HorseQuest Learning Lesson: Equine Pasture Management

Horse eating a pasture that is 1/2 mowed and 1/2 not

Why is good pasture important to horses? Well, because horses should consume at least 1-2% of their body weight each day in forage (hay or pasture). A 1000 lb horse will need from 1 – 3 acres to provide enough pasture to meet its total nutrient requirements.

Learning Objectives

Objectives of this lesson include:

  1. Learn about the different types of grasses in pastures.
  2. Understand pasture management procedures.
  3. Learn about manure management.
  4. Develop knowledge of nutritional issues.
  5. Understand different types of

Effective Horse Fencing


Learn more about safe fencing strategies for your horse facility.

Safe, sturdy fencing is an important component of horse facility management. Factors such as the purpose of the fence, pasture use, horse groups, and aesthetics should be strongly considered when planning a horse facility. Fences can be built using a variety of materials, ranging from traditional wood plank fencing, to more modern PVC and Polyethylene rails.   In this presentation, Dr. Chris Skelly will identify the key elements of horse …

Basics of Effective Horse Fencing

Fences for Horses

Herd of horses in pasture
Taken from Fences for Horses by G. T. Roberson & R. A. Mowrey

Whether it’s a backyard pen for a single horse or a large equestrian center, a well-designed and maintained fence is an asset. While many people marvel at the appearance of attractive fences around pastures and paddocks,the appearance of the fence should be a secondary concern to the informed owner. A fence should be designed to protect horses, people and property.

A good fence should …

Types of Fencing Materials for Horses

Horse in pasture

There are many options in fencing material available to the owner. The most common materials are wood, metal, plastic, wire and concrete. Some fencing systems combine more than one of these materials. Examine the pros and cons of all materials before making a choice.


Wood is one of the most popular materials available for horse fences. Wood can be used for posts, braces, boards or rails. Wood will naturally decay when exposed to ground contact or weather, therefore pressure …

Types of Fencing Available to Horse Owners

Adequate fencing is a necessity of owning or boarding horses. Many factors must be taken into consideration when choosing or building a horse fence.

This resource covers a vast amount of information about horse fencing including:

  • Purposes of a Fence
  • Height of the Fence
  • Selecting the Fence
  • Fencing Materials
  • Gates
  • Construction
  • Maintenance

Types of Fencing for Horses (PDF) Click on the link to download the PDF.

Horse Fencing: Electric Fencing and Gates – Dr. Chris Skelly, Michigan State University…

Horse Stall Design

No matter what your management style or needs, the basics of a safe horse stall are the same. Many options that effect function and cost are available for horse stall features.

This fact sheet provides an overview of some basic stall features for a typical 1,000-pound horse. You should adjust the dimensions for significantly larger stall occupants.

Horse Stall Design (pdf) Click on the link to download the article.…

Stall Floor Materials and Drainage

The most suitable floor is highly dependent on management style, while personal preferences can have a strong influence. Fortunately, there are many options for suitable floors in a horse facility.

The objective of this resource is to provide information on stall and stable flooring materials, including flooring material attributes and options for overcoming some deficiencies.

Stall Floor Materials & Drainage (pdf) Click on the link download the article.…

Horse Stable Ventilation

We all know that the stable should smell like fresh forage and clean horses rather than manure or ammonia. Yet, failure to provide adequate ventilation is the most common mistake made in construction and management of modern horse facilities.

This resource covers common questions about ventilation, recommendations for providing effective natural ventilation and designs for improving ventilation in horse stalls.

Horse Stable Ventilation (pdf) Click on the link to download the PDF.

Drylots for Horses

Drylots, or exercise paddocks, provide an opportunity to move horses off the pasture during high stress periods to protect pastures from being overgrazed. Drylots can vary in size but should provide a minimum of 400-500 square feet per horse. The size should be increased proportionally as the number of horses increase. These paddocks are typically situated near barns, are used only to provide exercise, and generally contain a limited amount of vegetation. Drylots can also serve as holding areas …

Equine Facilities: Pasture and Paddock Area Requirements

Foal in pasture

The area requirements for pastures or paddocks associated with a run-in shed will vary depending upon the number of animals housed together; the soil type, fertility, and slope; forage types; and climate.

A general rule is to provide two to three acres per horse for year-round grazing unless the horses are supplementally fed. Provisions for winter hay feeding will be necessary.

Pastures or paddock layout should be planned to accommodate rotation of pastures. Depending upon stocking rate of horses, …