horse owner knows he or she has to do that, and yet it is not done often enough. In this way, you prevent helminthism and avoid the formation of 'bundles with tall grass'. To keep your pasture healthy, you have to regularly mow away these bundles.
  3. Pasture harrows ensure the aeration of the grass cover; dead grass is thus combed out and molehills are levelled. It is best to do this as early as possible in the spring.

 

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