- Field rotation. This is one of the simplest options if you are able to divide your field into smaller paddocks. This system means that if your horses are kept in each paddock for four weeks at a time, the remaining paddocks can rest and rejuvenate during that period ready to receive the horses after the four weeks.
- Strip grazing. This allows you to begin with a small-ish paddock and gradually increase the size of the paddock with temporary fencing as your horses graze it down. This doesn’t allow the paddock to rest so is not ideal, but is another option.
- Track systems. In this method, your paddock is made into a track system, commonly in a loop around the outside. One option with this method is then to allow your horses to graze around the track while the middle section is rested, and then swap them over when the track is running low on grazing. Track systems can be very useful in relatively small paddocks as they encourage the horses to move, which is important for their health and wellbeing.
- Poo picking. Whatever system you use in the paddock, it is vital that you pick up the manure. Piles of manure lying on the grass prevent light and air getting to the plants that need it, and therefore affect their growth and ability to regenerate. The breakdown of manure can also cause grass to taste unpleasant, meaning horses will avoid that patch and graze more heavily in the other areas. It is therefore vital that manure is picked up promptly from within the paddock.
- Supplementing grass. Sometimes the only viable option, particularly during winter, is to supplement the natural grazing with additional hay. If you do decide to do this, it is worthwhile putting the hay in several piles around the paddock to encourage the horses to move. Putting one large bale in the centre can not only cause fights if your horses are in paddock together, but can also dramatically reduce the amount that the horses move around.
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Top tips for making grazing last