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Miss Katie 04-28-2009 05:07 AM

Managing horses on small acreage
 
Does anyone here keep their horses on a small lot, and have tips to managing the property effectively??

The lease on the land I have been keeping my 3 horses on is about to expire and I have no plans to renew it after the crap I've endured while they have been living there. Agistment is limited in this area, but I have managed to find one place, however she told me she would drop papers in for me to sign a week ago, and hasn't. I've asked again and am waiting to see what comes of it.

My other option is to keep them at home. We only have an acre, so to keep them here will require very careful planning and good management.
The place is divided up with the back half acre fenced off as horse paddocks. This half acre is cross fenced into quarter acre yards.

I am currently in the process of redoing the back boundry fence and the fence at the half acre, and once they are chicken proofed I am going to pull down the cross fence. This will give them plenty of room to move around. This paddock hasnt been used for a few years. It was badly overrun by weeds, but by being vacent the grass has had a chance to re establish and it is starting to look healthy again. There is a round yard being made in this paddock, which will be large enough to keep the 3 horses and serve as a holding yard, so I will be able to control when they graze the paddock to prevent it being over grazed. Im thinking locking them away at nights and during wet days should be enough to prevent this problem, because they wouldnt just be grazing this one paddock...

In front of the half acre paddock we have 2 holding yards. This grows excellent grass and have always been well managed, and can provide additional grazing as a means of getting the horses out of the main pasture, and we also have the houseyard, which is again about half an acre and grows excellent grass. The horses must be supervised out here, but still it gives them a chance at getting good nutritional grass while getting them off the other paddock.

In addition to what I have on my own land, there is a bushland reserve across the road. I can hand graze here and also set high lines. There is lovely mountain oats growing here. There are also some lovely natural obsticles to school over. There is also a large cleared area by the creek that grows nice green kaykya grass that I can hand graze, and this is also where I would do my flat work training. Riding on my own land with the exception of the round yard would be limited. In fact, I wouldnt ride there unless I put up a few jumps, and even then it would be maybe once a fortnight.

As far as feeding goes, I would get in round bales to keep them full, and I can ensure that they get the proper nutrition thru supplemental feeding. Ive done the math and the feeding costs are about the same as the agistment costs (and the agistment would probably require aditional feeding as well). They are all good doers, so they wont require a great lot anyway.

The place used to support 2 horses easily. Once we got the 3rd it got out of hand, but it wasnt being managed back then either.

So, does it sound doable?? And any management tips will be greatly appreciated.

hotreddun 04-30-2009 11:26 AM

sounds perfectly doable to me. My only tip would be to poop scoop the areas daily. If left the poo will burn the grass to death and create "no-grazing" zones.

Miss Katie 05-01-2009 12:08 AM

Yeah, we have always picked up manure for worm prevention purposes. It goes into a big old tank to decompose and then gets spread as fertilizer. Or used on the gardens.

Audra0729 05-05-2009 08:03 PM

it all sounds good, we currently have 3 horses about about 1/2 an acre which is divided into 2 pastures. the only part that is ungrazeable the the gate opening between the two and right around the water trough, for obvious reasons. the only thing I personally don't recommend is leaving them to "graze" from a round bale. we feed our horses off of a round bale using a pitchfork to pull the hay off, it works well and last about a month for around 70 bucks. locking them in at night would keep them off the grass and give it a chance to grow, if you do that I would say to throw only one flake of hay (or equivalent off of a round bale) in the morning for each horse and throw three flakes (or equivalent) at night, would keep them busy at night and would get them out to graze earlier in the am.

good luck!


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