Small acreage+hard keeper+winter= mud & disaster- opinions?!
   

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Small acreage+hard keeper+winter= mud & disaster- opinions?!

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  • Feeding hard keeper horse on dry lot
  • Horses winter small acreage

 
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    11-20-2011, 02:01 PM
  #1
Started
Question Small acreage+hard keeper+winter= mud & disaster- opinions?!

Casey is a 14.2 Arabian Paint cross mare, and she has 2 and 1/3 acre, which is as much as we can set aside for her. She is a moderatly hard keeper in winter, and she is currently a bit skinny and isn't gaining weight. That isn't the problem though, the problem is that the grass isn't growing, and so we are going to have to make a dry lot, as she can't be kept in her stall for a couple months. We didn't over-graze the pastures, they just stopped growing, as it is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit here, and so we have to make an area she can move around in. We have a 100 by 16 foot area marked out that was rocked about 5 years ago, so the grass has grown over it, but it still will help keep the mud down. So... To the point. Any opinions what I should do in the future to prevent this from happening again? I am thinking that during winter, when we have grass in the future, I will turn her out on the grass for about 7 or 8 hours, and then bring her back into her run area, and the same for spring, but for fall let her out on the grass for about 3 hours or so, because that is when it is really crucial for the grass to grow to get ready for winter. During summer she would most likely have 24/7 turnout on grass, we always have loads of it in summer. Do you think that schedule would work? I would feed her some sort of grass hay, probably Timothy or Rye, and I will supplement with Alfalfa to help with weight. Just for fun, she gets fed 2.5 pounds of rice bran and 3/4 lb of shredded beet pulp- teeth were just done last spring, vet says worm free from fecal egg count, but I am having a vet come out to do fall vaccinations, so I could ask him/her then. Oh yeah, she currently has pasture grass and about 4 pounds grass hay w/ 30% alfalfa.
Thanks in advance!
     
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    11-21-2011, 07:08 AM
  #2
Super Moderator
I'm no help except to offer a couple links that discuss managing horses on small acreage and I know Tractor Supply used to carry a book that talks about it

Hopefully this first link is the search I did at TheHorse.com and will bring up several links to look at. The Horse | Search results for horses+on+small+acreage

Graze Anatomy - Handling horses on a small acreage - Horsetalk - equestrian features on training, horse care, equine breeding and more

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/cat.../ec/ec1558.pdf

Horses on small acreage is more common than not, these days so hopefully the folks with successful management stories will come in and share
     
    11-21-2011, 07:44 AM
  #3
Yearling
Hey, I have a horse on less land than you but what I do is have her in a dry lot all night out all day in the late spring to early fall (depends on your growing season mine is from late may to early oct). If the weather isn't bad she gets to go out for a few hours, but you have to be careful because the grass isn't growing and you don't want it killed.

It might be a good idea to divide you your pasture into 2/3 acre or so pastures to rotate once a week, you'll have to drag or pick up all manure or you'll get "rough" spots where she'll pass manure and the grass with be knee deep but she won't eat there. If it is already like this you'll have to mow it all down and pick it up or drag it, once the manure is well composted she'll eat there again. Having someone or if you can mow it once or twice a year down to 4 to 6 inchs tall will keep it health.

For a dry lot (I am making one myself) is small gravel, it doesn't hurt to add a ton or two every year or two to make up for it sinking over time. You might what to look into a slow feeder, small mesh nets, or toys to keep her happy in the dry lot.

I don't know anything about hard keepers, but good luck.
     
    11-21-2011, 02:05 PM
  #4
Green Broke
Having a state or country and area in your signature line can help with questions like that. You dotn have to get specific. I can only speak of my area of Virginia but over 2 acres should be more than enough for one horse. You need to look at doing some maintenence to your fields. Usally in late summer early fall you over seed in a rye grass. Get a soil sample kit from a local feed store and send it in and see where you are on PH and nutrients. You may need some fertilizer and lime. In the early spring hit it with weed killer that doesnt kill grass, wait a couple weeks then seed it with a summer grass. Aftet that you really only need some new seed every couple years. Unless you are in the desert or artic no reason 2 plus acres can't feed a single horse.
     
    11-21-2011, 09:10 PM
  #5
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruiser    
Hey, I have a horse on less land than you but what I do is have her in a dry lot all night out all day in the late spring to early fall (depends on your growing season mine is from late may to early oct). If the weather isn't bad she gets to go out for a few hours, but you have to be careful because the grass isn't growing and you don't want it killed.

It might be a good idea to divide you your pasture into 2/3 acre or so pastures to rotate once a week, you'll have to drag or pick up all manure or you'll get "rough" spots where she'll pass manure and the grass with be knee deep but she won't eat there. If it is already like this you'll have to mow it all down and pick it up or drag it, once the manure is well composted she'll eat there again. Having someone or if you can mow it once or twice a year down to 4 to 6 inchs tall will keep it health.

For a dry lot (I am making one myself) is small gravel, it doesn't hurt to add a ton or two every year or two to make up for it sinking over time. You might what to look into a slow feeder, small mesh nets, or toys to keep her happy in the dry lot.

I don't know anything about hard keepers, but good luck.
We have 14 different areas. Seriously, no kidding. Ok fine, only 5 of those are permanent, but we set up little like 40x50 areas around our lawn, which is included in the 2 1/3 acre. It is mowed once a year after the seed heads of sprouted and have turned brown. I have a small mesh hay net, which I will feed her hay in in the dry lot. I lost my Jolly Ball about 1 year ago, I put it in Casey's pasture and she ignored it and it rolled away.. I bet in 10 years I will find it and go 'Oh yeah, I remember this!' I clean the pastures every 1 or 2 weeks. Her poo kills the grass so it doesn't grow in those areas, although there is like an inch of stuff trying to survive in there..
Thanks everyone!!
     

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