Dry Lot Dilemma - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-02-2020, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Dry Lot Dilemma

I have a horse in the dry lot. Due to the arrangement of my property, the dry lot is not near the pasture. The pony in the dry lot is lonely.

I am having my house resided at the moment, so money is SUPER tight. I can't go out and purchase corral panels to make a round pen in the pasture. I *could* potentially create a smaller pen with electric tape, t posts, as I would just tie in to my existing electric tape fence. It would be a lot of work, but it could be done for about $100 since I already have a zillion t posts lying around, left over electric tape - there are some trees we could tie into for the corner so I don't have to create a new H brace. BUT ... here's my fear. The fat pony is dominant and the other horse, who needs to eat constantly, I worry will not leave the pony by the pen to go eat the grass or the hay.

My other option is my neighbor will sell me one of his sheep for cheap. I can get the pony a sheep friend in the current dry lot, which is lovely and big and has water *right* at the pen so I don't have to haul. However, then I own a sheep. I am not so sure I want another animal. I owned goats once, and had to sell them because they were super naughty. I worry a sheep might be similar?

So, I am having a hard time deciding what to do. Looking for some thoughtful advice. If she was your pony, what would you do?

Oh, she is in the dry lot because I was having her graze with a grazing muzzle at night, but she is so aggressive about trying to eat she chewed the hole bigger and started to wear her front tooth in a weird way, so she cannot even go in the pasture to graze as my DVM wants her to completely heal her tooth. So that's not an option. She has to be completely contained.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-02-2020, 11:42 AM
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Can the pony see the horse?

Is the pony screaming for the horse constantly?

Is the pony not eating what you give it because it is pining for the horse?

Is the horse not eating because it can't see the pony but can hear it?

Depending upon how you just answered those 4 questions would make a difference of risking putting the pony in sight of the horse and possibly upsetting the horse to pining then for the pony..

Honestly, sounds like pony is a piggy and is not pining but is anxious seeing but not being able to eat the grass from the filed..
I hate assigning human emotions to animals but the pony sounds mad and angry at the restrictions, not that it is pining away for the horses company.

So the pony was restricted from gorging and ruined her muzzle...in return she lost her chance to graze herself to death...
Me thinks the adaption of your pasture and allowing the pony access unrestricted to even that smaller electric taped area is going to create problems when pony is now going to do everything to get out and in the pasture to gorge...then you'll have another vet bill.
Ponies are sneaky buggars and once determined to have...you need a substantial barrier or fence, far stronger than hot tape/wire with what I've seen in the past.
My friends pony used to get a running start and blow through a hot fence...one zap and done and everyone was loose.
....
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-02-2020, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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She cannot see the horse and burro from the dry lot.
She is no longer crying for the horse.
The pony is eating every scrap of every single thing she gets.
The horse has a burro with her in the pasture, so she's not lonely at all. She has the burro, which, while not her favorite companion, is sufficient as a companion nonetheless. And he is 'lower' than the hard keeper horse, so she gets all the hay and grass she needs 24/7. The horse is eating fine without the pony.

Pony definitely paces, though. Although, when there's food, nothing else matters to her. She would leave the others to eat at any moment. However, because of this she does do a lot of pacing at times when she's consumed all her hay. She has 2 tiny hole hay nets, a salt lick, a few toys (never plays with them), water, shade and a big area. But I do think herd animals should be able to be with a buddy.

We are in a horrendous drought, so the area I would make as a pen doesn't have any grass. Plus, she'd eat whatever was there in 2 days and there would be nothing. She is an eater. Also, it has trees for shade. But I DO worry she would blow through the tape and end up in the pen.

So ... do you think the sheep is the way to go?
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-02-2020, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by 2SCHorses View Post
So ... do you think the sheep is the way to go?
From what I've heard, animals like sheep and goats can sometimes be good companions and sometimes not, depending on the personalities of the animals.

Since it's your neighbor, can you get the sheep and put them together for a week to see how it goes? And if it didn't work out, return the sheep?
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-02-2020, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by 2SCHorses View Post
She cannot see the horse and burro from the dry lot.
She is no longer crying for the horse.
The pony is eating every scrap of every single thing she gets.
The horse has a burro with her in the pasture, so she's not lonely at all. She has the burro, which, while not her favorite companion, is sufficient as a companion nonetheless. And he is 'lower' than the hard keeper horse, so she gets all the hay and grass she needs 24/7. The horse is eating fine without the pony.

Pony definitely paces, though. Although, when there's food, nothing else matters to her. She would leave the others to eat at any moment. However, because of this she does do a lot of pacing at times when she's consumed all her hay. She has 2 tiny hole hay nets, a salt lick, a few toys (never plays with them), water, shade and a big area. But I do think herd animals should be able to be with a buddy.

We are in a horrendous drought, so the area I would make as a pen doesn't have any grass. Plus, she'd eat whatever was there in 2 days and there would be nothing. She is an eater. Also, it has trees for shade. But I DO worry she would blow through the tape and end up in the pen.

