The Horse Pasture Doctor

Restoration of over used Horse Pastures



Our Company provides complete horse pasture care, pasture restoration and
renovation services and supplies to the discriminating horse owner. We offer affordable
solutions and services to restore or renovate overgrazed and infertile pastures on farms,
acreages and equine facilities to productivity and vitality once again.

We fix Horse Pastures


We are also the distributor for "Pasture Perfect Renovator Special Seed "
and "Pasture Perfect Show Horse Seed" and other grazing seed mixes. This Product
line is famous for it's high quality unique seed blends for discriminating horse owners.

Subjects covered in this site : Horse Pasture Care, how to grow grass in a horse pasture, muddy horse pastures.
Also horse pasture management, establishing horse pasture grass, buying grass seed for horse pastures .
Horse forage and forage management. pasture drainage problems. how to prepare a pasture for horses.

Mistaya Land & Water Services

Toll Free 1-877-894-9378 ----- Direct Dial 1-403-638-8090
Email :



Restore Your Horse Pastures to productive fertile grazing once again.


The Problem with Worn Out Over Used Pastures

If your Horse pastures are looking like these photos above , it may be time for a Horse Pasture Renovation...

If you have an intensely used small pasture for your horse on a farm or acreage that just won't produce grass anymore, you're not alone. This problem is common on smaller pastures where horses are not able to be moved for significant periods of time to allow regeneration of grass or forage.

Regeneration is sometimes not possible if the soil has become compacted and has been rendered infertile by overuse. We have many products and services that can restore your pasture to productivity.


The Main Issues With Over Used Pastures :

Many horse pastures were never planned and planted as such, often a horse owner simply fenced off some land
with the natural plant life and native grasses already on it. Some grass or graze mix may have been over seeded
on the surface of the existing pasture land using a fertilizer spreader and left to own devices.

This may have been Ok for a few years, then the owners start to notice the grass is not bouncing back after a few years, bald patches are showing up and the weeds are invading in more and more alarming numbers...this is typical once the soil has become exhausted and is undergoing fundamental chemical balance changes due to overuse of a small area.

When a Horse pasture has been overused for a long period, it may never fully regenerate no matter how long you can keep the horses away from it. A pasture with a lot of horse use can develop a series of problems not easily resolved by moving the horses away for a period of time. You cannot simply try reseeding the area to restore it, once the soil is damaged or altered negatively replanting grass seed is not an option and a waste of money. The soil needs to fixed first, then replanting can take place and kept vigorous thereafter with a simple yearly or bi-yearly program.

When a small area is occupied by horses for a long period the animals can cause havoc with the soil, soil microbes and
plant life in it. One of the main problems is accumulating urine from the animals. Horse urine contains a lot of salt and other compounds that can cause problems in the soil. Salt buildup will eventually render the soil completely infertile and once its gotten to toxic levels, it can be very hard to get rid of. In large areas nature takes care of the urine buildup, but in small pastures natural processes can't happen fast enough to counter the damages building up in the soil.

The other issue is the limited selection of species of grasses & plants in many pastures. Buying a generic "pasture mix" or "grazing blend" or even "horseman's blends " mean you are often replacing a rich mixed environment with single species like rye grass or blue grass.

Many people are advised by so called "experts"  to buy graze mixes that contain predominantly "Hay" type grasses like Brome, Timothy and Orchard grasses. Sure these grasses make good hay when harvested and dry, however most horses are sick of this hay type grass after the winter and are looking for something more lush and juicy.

Many of these grasses are good for horses, but horses need a variety of graze at certain times of the year of optimal health and nutrition. Mixed pastures provide the best option for horses.

The problem with Nitrogen Fertilizers

Often pasture owners will get bad or ill informed advice from these same farm stores, Vets and even other farmers. One such piece of advice is to add Nitrogen rich fertilizers to the pasture to make the grass grow. This is a big problem.

Once the pasture is fertilized with artificial nitrogen, this actually displaces the trace mineral Cations (e.g. copper, zinc, manganese) from the clay micelles of the soil (this is a known chemical effect). The very next rain washes away those minerals (this is a demonstrable consequence of such management). Furthermore, the soil microflora has been damaged.

