Cool-Season Perennial Grasses for Horse Pastures

Cool-season perennial grasses should be planted in Northeast horse pastures to maximize horse preference, forage persistence and yield.
Cool-Season Perennial Grasses for Horse Pastures - Articles


In the Midwest and Eastern U.S., cool-season grasses are the foundation of productive pastures.

Horses are known to be selective grazers, and the grazing habits of horses may limit the productivity and survival of some pasture species. Horses can graze plant species to a shorter height because they have prehensile lips and a tongue that pulls grass into the mouth (Archer, 1980).

Forage yield and persistence are important criteria when selecting grasses for productive pastures, especially for highly selective livestock like horses. However, many forage grasses are not evaluated under horse grazing or throughout the entire grazing season. The objectives of this research were to evaluate forage yield and persistence, and horse preference of cool-season grasses while grazed by horses.

More Information

University of Minnesota Extension fact sheet on Cool-Season Perennial Grasses for Horse Pastures, written by Krishona Martinson, PhD and Craig Sheaffer, PhD University of Minnesota.