Hi everyone - I am really a newbie to the forum and to horses.
We are in a position to get 2 horses, we have about 3 acres that is zoned for 2 horses at our primary residence. We also have a weekend home that is a farm (no-working) that is about 100 acres, of course we can do whatever we like there. The land is all cleared except for hedgerows and has an old barn with stalls.
The 3 acres is where we will keep the horses most of the time and we will trailer them up home to ride on some weekends. I need advice on how to setup the pasture. 3/4 acre is woods--rustic never cleared and very wild, no paths. The property is longer than wider and the back length has a thick row of pines that belong to us as a privacy/windbreak. In front of the pines is a small orchard of about 15 trees, apple, pear, and white walnuts and chestnuts, and 2 huge grapevines. The rest is grassy but with lots of trees--white birches and pines.
We want to get rid of most of the lawn and only keep a small piece in front of the house.
Do we have to clear all the trees? I read that in the UK horses are allowed to graze in the orchards.
thks for any info and feedback -
I did clear most of the trees and bushes, but we had lots of rotten trees and several cherries (which are not good for horses from what I know). I still left those nice trees for the shade. I also divided the back property into 2 parts: smaller one is nice pasture and I keep it closed over the winter, also it close to the house, so it looks nice. The bigger part is where my horses are most of the time with barn, water, hay feeder etc. I'd never imagine HOW fast they can make a mud out of nice leveled area. :shock:
I Googled "horses on small acreage" and got a lot of hits.
This one seems to be pretty informative.
Graze Anatomy - Handling horses on a small acreage - Horsetalk - equestrian features on training, horse care, equine breeding and more
Hope it helps you:-)
When you take your horses vacationing on the 100 acre farm, you might want to consider fencing off 15-20 acres so you can find them; unless you will be spending weeks at a time there.
Believe me, if they get cut loose right off the bat on 100 acres, you might not see them for a "month of Sundays" :-P
thks walkinthewalk - the 100 acre farm is fenced thankfully and cleared except for 20 acres of woods which is fenced off to the hilly side. it was a working farm years ago but now we have it in CREP for environmental reasons. When we bought it it was used to grow corn for a dairy farm down the road. With the erosion and heavy use of chemicals we thought it best to let it rest for 10 years or so.
We used to keep 45 beehives there but not now. The land has recovered beautifully and the meadows are lush and butterfly population is tremendous which is a sign of good recovery.
A small parcel of about 4 acres is close to the house and barn and we plan to use that for our weekend jaunts.
Contact your PA Cooperative Extension Service to see which if any of those trees are poisonous to horses. If they're not, then it's fine to leave most or all of them up. The horses will chew on the fruit trees, so be ready to cut them down when they get too bad, lol.
I'd recommend using Electrobraid to help fence. It will keep the horses off your wood fence and it is easy to move around should you decide to move the horses to let the ground recover.
You'll want a good shelter for the horses, with drainage around it and a non-dirt inside floor (rough top concrete or asphalt is really best). The horses will show you where to dump gravel after it rains a few times and they churn up mud. You'll want to use medium sized gravel in those areas, with whatever road base is common in your area over the top, compacted down to create a hard surface with good drainage.
Talk to your cooperative extension agent about how to fertilize the grass and trees to keep them going with the horses on them. Ask about seeding it in the fall and next spring.
It can be very hard to keep horses on small acreage, if you want that acreage to be green ;-).
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