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Ideal grazing for your Horse

For most horse owners, their horses are out grazing for the best part of the day, so what their horses are consuming whilst in the field or paddock, can be very important.

Over the last few years concerns have grown up about ryegrass and horses. These have largely been about two issues. One is that the ryegrass varieties have been developed which are high yielding for cattle and it is thought that this high yield may not always be healthy for some horses. Secondly it is suggested that there may be a link between high levels of sugar in the ryegrass based mixtures and increased risks of laminitis. Because of these reasons many horse owners have started to switch to non ryegrass based mixtures which are generally called natural ranges.

Re-seeding your paddock is probably the most ideal solution, which although time consuming will produce the best results in the long term. Alternatively you can add beneficial grass seeds to your existing ley, especially in poached areas to start to gradually improve the mixture.

Before you choose which mix to buy check that at least some of the following species are in your mix for horse paddock grazing.

Timothy – it is a perennial grass species with shallow & fibrous roots used for pasture, hay production and forage for horses. One of the benefits of timothy is it’s palatability for horses.

Smooth Stalk Meadow Grass It is also sometimes called Kentucky Bluegrass it has many favourable qualities including its vigorous creeping growth via rhizomes, tolerance to close grazing, and high palatability.

Creeping Red Fescue a small amount of this in the mixture is good as it has creeping roots which enable it to remain green in dry times. Pastures may benefit from this species as it makes a good bottom to the ley and reduces risk of poaching.

Meadow Fescue  is a good alternative to Perennial Ryegrass it does a particularly well on heavier ground. Meadow Fescue has an early spring growth, with a re-growth consisting mainly of leafy shoots. It is suitable for both cutting and grazing.

Other species that can benefit a horse pasture are;

Cocksfoot it’s deep roots mean it can do well in drought conditions

Sheep’s fescue copes well with stress such as cold,drought and some shade

Chewing’s fescue does well on sandy soil , drought and shade tolerant

Rough Stalk Meadow Grass Its preferred habitat is moist, sheltered places. Its herbage is plentiful and fairly nutritious.

Mixed Herbs for Horses
Include: Chicory, Sheep’s Burnet, Sheep’s Parsley, Ribgrass, Yarrow, Sainfoin to improve the palatability of the grass and provide an extra source of minerals

Soil type will also play a part when choosing seeds and a soil test can save you money in the long run. There are many companies who offer soil analysis, for example:
Hutton soil testing:
The Royal Horticultural Society soil testing:

Grass seed grows best on alkaline soils. These are predominately chalk/limestone soil types. Here the conditions will be light and the drainage good. Many horse paddocks though are on heavy clay soils and drainage can be a problem. If heavy soils and poor drainage is an issue then not resolving it will give new grass ley’s little chance.
The British Grassland Society and Shirley MacMillan have put together some excellent notes on this subject at

Meadowmania stock a wide range of grass seed for your different requirements including: complete reseeding of your paddock, paddock repair, intensively grazed areas, sparsely grazed areas, grasses for heavy traffic areas like gateways and gallops, long term grazing, meadows and hay production.

Special offer from Meadowmania
To get more wild flowers grown we have designed a mix that Horse owners can safely plant in a corner of their field. For every pack of horse paddock grass seed you buy we will send you 25 grams of the mix free of charge (Worth £6.75)  The free seed will appear in the checkout when you order.

Click on the Link for details of the Meadowmania mix Wild Flower Mix For Horse Fields 25 Grams


Gold Standard Natural Paddock Grass Seed Acre

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