silly knights*
Permies likes lawn and the farmer likes help! permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies | World Domination!
Register / Login
permies » forums » growies » lawn
Bookmark "help!" Watch "help!" New topic
Author

help!

michelle camden


Joined: May 03, 2012
Posts: 2
we got two horses. we once had a lawn. i live in eastern ct. i have only 1 acre of [ potential grass ] they are packing down, eating it up and things are getting ugly. no i cannot get rid of the horses. i need an agressive plan that i can follow consistently which i would if i knew what to do.
Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1392
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
  10
With only one acre for two horses there is really not a lot you can do. Here are some suggestions and after raising horses for about 40 years I have tried just about everything but who knows? Someone else might come up with something new.

Split your acre into thirds. Confine the horses to one third at a time.

Con: This is really too small an area for two horses and they cannot run and play, possible fighting. The area they are in will immediately be reduced to bare dirt.
Pro: The other areas get a bit of a rest. Find out what type of fast growing annual grasses work for your area and plant them. In my area of the south brown top and silver top millet are fast growing for the summer and give the horses fresh greens. Tons of people say you shouldn’t graze horses on it – mine did just fine.

Confine your horses to stalls during the night and only allow them out during the day to graze for short periods.

Con: I hate confining horses to stalls – I don’t think it is healthy, mentally or physically, but lots of people do it.
Pro: It is the only way that small of an area is going to be able to grow anything.

If you are feeding hay outside put it in racks up off the ground - such as fence mounted racks. Hay on the ground, especially round bales, suppresses growth beneath it - great if you are growing veggies but not so much if you are trying to grow grass.

I am assuming that you have no other options and one acre is what you are limited to.

1. my projects
Deb Stephens


Joined: Dec 03, 2011
Posts: 219
Location: SW Missouri
    
    7
michelle camden wrote:we got two horses. we once had a lawn. i live in eastern ct. i have only 1 acre of [ potential grass ] they are packing down, eating it up and things are getting ugly. no i cannot get rid of the horses. i need an agressive plan that i can follow consistently which i would if i knew what to do.


I have to ask... with such a small space, why did you get two horses in the first place? Surely you must have realized you did not have enough space to adequately care for them -- which is really unfair to the horses who are dependent upon humans for their food, shelter and other needs. Do they have a barn at all? Also, I don't know what you thought would happen to your lawn, but if you know anything about horses, you should realize that the poor things have to eat something - 1 acre of grass is a nothing but a snack.

My earnest suggestion is that you find a good home for these horses -- at the very least until you are in a position to properly care for them. You might look around to see if there is a place you could board them, or rent a pasture and stable until you can move to a bigger place. They will deteriorate quickly under the current conditions. If you care about their health and welfare, please consider doing something that will give them more space and a healthy diet rather than trying to force them into an unnatural lifestyle to save your lawn.
michelle camden


Joined: May 03, 2012
Posts: 2
ok before anyone thinks i am an animal abuser, one of these horses, is a 28 year old belgian draft who was being starved and abused and has no teeth. my daughter has literally saved him from being euthanized that week. he is now fat and sleek and pampered beyond belief. the other horse is a buckskin mare. also a rescue. she had deadly allergies, could not eat and was literally a bag of bones and was taken to an equine hospital and we paid 2000.00 to get her well. also built a 3000.00 72x90' arena for her to be excercised. we also renovated a 30'x24' x30' barn for them with 10x12' stalls. SO, wth that said, i was simply looking for the means to give them grass time as well and save the lawn so they would always be able to spend time there. the draft is out all day on the lawn, but does not move too much and eats pretty slowly. the mare eats grass like a machine, but can't be out for more than 2-3 hours because she foundered as a young horse and we do not want that to happen again [ hence the arena! ] what amazed me was how fast the lawn deteriorated, so i was aking for some ideas for a consistent plan to implement so the grass would always be available for them. i do not have much knowledge about lawns and our lawn just did fine and we gave it litle thought. now i need to understand how to maintain it with this added burden.
Deb Stephens


Joined: Dec 03, 2011
Posts: 219
Location: SW Missouri
    
    7
michelle camden wrote:ok before anyone thinks i am an animal abuser, one of these horses, is a 28 year old belgian draft who was being starved and abused and has no teeth. my daughter has literally saved him from being euthanized that week. he is now fat and sleek and pampered beyond belief. the other horse is a buckskin mare. also a rescue. she had deadly allergies, could not eat and was literally a bag of bones and was taken to an equine hospital and we paid 2000.00 to get her well. also built a 3000.00 72x90' arena for her to be excercised. we also renovated a 30'x24' x30' barn for them with 10x12' stalls. SO, wth that said, i was simply looking for the means to give them grass time as well and save the lawn so they would always be able to spend time there. the draft is out all day on the lawn, but does not move too much and eats pretty slowly. the mare eats grass like a machine, but can't be out for more than 2-3 hours because she foundered as a young horse and we do not want that to happen again [ hence the arena! ] what amazed me was how fast the lawn deteriorated, so i was aking for some ideas for a consistent plan to implement so the grass would always be available for them. i do not have much knowledge about lawns and our lawn just did fine and we gave it litle thought. now i need to understand how to maintain it with this added burden.


Well, this would have helped us I think if you had mentioned it before. I have to admit, I was leaning a bit toward the -- not abuser, really, but more toward someone who just doesn't really understand what horses need. It really helps in the long run to be as specific as possible, so people like me (I also rescue animals) don't jump to the wrong conclusions. I commend you for caring about these two!

As for your lawn... I really don't think there is much hope. You simply can't have a lawn and horse pasture in the same place. Aside from their eating the grass as soon as it comes up, you are going to get a lot of compaction from the weight pressing on the ground through those relatively small feet (especially the heavier Belgian). I read once that a small woman wearing high heeled shoes exerts more pressure per pound on a floor than an elephant would -- merely because those tiny spikes concentrate the weight in such a small spot, whereas the elephant's large feet spread its weight over a greater area. You are going to get hardpan so quickly that even with constant re-planting, the ground will not be able to sprout the grass. To even keep it loose without green stuff will require intense and regular forking.

I am curious though. If you are keeping horses, you must be outside the city limits somewhere, right? (Most places do not allow livestock of any kind within city limits.) So, is it possible that there might be a neighboring farm or a big field somewhere close by that you could arrange to walk the horses to at least a few times each week? Something like that may be the only way to go if you want to salvage your lawn. Especially since that really isn't enough grass to do them much good anyway.

Good Luck! And thank you for rescuing the horses. I wish more people cared.
 
 
subject: help!
 
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books