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How Much Pasture Does One Horse Need?

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The Natural Resources Conservation Service recommends a minimum land area per horse of 2 1/2 acres of first-class pasture. You can lower the needed pasture acreage for grazing if you supply additional feed. However, your horse still needs room to roam and exercise. A horse enclosed in a small pasture will eat the grass down to its roots and will trample the grass into the ground. Keep your horses out of poorly drained pastures during wet periods. Their hooves leave holes in the turf that fill with water, providing a perfect place for poisonous weeds, such as water hemlock, to thrive. Fence your horses out of streams unless you have a hardened crossing. Their hooves will damage the stream bank, leading to erosion and siltation of the stream. Foraging Schedules and Grazing Systems: You can get more use of your pasture if you establish a grazing system. Divide your pasture into two to four separate pastures, and move your animals from one pasture to another once the grasses have been ... more
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