Would if They Could: Readers Respond to Poll on Pasture Rotation

More than 1,350 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Do you let fields/pastures rest during the year?"

 

results of poll on pasture rotation

Results were as follows: 

  • I don't have enough land 37.02% (459)
  • I rotate my fields regularly: 33.95% (421)
  • I rest individual fields for several months: 27.02% (335)
  • I do not believe resting fields is necessary: 2.02% (25)

Readers shared why they do or do not rotate their pastures regularly in the comments below.

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  • only have 2 horses on 7 acres they don't hurt the pasture
  • If southern Az had good grazing, this would be my choice.
  • I do however allow a few days with one side of the pasture resting.
  • I am in Arizona, and have a 2 acre parcel where I have dry lot turnouts.
  • My horses rotate fields according to the time of day. they spend the morning in the back field.
  • I have one 7 acre lush pasture for 3 horse. they can't keep it down so we bale hay at least once
  • I board and keep my horse on 1/4 acre
  • I rotate fields during the summer and in winter I rest pastures.
  • actually i don�t have enough FENCE. have the land, but all one huge pasture. hope to fence next yr.
  • We only have 12 acres and keep my sons retired 2nd Place Rolex 2nd place finisher
  • We have continuous moisture and lots of pasture to maintain enough forage
  • During the wet months pastures are locked out
  • I rotate my small paddocks so they can rest 2-3 weeks, even a slight effort makes a big difference!
  • I rotate June to Jan and grow hay Feb to June
  • Rotate to allow grass to regrow.
  • I have separated my pastures into 3 sections and rotate the horses regularly.
  • We have 4 horses on 7 acres that we rotate but because of the drought here is TN, it isn't enough acreage
  • only because we have 25 acres and only 3 cows and 1 or 2 horses...
  • Horses are paddocked in winter
  • Only if I feel it is necessary
  • limit grazing time during the fall and winter months
  • I only have 2 acres for my 2 horses, but I do rotate them on only 1 acre at a time. It really helps!
  • My boarding stable does rotate fields.
  • Would give them more rest if we had more land or fewer horses
  • The field i use in winter and spring are resting during summer and autumn.
  • we board.
  • I wish I had more land to rotate properly. I do short periods only.
  • When I get more land, I will rotate my pastures regularly.
  • There's not enough water in AZ to grow hay
  • 1-3 A field, + 2 small grased paddocks - big field closed late winter to late spring.
  • many horses on dry lot, few on grass
  • If HSUS was worried about unwanted horses, they should have left slaughter alone.
  • I must stall keep my horses thru the winter to let my pastures rest.
  • 22 acres hay frazed 2 months 10 acreas grazed 8 months 2 aceas grazed 2 months
  • our horses do not go out 24/7. In the winter we put a bit of hay out. The paddocks are fertilized .
  • drag then rest every 6-8 weeks
  • rotate paddocks, rest pastures
  • we rotate but probably not as well as we should
  • We actually only rest and reseed each pasture (turn out really) for a month in the fall and spring.
  • I rotate during the growing season and close off entire fields during the winter months.
  • I try to but it is dependent on weather & # of horses.
  • Not anymore, with hay prices, I use my 3rd pasture to grow hay.
  • I have (2) 2 year olds on 1 acre along with a senior 1/4 horse
  • Actually, I don't have enough fence, but NEXT year we will start rotating.
  • i rotate so my paddocks get time to re-grow, and in case in need of repairs on fences, weeding. etc
  • Pasture? What's that?! I live in the desert, sand as far as the eye can see!
  • Rotation, rest, pasture mgmt controls weeds and parasites w/o chemicals, healthier for everyone
  • rotate 3 pastures regularly in summer, rest them when grass dormant, use dry lot in winter
  • We rotate thru 7 1/2 to 3/4 acre pastures on a 7 to 10 day schedule for 1 horse then clip.
  • Mow regularly, pick up manure and don't overgraze-pastures will stay healthy.
  • I have 4 small grass areas as well as temporary fencing. I know I don't rest them long enough.
  • I do believe in resting/rotation!
  • wish we could, but not enough space.
  • I have 2 tiny grass areas, so keeping horses out in winter gives them something to eat in summer.
  • I rotate between pasture and dry lot during the grazing season to keep my small pasture healthy
  • with 80 acres and 3 horses, I let them roam all over
  • only have 1 pasture for 2 horses so i cant
  • I rotate my horses depending on how long it takes to regrow. Which is usually around 4 to 6 weeks.
  • I break my 4+ acre pasture into half to one acre sections and rotate my 2 horses regularly
  • a large pasture 5+ac.for one horse and 2 goats. Limed and seeded, mow, divided into 3 parts.
  • Winter creates natures rest for our pastures.
  • always -- my big guys can tear up a pasture!
  • We have a summer pasture we use from may to october and a winter psture from nov to april
  • it helps to reduce parasites and allows new growth of grass to establish
  • It all depends on how many horses you have on how many acres. when dormant
  • Minimal land but maximize grazing
  • I rotate pastures as needed in 90 day intervals.
  • I have a winter sacrifice and summer sacrifice. No over grazing for the winter field in
  • No land, just paddocks.
  • We only have 3 horses/25 cows on 320 acres. No need. We're blessed.
  • With a small acerage in MT we have to rotate and rest as we have no way to irrigate grass back up
  • I try to allow other grass to grown but drought session really hurts.
  • Except when my mare breaks thru the electric fence tape
  • Wish we had a setup conducive to do this.
  • I have one horse on five acres--plenty of grass--needs lots of mowing
