Horses' physical and digestive well-being is often enhanced when allowed to graze on pastures. Furthermore, a well-managed pasture can contribute to economic viability. Grazing can however have deleterious effects on the environment if not properly managed. Although equine grazing, defecating, and ground trampling behavior is unique from that of other livestock species, pasture management practices are often based on those derived from cattle grazing. This review summarizes the current knowledge of impacts of equine grazing on pasture quality and environment and identifies gaps where further information is needed to formulate and recommend sustainable grazing methods specific to equine.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was supported in part by US Department of Agriculture Multi-State project NE-1041, Environmental Impacts of Equine Operations , coordinated by Michael Westendorf, PhD. The authors thank Rachel Gilker, PhD, for consultation on soil dynamics and Cheryl Beste and Rozanne McGrath for editorial assistance.