Horses and People

Get to Know Your Grasses, Part 1

Certified Permaculture Design Consultant

As horse owners, even on the smallest of properties, we must remember that we are grass and forage farmers for our horses. Whether you manage your own grazing pastures or agist, whether you grow or have to buy hay and roughage, it helps to learn more about the grasses and legumes that grow in your area and get to know the species that are most suitable for your horses.

The different types, how they develop and grow, the effect of grazing pressure, what leaf area should remain after grazing and their recovery, all affect how you manage your land and the health of your horses.

Horse owners or grass farmers?

When we own horses, we sign up to become caretakers of large herbivorous animals that have been adapted to eating a plant-based diet of primarily grasses and browse.

As such, we should strive to create the best husbandry and pastoral systems to cater for their needs. But successfully managing horses in these systems is not effortless – it requires a level of understanding and continuous action.

As horse owners we sometimes forget that we are ‘grass and forage farmers’ for them - even on the smallest of properties.

To make pastoral systems really work, we need to have at least a basic knowledge about how grasses and legumes develop and grow,

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