Control Pasture Weed Growth to Increase the Value of Your Horse Farm

Well Maintained Horse Pastures Provide a Positive Selling point for Buyers of Equestrian Estates

Healthy Pasture for Healthy Horses

Horse property owners in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina know that weeds will invade the best managed pasture.  It is, therefore, no surprise to horse owners that constant vigilance is required to maintain the health of any horse pasture.

Most weeds are not poisonous for horses.  Nevertheless, if allowed to dominate a horse pasture the presence of any type of weed will reduce the quality of the forage and diminish the nutritional value for the horses.

Poisonous varieties can range from mildly toxic to lethal.  It is important for horse owners to be able to identify the species that can be a threat to the health and even the life of the horse.

The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care, published by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture produced a slide presentation illustrating some of the more common weeds found in pastures in the Appalachian regions of North Carolina.

Taking a moment to review the slide presentation to familiarize yourself with the common weeds in the Western North Carolina area will provide guidance for pasture improvement that will increase your horse property value but more importantly, it might just save the life of your horse.

Though poisonous the yellow Buttercup you see on the off side of the horse tastes so bad that he fortunately avoids eating it

When you’re ready to buy or put your horse farm up for sale, contact Steed Talker Realty for specialized service.

Improve Your Pasture to Increase Your Property Value

If your pastures are green in the fall, that’s a good sign that your pastures are healthy.  If brown this time of year, it is time for action to improve the quality of the pasture.

Cool Season Species Improve Pasture Health

Cool season grasses dominate the pastures in the mountains of North Carolina.  The predominate species found here in our mountains are Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, tall fescue, ryegrass, and smooth bromegrass.  These species thrive best in spring and fall when our day time temperatures range between 60 to 75 degrees.

For horse owners with cool-season grass pastures, fall (especially after a frost) is an excellent time to quickly evaluate pasture health and productivity.  If green grasses dominate the pasture, it’s likely that your cool-season grasses are growing with ideal temperatures and rainfall and good soil fertility.  Grown pastures, on the other hand, are probably either dominated by warm-season grasses, or your cool-season grasses are being starved of soil fertility and acceptable growing conditions.

If your pastures are brown in the fall they may be dominated by warm season grasses or were over grazed throughout the summer.  Either way, an application of nitrogen will stimulate the growth of the cool season grasses and fall is an excellent time to apply.

For an Objective Measure There is an App

A visual assessment will tell a horse owner the state of the overall health of the pasture.  For a somewhat more objective measurement, Oklahoma State University has developed Canapeo, a multipurpose green canopy cover measurement tool which allows users to photograph a pasture and analyze the phot for green and brown pixels.  Ideally, pastures should be more than 60% green when being grazed in the fall.

Take Home Message

Quality pasture enhances the value of your property.  Knowledgeable prospective equestrian buyers will be assessing not just the quality of the facilities but also the quality of pastures.  A major facilities renovation will cost thousands.  In comparison, pasture improvement is extremely economical and quality pasturage will be sure to impress the equine buyer.


The better your pastures look, the more interested the buyer will be. Pasture management has value in return on investment when you sale your Horse Farm.

Taking care of winter pasture can pay off big in spring and summer. Keeping the impact of horses to a minimum is the best thing that can be done for your pastures over the long haul.

Though, pastures become dormant in winter, if horses are left on the lot they continue to graze. Over grazing results and by spring the pasture is depleted.

A sacrifice area is your best bet for protecting your overall pasturage. Ideally, the sacrifice area will be armored to keep dry footing under your horse with geotextile fabric, rock, and dense grade aggregate. However, if you have a pasture area that you plan to revitalize and improve the following spring, it may also serve as the winter’s sacrifice lot.

Fall is an excellent time for soil testing. Take a sample to your local extension agent and apply lime, phosphorus, and potassium as recommended. One thing you will not see on the results of the sample test is nitrogen because it doesn’t persist in soil. Nevertheless, nitrogen is critical to maintaining healthy pasture through the winter.

Nitrogen has the single greatest impact on plant growth and fall applications help grasses to establish hardly and healthy root systems that are ready to respond to the spring warmth. One University of Kentucky (UK) study found that applying just 30 pounds per acre of nitrogen twice in the fall increased percent coverage in the spring by nearly 20%. Thick grass stands shade out weeds.

For further information on maintaining healthy winter pasture, visit “The Horse: Winterizing Pasture Starts in the Fall“

Sell Your Horse Property

To sell your equine property in the Appalachian region of Western North Carolina contact Steed Talker Realty. We are the regions most preeminent real estate equine specialist. We are horse people and we know what horses and their people need and want when it comes to making the purchase of a horse farm.


Horses Love to Roll in the Mud

This is probably not the best headline for your horse property listing. Horses have a love-hate relationship with mud. They relish in a good mud roll, caking their coats with the dolly in mudthick goop. On the other hand, standing in or walking in mud is something that horses generally try to avoid and for good reasons. Muddy conditions expose horses’ hooves and legs to bacterial infection, which in turn causes them to expend additional energy and utilize more feed and water.

