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Most ranch owners enjoy horses and cattle. Both animals are social and like to graze, so they appear to be a match. Some even suggest that it’s a good idea for pasture management. Ultimately, there are differences that can come into play though. Make sure to do your research before sticking them together!

Tips for Keeping Horses & Cattle Together

  • First, make sure they get along. Some horses will chase and bully the cattle. Not only is that stressful for them, but they can be seriously injured.
  • Be careful of cattle with horns, as they can do some major damage to a horse’s body.
  • Most bulls will be okay, but some may be threatened by your horse’s size. Stallions and bulls may cause problems with each other.
  • Cows tend to attract more flies, so be prepared for the increase.
  • Horses will graze the grass down to the soil and ruin the pasture if not rotated. Cows are not so harsh.
  • For the most part, they don’t share the same parasites.
  • Most horses need strong fencing, whereas cattle don’t push the boundaries as much. Barb wire is not recommended for horses.
  • Each have different grain and should be fed separately.
  • The quality of hay will vary too. Cattle can eat a much lower quality than horses can.
  • Cows can eat richer quality pasture without worry. Some horses have issues with that!
  • Each animal prefers their own species as company. If left no other choice, they may connect with each other.

While there are some similarities, there are also some obvious differences. Each situation is going to be unique. Don’t assume your horse will be accepting of the cow, instead make sure you have a back up plan if it doesn’t work out.