Can Horses Eat Zoysia Grass? (A Complete Guide)

Have you ever wondered whether horses can eat Zoysia grass and whether you should plant this in your horse fields? It is important to make sure that your horse has plenty of good food to forage because this will provide most of its diet, so can horses eat Zoysia grass?

Yes, horses can eat Zoysia grass. However, there are a few reasons not to feed your horse this kind of grass. There are many better grazing options, and it also contains some toxins that may harm your horse. Plant some Zoysia grass if you choose to, but don’t make this the main food in your horse pasture.

Horses Eating Grass

Is Zoysia Grass Toxic To Horses?

Horses graze almost constantly while they are out in the fields, and that means that no matter what else you do, you must make sure you have safe grass for horses. On the whole, Zoysia grass is considered safe for horses, but it is not ideal for a pasture plant.

If you’re wondering whether Zoysia grass is poisonous to horses, it is not, although there is a caveat to that statement. According to HorseAnswer, Zoysia grass contains some substances that are slightly toxic.

The toxins are the plant’s way of repelling pests, and they are one of the things that makes it such a resilient option. Your horse is large enough not to be affected by these in normal quantities, but if your entire pasture is Zoysia grass, it might start to struggle, because it will not be eating anything else.

Although it is okay to have some Zoysia grass in your horse’s field, there are much better pasture grass options.

Is Zoysia Grass Safe For Horses?

Zoysia grass is safe for horses, yes. It can be useful in a horse’s field because it is a tough plant that will stand up to heavy traffic and feed horses year-round. Even in wet conditions, with horses walking back and forth, it should not turn to mud too soon.

HorseAnswer says it will cope with drought, too.

However, that toughness means that it is not tender or tempting, and it does not taste very pleasant. Horses will usually opt for other options if they are available.

While Zoysia grass may grow effectively and offer a safe meal, it is not ideal. You should be able to find a much better cool-season grass to grow in your horse’s field.

Is Zoysia Grass Good For Horses?

Not particularly, no. Your horse will benefit from a high quality food, and there are considerably better options when it comes to selecting a grass for your horse.

There are a range of options you can try, including Bermuda Grass, Rye Grass, and Sorghum Grass such as Sudan Grass. There are a lot of different choices you can work with, and many kinds of grass will make excellent hay for winter, too.

Remember, a healthy horse pasture will contain lots of different options, and adding some legumes as forage crops is a good idea. TheHorse explains the value of high protein crops and notes that horses tend to prefer them.

Can Horses Graze On Long Zoysia Grass?

While horses can graze on long Zoysia grass, they will rarely choose to do so. As with other kinds of long grass, they normally prefer the short stems that they have already started cropping.

If you put a horse in a field with just long grass, it will eventually eat it, but they prefer short grass on the whole.

You can cut Zoysia grass short before you move your horse into the pasture, and this will make your horse happier.

Is It An Expensive Grass Type?

Zoysia grass is quite expensive, yes, and if you want to fill your pasture with it, you are going to spend a lot of money doing so. It makes great lawn grass because it is hard-wearing and pest resistant, but those very qualities make it significantly less suitable for horses.

Which Type Of Grass Is Best For Horses?

There are a selection of really good grasses for horses to eat, and many people will disagree about what the best one ever is, but in general, Perennial Ryegrass, Creeping Red Fescue, and Timothy are considered the top options according to TheGrassPeople.

These grasses grow fast, create a good hay yield, and taste good to horses. Timothy is particularly good in wet conditions and will tolerate heavy soil, while Perennial Ryegrass grows aggressively and fills a field fast.

However, Orchard Grass has higher levels of protein and more calories than Timothy grass.

If you’re wondering about the best kind of hay for horses and cattle, Neeness says that alfalfa hay is particularly good, although you should pay attention to the kind that you are buying. It’s a good idea to buy one mixed with grass hay to ensure your horse doesn’t get more protein than it needs during the winter.

Don’t feed horses pure alfalfa hay unless they need lots of protein. Alfalfa also makes a good forage crop for horses, but again, it should only be present in reasonably small quantities if the horse is to remain a healthy weight.

Can Horses Eat Any Kind Of Grass?

Equisearch suggests that you need to be careful about the kinds of grass your horse is allowed to eat. It lists Arrowgrass, Klein Grass, Yellow Bristle Grass, and Squirreltail Grass as toxic, among others.

It is important to take the time to learn about these grasses before you put a horse in a new pasture.

Walk around, looking for any sign of the grasses that your horse should not eat, and remove them before allowing your horse into the field. This should keep your horse safe from the risk of poisoning.


Zoysia grass can be eaten by horses, but it is not a particularly good food. It won’t poison your horse, but it might irritate its stomach if your horse eats it in large quantities.

Given the choice, horses probably won’t do this anyway, because Zoysia grass is chewy and tough, and does not taste very good to them.

Related Post