What Kind Of Grass Should I Plant In My Horse Pasture? (Best solution)

These long-living grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, reed canarygrass, smooth bromegrass, cocksfoot or timothy and provide an ongoing source of nutrition. Bluegrass tolerates close grazing down to two inches, so is a good choice for heavily used pastures.

  • What kind of grass should I plant in my horse pasture? Cool-Season Grasses to Plant to Aid Nutrition These long-living grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, reed canarygrass, smooth bromegrass, cocksfoot or timothy and provide an ongoing source of nutrition.

What should I plant in my horse pasture?

Many agricultural experts consider a mix of 60% grasses and 40% legumes to be ideal for horse pastures. The combinations of forage plants are practically limitless and will vary according to local climate and soil conditions.

When should I seed my horse pasture?

Seeding made in late winter/early spring will usually be ready for grazing 3 to 4 months later. the time of seeding, either through tillage, herbicide application, or both. For best results, the weed control program should begin 6 months to a year before seeding.

What type of grass do horses prefer?

Of the grass mixtures evaluated, horses preferred a stand of endophyte-free tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and timothy. However, over time, these pastures evolved to mostly tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. Horses had less preference for any pasture mix with 30 percent or more orchardgrass.

What grasses are bad for horses?

What kind of grass is bad for horses? Don’t let your horses eat any of the following: sorghum, sudangrass, johnsongrass, or any varieties of these types. Horses can get sick from eating this grass. That’s why horse owners must know what the grass is in their pastures.

How do you grow grass in horse pasture?

Over-seeding replenishes the stand of grass within an existing pasture area. For pastures with cool season grass mix, it is best to over-seed during the late summer or early fall. To ensure good seed-soil contact, use a drill seeder.

How many pounds of grass seed is needed per acre of pasture?

At Nature’s Seed, our recommended seeding rate is 20 lbs./acre for pasture blends using the broadcast seeding method. For drill seeding, 15 lbs./acre could be used. Single species may require more or less than 20 lbs./acre depending on seed size, planting method, etc.

Will horses eat grass seed?

Many of our grass seed products are made up of tall fescue and perennial ryegrass which contain a beneficial fungus called endophytes. Endophytes are toxic to grazing animals who eat in pastures as their main food source. However our Pasture Grass Mixture is perfectly fine for your livestock and horses to eat!

How do I improve my horse pasture?

Fertilizer and lime are nutritional supplements for the pasture grasses that will nourish your horses. Fertilizer should be spread in the fall of the year, as the grass goes dormant. This will ensure that the roots strengthen and go deeper into the soil, making for a better, more durable pasture in the spring.

Can horses eat mulched grass?

You need to allow the mulch time to rot away. It’s a bit like topping really – again you should not leave your horses on it as the longer grass/weeds will start to rot and ferment and you don’t want them eating that. A mulched paddock will rot away quicker than a topped one – if that makes sense.

Can horses graze on Bermuda grass?

In some cases, horse owners refuse to plant bermudagrass in their pastures out of fear that this species of grass will cause colic in horses in either a fresh or cured state. When properly managed, bermudagrass has a high digestibility and handles overgrazing and treading fairly well.

Is tall fescue good for horse pasture?

Horses can safely eat endophyte-free tall fescue. Tall fescue is moderately tolerant of continuous grazing and has excellent fall productivity. Tall fescue can have marginal winter hardiness and lower palatability.

Why is ryegrass bad for horses?

Whereas clovers and other broadleaf plants store their sugars as starch, easily broken down by enzymes, rye-grass stores its sugars as ‘fructans’ for which no mammal possesses any enzyme capable of breaking it down. Fructan is a known cause of laminitis in horses.

Is buffalo grass safe for horses?

ANSWER: Yes, Bouteloua dactyloides [synonym=Buchloe dactyloides] (buffalograss) is “one of the most nutritious of the prairie grasses” and “tolerates intense grazing pressure” according to Texas A&M AgriLIFE’s Forages of Texas – North Central.

Is St Augustine grass safe for horses?

This cool-season grass endears itself to people and horses alike. Combine a fine lawn grass, like bent grass, with several sturdy grasses, like carpet grass or St. Augustine grass, and throw some blue grass into the mix, as well. After a while, you should have a lawn that will look good and taste good, too.

Which Grasses Should You Plant in Your Pastures? Seed Selection for Pasture Renovation

As equestrians, we are well aware of the fact that we must be rather choosy in our selection of horses. Even though there are some exceptions, Quarter Horses tend to make better reiners than Saddlebreds, Warmbloods tend to make better jumpers than Arabians, and Belgians tend to make better pullers than just about every other type of horse that isn’t a draft horse. In addition, it should come as no surprise that within any breed or specialty, some lines or family groupings are just better at a certain ability than others.

Even within each species, some variants will perform better under certain conditions or in specific geographical locations.


Species Selection

The most important thing to consider when picking species is where you are located in the country, while the use of the species will also have an influence. Warm season grasses (and legumes) are distinguished from cold season grasses, which are distinguished from one other. Grass that grows throughout the warm season, such as bermudagrass and bahiagrass, does well in warm regions, such as those found in the Deep South. Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, which are cool-season grasses, do best in the cooler northern climates where they can grow.

The intended purpose of a species can have an affect on its selection as well, and it is best demonstrated by an example.

As a result, bermudagrass was recommended due to its high yielding and grazing tolerance, as well as the fact that it is most productive during the summer months.

For this reason, some farms with overweight and/or founder-prone horses will refrain from using perennial ryegrass, which normally has the greatest concentration of water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) among the cold season grasses in general.

