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Do horses NEED to be pastured???

This is a discussion on Do horses NEED to be pastured??? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        08-21-2013, 08:07 AM
      #11
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by usandpets    
    Do horses NEED pasture? No.

    If they did, they would not survive in areas that have snow in winter or areas similar to deserts.
    Sorry, but I can't make any sense out of that.

    Let's not fool ourselves or rationalize keeping horses in less than ideal conditions. Unless they have special needs, horses should be pastured in a pasture large enough for them to run full-out. It is no secret the incidence of hoof and lung issues is far higher in horses living in confined areas than those living in large pastures.

    I realize many people are unable to provide the best of environments, but let's be honest and admit that anything less than ideal is exactly that, and we try to do the best we can in whatever circumstances we are in.

    I have found it rather ironic over the years that many of the same people that bemoan the confinement of animals in zoos to small areas rationalize confining their own horses to stalls or small paddocks...
         
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        08-21-2013, 08:34 AM
      #12
    Green Broke
    They don't need pasture to survive. Much like, if you locked a human in a 10x10 foot room they'd survive too, given they have food and water. In a lot of places of the world people do keep their horses stabled all or most of the time. Many of those horses are fine, and many owners make a huge effort to make sure their horse is exercised and comfortable.

    However, I wouldn't keep my horse anywhere that she wouldn't be turned out in a reasonably sized area at least around 8 hours a day. It'd be great if there was grass there, but if she just had hay to keep her occupied all day I'd be okay with that. To me, the minimum size turn out would be 1 acre, which is about 200x200 feet. Short term I'd be fine smaller, but long term that is the only option I'd do. If that wasn't available where I lived I'd send her somewhere under full care with turn out until I could organise something. Right now my horse is sharing a 10 acre paddock with 3 other horses. She seems pretty happy, and often they all gallop across it full pelt, bucking, sliding to stops etc. It makes me really happy knowing she has the space to run and be a horse. When she came to me from the sales, she would have come from a racehorse trainer where she would have been stabled almost all the time. She'd had a poor appetite, lay down multiple times around feeding etc. Now, returning to a more "natural" lifestyle and diet she has improved mentally and physically.

    I can't tell you what's right for you, but that boarding situation wouldn't be right for me.
         
        08-21-2013, 10:06 AM
      #13
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Faceman    
    Sorry, but I can't make any sense out of that.

    Let's not fool ourselves or rationalize keeping horses in less than ideal conditions. Unless they have special needs, horses should be pastured in a pasture large enough for them to run full-out. It is no secret the incidence of hoof and lung issues is far higher in horses living in confined areas than those living in large pastures...
    Odd. My horses supposedly have great hooves. The farrier last week told me it was like trimming granite. No lung issues that I've noticed. There would be no horses in southern Arizona - well, almost none - if horses needed pastures to run in.

    If you keep your horse in knee-deep poop, or a small marsh...that is another story. But I can go thru a stable that has 20x20 stalls and less, and see healthy looking horses complete with muscles and decent feet, waiting to be ridden.

    The question wasn't, "What is an ideal situation?", but 'what is needed?' - and they do not NEED a large pasture with room to run free and large social groups to act like healthy, content horses.

    I'm pretty well convinced that people function best if they live on 160+ acres and do manual labor much of each day. I have two acres & go jogging & riding. But lots of folks live in Hong Kong without contemplating suicide...
    Hidalgo13, PunksTank and Cynical25 like this.
         
        08-21-2013, 10:39 AM
      #14
    Foal
    We have green pastureland as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately, it's dairy country, turning the horses out on grass that has been cultivated for milk cows would be an absolute no-no.

    The horses are kept on much smaller, "starvation" paddocks which, apart from ensuring they are free of droppings and undesirable weeds, we do nothing with. We supplement with hay when necessary.

    Whilst there is enough space for them to canter about to a degree, the paddocks aren't a sufficient size to allow them to really stretch out for a good gallop.

    We got around this situation by utilizing the long "cow tracks" between the pastures and added a circuit around the outside of the buildings. I have had to put "Please keep gate closed - free range horses" signs around the place, just to remind folks that the horses could be just about anywhere!

    The place now resembles an improvised Paradise Paddock design. The horses keep moving and that's so important when you remember that in the wild they would cover 20 miles or more a day just looking for food and water.

    I would like to think that we all do the best we can for our horses given our individual circumstances. We will be moving early next year, as soon as the farm is split up and sold by the owners. I am already worrying more about what facilities will be available for the horses, wherever we may end up, rather than securing a roof over our own heads - my priorities are so askew, I know .
    Golden Horse likes this.
         
        08-21-2013, 10:47 AM
      #15
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    Odd. My horses supposedly have great hooves. The farrier last week told me it was like trimming granite. No lung issues that I've noticed. There would be no horses in southern Arizona - well, almost none - if horses needed pastures to run in.

    If you keep your horse in knee-deep poop, or a small marsh...that is another story. But I can go thru a stable that has 20x20 stalls and less, and see healthy looking horses complete with muscles and decent feet, waiting to be ridden.

    The question wasn't, "What is an ideal situation?", but 'what is needed?' - and they do not NEED a large pasture with room to run free and large social groups to act like healthy, content horses.