  • house in dirt paddocks when pastures need recoup time
  • We use electric fence to rotate pasture in the summer and hayfield in winter. Works great!
  • every few weeks, in fall use temp fencing in hay field
  • I have 2.7 acres broken into 5 paddocks
  • Horses are removed from Oct to late May to a dry lot, during the summer are only on 8-10 hours aday
  • We rotate around 3 fields and keep them in dry pasture with hay in winter.
  • In addition to rotating during the growing season, we rest the pastures during the rainy season
  • But they don't rest for long enough because I don't have enough pasture.
  • I have 3 horses on 7 acres divided into 3 paddocks; rotating does help maintain better grass
  • don't feel it's necessary, have enough land
  • I use a sacrifice paddock and only allow my ponies on grass for a couple of hours.
  • Small hog-fuel paddocks in 2 wettest months, then large pastures 1 for spring and 1 for summer/fall
  • My barn rests fields, but not long enough. Fields that used to be green are now devoid of grass
  • I fertlize & harrow the field I'm resting
  • they rest during the late fall through winter
  • Yes, but not long enough!
  • we have a area we sacrificed so the main field can rest and grow back strong in the spring.
  • Live in the desert-there is no pasture!
  • During winter horses off pasture. Will cut and bale in spring. Then out again.
  • I really wish I could do this.
  • I usually can't, but this year I rented land and moved the horses for the summer.
  • I also, spread manure, harrow, and reseed - and 3very 4-5 years I apply lime.
  • only 6 acres-4 horses, 1 sacrifice fld, & rotate 2 for 4 hrs/day 6 months, sacrifice only for 6 mos
  • If weather allows, I like to put the horses in a different pasture if the grass gets below about 3".
  • lucky to have 2 acres so no pasture
  • That is why I had pasture during the drought. I have 6 thoroughbreds on 16 acres.
  • Under the snow in winter.
  • I rest individual small fields for 3 to 4 weeks as I don't have enough land to rest them longer
  • We have burmuda and pull them off late fall to late spring.
  • rotate mares pastures, but don't have anough room to do so with gelding's
  • I keep my horses off the pastures for all of Sept and rotate the rest of the year.
  • I have metabolic horses that can only graze dormant fields with supervision
  • WE have 10 acres and run anhywhere from 4-7 horses at a time. In the winter we feed hay and alfalfa.
  • I have 3 paddocks so I rotate once a month so each paddock get 2 mths break to grow.
  • YEAH 4 MONTHS UNDER SNOW
  • I limit access to the grass field
  • i would but don't have the land
  • i only have 2 acres for 2 horses so it is usually 3 days in one pasture, then 3 days in the other.
  • Seperate fields for diff. horses. Never go out when muddy, too hard on pasture.
  • if you let them graze on pasture without rest they'll eat their favorite spots into the ground
  • we used to use one for summer and one for winter but not enough room now.
  • I have one area that gets to rest, but can't keep them off the other parts.
  • The farm where I board has 3 pastures to rotate through, if necessary.
  • while i am letting the seed rest into the dirt
  • I have one mud field and one field with grass that rests all winter and spring then gets used.
  • Besides pasture rotation, I also planted a wide range of grasses, longer grazing season + erosion c
  • have two feilds and rotate every 2 months
  • Our fields rest over winter when it's wet & muddy so they don't tear it up. We reseed and fertilize
  • Barn owner is VERY diligent about rotation and it shows! BEAUTIFUL pastures!
  • I don't have a lot of land, but I do my best to let areas rest throughout the year.
  • I rotate in the summer and rest them all winter
  • Late spring once grass fully grown, then fall off grass to reestablish grass growth.
  • I only have 2 2-acre pastures I rotate.
  • I wish I could, I think it's important for numerous reasons.
  • Altho they get a winter break when it freezes
  • 2 horses on less than 2 acres cross fenced Rotate weekly
  • They rest in the winter
  • My fields get to rest over the winter only
  • We rotate between 2 fields; the results is that we have grass to mow all summer/fall
  • I limit # of horses per field and each field rests 3-5 weeks
  • I rest fields in the winter -Nov thru March. Reseed & fertilize late March.
  • I reseed summer pastures and put horses on another pasture for winter.
  • I live in AZ & only own 1 1/4 acres--my horses have a large turnout connected to stalls under shade.
  • I do a 6 week rotation always leaving one feild completely free for that six weeks to recover
  • I don't have much land but I have it cross fenced so that I can rotate the horses & sheep
  • We keep horses off some areas during the winter. Rotate in sring and summer if possible.
  • Small pasture is 24/7 turnout. Rest is rotated w/temp fencing
  • Right now most of our fields are about to sleep under a nice blanket of snow...zzzzzzz
  • I am lucky i have room enough to have winter pasture and summer pasture so both get to rest.
  • My pastures are hilly and rocky/resting them is essential if I want any grass at all!
  • It's hard to keep pastures green, but we try.
  • we rent several fields and rotate
  • my pastures are small and so i rotate them , but cannot really give them a rest.
  • I believe it's best to rotate fields but I don't have enough land.
  • we use electric fence to allow our three acres to grow as much grass as possible.
  • Rotate on a 3 month schedule, plant winter rye in all
  • We rotate during grazing season, then the horses are in 'winter lots' w/hay for the duration.
  • We have 9 acres for 3 horses, they do not graze them down.
  • 2 acres

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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