Variety Selection

Variety selection, like picking an equine lineage for racing or jumping, takes some preliminary investigation but pays dividends in the long run. Seed may be divided into two categories: “commercial,” which refers to improved cultivars with known and established genetics, and “common,” which refers to seed whose parentage and performance are uncertain. It is also possible to find “variety unknown or variety not indicated” on a common list. In the horse world, this is similar to a “grade.” It’s possible to receive a superb variety of seed from ordinary seed, or you may get something that didn’t function well or was mixed up with other seed.

  1. We thus recommend that you purchase only certified seed from a well-known variety that has been tailored to your location and intended application.
  2. In fact, the United Kingdom is home to one of the most extensive forage variety testing programs in the country.
  3. edu).
  4. The results are shown in Table 6 of the report.
  5. The yield, on the other hand, is where the variations are seen, particularly in the two-year total.
  6. As a result, Ginger and Barderby both performed admirably, while Balin, Park, and Tirem did not.
  7. Keep in mind that this is simply one of several tests.
  8. Table 26 of this research illustrates the change in horse grazing tolerance of orchardgrass from 1999 to the present.
  9. Any figure more than 100 indicates that the variety has outperformed the average.
  10. Benchmark Plus or Persist performed best for orchardgrass in Lexington when subjected to horse grazing.

Choose a variety that has been proved in the field and backed up by scientific evidence. This will give you the assurance that you have chosen the most appropriate variety for your location and purpose.

Beware of “Horse Pasture Mixes”

The majority of agronomists would advise you to plant a combination of grasses rather than a single kind of grass. Quality mixes are more powerful because as weather and management conditions become less suitable for one species, it is more probable that another will be favored. Kentucky Bluegrass, for example, flourishes in the chilly, rainy spring weather of the state. Tall fescue, on the other hand, will outperform it when circumstances get dry. It’s tempting to go with the convenient and often less expensive choice of pre-mixed “horse pasture mixtures,” which can be found at many local farm stores.

  1. A high-quality mix may exist, but there are far too many examples of mixes that are nothing more than an assortment of leftover seed.
  2. Alternatively, they may include common seed or types that have not fared well in the local environment.
  3. In addition, the germination percentage of unimproved varieties may be much lower than that of improved kinds.
  4. Many farm stores will enable you to request a custom blend, typically at no additional cost, which lets you to choose the types of each species you want, as well as what proportions of each species you want in your custom mix.
  5. Establishing Horse Pastures contains our recommended horse pasture mix for central Kentucky, which you can get here.

Tall Fescue

This chilly season grass needs a higher amount of caution than usual. Because naturally existing tall fescue is frequently contaminated with an endophyte that is harmful to broodmares and calves, substantial research has been conducted to generate new, non-toxic kinds of tall fescue for use in livestock production. As a result, tall fescue types outnumber those of most other grasses in terms of commercial availability, and there are significant disparities in performance between them. There is also a lot of misinformation out there concerning tall fescue cultivars, so take the time to educate yourself on them.

  1. For your convenience, the endophyte status of each variety is listed in the Tall Fescue and Bromegrass Report, which is available for purchase online.
  2. The endophyte is a type of internal fungus that was present in the initial seed that was seeded over most of Kentucky in the 1950s and 1960s, and it is responsible for the spread of the disease.
  3. Nonetheless, as the term ‘toxic endophyte’ implies, some of these chemicals are hazardous to cattle, particularly pregnant mares.
  4. As previously noted, the combination of a toxic endophyte with a hazardous plant might be troublesome for cattle producers.
  5. Early term mares may endure an early term pregnancy loss on a rare occasion.
  6. It is likely that you will be able to handle this sort of grass in your pastures if you do not have broodmares.
  7. Because of the presence of the poisonous endophyte, traditional stands of KY31 have persisted for decades, even when subjected to intense grazing pressure.

Generic KY31 seed, on the other hand, is not controlled by either seed development authorities or commercial enterprises to guarantee that the seed in the bag is indeed the original KY31 genetics as claimed by the company.

To put it simply, you are purchasing endophyte free tall fescue rather than the persistent (and dangerous) tall fescue that is commonly found in the marketplace.


Endophyte-free tall fescue was formerly a huge thing, giving farm managers the opportunity to purchase tall fescue that was safe for all classes of cattle.

The beneficial effect of the endophyte on the plant becomes painfully apparent years later, as endophyte-free stands seldom survive for more than four to five years.

As a result, cultivars that are endophyte-free are not recommended.

This variety of tall fescue has a distinct endophyte, which was chosen to provide increased persistence over endophyte-free tall fescue while also avoiding the animal difficulties associated with toxic tall fescue (see below).

In the United Kingdom, some of this research has been carried out, including grazing experiments with pregnant mares.

For those who are re-establishing pastures after they have been killed, Novel endophyte tall fescue is an excellent option that is well worth the additional expenditure.

This group is a non-profit partnership of research institutes, seed businesses, and colleges from around the southern United States, including the United Kingdom, to advance agricultural research and development.

More information on the Alliance and unique tall fescue varieties may be found on its website, which also allows you to subscribe to its newsletter.


It is a simple process to increase the likelihood that your pasture repair efforts will be successful for many years to come by selecting the finest kinds available for your pastures. Selecting seed from improved types is a worthwhile investment that is strongly advised, just as it is with acquiring established bloodlines in large quantities. Make sure you follow these six procedures before beginning any type of pasture planting or rehabilitation project to enhance your chances of success: 1) Make any necessary lime and fertilizer additions to the soil.

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3) Plant a enough number of seeds at the appropriate time.

5) Maintain control over the competition.

