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Sunday, September 29, 2013

How much land is needed for a horse?

I recently got a text asking how much land does a horse need?

The only correct answer is... as much as you can afford and manage properly.

Really the only time a specific amount of pasture is required is when you adopt a horse, or wild mustang!   The government does put a minimal of two acres per horse as a requirement.  Adoption centers have the right to see if you place is what the animal needs as well.  2 acres can be divided into four small paddocks and rotated daily or weekly depending on the type of grass you have growing AND the time of year!

Well... I have 6 acres, not even 1/2 of it accessed by the horses.
It all depends on how you plan to keep your horse.

Is the horse used to being stalled?
          If so then your stalls are going to more important than pasture.
          If so then you could literally have a horse and only have enough pasture, flat land, ground to exercise your horse.  so ... a round pen would even do it if you had to, if you wanted to!

(I could manage Sweet Pea on a 30 x 30 pieces of ground if I needed to!)
The issue with no pasture is... pasture cuts down on some of your bills!
As you are going to feed more hay to a horse with no pasture.
BUT in the same line of information... a horse can get "grass sick"

Is your horse used to being out in the pasture?
          I know it all sounds crazy but really!  My horses do NOT have access to pasture everyday all day.  My horses are only allowed on grass just before they get their feed.  This way it gives me time to prepare their feed requirements, it also allows me to watch their gate as they move on to the pasture.  I also know what and where their calories, heat, and needs are being fulfilled.

Does the horse have medical issues that need to be taken into consideration?
          Navarre can not be stalled or have unlimited grass access; and when I stall Sweet Pea he stands right next to the stall not leaving her side for more than a few minutes at a time.  So stalling my mare causes me issues with my gelding.  Who would have figured that one?   As I type this they only have about half an acre to run around on, this is as small as I can restrain Navarre, any smaller I may as well have him stalled and dealing with the issues it causes.

Is your horse used to the grass you do have in your pasture?  
Any change in grass, hay or feed can cause a colic / intestinal issue. 
A horse left to pasture and not managed with feed, or hay as well as pasture can get "grass sick" meaning... it eats nothing but grass but the grass doesn't supply all the needs of the horse.  And believe it or not this can happen easier than you think,

(I have TWO acres for BOTH horses to share! and as today 1/2 of that is pasture that is ALMOST perfect, but needs to be sprayed with wide leaf killer as soon as I can.    And the ONE acre I have as a mud lot is now divided in two as well.

I have put up a tape electric fence to keep them out while rain, dew, and time start to sprout out with all the rye, wheat, clover, orchard and timothy grass.  As soon as they get a LITTLE established this will allow me to open it before I feed them allowing the broad leaf spray long enough to ? go less harmful through their poop.   (a horse gets sick eating too much rye)  I planted the rye just to get the ground to start holding seed instead of everything washing away with a simple sprinkle. 

I do NOT allow my horses on a good pasture if it is raining!
     WHY?  because they will destroy the grass when they are running around!

You can't use poop in the compost once a broad leaf spray has been put on the pasture.  YES the label says they are able to start eating on it in less than a week.  But studies have shown it is NOT true and if but back on the pasture too soon your compost will be a killer for any food you try to grow in it, as food is all broad leaf and not able to get hold...

So I'll open the seeded area!
Spray the pasture... and keep them off it for at least a month!  Which is my plan as soon as I can.

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