    I'm pretty well convinced that people function best if they live on 160+ acres and do manual labor much of each day. I have two acres & go jogging & riding. But lots of folks live in Hong Kong without contemplating suicide...
    Stalling a horse or keeping one in a small paddock does not guarantee they will have bad hooves - and no one said it does. I have smoked for 45 years and have neither lung cancer nor a bad heart. The fact remains, and it is a fact, that confined horses have a higher incidence of hoof issues, lung issues, and cribbing, weaving, and other emotional issues, just as smokers have a higher incidence of heart disease and lung cancer. I risk compromising my health by smoking, and if you confine a horse, you risk compromising its health as well.

    The OP's question was "Do horses need to be pastured"? No, they don't...theoretically you could keep one in a 2 X 6 chute, and as long as they are fed and watered they would likely survive. However, the very nature of the question indicates the OP is a novice, and should receive the best possible advice, which is...anything less than 24/7 turnout in a large area compromises the environment a horse's anatomy and physiology mental state,and instincts are designed for - excepting those cases where a horse has issues that dictate confinement or circumstances to protect a horse, such as from severe weather, dictate confinement.

    Most horses are fairly adaptable and will adjust to and accept confinement, but confinement is for the convenience of man and the circumstances of the owner - it is NOT in the best interest of their health.

    A horse can live strictly on grain - but its digestive system is not designed for that diet, which most of us know, so we pasture and/or hay them.

    A horse can survive without vaccinations or hoof trimming or deworming - at least for a period of time, which most of us know so we act accordingly.

    Those who think it is OK to confine a horse are merely rationalizing to justify their inability to provide an adequate environment. I am not criticizing those people - not everyone can provide an adequate environment, and people have a right to do as they choose. But let's call a spade a spade here, and not give a beginner the idea that confinement of a horse - or any animal - is in any way desirable...confinement introduces potential physical and mental health risks, and that is just a fact of life...
    Cat, beau159, dbarabians and 1 others like this.
         
        08-21-2013, 10:49 AM
      #16
    Green Broke
    Horse should be fine. But do get papers on everything and make sure too that you have it spelled out just how much work you are to do for this arrangement.

    Not much fun to be doing 200 dollars worth of work when it would only take 5 to pay for your board in other words.
         
        08-21-2013, 10:50 AM
      #17
    Yearling
    To answer the title question, No. With appropriate feed & exercise, horses can thrive without pasture.
    texasgal likes this.
         
        08-21-2013, 11:01 AM
      #18
    Trained
    I do not believe in stalling a horse.
    My horses do not have episodes of colic, heaves, coughing, or any hoof issues.
    Granted I have more than enough land to keep them on pasture.
    If you must keep them in a small enclosure they must be excersized everyday.
    Keeping them in a paddock is better than a stall.
    If the horse is healthy sound and in good condition it sounds like an acceptable place to keep a horse. Shalom
    Shoebox likes this.
         
        08-21-2013, 11:03 AM
      #19
    Foal
    I would want my horse to have a pasture. Even if its not huge, at least something. Then again think of the police horses in NY city. They are in good health and don't get to graze in fields every day. Maybe if you are serious about riding plenty during the week or at least letting you're horse get out and run around and roll in the arena. Personally, for me, pasture time is a must.
         
        08-21-2013, 11:22 AM
      #20
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Faceman    
    Stalling a horse or keeping one in a small paddock does not guarantee they will have bad hooves - and no one said it does. I have smoked for 45 years and have neither lung cancer nor a bad heart. The fact remains, and it is a fact, that confined horses have a higher incidence of hoof issues, lung issues, and cribbing, weaving, and other emotional issues, just as smokers have a higher incidence of heart disease and lung cancer. I risk compromising my health by smoking, and if you confine a horse, you risk compromising its health as well...

    ...anything less than 24/7 turnout in a large area compromises the environment a horse's anatomy and physiology mental state,and instincts are designed for...

    ...Most horses are fairly adaptable and will adjust to and accept confinement, but confinement is for the convenience of man and the circumstances of the owner - it is NOT in the best interest of their health...
    And what about humans? We evolved to cover many miles every day, and to do manual labor. In the movie 'Tombstone', there is a scene where Wyatt Earp sends his brother off at the train station. That happened. And then, since he didn't have money to spend on a ride, he WALKED back to Tombstone...got a lift in a wagon about 10 miles out of Tombstone. It is 70 miles from downtown Tucson to Tombstone, with plenty of hills.

    How many modern men would even consider walking 70 miles non-stop? How many of us walk thru 20 miles of terrain looking for tonight's dinner? THAT is "natural" for a human, but has nothing to do with modern life.

    There are health problems that result, and we are physically weaker than our roaming ancestors (including those just 100 years ago). Most of us do not live on farms or ranches. I don't walk the 5 miles to church, or to get milk from the nearest store. So I have a bit of a gut. So modern life may impact my health, although I'll live longer than many people in the 1800s.

    Hoof problems don't come from living in a corral. They come from neglect - living in a place with bad ground, too much water or too much poop. My horses don't crib, weave, or show any signs of emotional stress other than Mia having energy to spare when we start riding.

    Personally, I'd love to have 10 sq miles or more to roam and play in too, but most humans and horses don't get that ideal. What we might like, and might be 'ideal' varies greatly from what we need. Faceman, I know too many horses (including mine) who are acting normal and are physically fit without having pastures to race around in. And THAT is a fact that contradicts your "fact of life"...

    As does the OP's description: "he does have good sized paddocks for each horse and he feeds his horses well and they look well nourished and fine".
    PunksTank likes this.
         

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