All of the material in this article was contributed by Krista Lea, MS, coordinator of the University of Kentucky’s Horse Pasture Evaluation Program and Jimmy Henning, PhD, extension professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, who also served as a source for the article.

Grass mixtures for Midwest horse pastures

Grass combinations including the species listed below are suitable for horse pastures in the Midwest.

  • Tall fescue that is free of endophytes
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Timothy

These species mixtures will almost certainly result in horse pastures that are favored, persistent, and high producing. Grazing horses on pasture mixtures of cool-season grasses. Throughout the Midwest, cool-season grasses constitute the foundation of good horse pastures. Horses may graze forage species for a shorter period of time than other animals because they are selective grazers. This grazing activity can lead to the following outcomes:

  • Some forage species’ growth and survival have been restricted
  • They may have an impact on the uniform usage, productivity, and persistence of forage species, particularly when horses frequently graze favoured fodder types

We investigated the preference of horses for cool-season grass combinations, as well as the yield and species persistence of the mixtures during horse grazing. Understanding the qualities of grass pasture mixes will assist you in selecting the most appropriate grass pasture mix for your needs.

Testing grass mixtures

We grazed four adult horses on eight commercially available cool-season pasture mixtures for the purpose of this study. All of the combinations comprised four to six types of cool-season perennial grasses (table 1). Each spring and autumn, we assessed the species population density as well as the yield before each grazing session. We collected and dried subsamples of fodder in order to estimate the dry matter content required for yield estimation. The percent of fodder eliminated after grazing was measured on a scale from 0 (no grazing) to 100 (complete grazing) to determine horse preference (100 percent of vegetation removed).

  • Tall fescue that is free of endophytes
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Timothy

When given combinations containing 30 percent or more orchardgrass, horses showed a lower preference. A more favored blend will result in more consistent grazing, which will enhance fodder usage while decreasing maintenance requirements and costs (e.g.

mowing). The forage yields of the different combinations were similar, ranging from 2.7 to 3.2 tons per acre (table 1). After two years of grazing, populations of the following species have increased:

  • The proportions of orchardgrass and endophyte-free tall fescue in the combinations grew from their original percentages
  • The proportion of Kentucky bluegrass remained unchanged. Meadow fescue and perennial ryegrass were the species that saw the largest reduction (figure 1). Regardless of its starting proportion in the combination, orchardgrass eventually became the dominating species.

In Minnesota, changes in species populations as a result of initial planting rates and the length of the growing season were seen under horse grazing.


Horse pastures in the Midwest should be planted with the plants listed below.

  • Tall fescue that is free of endophytes
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Timothy

Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, which are devoid of endophytes, will most certainly take over as the dominant species in these mixes over time. Using planting combinations comparable to Agassiz CHS4 and La Crosse BLM4 in the Midwest should result in pastures that are high producing, persistent, and favored by horses (table 1).

Table 1. Initial composition, forage yield (ton per acre) and preference (percent removal) of eight cool-season grass mixtures grazed by horses in Minnesota.

Agronomist M. Scott Wells and horse expert Krishona Martinson collaborated on this project with Craig Sheaffer, professor of agronomy at the College of Food Agriculture and Natural Resource Science, and Krishona Martinson, Extension equine specialist. In 2021, the situation will be reviewed.

Choosing Forages for Horse Pastures – The Horse

Healthy pastures with lush, nutrient-rich grasses may be ideal feed sources for horses when maintained properly. In fact, some horses may achieve all of their nutritional requirements only from high-quality grass. But the key to producing a productive pasture is to plant the right forage species in the right locations. While speaking on a healthy horse-keeping webinar series hosted by the University of Maryland (UMD) Extension, pasture & forage specialist Amanda Grev, MS, PhD, discussed different forage kinds and how to choose the best ones for your horse’s pasture.

“No forage species will survive if they are overgrazed or mishandled on a consistent basis,” she asserted.

Forage Characteristics

Forage features that property owners should be aware of while picking a species were discussed by Grev in detail.

Cool vs. warm season

As their names suggest, cool-season forages flourish in chilly, damp regions (where they grow best between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit), and warm-season forages thrive in hot, dry conditions (where they grow best between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit). Grev indicated that cool-season forages produce the majority of their growth in the spring and fall, with a lull in the summer. Warm-season forages, on the other hand, grow mostly during the summer months. Cool-season forages include Kentucky bluegrass, timothy, orchardgrass, and tall fescue, to name just a few examples.

“When deciding whether a warm-season or cool-season foraging is acceptable, one of the factors to consider is where in the nation we are,” Grev said.

” Places like Maryland fall into the transition zone where we may find forages that are suitable for both the warm and the chilly seasons.”

Grasses vs. legumes

The fundamental distinction between grasses and legumes is the amount of nutrients they contain. In comparison to legumes, grasses tend to be lower in protein and calcium, a bit lower in caloric value, and greater in fiber. Grev elaborated on this point. Compared to grasses, legumes have a greater feed intake as well as a higher digestible energy content. In addition, cattle seem to like them. A second advantage of legumes is that they are capable of fixing nitrogen, which means that they can fix their own nitrogen from the environment and so require less fertilizer to be added to the pasture, she explained.

According to Grev, when comparing total fodder quality at identical stages of maturation, legumes are typically the greatest quality while warm-season grasses have the lowest quality.

Perennials vs. annuals

Forages that are perennial in nature, such as Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, timothy, and tall fescue, regrow from their roots each year. They take longer to develop and flourish, though, compared to annual plants. When it comes to permanent pastures, Grev recommends perennial plants. Annual species such as annual ryegrass, wheat, oat, triticale, sudangrass, and millet, while quickly establishing and expanding, must be replanted each year to maintain their productivity. The addition of annuals to some of our perennial forages might be beneficial in a variety of ways, according to Dr.