Horse People Hate Mud

Though horses have a love-hate relationship with mud, their people have a clear disdain. Because of shorter days and inclement weather, riding time is reduced around my place in the winter. Winter is not the most enjoyable time of year around the farm. Reduced riding time though is not nearly as frustrating as the mounds of mud that accompanies the winter months.

Make Mud a Selling Point

As unpleasant as mud is, it actually gives the smart seller of horse property the opportunity to create an advantage. To take the mud issue and create an advantage, a seller can develop “hardened surfaces” in high traffic areas around the barn and in the 100_3154paddocks to increase the property’s appeal for prospective buyers. Mud is inevitable and every prospective buyer knows this, so reducing mud’s obtrusiveness is a big selling point that any buyer of a horse property will appreciate.

Develop Hard Surfaces

Sellers can develop these “hardened surface” areas by installing geotextile fabric and covering the fabric with gravel. Geotextiles are polypropylene permeable fabrics that strengthen the soil and reduce erosion. Covering the geotextile with gravel, also called dense grade aggregate, creates a surface that can stand up to the heavy traffic without becoming a knee-deep sewer of bacterial laden muck.

Advertise Hardened Surfaces

In listing the property, the listing agent should be sure to point out the presence of “hardened surfaces” and where they are located. Horse farm buyers will be impressed and will love the idea of having mud free areas for the care and well-being of their equine friends. These “hardened surfaces,” tell the buyers a lot about the owner. It says to the buyer that this is a farm that has been managed well.

Contact Your Local Conservation District

For further information pertaining to “hardened surfaces” one can contact their local conservation district personnel. The local conservation district personnel can also provide advice on the best practices in the area as well as provide sources for obtaining the materials.

Sell Your Horse Property

To sell your equine property in the Appalachian region of Western North Carolina contact Steed Talker Realty. We are the regions most preeminent real estate equine specialist. We are horse people and we know what horses and their people need and want when it comes to making the purchase of a horse farm.


One of the many reasons horse properties are so popular in Western North Carolina is the convenient access to riding trails throughout the region. Weather you are an experienced rider or a beginner the region offers a plethora of options. Our National Parks and Forests are a true treasure and we have been blessed with more than our fair share of them in Western North Carolina.


With over 550 miles of trails open to horses The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an ideal destination for spending an afternoon or a week with your four legged friends. Experiencing The Park from horseback is arguably the best way to soak in the beautiful scenery.


The Park has five Drive In Horse Camps which provide access to the equestrian trails of The Park. The Park requires current Coggins papers for every horse you bring.

The Nantahala National Forest has over twenty trails for horses as well as a several horse campgrounds.

The Tsali Recreation Area provides trailer parking and access to four trails in the Nantahala National Forest close to Robbinsville in Macon County. With trails ranging from seven miles up to fourteen miles this area is perfect for both full day and half day rides. The trails at Tsali have designated days for horses which are offset from the days open to mountain bikers.

For the more adventurous rider there is Hurricane Creek Horse & Primitive Campground in the Nantahala National Forest south west of Franklin. The horse camp area has stalls available to keep horses overnight and is an ideal setting to spend a night or two under the stars.

Wine Springs Horse Camp in the Nantahala National Forest is another primitive camp site with access to a paved road and fifteen miles of horse trails.

Panthertown Valley Backcountry Area in Nantahala National Forest close to Cashiers consists of over six thousand acres and twentyfive miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Camping is permitted but limited to groups of twelve or less.

Bristol Fields Horse Camp is located between Andrews and Hayesville in the Nantahala National Forest and offers one double and eight single campsites with tethering posts.

Pisgah National Forest has almost forty trails for horses as well as several campgrounds with equestrian amenities.

Big Ivy, Coleman Boundary located near Barnardsville in the Pisgah National Forest features over thirty miles of equine accessible trails.

The Harmon Den area of Pisgah National Forest offers fourteen miles of equine accessible trails and includes the 10-site Harmon Den Horse Camp. This camp site features stalls and a hand operated water pump as well as gravel tent pads, fire rings, and picnic tables.

The Bent Creek Experimental Forest area of the Pisgah National Forest contains eight trials with equine access.

Wash Creek Horse Camp and Wolf Ford Horse Camp in the Pisgah National Forest are 13-site campgrounds that provide access to the equestrian trails of the South Mills River area.

Gorges State Park is located near Cashiers and Lake Toxaway, and allows equestrian access to it’s Auger Hole Trail. With two shallow water crossings this trail is recommended for experienced riders.

The world renowned Biltmore Estate in Asheville offers five different trails that wind their way through the 8,000 acres of the estate.

DuPont Forest south of Hendersonville in Transylvania County is another great location for a day of riding. With most of their trails open to horses this is likely to be a repeat destination with hours of riding and breathtaking views. Be aware that DuPont Forest requires current Coggins papers for every horse you bring.

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