Horses get roughage from eating alfalfa hay and supplemental grains, and grazing on grasses and forage plants in a pasture. When preparing and planting a horse pasture, choose grasses and plants that are high in protein and easy for your horses to digest. Depending on your location, there are many kinds of grass and plants that you can grow in a horse pasture. Here are some that will yield a high-quality feed for your horses:
Ryegrass: Ryegrass grows quickly so it can be reseeded in a horse pasture often. This grass can be sown in a pasture without raking or tilling the soil. Ryegrass grows well with other grasses and can effectively control soil erosion.
Bermuda Grass: Bermuda grass is a hearty grass with many varieties. It is a fast growing grass that is resistant to weeds and insects. Bermuda grass can easily replenish itself in a pasture that is often used by grazing horses and other livestock. It grows well in a dry climate that does not receive a lot of rain.
Kentucky Bluegrass: Kentucky Bluegrass is a high-nutrition grass that is very palatable to horses. It grows into a thick blanket of grass that can tolerate horses walking on it every day. Kentucky Bluegrass regrows rapidly when it is eaten by grazing horses. It is a perennial plant that will reseed itself but can also benefit from the sowing of new seed into already established Bluegrass plots.
Timothy Grass: Timothy Grass is a vigorous grass that has large stems and leaves and is a favorite of many horses. This grass does well in northern regions as it prefers a cooler and more humid climate. Timothy Grass grows well in shady areas of a horse pasture. When harvested and dried, Timothy Grass can be used to make a nutritious hay.
Red Clover: Red Clover is a high-energy forage plant that contains lots of protein and fiber. Horses and other grazing animals are attracted to Red Clover because of their broad leaves and showy flowers. These plants like a lot of water so plant them near an irrigation source and keep them in moist soil. Red Clover is known to improve soil nutrients wherever it is grown.
A well-planned and maintained horse pasture can be an integral part of your horses' nutritional diet. It is best to rotate the grasses and forage plants in your pasture to give your horses a variety of plants to eat and keep the soil rich with nutrients. As your horses eat the fresh grasses and plants, rake the ground, and replant the bare areas with more seeds. Irrigate the pasture well but not enough to create standing puddles of water. Fertilize all growing grasses and forage plants lightly once a month. With consistent planting, irrigation, fertilization, and weeding, you can have a thriving horse pasture where your horses can play and graze all year long. Keep this advice in mind when looking for feed such as alfalfa hay for sale.