It is possible to prolong the grazing season sooner or later, into the spring or fall,” says the author.

They can also be used to restore pastures after overgrazing, neglect, or adverse weather conditions.” Property owners may plant one or more cycles of annual forages to generate growth, manage weeds, and assist ease soil compaction while moving back to perennials in any of these instances, she explained.


According to Grev, the most important factor determining nutritional value is maturity. Leafy forages in their vegetative condition have greater amounts of calories and protein than other forages. “As those forages grow,” she explained, “they become a bit more stemmy and fibrous, as well as having a poorer overall grade of fodder.”


Forage growth characteristics may be divided into two categories: bunchgrasses, which grow in dense, tufted bunches, and sod-forming grasses, which grow in a lateral fashion and create sods. “The most significant distinction between them is that bunchgrasses do not usually expand into bare patches,” Grev said. Up contrast, sod-forming grass will expand and fill in certain dry places, whilst the clumping grass will continue to grow in its current location. She went on to say that sod-forming grasses can generally withstand more frequent grazing than bunchgrasses.

Cool-Season Perennials

Grev discussed a number of cool-season perennial feed possibilities, including the species that are most typically found in temperate zone horse pastures, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Orchardgrass aka “The Class Favorite”

According to Grev, this bunchgrass is well-liked and frequently utilized. On the good side, it’s as follows:

  • Productive
  • Palatable
  • Has good regrowth when provided with enough fertilizer and moisture
  • Is compatible with legumes and is frequently cultivated in combinations such as alfalfa/orchardgrass
  • And is relatively easy and quick to establish.

On the other side, it’s as follows:

  • Due to the fact that orchardgrass stores most of its energy in the first few inches (or less) of the stem, repeatedly cutting or grazing at too low a height might deplete those energy reserves, according to Grev. The plant is sensitive to soil fertility
  • Certain disorders make it susceptible
  • It requires proper treatment and cannot be misused or abused
  • And

Tall fescue aka “Mr. Persistent”

This resilient and long-lived bunchgrass, which has considerable spreading capacity, is a good choice for a lawn. Its advantages include the following:

  • Strong and long-lived
  • Tolerant of traffic and near grazing (“It can take somewhat greater hoof traffic than orchardgrass,” says Grev)
  • Tolerant of grazing pressure and grazing close to the ground and
  • High-yielding with good seasonal growth distribution
  • And, adaptable to a wide variety of soil and climatic conditions
  • And,

The following are some of its drawbacks:

  • In comparison to other forages, it is less pleasant and of lower quality. If it has been infected with an endophyte, it is toxic to pregnant mares. Specifically, Grev indicated that this tall fescue variety has an endophyte that generates poisonous alkaloids that can impede mare reproductive ability. The endophyte-free variety (which has no negative effects on cattle but reduces plant vigor and lifespan) as well as unique endophyte (researchers created an endophyte that is not poisonous but still has high feed persistency, as well as hardiness) are also available.

Timothy aka “One Hit Wonder”

According to Grev, this bunchgrass is recognized for having a high flow of production in the beginning of the year, followed by a decrease in productivity throughout the remainder of the grazing season. Among its advantages are the following:

  • Extremely pleasant
  • High-quality
  • And rather simple to set up.

Cons include the following:

  • Weak regrowth
  • Poor growth in hot or dry circumstances
  • Being less competitive and shorter-lived than other species
  • Having a shallow root structure
  • And being readily weakened by repeated cutting or grazing.

Grev believes that Timothy is more suited for hay production than for grazing.

Perennial ryegrass aka “Fair Weather Fan”

The ideal conditions for this bunchgrass are found in temperate climates. Its advantages include the following:

  • Being of great quality
  • Being extremely edible
  • Producing a good yield
  • And establishing quickly with outstanding seedling vigor are all desirable characteristics.

In contrast, it is short-lived and does not survive dryness or extreme temperatures, which is a drawback.

Kentucky bluegrass aka “The Turf Builder”

This thick sod-former has a wonderful potential to fill in barren places because of its deep texture. It’s also known as:

  • Highly palatable
  • Of high quality
  • And not as vulnerable to close or frequent grazing.

According to Grev, Kentucky bluegrass is a slow-growing grass that is not as prolific or high-yielding as other kinds. It also goes into hibernation during periods of extreme heat or dryness.

Smooth bromegrass aka “Slow and Steady”

She stated that it can be tough to develop this sod-former, but if you do, it is quite tenacious after it has established. Its advantages include the following:

  • Deeply established
  • Of high quality
  • Somewhat robust and capable of withstanding drought and temperature fluctuations

It, on the other hand, takes a long time to establish, generates an uneven yield distribution, and grows poorly in hot or dry weather conditions. Smooth bromegrass, according to Grev, is more suited for hay production than for grazing.

Reed canarygrass aka “The Pool Boy”

This sod-former is well-known for its capacity to thrive in moist environments. Among its advantages are the following:

  • Produces a high yield, is persistent once established, and is drought and flood resistant.

Grev, on the other hand, claims that it is slower and more difficult to establish than other species, and that when ripe, it can be stemmy and less appetizing.

Alfalfa aka “Queen of Forages”

This high-quality legume has a large yield and is quite productive. Among its numerous advantages are the following:

  • The plant is extremely tasty, highly prolific, drought-resistant, deeply rooted, long-lived, and produces well in the summer.

One of the disadvantages of alfalfa is that it requires adequate soil fertility, as well as high pH levels and sufficient drainage. It can be more difficult and expensive to establish as a result, according to Grev’s analysis. In spite of this, she maintains that it is one of the best forages available in terms of both quality and quantity produced.

