You may not think a parched pasture landscape baked under a summer sun has much to offer, but there is at least one benefit to dry, hot weather this time of year: Pasture cleanup is a snap.
When temperatures climb above 90 degrees Fahrenheit with no rain for several days in a row, parasite eggs cannot survive. That makes it safe to skip the wheelbarrow and pitchfork and “drag” pastures with a harrow or length of chainlink fence to break up and scatter manure piles. Keep horses on a different pasture for a week to give the sun time to kill the larvae.
Conversely, dragging during cooler, wetter weather spreads viable parasite eggs around the pasture, contaminating the entire space rather than just the waste areas horses naturally tend to avoid.
If you’ve been dragging pastures year-round, resolve to instead pick up manure until summer arrives. Then feel free to drag when you get a span of hot, dry days.
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #455, August 2015.