- Horses have evolved to eat a low protein, low fibre diet, walking and foraging in herds.
- The domestication of horses and use of horses after the industrial revolution has guided often-used practices for stabling and managing horses – usually for human convenience. Horses don’t really like stables and would rather be in a yard if they have to be contained.
- Most modern horses require the three F’s: friends, forage and freedom.
- Horses can be used for grassland management by having a systematic approach to running horses as a herd and rotating paddocks.
- The first step in horse property design is to perform a site analysis and understand the capacity of your land. The site analysis allows you to identify aspects of your property such as buildings, roads, waterways, boggy areas, dams, remnant bush and hilly areas. Locations for yards, working and stabling areas, lane ways, paddocks and revegetation sites can then be planned.
- Design road access and lane ways to be wide enough for trucks and fire vehicles, allow a good turning circle at the end of lane ways.
- By using good quality pasture hay in round bales you can rehabilitate areas of low ground cover by allowing the horses to feed in this area. The hay and manure will act a mulch and encourage pasture regeneration.
- ‘Think like a horse’ – they want to be close to the feed source ‘YOU’. Horse owners can use this behaviour to their advantage by arranging gates, lane ways and paddocks that allow horses easy access to a central yard facility where water and feed is available. This way, the horses want to come into the yard when they see you there. Consider having an all-weather yard with a suitable surface (deep wood chip, rubber matting or earth). This makes management easier and also allows horses to be called and corralled in times of emergency.
Some useful links
Information about horses, fire and flood planning at the Equiculture website. This is a great resource with links to others to help you plan for emergencies.
Healthy soil = Healthy Pasture find out more about managing soils by watching the short videos @ the soils network of knowledge
Paterson’s Curse – Prime Fact Sheet on the weed and poisoning of horses.
Thanks to our hosts for the seminar. The event was made possible with funding from the Australian Government and support from South East Local Land Services and FuturePLANS.