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Red clover aka “Red-Headed Stepchild”

This legume is “often thought of as a step down from alfalfa, but it may actually be a fantastic feed alternative,” according to Grev. It is popular with property owners since it is:

  • It is simple to establish
  • Its quality and production are excellent
  • It is highly tasty
  • And it is more tolerant of acidic or poorly drained soils than alfalfa.

However, it has a shorter stand life than alfalfa, with a stand life of only two or three years on average.

White clover aka “Old Faithful”

According to Grev, this legume may be found virtually everywhere and has a strong tendency to persist. Among its advantages are the following:

  • Easy to establish
  • Very appetizing
  • Of high quality
  • Capable of growing well in combinations
  • And tolerant of grazing.

Its disadvantages include the following:

  • Lower yielding than red clover or alfalfa
  • And
  • Susceptible to shading, which happens when higher forages shade out the clover below the surface of the ground It was for this reason that Grev suggested planting Ladino, a bigger and taller-growing kind of white clover.

Forage Chicory aka “Popeye’s Pick”

This forb, which is not to be mistaken with the rough weed variety of chicory, is of high quality and has a texture similar to spinach leaves, according to Grev. Its advantages include the following:

  • High-quality
  • Deeply rooted
  • Palatable
  • Drought-tolerant
  • And an excellent summer producer are all characteristics of this variety.

Moreover, according to Grev, it can have antihelmintic (antiparasitic) qualities in ruminants. The disadvantages of forage chicory are as follows:

  • Bolting is a condition in which long stems emerge from the base growth of fodder
  • It grows better in well-drained soils
  • And it lives shorter lives than other species.

According to Grev, forage chicory is becoming increasingly popular as a pasture fodder since it is better suited for grazing than haying and has a higher nutritional value. Due to the fact that warm-season perennial pasture plants are less widespread in the temperate zone, she did not investigate them more. Bermudagrass, bahiagrass, big bluestem, eastern gamagrass, Indiangrass, switchgrass, and small bluestem are some examples of grasses that grow in the United States.

Cool-Season Annuals

According to Grev, the most prevalent cool-season annuals for horse pastures are as follows:

Annual/Italian ryegrass

In addition to being highly tasty and of great quality, this species is also easy to establish, has exceptional seedling vigor, and grows swiftly. It supplies feed in the fall and early spring, according to Grev, and may be interseeded if necessary to fill in sparse spots. In contrast, ryegrass might be extremely competitive in combinations and is not particularly tolerant of drought or hot temperatures, according to her.

Winter cereals

Cereals such as barley, rye, wheat, and triticale are high-quality and high-yielding crops that are very simple to grow. Grev said that they give feed in the autumn and early spring and that they can be grazed at an early maturity or harvested at a later stage. She emphasized that grains differ substantially in terms of their cold tolerance, quality, and rate of maturation, among other characteristics.

Warm-Season Annuals

Among the most common warm-season annual pasture forages are the following:

Pearl millet

This plant is drought resistant and adapts well to acidic soils. It is very simple to grow and does not have the same prussic acid issues as some other warm-season annuals. In contrast, it may grow extremely tall, has a wider stem diameter, and is prone to nitrate buildup when grown in a controlled environment. Grev advised looking for dwarf types that are shorter, leafier, and more suited for grazing. In order for pearl millet to regenerate, she said that it must be grazed or mowed with 6-10 inches of stubble left on the ground.


According to Grev, teff is edible and fine-stemmed, with a high leaf-to-stem ratio and a pleasant flavor. It’s high-quality, heat- and drought-tolerant, grows quickly once started, and there are no safety concerns about prussic acid or nitrate toxicity. It can be difficult to establish, though, due to the tiny size of the seeds and the poor vigor of the seedlings. Overgrazing and low cutting heights, as well as chilly soils and frost, are all detrimental to the growth of teff. “It’s a bit more difficult, but it’s a terrific choice if you can make it work,” Grev said.


She went on to say that the newer forage kinds of crabgrass are highly good for grazing. They’re prolific, high-quality, leafy, grow quickly, will reseed if given the opportunity, are moderately drought-tolerant, are tolerant of acidic soils, and are non-toxic to prussic acid or nitrate levels. She pointed out that the tiny size of the seeds might make planting more challenging.

Forage Selection

So, after you’ve studied all of your forage species alternatives, how do you decide which one or which ones to use to seed your field? First and foremost, according to Grev, match plants to soil and site features, which include soil type, drainage, moisture holding capacity, fertility, pH levels, and terrain, among other things. After that, match the plants to their intended usage. Will you be growing hay or grazing cattle on your land? Whether you require permanent (perennial) or temporary (annual) growth, you must first determine your requirements.

  1. warm season).
  2. Plants should also be chosen in accordance with the type of horses on your property.
  3. “Take into account soil and land features, management techniques and goals, as well as animal requirements,” Grev said.
  4. Include a variety of feed types (grasses and legumes, for example).” Select a high-performing cultivar that is appropriate for your climate and terrain.

According to Grev, “have a look at variety trials conducted at institutions in your region (such as the University of Kentucky and Penn State) where they’ve tried these numerous forage kinds under different situations to see how they’ve fared,” to see how they’ve performed.

Take-Home Message

Considerations for pasture forage selection, as outlined by Grev, are as follows:

  • Drainage, fertility, and pH of the soil are all important factors to consider
  • The amount of land and the topography/slope of that area are also important. The intended use of the pasture (e.g., hay vs pasture, permanent versus temporary, time of year, length of grazing season, management system, and so on)
  • The animal species, class, and number
  • And disease or insect pressure, since certain varieties are more resistant to those pressures than others.

