switching my horse to pasture life ???? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-16-2010, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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switching my horse to pasture life ????

Hey all.
well, I will soon be trying to acclimate my gelding into my barns gelding pasture.
I have not had a horse on total pasture ever so I know nothing about keeping a horse in this way.
Currently I just moved him aout of the main barn where he was in a stall with a paddock, to a bigger paddock with a run in.
He currently eats about 4 flakes of grass hay and one small flakes of alfalfa.
I just started the alfalfa about a month or so ago when I noticed he had dropped weight due to the cold.
He als is getting Safe choice, and farriers formula and OCD pellets. Which will become my responsibility to feed once he goes out to the gelding pasture. He also gets Adequan every month
At this time the horses in the pasture are being fed grass hay, but as the pasture grass gets better and the weather warmer they will not feed the horses in pasture.

A couple of things to take into consideration. My horse has never in his life been out with other horses in the same enclosure. Not even as a foal because he was really sick as a youngster.
I have already introduced him to one of the horses that is currently in pasture. My gelding seems to be the dominant one of the two.
When we walk around the property I try to let him meet the others in the pasture.
Right now there are 3 horses in that pasture. An older paint gelding, a yearling colt, and another gelding who will likely come out of the pasture in May because he gets to fat. lol he already is fat.

What should I know about him switching over from being fed grass hay to eating pasture grass? What are some things to watch for once he is settled and stays out in the pasture??

Any tips or concerns would be appreciated.
Usually when I change feed, I try to do it over a 7-14 days period, not sure how this will work for going to a pasture settinng.
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-16-2010, 11:57 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2009
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My main concern would be how he gets along with the other horses, but they'll work it out themselves normally. Try to be around for 2 hrs after you put him in the pasture to see his interaction with the others. And at feeding time. You want to make sure he is able to eat his feed and he's not eating everybody elses.

When In Doubt Let Your Horse Do The Thinkin
Originally Posted by spookychick13
What Lone said.
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-16-2010, 06:06 PM
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I would put him out before the grass gets lush. That way he will still be eating hay and get acclimated to the grass as it grows and not all at once. Depending on where you live and the weather.
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-16-2010, 06:18 PM
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If your horse has never been out on pasture for long periods of time, I wouldn't just throw him out there and leave him to it. I would introduce him to pasture slowly. 1/2 hour, to an hour, to a couple of hours, to etc, etc, etc, gradually increase until he is out full time.

When you put him out for the first time, stand around and watch. Just keep an eye on how things are going and interfear if you have to - most of the time horses work things out amongst themselves and the pecking order will be established in no time.

My guy gets turned out with just under 40 horses *during the summer before his hock injury* and the pecking order gets established quite quickly. Nelson is just inbetween - he is right in the middle of the alphabet. He isn't in the A's, nor is he in the Z's - he's right smack dab in the middle where he'll dominate, but will also be dominated.

Nelson does very well when he is out on pasture, but even when the grass is good, I keep him on hay as well because alot of the contents of grass, is water.

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post #5 of 17 Old 02-16-2010, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all.
When he was in the main barn I had him going out for 2 hour turnout (in individual turnouts) so he has been eating the grass there since last summer.
I am considering starting this venture in the beginng of march or mid march. I suppose I should ask when the barn discontinues feeding out in the gelding pasture.
See I would like to put him out for a few hours and see what happens then bring him back in for the evening. But I suggested this once and the barn managers stated that most of the horses they tried this with had issues with going out then in then out then in.
But I in no way want to put him out and just leave him out. a) beacause I need to wtch as you all have stated and b) I don't want him to gorge himself , which he may do. He could end up getting to fat later in the sumer and need to be back in his paddock.
I will speak with the management and express my concerns about everything. I am now gradually trying to have the staff blanket him as little as possible because they do not blanket or unblanket pasture horses. The weather is extreemly unpredictable here. It has snowed in july before so you just don't know. I would like for him to get out soon as I think it will be much better for his body to be able to move around more and play with others....
I will post more about what the barn says on thurs. That is the next time I will be out there.
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post #6 of 17 Old 02-16-2010, 11:48 PM
Green Broke
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Put another horse that will be a pasture-mate in with him in his larger paddock, so he will have a "buddy" once he's turned out. Since it's a small group, you shouldn't have any problems.

For his health, I would turn him out soon, before the grass starts coming up. That way his system will acclimate to the grass as it slowly comes in. If it springs up quickly, I would only turn him out on it 1-2 hours a day for a few days, then 2-4 hours for a few days, then 4-6 hours a day for a week, then out on full pasture turnout. You don't want him to colic or founder from rish spring grass.
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post #7 of 17 Old 02-17-2010, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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That was what I was thinking but the staff was reluctant to do it that way. I will get more info tomorrow when I go out.
The grass is already out ..just kind brown at the moment. The snow melted already but that is not to say we won't have more down here on the valley floor.
Colic, founder are two big concerns and scratches too. Some of the horses in pasture had it last season. Oh and getting too fat is another concern as well.
I will post back with how my barn wants to address it. But there is no way I want to just throw him out there.
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post #8 of 17 Old 02-19-2010, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Hey all.
Thanks for the advice.
I spoke with one of the barn owners and a barm manager when i was out yesterday.
I have decided to have Tiny turned out for 2 hours in an individual turn out to eat grass every day til march first. The barn does not turn out in bad weather.

They didn't want to turn him out in the gelding pasture so that is the reason for the individual turn out pasture.

At least he will be getting the grass every day. Then on March 1st he will go to the gelding pasture. He is no longer getting blanketed either.

I have been doing my best to get him introduced to the other horses in the pasture. One of them I ride regularly so I know he is fine with this horse. The other two Tiny has met through the fence.
I wish there was an easier way to do this but since it isn't my property etc etc, I have no other choice but to do it this way.

Tiny will still get pampered.

Hope it all works out.
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-19-2010, 10:46 AM
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is there a place where you can turn him out across a good safe fence from the other geldings, so he can meet them all?

too bad they won't let you turn one new buddy out with him first. that would have been helpful. but if he can meet them first, and if they spread the hay out far enough apart, he will probably adapt. but may get himself kicked a time or 2 til he learns his pasture "manners". they do adapt pretty well after a week or 2.
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post #10 of 17 Old 02-19-2010, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks JB,
Yeah I tried to get them to do things differently but Rules are what they are. So this was the best option.
The one gelding "Bear" I ride frequently so whenever I have him out of the pasture I take him over to visit my gelding Tiny.
All Tiny does is pick on him. I have had them next to one another a few times, but there is a horse moving into the paddock next to Tiny's so they asked that I did not use it. No biggie.
I expect he will have to get with the pasture program and he will learn his way.
Thanks for your support.
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