Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pasture Management

Last years drought absolutely killed our pastures, yards, and anything else we had growing around our house.

So in hopes of an average amount of rainfall this year we made the decision to reseed one of the pastures and the front yard.  Keep in mind that the total size of the property is 3.5 acres, so we are dealing with less than that for actual pasture.
(I did not take any pictures of the front yard because it is still a sand pit)

This is the pasture we reseeded and I am quite happy with how it is coming in.  Where I am standing to take the picture is still a bit sandy but I think if we keep all the horses off it for this year, it will come back all the way.

The grass is at least 4 inches long, if not longer.   Oddly enough, I haven't put a nary a drop of water on this pasture from a hose. It is all from rain fall and the swamp that resides just a few feet under ground.  It is really growing nicely.

Moving on to pasture # 2

Now, here is the really cool part.  The picture above and below is the pasture that the horses have been grazing on. We did not seed it, and we do not water it.  Yet look how nice and green it is staying.

It is not quite as long as the other pasture, but seems to be holding at about 2-3 inches.   I learned a very valuable lesson last year, and it is making a difference in the growth.  Last year I had 2 horses out and 2 in at all times. For example, I'd let the red horses out during the day, and then Danny and Trax out at night while the red horses were locked up. That meant that the grass was being grazed on 24/7. This year the routine is 2 horses out each day, but no one out at night. That gives the grass 12 hours a day to grow without a horse hunting down its tender shoots.  It also keeps anyone from getting too fat.  If they are grazing they do not get fed any cubes.

 Of course we have to have the gratuitous grazing pony shots.  The blog is called "Herdlife" after all!   But let me just point out that this is not pasture at all. This is actually the highly coveted dog yard. This is the yard where where Danny stands my the gates and demands to be let inside.   As  you can see if you click on the link, and compare the grass from those pics to today you can see that there has been a lot of growth in a month.
"No pictures now Lady..I'm eating"

 Trax loves the dog yard too, although he hasn't quite learned how to ask to go in.  But once Danny gets his way, Trax is right on his heels.

"Nom nom nom"
 Danny is the head of the yard crew!  Actually I mowed this yard a few weeks ago, and have not watered it one bit. It also gets fed by the swamp, and I swear the grass is at least 6-8 inches long.

I have been giving everyone a couple of hours in here each time they are out. If I do any more than that, they will eat themselves sick.  I will have to go home at lunch time today to let these two out.

Yesterday Sassy and Killian got to be the yard crew for a few hours.   Poor Smarty is convinced that the horses are going to eat him so he remains on the deck with a worried look on his face,  as long as there are in there.  I should have gotten a picture of that as well I guess.

In Arizona we will only have one pasture but it will have irrigation so I think I can take my new routine and implement it there as well. I think grazing is super important for mental health (more that physical) so although they won't always be grazing, if they all get some time on the pasture it will be like therapy.

Tonight we get back into training mode.  I am hoping to get to ride tonight and tomorrow, then Thursday will be about getting the motor home ready. Friday night we will head down to Douglas and I will stay there all weekend. TC says he will come home and feed the critters but go back to operate the camera watch me compete.  I'm hoping there is a place at the fair ground where I can hose my dirty pony down. Asking him to stay clean from Thursday on is a little much!

I see that the Black Forest Fire is finally dying down and some folks who still have homes are being permitted to return to them. Then there are the over 500 who have no home to return too.  What a terrible loss for those families.  It must be so hard. I was happy to read that all the bloggers I know in that area, so far have come through without incident, but still pray for those who have lost.  May God give them strength and guidance through these troubled times.  I have never had to deal with something like that myself, but I suspect that if I take the fear I felt when we had the little wild fire we had by our home last year (put out in a few hours by crews and neighbors) and multiply it by about 1000, I can get a good idea.


  1. Sounds like you are going to have a busy week and weekend. Good luck at the show and just remember. You got the first one out of the way already. It's all downhill from there. Breathe, smile and give your horse a reasonable chance. If he's anxious and nervous about being there, maybe he's just not ready yet. It will come with time. Plenty of shows here in the fall... Maybe we can go together?

    1. Yup, busy week for sure, although as I look outside at the ever darkening skies I wonder if I will get to ride this evening at all. You pretty much just summed up exactly how I feel about this next show. If he isn't ready then we won't show, we will just hang out and ride around and warm up....a lot, and then go home. Really? You would go to a show with little old me? LOL Seriously though that sounds like fun. Gosh I'm excited to get moved now!

    2. Sure I would go to a show with you. It would be fun! Even if or maybe especially if one of us bombs out miserably. At the end of the day, it was just a horse show. One persons opinion about what they seen, what they liked about your ride and what they didn't. Given a different day, different weather, different judges, you may have a totally different ride with different results. Do it with a smile because you love your horse.

    3. Cool, I look forward to it!

  2. What a good job you've done managing the grazing. We see so many pastures that have been grazed into dirt lots.
    The fire was very scary.

    1. I'm glad you made it through ok.

      Our neighbors lot is pretty much all dirt, her horses have access to it 24/7, so the grass never gets any time to grow.