Identifying pasture fodder species that are appropriate for your location and land can be accomplished with the assistance of your local extension office or agricultural agent.

6 Best Grass Seed for Horse Pasture – Reviews in 2021

We treat our horses as if they were our children, and just like them, we want the best for them, whether it’s the greatest food, the finest saddles, or the nicest grass to Trott on. If we are so concerned about their fundamental requirements, how can we possibly compromise on their pasture seeds? Pasture is a vital source of nourishment for horses, and choosing the proper one can help to reduce the need for additional inorganic supplements in the horse’s diet. When choosing a pasture, it is important to examine the climatic characteristics of your location, as well as whether a cool or warm temperature pasture is best for you.

Following that, we will go through everything in further depth.

6 Best grass seed for Horse Pasture

  • Best overall: X-Seed Pasture Land Equine Mixture With Microboost Seed
  • Runner-Up: Barenburg Pasture Professional Equine Forage
  • Best in Show: X-Seed Pasture Land Equine Mixture With Microboost Seed MBS Horse Pasture Grass Seed Mix is simple to sow
  • DLF Mastergreen Nutriforage Horse Pasture is a good choice for barenburg pasture
  • Jonathan Green Winter Rye Grass Seeds is the best choice for ryegrass
  • Farmers Daughters Seeds Professional Horse Pasture Mixture is a good value.

1. X-Seed Pasture Land Equine Mixture

A good supply of grass hay for not only horses, but also cattle, sheep, and other animals, the X-seed pasture land equestrian blend is an outstanding source of forage. The microburst combination helps to promote germination while also ensuring fibrous roots. Apart from that, growing a nourishing pasture for your horse also helps to boost soil fertility, produce a pH-friendly zone, and aids the soil in erosion prevention. According to the manufacturer, it helps to produce yields that are 15 percent higher than before.

This high-fiber diet has been specially designed for use in the central and northern climes.

  • White Dutch Clover makes up 1 percent of the total
  • Gulf Annual Ryegrass makes up 10 percent
  • Orchardgrass makes up 14 percent
  • Forage Kentucky Bluegrass makes up 6 percent
  • Meadow Bromegrass makes up 4 percent
  • Climax Timothy makes up 18 percent
  • Forage Perennial Tetraploid Ryegrass makes up 33 percent
  • And Climax Timothy makes up 18 percent. Products have the following dimensions: 17.5x28x4 inches. 25 Pounds in total weight

2. Barenburg Pasture- Professional Equine Forage Program

Barenburg is just another well-known pasture brand that has been in business for many years and has served the needs of farmers. As a result of improved forage quality and animal performance, they purchased an additional bag of animal nutrients, which resulted in an increase in demand for the product. This unique bag has been designed specifically for horses, however it may also be used for other types of animals as needed. It contains ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, orchard grass, and white clover, among other grass species.

The item has a weight of 25 pounds.

3. MBS Horse Pasture Grass Seed Mix

A non-GMO, all-natural horse pasture seed mix has been developed to provide grazing horses with all of the nutrients they require in a safer environment. It can thrive in any type of soil and is robust enough to withstand draughts and cold temperatures (once the pasture is fully established). It is simple to plant since all you have to do is break the soil to the proper level, disseminate the seed, and then either gently pull with your hands to conceal the seed (up to 14 inch deep) or press with a roller to kick start the germination process to get the seeds started.

An acre of land may be covered with just one bag of sand. The product is packaged in a re-usable bag. It is completely safe to use around children and pets. Regular users report that it remains healthy in hot weather, but that it either dries up or freezes in colder weather. 10 pounds in weight

4. DLF Mastergreen Nutriforage Horse Pasture Seed Mix

DLF master green is a DLF trademark. Nutri forage horse pasture is created to meet the nutritional requirements of sheep, goats, cattle, and horses in an environmentally friendly manner. Seeds with polymer coatings retain water in the areas where it is needed for a longer period of time, extending their shelf life. This nutritional mix is designed to adapt to and improve soil conditions in order to make them more conducive for grazing animals. In both new planting and overseeding situations, this pasture may be employed, however it is most commonly used as a medium-term pasture because of its versatility.


  • Kentaur perennial ryegrass was reduced by 90 percent
  • Gulf annual ryegrass was reduced by 90 percent
  • Maximo intermediate ryegrass was reduced by 90 percent. Persister bromegrass accounted for 85 percent of the total
  • Climax timothy accounted for 85 percent of the total
  • Olathe orchardgrass accounted for 85 percent of the total
  • Dutch white clover accounted for 90 percent of the total
  • Balin Kentucky bluegrass accounted for 85 percent of the total.

Specifications for the product The dimensions are 31x16x4 inches. 25.5 pounds is the maximum weight.

5. Jonathan Green Winter Rye Grass Seeds – Best for Horse paddocks

Jonathan Green’s versatile grass may be utilized for a variety of purposes, including grazing, hayfields, and gardens. With its forgiving nature, it is a great low-cost filler for soil erosion since it provides forgiving nourishment for your animals. After being scattered uniformly, whether with or without a combination, this winter grass takes two to three weeks to sprout after being planted. The combination of Kentucky and Jonathan Green’s winter ray grass is a fantastic choice for your garden.

If you plant your seeds in the late summer, you will get better results.

Specifications for the product 16x9x4 inches (16x9x4 inches) The item’s weight is 5.02 pounds.

