You may have a spring cleaning to-do list for your barn, but how much attention are you giving your horse pastures? A spring pasture maintenance plan can help to keep those pastures in good condition year-round, and that can help to keep your horses safe. When it comes to maintaining your pastures this spring, make sure that these five tips are on your to-do list.
Check and Maintain Fences
Start your pasture maintenance with a careful check of all of your fencing. Walk your fences and inspect them for damaged areas, loose posts, and other issues. If your fences are wooden, check to see if any areas need to be repainted, and look for nails that may have been worked loose or that may be starting to protrude. If your fencing is electric, walk it with a fence checker and check to see if the charge is strong along the entire fence.
When you check your fences, make sure to inspect your pasture gates, too. Oil hinges as needed and make sure that your gate latches still fasten securely.
Look for Low-Lying Areas
Spring showers tend to bring mud, so look for low-lying or heavily-trafficked areas that may need attention. Often, these are the areas by gates and run-in sheds. Installing an earth stability system can help to control and minimize mud. Other drainage solutions like French drains may also help, depending on the layout of your pastures.
Repair Poor Footing
If your horses have torn up the pasture footing over the winter, it’s often easiest to repair that footing in the spring if you plan on reseeding your pastures. Fencing off part of the pasture, or keeping horses off of the pasture entirely, will be necessary, but improved footing will be safer through your horses during the year.
Inspect Run-In Sheds
Run-in sheds see a lot of use, so it’s important to incorporate them into your pasture maintenance routine. Inspect the sheds for stability and look for broken boards, loose nails, and other issues that may arise over time. This is also a good time to check to see if your horses are chewing on the sheds, and to take steps to prevent that. Applying a spray or paint to the wood can help, though some owners find it easier to wrap problem areas in metal sheeting for extra protection.
Set Up Pasture Rotation
If you don’t have a pasture rotation system already established, the spring may be an ideal time to create one. By rotating your horses through your pastures, you’ll be able to let a pasture rest and regrow without being grazed down. This system can help to ensure that all of your pastures stay in good condition with quality grazing opportunities. Setting up the rotation system may mean that you’ll need to divide a pasture or even add a new pasture on, but it’s often worth the effort when it pays off with quality pasture that can support all of your horses.
When you do your barn spring cleaning this year, incorporate your pastures into the process, too. A little pasture maintenance goes a long way toward keeping your horses safe and happy.