So ... do you think the sheep is the way to go?
I wish I had the ability to split up my piggy from my hard-keeper. If I were in your shoes, I would be looking at the pacing pony saying 'thank goodness, that weight will finally be off her'.

Would you be able to put the burro in with the pony instead? How would the hard-keeper do alone in his pasture?

Have you tried a grazing muzzle with the pony? Is she able to be on grass at all? I would be inclined to keep her separated if she limits how much forage the hard keeper gets.

I would be inclined to get more small hole hay nets, and spread the bags throughout her dry lot. If she is eating them like crazy still, double-net them.

If you were to separate her within the pasture, how big is the pasture? Would she get upset when the hard-keeper goes to the far end of the pasture? She may just be as upset being in the pasture, separated from them, as she is now.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-02-2020, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 2SCHorses View Post
So ... do you think the sheep is the way to go?

Actually, no.
Not to purchase unless you want another animal to feed and take care of its needs.


Once money is not so tight {after house is sided complete} are you then going to purchase those panels?
I think doing electrical tape is just not smart with a aggressive, consumed eater like you describe your pony to be...
I think she is going to blow through your fence and then allow all the animals to be where they should not and that could be not only risky but downright dangerous.


I understand you not like the pacing...
Look at it from a different perspective...pony is self-exercising which is toning down the fat, adding muscle and conditioning the cardio and accompanying vital organs...
...
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-02-2020, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Have you tried a grazing muzzle with the pony? Is she able to be on grass at all? I would be inclined to keep her separated if she limits how much forage the hard keeper gets.

I would be inclined to get more small hole hay nets, and spread the bags throughout her dry lot. If she is eating them like crazy still, double-net them.

If you were to separate her within the pasture, how big is the pasture? Would she get upset when the hard-keeper goes to the far end of the pasture? She may just be as upset being in the pasture, separated from them, as she is now.[/QUOTE]

I can’t put her in a grazing muzzle as she damaged her tooth by eating through the last muzzle. She has to be confined.

The hard keeper cannot be alone. She is a very “worrying” horse and would not eat if alone. The pony is very confident. But I still feel sad that she is alone. Even with her very strict diet, she’s a chub. My daughter rides her 3x a week so she does get exercise.

The pasture is 30 acres, so big. The other animals could easily disappear from view. The dry lot is bomber but about 200 meters from the pasture on the other side of the property (which is 40 acres).
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-02-2020, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by 2SCHorses View Post
The pasture is 30 acres, so big. The other animals could easily disappear from view. The dry lot is bomber but about 200 meters from the pasture on the other side of the property (which is 40 acres).
Then I would not bother with the panels or small, separate area for the pony within the pasture. She won't be able to see them anyways, so you will have the same issue, just in a different area.

I also would not get another pet that you don't want. If you decide that you want goats/sheep/mini horse/etc, then sure, it could be a good idea to get a friend for the pony. But if you don't want more work + higher care fees, then just don't do it.

Also, just in case you ever consider, I would not board someone's horse on your property either so that the pony has a companion. Other people are way too much of a headache.

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post #9 of 11 Old 07-02-2020, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Also, just in case you ever consider, I would not board someone's horse on your property either so that the pony has a companion. Other people are way too much of a headache.
That wouldn't be a consideration. My pasture is still "rough" and while it's open and has a shelter and a round bale feeder and good water access, horses live like mustangs. There's dead fall, rocks, hills and irrigation ditches ... it's a bit of a diamond in the rough at the moment, so I doubt it would be desirable.

I would not mind having another burro. That would be the only animal I would really WANT to consider; however, Arizona is a hot mess of COVID right now and the BLM has paused all adoptions. But I would get another burro from the TIP trainer I got my first burro with in AZ. He's awesome and easy to care for - doesn't eat much, is super sweet, and makes a very nice, easy going companion for the horse. If they were doing adoptions, I would probably go get another burro and put my current burro with the pony and the new burro with the horse. My current burro loves the pony and they get along really well, and he keeps weight easily.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-02-2020, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ClearDonkey View Post
I wish I had the ability to split up my piggy from my hard-keeper. If I were in your shoes, I would be looking at the pacing pony saying 'thank goodness, that weight will finally be off her'.

Haha, that was sort of my thought too. My piggy is in a grazing muzzle nearly 24/7, and when the three horses are turned out together she does a lot of fence pacing when the bugs are bad. I do feel bad for her as I think the muzzle restricts her ability to attack the biting flies, which leads to the pacing, but there's at least a small part of me that thinks "this is the most exercise she gets all day." Lately I'll put them out in that field for a couple of hours early in the morning so she's not driven to true misery by bugs. The rest of the day she mostly hides out in her shelter in the dry lot.


I guess I'm not totally clear on why not leave the pony in the lot if she only paces a little. But, if it's becoming too concerning, it sounds like the next best option is to make a new temporary dry lot within more consistent sight of the others. I don't think I'd add the sheep.
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