6. Farmers Daughters Seeds Professional Horse Pasture Mixture

Farmers Daughters seeds is a well-known company that has been providing services to customers all around the world for more than 40 years. Besides high-quality horse pasture seed, it also carries a variety of other seeds such as garden seeds, cover crop seeds, wildlife seed, brassica seeds, grass seeds, sunflower seeds (including hybrids), Legume seeds, clover seeds, small grain seeds, and other tiny grains. They are not only designed to give horses with a nutritious treat, but they are also intended to make your landscape a healthier, brighter, and more inviting place to spend time.

25 pounds per acre for new seedlings, and 15 pounds per acre for overseeding are recommended.

Even the most reliable and well-respected seeds will fall short if you do not understand the fundamentals of gardening.

Let’s start with the most fundamental, yet frequently asked, question.

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How to pick grass seeds for a horse pasture?

When selecting horse pasture seed, it is important to keep the following factors in mind: As we all know, horses require grass or hay equivalent to at least 1 percent of their body weight in order to be healthy and happy. As a result, selecting the appropriate pasture for your horse becomes increasingly vital. They do not have two stomachs, as do dairy cows, and hence cannot handle harmful substances. Iron, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, manganese, and selenium are all essential for a horse’s health.

In addition to taking a look at the nutritional aspect, you need determine whether the soil is suitable for the seed to develop.

If you fail to consider the weather while picking a seed pasture for your horse, you will be quite disappointed. In order to plant a pasture in the summer, you must seek for warm-season pasture seeds, since there are some cool-season grasses as well as warm-season pasture seeds.

Some good and worse pasture options

Similar to how horses appear to be alike in appearance, but differ in fact, they are not the same as one another, so it is with grass meadows. There are various different varieties of grasses (that are used for horse pasture), and you can only choose the most appropriate one if you are familiar with them all. These grasses are often used to meet the nutritional requirements of horses, and they include:

  • White clover, Bermudagrass, Nimblewill, Kentucky bluegrass, Orchardgrass, Tall fescue, Rhodes grass are some of the grasses that grow in the United States.

White clover

White clover, a perennial herbaceous legume belonging to the Fabaceae family, is known by a variety of names on the market, including Dutch clover, ladino clover, and Trifolium repens, among others. This legume is not just being cultivated for horses, but also for other types of animals and wildlife. It is frequently seen in combination with orchardgrass, tall fescue, and ryegrass. In addition to providing the horses with the nutrients they require, it also helps to address the soil’s nitrogen shortfall.

Once the pasture is established, it will be tough for you to maintain control over it since it will continue to develop at an exponential rate.

Bermuda grass

A warm-season pasture grass that grows rapidly and strongly in a short amount of time. It is known by many different names, including dhoob, durva grass, ethana grass, dubo, dog’s tooth grass, devils grass, couch grass, grama, wiregrass, Indian doab, arugampul, crabgrass, and scutch grass. It is one of the most commonly used hay options popular among livestock keepers, and it comes in a variety of varieties. Bermuda grass, on the whole, is a moderately nutritious horse pasture, but it may be combined with other protein- and calcium-rich alternatives to provide a more complete diet for your horse’s nutritional needs.

It should also not be included in the horse’s diet if the horse is prone to gaining weight.


Nimblewill is a member of the Poaceae family, specifically the species Muhlenbergia Schreberi, according to scientific classification. Nimblewill is a perennial grass that is commonly utilized as a pasture supplement in the Eastern United States. Due to the fact that horses do not care for eating nimblewill, this nutritious component is frequently combined with Kentucky to provide a distinct flavor to the horse’s taste receptors. The plant emerges in the spring and continues to shine throughout the summer, much like warm-season pasture choices do.

Despite the fact that the horse does not care for the flavor of nimblewill, it is one of the few types of grass that is completely safe for horses to consume. Read our advice on how to choose the best weed killer for horse pasture to keep weeds at bay.

Kentucky bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass, also known as meadow grass or smooth meadow grass, is a cool-season grass that is extensively utilized in horse pastures in the United States. During the winter months, when most pasture alternatives are closed, this low-yielding, slow-growing pasture content provides a fulfilling nutritional option for horses while the majority of pasture sources are closed. It thrives in humid environments with temperatures ranging from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The majority of the plants are planted in the fall when the temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees.

Mountain View Kentucky bluegrass seeds are available.

Kentucky bluegrass seeds are one of the few Kentucky grass seed brands that may be relied upon.


For horses, orchardgrass is just another green leafy nutritious pleasure to choose from among a variety of others. It is completely risk-free for that young digestive system. This pasture element is well-known for having several amusing and bizarre names, such as Cat grass and cock’s foot orchard grass. When grown in dense clusters and tussocks, this grass can reach a height of around 0.6 to 1 meter in height. Every country in the world uses orchardgrass for hay or pasture, and it is a popular practice.

Horses and grazing animals will benefit from this treatment.

Tall fescue

This variety of bunchgrass is an excellent choice for a cool-season horse pasture. This low-maintenance grass is heat and drought resistant, making it a good choice for northern and transitional zones. Because it is a cool-season grass, it grows extremely well in the cool spring and fall months, when obtaining nourishing treats for horses is difficult. It grows extremely quickly, even more quickly than Kentucky grass. For horses and other animals, it is advised that you locate an alternative source of grass if the grass becomes infected with a fungal endophyte.

Rhodes grass

This combination of high calcium and low oxalate is forgiving, isn’t it? Rhodes grass is one of the most well-known pasture grasses in the world, not just in Australia, but also in many other countries. For decades, horse owners have relied on this nutritional boost to keep their horses healthy. In tropical and subtropical locations, this grass is farmed for its ability to supply the fodder requirements of animals. It is typically found along road sides, in forests, and on grasslands throughout the spring and summer.