Yes, the grass looks green. Yes, the grass is thick and lush.
It is, however, nutritionally nowhere near in the same league as traditional native grasses, even ignoring the tragic loss of species diversity and the absence of essential, deep-rooting herbs.

The topsoil has been increasingly impoverished and strip mined of nutrients over the years, as a result of such short-sighted policies. Knowing the importance of minerals to nutrition and health, we can easily predict what a disaster for the horse this process is. Another important penalty is that non-structural carbohydrates in grass are increased and non-protein nitrogen compounds (both potentially toxic families of compounds) are increased, while important fibre (structural carbohydrate) is decreased, in response to artificial nitrogen application.

One clear result of all this, apart from the poor nutrition that ensues, is that ponies (and, to a lesser extent, horses)
are much more prone to laminitis, when grazing such 'improved' grassland.

Furthermore, Potassium levels in rapidly-growing grass are increased, while Magnesium levels are decreased. This can result in more excitable, jumpy horses, showing greater anxiety and unpredictable behavior. Muscle health will also suffer.

We have heard it argued that 'we have to fertilize with artificial nitrogen to produce grass'. However, while artificial fertilizing will produce more grass it will produce less nutrition per acre (per hectare). It looks good (and green) but will support fewer horses.

If your pasture has healthy soil with a good population of soil microbes, the microbial action can often produce most of the nitrogen required by the grasses. If supplemental nitrogen is required there are natural organic high nitrogen supplements that can be used that will not cause the negative chemical reaction artificial fertilizers cause. One of the best natural nitrogen boosts is alfalfa. Alfalfa pellets are cheap and easy to find and easy to apply. A small quantity goes a long way, however your soil needs to be in balance for these things to work properly.

Maintaining or boosting the soil microbes can be done very efficiently with compost tea infusions and soil microbe inoculations. We offer both the products and the application service. Compost tea infusions are renowned for their beneficial effects and can reduce the need for fertilizers by 70% in pastures, lawns, gardens and farm crops. Crops and turf treated with compost tea infusions show significant increases in productivity very quickly, it's cost is reasonable and it's all natural.

Soil Problems

The other serious problem in Alberta and the prairies is compaction problems. When horses constantly walk on wet
or moist clay soils, it compacts to the point that grasses and desirable plants cannot grow in it. Even light compaction can reduce the ability of desirable plants to flourish, when this happens the hardier more adaptive weeds get in and
out compete the grass and other grazing plants. Compacted or "tight" soil is also very low in soil microbes, which mean
non beneficial microbes like fungi and anaerobic bacteria will survive while important nitrogen fixing bacteria and other soil enhancing microbes do not. Compacted tight soils can be drastically improved with natural mineral based soil flocculents and amendments that break down and loosen soil by destroying the binding action of sodium in clay soil.

High clay soils or sodic soils are predominant in Alberta as much of the land was once an ancient sea bed. Montmorillinite clay soil is very problematic as it is high in sodium compounds which includes sodium chloride (salt) . The salt is a strong binding agent and makes the clay both slick and sticky with almost no porosity or drainage. adding more salt from horse urine and using chemical fertilizers can only make things worse.

Salt will bind into clay soils and is sometimes impossible to get out without drastic measures. Clay soils have poor drainage and once the salt has crystallized into it, it won't dissipate even over a long period of time. These soils are often very poor to begin with and usually crusty hard pan, have low organic material, poor drainage and extremely low in available nutrients and microbe life which are vital to good grass growth.

Attempting to use chemical fertilizers can actually make a bad situation even worse. Chemical salt fertilizers can destroy high clay soils balance quickly and have the reverse effect you are looking for. Grasses grown in these soils are not healthy for horses as they contain little food value and minerals.

The other problem is compaction from the horses walking on it all the time. Clay soils compact very easily, especially when they are a bit wet . Clay soils have little or no drainage qualities to begin with, when compacted they become like pavement and do not allow plants to flourish.

How to Treat Clay Soils

Treating clay soils will do a number of things. Most important is relieving the propensity for compaction by altering the chemical makeup. Use of calcium based clay busters will destroy the strong binding action of the sodium in the soil by swapping the Sodium ions out with calcium compounds. The sodium is then freed up and can be leached or washed out of the soil by water. This also frees the chemical bindings on other trace minerals making them "bio-available" to plants.

