Both fences of the pasture should be moved at the same time so that the strips move naturally back and forth across the pasture. This creates three different areas in the field – recovery, grazing and resting areas (see diagram on the right) – although the size of these varies depending on the location of the lane.
Why strip grazing?
It helps the grass grow at a healthy and productive rate because only a small portion of the pasture is grazed at a time, while the ungrazed areas rest and are allowed to recover. Excessive grazing without rest reduces grass growth and quality, as horses tend to eat their preferred varieties first. When paddocks are overgrazed, the bare areas quickly become overgrown with weeds.
For weight management
It will reduce your horse’s intake of grass, which can help control his weight. The grass is rich in soluble carbohydrates (fructans), which can lead to problems such as obesity and laminitis if consumed in large quantities, especially in spring and autumn. However, how much grass is available on the strip determines how well it manages to manage its weight. You will probably need to use strip grazing alongside other weight management methods such as stalling or installing a muzzle when the grass is growing fast.
To adapt to a new field
It can be used when moving your horse to a field with more grass than he is used to. The tape can be gradually made wider as he gets used to the extra grass, provided this does not lead to excessive weight gain.
What do you need?
Since strip grazing involves changing paddock boundaries regularly, it is best to use electrical tape and poles to divide the field. These are cost effective and can be set up and moved easily. An electric current is recommended to prevent your horse from trying to access the ungrazed grass on the other side of the fence.
When implementing a trench grazing system, it is important to make the strip wide enough so that your horse can easily turn around and the horses can pass each other without getting too close. Aim for at least ten meters.
How to strip grazing
Fence your strip with electrical tape and poles. Make sure the strip is the right size for the horses that will graze it and that there is enough shelter and fresh water.
When the grass has been eaten, move the electric poles outwards about a meter so that there is a new strip of grass in the pasture and a grazed strip is left in the resting area.
Continue like this until you reach the end of the field, then start driving back across.
In the meantime, the recovery and rest areas of the field can be harrowed, surface treated or reseeded as needed.