grazing horse COWGIRL magazine
A horse grazing. Photo by Robin Jonathan Deutsch.……

Horses and many other livestock are grazing animals. They will spend a good portion of their day roaming the field in search of grass and other plants to eat. Horses can be very hard on pastures. They bite the grass very close to the ground and will sometimes pull the roots out. If proper management isn’t taken, your horse’s field can quickly turn into a bare lot with weeds.

Grazing Methods

  1. Continuous: The horses have unrestricted access to pasture at all times. They can eat as much as they want. This method can lead to overgrazing unless the field size and number of horses are appropriate.
  2. Strip: In this method, the horses are restricted to a section of the field. Moveable, electric fencing is used to keep them contained. After the area is grazed down a bit, the temporary fence will be moved to open up more pasture space.
  3. Rotational: Multiple pastures are used in rotational grazing. The horses will be put out in one to begin. When that pasture is grazed down, they will be put into the next and so further. This gives the previously used pastures a chance to rest and regrow.
  4. Multi-species: Some will keep all the animals together, while others will allow one type to graze followed by the next. This allows undesirable weeds to be eaten, as horses, cattle, goats, and sheep have different preferences.
  5. Mob: Many animals are put into a smaller grazing area. They will eat everything available and trample the rest. The fields will be rested for a longer period though. This method isn’t usually utilized by horse owners though.

Your individual needs will dictate which grazing method you should use. Many like to use a combination.

Two horses grazing together. Photo by Rifath @photoripey