​Pastures at Blue Rose Ranch

Our ​​​​​Pastures

Blue Rose Ranch is dominated by blue grama and buffalo grass.  These warm season, native grasses work well as pasture for horses and are highly palatable.  Some might think that short warm season grasses are not as nutritious as long, lush grass.  But the opposite is true.  A 2010 study from Rocky Mountain Research & Consulting concludes that blue grama and buffalo grasses produce lower “non-structural carbohydrates” than many other pasture grasses.  “Non-structural carbohydrates” are sugars, starch, and fructan, generally not the best for horses.  The level of proteins, nutrients, and sugars in the blue grama and buffalo native grasses provide a good nutritional balance. We have a long history of horses maintaining weight and health on our pastures. Colic is almost non-existent.

Blue Rose Ranch also has areas of kochia in the spring.  Kochia was introduced to the United States around 1900 as an ornamental. It is drought hardy and well-suited to semi-arid climates.  Kochia has excellent forage value with good levels of crude protein.  Horses loves kochia when it is young and tender.  As kochia grows, it becomes hard and bitter and horses avoid it.

The large acreage and variety of pasture plants at Blue Rose Ranch is valuable.  Horses seem to gravitate to plants that have the nutrients they need individually. The plants a horse needs and desires can change on any given day. Horses at Blue Rose Ranch have access to large pastures to roam in herds and they experience a “natural horse life”.  The horses walk miles each day as they graze, and have free access to forage which helps them graze naturally over a long period

Hay and Feed

When pastures are dormant, horses at Blue Rose Ranch are fed quality hay.  Horses usually eat from large bales of hay, placed in feeders.  We rotate grass hays and occasionally alfalfa.  Just as they do when grazing, the horses will often move from one large bale, to a different type bale, enjoying different tastes and nutrients. The horses have free access to grass hay in winter months.  We control the amount of time spent eating alfalfa and richer grasses. Even those times of year when the horses are fed hay, the horses roam the ranch.  They enjoy the freedom and the herd experience year around.

Feed Supplements

Horses in the Retirement Community receive nutrition from grazing.  But some of our senior horses require supplements to maintain weight.  We utilize senior feeds from well-known feed companies such as Purina and Nutrena.  We also use a locally produced supplement called Black Gold. Black Gold is produced by Colorado Mills in Lamar, CO. Black Gold has 27% Crude protein 9% Crude Fat, and 25% Crude Fiber.  Black Gold is all natural and made from sunflower seeds.  Because it is highly digestible, Black Gold works well for supplementing older horses that are having trouble maintaining body mass.