Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Planning for horses

I'm a long way from being able to afford a horse - maybe never at this rate! But I can still dream about it and plan how I might be able to make it work.

My main concern is our soggy pasture. There's lots of good grazing for summer and fall, but it's going to have to be protected through winter and much of the spring. So I'm thinking, how can I have a horse and keep them happy in a little square paddock all winter and spring? They'll be bored stiff, and setting up a sacrifice area big enough for them to actually stretch their legs would eat up a lot of the pasture - and I want to protect as much as possible for summer. Plus I've heard about people spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to make a sacrifice area where the horses don't have to stand in mud all day.

Then I read about Paddock Paradise - it's a way of keeping horses where their paddock is actually a track that goes around the main field, protecting the grazing area, but giving the horses room to run a bit.

Here's a lovely video of a lady calling her horses back to the shelter and making them go the long way around

CNY Paddock Paradise

And another one here in Western WA

Holly's Paddock Paradise

The idea is to give your horse food in a couple areas (and putting the food in feeders that force them to eat slowly and work at it to help curb boredom), water in another, a scratching/rolling area, and have them spend their day going from one place to the other to get what they need, and get some exercise at the same time. Walking over different terrains is good for them too. I'm going to keep reading up on this idea (lord knows I have nothing but time to think about it), but I like it.



heather said...

Great to see that you are still dreaming. Interesting find, thanks for sharing.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I've read about this concept before and think it's clever way to provide exercise and stimulation for a horse on small acreage.

Mud and rain aren't an issue here. I've never seen a case of rain rot here. And we have steep hills and rocky, dry terrain. It's great for hooves, but on the flip side, we have no real pasture, so most horses in our area are kept in dry lots....some can be 50 acres, and some, like mine are just 3 acres.

We have to feed hay all year long, but since we don't get lush green grass growth, horses don't tend to founder, colic, or have worm issues.

Keep on dreaming....and then make your dreams come true.

StefRobrts said...

There's so much to learn about horses before I could ever get one. I'm planning to volunteer at a local stable that does lessons for low income kids. That way I can do some good and get to be around horses a bit while I plan my horsey future.