A Guide to Managing Your Outdoor Paddock Area

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When you correctly manage your horse and pony paddock, you will maximize the quality of the grass and the growth.  This will, in turn, ensure that your horse is getting the right nutrients and vitamins when they graze.  To properly manage your paddock, there are a number of important considerations that you need to know about.

Electric Fences

An electric fence can be helpful to split your paddock in order to rotate the grazing area. Take a look here for some of the best electric fences and equipment.

Clean Up Droppings

This is a task that most people do not like, but it is something that you have to take care of on a weekly basis.  Horses will not usually graze in areas that have been tainted by droppings because it will encourage weed growth.  Keeping on top of cleaning up droppings will also help with your worming program because it will reduce the parasite burden.

Avoid Overgrazing

When you allow overgrazing, your fields will start to become patchy and have bald areas.  This will also increase the growth of weeds.  Of course, there are a lot of people who do not have other fields that they can use to rotate the grazing of their horses. 

If you are one of these people, you might want to consider strip grazing instead. When you use this method, you will be able to rest part of the pasture while your horses still have other ground to graze.  Giving the pasture time to recover and regrow is important. 

Harrowing

Harrowing is a process where you remove dead material from your land.  It will also allow air to get into the surface of the soil and sunlight to the bottom of the sward.  Harrowing will also help to break up any droppings that you might have missed while you were cleaning up.

Rolling

Over the winter, most paddocks will be churned up.  This will generally happen around the gates and along the fence.  Rolling will need to be done and ideally when the soil is damp, but not completely wet.  If you roll the ground when it is too wet, you will end up compacting the soil and this will stunt the growth of any grass.

Soil Nutrients And Fertilizers

Many people do not realize that at least 85% of grassland is actually mineral and trace element deficient.  This is why soil nutrient checks and fertilizers are an important part of pasture maintenance.  Soil sampling is a good way to determine what is missing from the soil and the overall nutrient levels. 

You will need to use the right fertilizer to get the nutrients your soil needs and there are some which have been made for paddocks.  These fertilizers will have nutrients such as nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus which is needed for strong grass growth and weed suppression.  When you apply these fertilizers, you will generally not have to remove your horses.

Patching

Patching is the process of reseeding the paddock to ensure that there is grass everywhere.  There are certain areas that require this more than others and they are generally along the fence and by the gates.  Of course, you should also patch any other bald areas of your paddock.

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