Once the tight binding action of the sodium is reversed the soil becomes looser and both air and water can penetrate into it deeper providing better drainage as well as aeration. Many people waste money yearly having there lawns "aerated". This action is wasted on hard pan clay soils commonly found all over Alberta. the holes punched into the soil provide a little compaction relief, but the air does not penetrate past the the bottom of the holes.

Aeration and compaction relief in clay soils is more effective using mineral or natural organic chemical based
flocculation (a fancy word for aeration). Soil flocculents really work well and can make a huge difference to the soil consistency in a shorter period of time. Remember, this is not an overnight process, time is measured geologically which may mean weeks, months or years. We specialize in natural mineral and organic based soil flocculent and can suggest an appropriate treatment for your specific soil issues.

We have an outstanding clay soil treatment, called Clay Doctor, this is a very cutting edge soil modifier that uses ionic exchange technology to quickly alter clay and hard pan into a more loamy like soil. Clay Doctor as has many other benefits that occur at the same time. Clay Doctor will remove the salt and sodium compounds quickly and will also reverses the damage done to the soil by fertilizers, alkali, sodic well water and other negative factors. It flocculates or aerates the soils and relieves compaction in the process, makes bound up nutrients "bioavialable" once again and balances the soil PH levels back or close to Neutral where it is best for plant life.

While many of our native grasses and plants can stand higher salt levels, a lot of desirable grazing plants
cannot tolerate it at all. Getting the pasture soil back to a good PH balance and removing or destroying the salt in
the soil is an important step and can be done without a lot of cost if the correct amendments are used. In general when we treat pastures with poor clay soils we address all of these issues at the same time.

Clay Doctor soil modifier cannot be applied as a do-it-yourself product. Specialize equipment and knowledge are required to make the application. The cost is reasonable considering the treatment is generally permanent. Once the soil has been changed, it does not need to be treated again unless more chemicals or marginal high sodium well water is used for enough years to rebuild the problematic sodium levels.

Muddy Pastures & Poor Drainage

Once a pasture with clay soils has been treated for salt, compaction and poor drainage with Clay Doctor  it may not require treatment again for a long time or may even never need treatment again for that if maintained properly. Once the soil is tempered properly it is entirely possible it will stay that way if you adopt a natural soil balancing regimen.

One huge benefit of using soil amendments and treatments is that in heavy clay soil pastures where water previously did not dry out or drain properly, these treatments can miraculously fix that problem. Once the treated soils allow for better drainage those troublesome wet spots or muddy areas will now drain into the soil and dry up quickly. The pasture will be able to store water deeper in the soil for hot and dry spells instead of sitting on the surface and evaporating without ever getting more than a couple inches below the soil surface. Clay Doctor can work miracles is muddy pastures.

The only issue down the road is to deal with the salt build up and altered PH from the animals continued use of the pasture. This is a simple process with a moderate cost that often the homeowner can do themselves. treatment every second year with some dry granular conditioners or amendments is done with a fertilizer spreader in the fall or spring.
Not much product is required when a regular program is followed, cost per acre is minimal.

The other issue involves the erosion and alteration of the land inside the pastures. Horses will wear out
ruts, holes and trails in the turf. The surface can become pitted and bumpy which not only looks ugly, but can
become a hazard to horse and rider. We can resurface the entire pasture if required at the time of pasture renovation.

When a pasture requires a major overhaul, we will often till and level the entire area to restore the soil and provide a new level surface. This is not as difficult or as costly as it sounds. Often completely reworking the soil and adding soil amendments, new organic mass and soil conditioners results in beautiful new pasture with vibrant grass and healthy soil.

Once this is done, the new pasture can easily be maintained and kept healthy by a simple regimen. In most cases the homeowner can do the work themselves. Addition yearly or every other year of a few organic treatments will
keep the soil healthy and biologically alive.

Call us for details.
We are accepting booking for this spring.
April and May are ideal months for this work

Note: Pasture rejuvenation processes are very similar to how we treat city lawns destroyed or damaged by dog urine. The soil needs to be fixed, you can't simply try and replant the grass. dog spots are salt laden (with other bad stuff) that need to be neutralized by a naturally occurring chemical reaction. Once the soil is neutralized, grass can be replanted.


Mistaya Land & Water

Toll Free 1-877-894-9378 - Direct Dial 1-403-638-8090
Email :

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