Leaving grass to mature - help!

pottamus

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18 November 2005
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3,635
Hi, looking for your experiences with grass length! Normally I have my field cut for hay in the summer and then leave it to grow back a bit to use as the winter paddock for strip grazing my Sec D onto.
This is the first year I have used the field I have him in and have found that I dont have the length of grass I would like (because I had it cut very late) so he is getting through it quick and then making a mess of the paddock.

I am wondering about leaving it all year and grazing him on longer mature grass to see if that provides him with more to eat longer and protects the ground from hooves more.
Does anyone do this and does it work? Do your horses eat long, mature stemmy grass ok or just trample it trying to get to the short sweet stuff underneath?
Thanks
 

Angus' yard

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28 December 2012
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175
We tried this in the summer. New paddocks created that were full of hay which was left uncut. Horses ate all the short stuff, but from time to time went into the proper long grass and ate the 'hay'. They still prefer the short but are slowly working through the long and haven't trampled it down.
 

Dry Rot

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31 May 2010
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Scotland
I have Highlands and have some in a field with access to a small wood. This is usually reserved for youngsters or in foal mares because of the extra shelter.

They will nibble away at the old grass and of course at the shorter stuff but they will need fodder as well as there is not much feeding in old grass over winter. Yes, there will be wastage as they won't want to graze the patches fouled with dung.

Then I will give it a good harrowing after Christmas or early spring and rest it for a few months before grazing again or cutting for hay.
 
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Goldenstar

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28 March 2011
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42,047
I did this last year I thought it worked really well MR GS thought it looked a mess and it did take a fair bit of sorting in the spring .
So we topped again this year.
 

MiniMilton

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31 March 2013
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980
Location
Ireland
My winter field is left idle from beginning of April until just this week (aside from a few wild deer nibbling at it at night). I can't get hay cut due to access issues. The ground holds up really well and I require very little hay over the winter. Friends coming to visit towards the end of the winter are always envious of my horses still having grass to nibble and aren't standing in mud baths like others
 

kerrieberry2

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28 June 2009
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2,352
Location
Basingstoke
I haven't had hay cut from my field but it was long a lush at the beginning of the year so I fenced it in half and moved the fence back! but in the heat it completely dried out and looked like Africa! so the farmer topped it! and once it started growing back they started eating it again but they still seem to prefer the part of the field that was grazed from day one and the grass is much shorter there!!
 
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