Rhodes grass can be used as a permanent or a medium-term pasture alternative, depending on the situation. Another advantage is the low sugar and carbohydrate content, which makes it particularly beneficial for those with sensitive stomachs.

Bluegrass is an excellent source of pasture

Because, in addition to being nutritional, bluegrass can withstand intensive grazing (even down to two inches in height), making it both convenient for you and helpful for your horse, as shown in this article. Now that we’ve covered the few tried and true methods, let’s take a look at some of the less desirable alternatives.


For a variety of reasons, ryegrass is despised by horse proprietors.

  • The presence of mycotoxin
  • A high quantity of sugar
  • A low fiber content

A mycotoxin is a substance that is known to have negative effects on a horse’s mental health. When there is an anomaly, it has an unfavorable effect on the horse’s physiology as well as its capacity to perform. As a result, mycotoxin is one of the primary reasons that this grass is not recommended for horses. Other problems like as colic and laminitis are caused by a high sugar content diet. And fiber should be a significant component of the horse’s diet, and if anything is missing, what is left for the horse to eat?


An animal’s mental health is known to be harmed by a mycotoxin. It has a negative impact on the horse’s physiology and capacity to perform when there is an anomaly. One of the primary reasons that this grass should be avoided by horses is because of the mycotoxin present in the plant. Other problems like as colic and laminitis are caused by a high sugar level. And fiber should be a significant component of the horse’s diet, and if that component is absent, what is there for the horse to eat?

  • The presence of mycotoxin
  • A high oxalate concentration
  • A low calcium concentration

It is particularly harmful for horses to have mycotoxin in their system since it interferes with various bodily systems, causing them to lose their temper. Another awful combination is high oxalate and little calcium, which would result in a calcium-depleted stable. Kikuyu is beneficial to dairy cattle because it assists in the production of high-quality butterfat milk; however, it has little effect on horses other than to cause weight gain and a variety of other abnormalities, as seen by the situation in South Africa.

Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the fact that it has all of the required nutrients and is not damaged by harsh grazing, bluegrass is often considered to be the finest choice for horse pasture.

How do you grow grass as horse pasture?

To successfully cultivate grass for horse pasture, you must adhere to the following principles. It’s straightforward and straightforward.

  • Perform a soil analysis
  • Choose a pasture seed variety
  • Sow seeds in the ground
  • Make use of fertilizer (if required)
  • Weeds must be controlled.

How long after seeding can horse graze?

Pastures are fast-growing crops that germinate between 14 to 30 days of sowing their seeds. Horses should be kept away from the newly seeded area for at least 3 to 4 months after the seeding has been completed. Horses are allowed to graze after the allotted time period.

When should I seed my horse pasture?

How you respond to this question will be determined on the sort of pasture you are going to establish. Those considering planting warm-season grasses should do so in late spring, while those considering planting cool-season grasses should do so at least 45 days before the date of the first fall frost.

Can you fertilize the pasture with a horse on it?

It should be avoided in the first place if at all possible.

However, if it is important to restore it back to health, a moderate fertilizer can be used to do this. In such situations, nitrogen-rich fertilizers are preferable.

Will grass seed grow if you throw it on the ground?

The answer is that it will grow; however, it is not the best method of producing horse pasture since adding a layer of mulch or dirt would transform it into a finer, healthier pasture.

How long does it take for pasture sees to germinate?

It takes 5 to 10 days for pasture seeds to germinate. In summary, horse pasture is a good organic source of vitamins and minerals for horses, in addition to meeting their nutritional requirements. Horse-friendly pastures include ryegrass, Kikuyu, bluegrass, Kentucky grass, orchard grass, Bermuda grass, and white clover, among others. Ryegrass and Kikuyu should be avoided, while bluegrass and Kentucky grass should be avoided. Consider the weather, soil type, and nutritional content of the pasture seed before making your selection.

All of this is based on years of practical experience.


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What To Plant For Perfect Horse Pastures

A healthy pasture has a diverse range of fodder plants, each with its unique growth pattern and set of advantages. The types of pastures that a customer chooses will depend on the local temperature, soil type, soil condition, drainage, the presence of plant diseases and pests in the area, and the intended purpose of the pasture. It is possible to seed as many as five distinct species of plants, including warm- or cool-season perennial or annual grasses and legumes, as well as warm- or cool-season annual grasses and legumes.

Annuals have the benefit of having a higher nutritional value than perennials, with cool-season annuals having the highest nutritive value of all.

They create the majority of their development throughout the summer and do not thrive in chilly winter climates.

During the hot summer months, however, they produce little to no new growth at all.

As a general rule, they are of limited utility in horse pastures.

When winter wheat is cultivated in a region, cattle are frequently used to graze on the new plants during the early spring months.

Although calcium levels may need to be supplemented, it is particularly suitable for young horses because of its high content of iron.

Clovers, alfalfa and vetch are examples of legumes with high protein, calcium, and dietary energy.

In contrast to grasses, they are less resistant to weather extremes and poor soil conditions than they are.

Among the pasture plants, birdsfoot trefoil is one that can be particularly beneficial in fields with low, moist places, where it roots and develops more quickly than most other plants.

They thrive during the times when warm-weather perennials are dormant, allowing feed supply to be extended throughout the season.

Many agricultural experts believe that a pasture mix consisting of 60 percent grasses and 40 percent legumes is the best combination for horse pastures.

For customers who are unclear of which legumes or grasses to plant, they should approach an agricultural extension agent or a feed and seed store representative, who can most likely propose a pasture mix that has been particularly created for the area in where your footcare business is located.

They must maintain their enhanced pasture with care once it has been created, as they have done in the past. The payoff will be a thousand-fold in the form of healthy, low-cost fodder for their horses in exchange for their efforts.

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