Pasture, No Stall

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Pasture, No Stall

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  • What type of stall should my horse have
  • Horse on pasture 24/7 really not interested in his hay

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    02-19-2013, 11:00 PM
Pasture, No Stall

I will be moving my horse to a different stable soon and I am wondering if I should have him on full board or pasture board, and if pasture board, what I should look for in a pasture. He is a four year old high energy arabian who is a little underweight. He has pretty good hooves, but he has shoes on his back hooves because of uneven wearing since most of his exercise comes from lunging. Right now he is on full board, pasture at daytime and stall at nighttime. I would like to put him on pasture board because it gives them more time for forage and strengthens their bones and hooves, plus exposes them to their natural behavior. I am wondering if it would be right for him, since surely there are reasons horses are stalled. If pastures are so great, how come most people stall their horses? What are the ups and downs of stalling versus pastures?

And, what makes for a good pasture?
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    02-19-2013, 11:08 PM
Super Moderator
I always preferred pasture board and so did my horses. As long as there is some type of shelter. I did however feed my horse a minimal of once per day (preferably twice per day) with hay and grain. He has always been a really easy keeper. My horses now are outside 24/7 with an overhang on one side of the paddock and 2 stalls open under an overhang in the other paddock. I do feed twice a day. Hay and grain....
boots likes this.
    02-19-2013, 11:13 PM
Green Broke
I prefer pasture, it's usually cheaper to add to my tack addiction, lol.

The only reasons I see for stalling are either the horse needs confined due to an injury or such, or the owner is too lazy to walk into the pasture to catch their horse (or don't have time?).
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dbarabians and boots like this.
    02-19-2013, 11:15 PM
Will he be with other horses? That's a big question to answer.

Also, though he may need hay daily, grain is not a given. Almost none of the horses where we boarn get grain daily. They are fit and fine on hay only.
boots and LisaG like this.
    02-19-2013, 11:17 PM
I don't have to board, but our horses don't have a barn. At least yet. They have several "natural" barriers of trees they can hang around in to get out from wind and rain. Now I do live in Florida so don't have cold and wet to worry about. It's usually just one or the other.

Long time ago when I DID have a barn, I lived in Washington State and I had to make my horses go in it anyway. They'd stand out and get pounded by rain while barn doors were wide open for them to go in. Go figure.
    02-19-2013, 11:20 PM
Green Broke
All of my horses are on pasture 24/7. As long as the pasture has adequate grass then he'll be fine. We have 8 horses and a donkey and a couple cows on 70 acres and they are all FAT!

We have about a 2 acre paddock up front to separate them if necessary and they eat that down pretty quickly so we feed them when they're in there. Other than that we don't feed much.

I would rather my horse be out in it's natural environment and happy than cooped up in a stall all the time.
    02-19-2013, 11:21 PM
My horse is out 24/7 with hay all the time. She is in a smaller pen right now with 2 other horses, and will be out in pasture for summer. I prefer pasture over stall because it is there natural habitat. You don't see wild mustangs being born in stalls, they were born in the wild, outdoors. So unless a horse has a reason to be stalled, I would not stall it.
    02-19-2013, 11:25 PM
I've always kept my horses in pasture, without access to stalls at all. However, the pasture has some natural shelter. I don't clip my horses at all (I'm in Canada, though, so maybe this would be less of a concern for you).

You should look for shelter (natural or man-made). Even trees or coulees can work. Fences should be in good shape. No junk in the pasture, such as loose wire, of course. Fresh water source that's relatively clean. If horses will be in seperate, but adjacent, pasture, barbed wire fence is a bad idea. In fact, any type of wire may be a bad idea in that case.

Do you turn your horse out with a halter on or anything else he could get hung up on? If so, you might want to rethink this practice, or at least look for pasture free of stuff the halter could catch on.

The other thing you'll need to be aware of is grass founder. This is most likely to be a problem if it rains after a drought, and in summer when the grass is really lush and high. Some horses don't seem to be prone to it at all, but it can easily cripple other horses. At any rate, you'll want to ask your pasture manager how she gets around this. I'm just finishing up an equine nutrition course, and one strategy is to cut the grass, or hay it. My horses are on a ranch, so I think next year we'll keep some cattle closer to home, and have the cattle graze the pastures a little before sending the horses in.

Anyway, those are just a few thoughts off the top of my head.
    02-19-2013, 11:25 PM
So, is it always the case that horse on pasture board don't get grain? Because I think my horse does need grain. It is tough to keep weight on him, really tough.
    02-19-2013, 11:26 PM
Our show stock are stalled. They get a full day turn-out in pairs and are stalled at night or during bad weather. They beg to come inside when it starts to sprinkle or the sun goes down, and they always canter up to the gate. It's better for us to make sure they don't have any injuries, keep them relatively clean and in good working condition, and to make sure we can give them all a proper diet. My last performance gelding that I was riding for an hour or more a day would get extremely tired if he was not brought inside to rest. He was happy to sleep in his stall and shavings, out of the wind, and was not interested in roaming the pastures.

Some horses like it, some don't. But unless your horse is show or performance stock, most horses belong outdoors.

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