How to transitions a horse from winter paddock to pasture - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-08-2011, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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How to transitions a horse from winter paddock to pasture

Spring is here and soon I will need to bring my gelding to pasture. How do you transition their sensitive bellies back to pasture, and when? I am in Mass so I am thinking beginning of May?
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-08-2011, 01:10 PM
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Slowly is best as with all feed changes.

Start with 15 mins one day and increase by 15 mins per day until you are at 4 hours. Then they can go out for a full day. I generally try to feed mine a little hay before grazing them so they don’t totally pig out, especially with the “sensitive” horses.
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-08-2011, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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There lies the problem... You see he has been boarded at a farm in another town for the winter and there isn't really a place to keep him out of the grass at the pasture. The only other option would be to keep him in the back yard pasture and then mow the grass a few minutes each day? Then when would I bring him to the full pasture?
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-08-2011, 02:09 PM
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So you have a backyard pasture and a big pasture? Or just one pasture?

Is there a way to hand graze him at the other farm? You could work him up to a couple of hours a day before you bring him home and then put a grazing muzzle on him for most of the day at first. Time consuming yes, but you could groom him and then read a book for awhile. Good bonding time.

Mowing really isn’t going to help, it’ll just make the grass richer.
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-08-2011, 06:07 PM
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Coming from someone who's horse foundered from rich pasture while leased out, I'm pretty cautious when it comes to accustoming horses to spring pasture. I usually start when the ground gets hard and put them out for 15 minutes every day for a week. After that, I'll bump it up to 30-45 minutes, and then after another few days, an hour. Keep going like this until you're up to a whole day of turnout. Better to be safe than sorry!
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-09-2011, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Here is my circumstances. We are at a farm that he was trailered to for the winter. Not much chance to hand graze there, and not before I have to move him back to my parents house. At my parents house we have a small paddock and shelter in the backyard. The ground in the paddock was all chopped up from the horses during the winter so no grass will grow there. I could 'mow' the lawn a little. Meaning hand graze. lol The pasture is a few minutes walk from the paddock in a field up the road.

Has anyone ever put there horse to pasture before the grass is too thick and just feed them hay?

Will it damage the pasture too much? If yes, how do you know when the pasture is ready?

Do I really need to walk him up the road everyday to graze until he can handle a full day?

Thanks for the advice!
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-10-2011, 12:33 PM
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Then you're fine. Put him in the paddock full time with hay. Turn him out into the pasture for 15 mins and up it by 15 mins a day until you're at 4 hours. It is a pain, but worth it.

I do the same thing with mine. I have a sacrifice paddock that they spend the winter in and an actual pasture where grass grows.
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