Okay I just want to say we all have different view points and ways of doing things, etc. I do think that ideally horses should have grass/hay to eat the majority of the day. But things are not always ideal. In the wild horses certainly don't always have great grazing year round. They adapt to their environment. However when we put them inside a fence and "domesticate them" it becomes our responsibility to make sure they are properly cared for.
Our place's situation is not ideal. We have super sandy soil and unless we get a ton of rain we have sparse grass in the pastures. We do have a few open pastures that get decent grass and can be used for grazing. Could it be better? Yes there are probably things that could be done to provide better grazing such as fertilizer, watering rotating pastures, etc.
But it is what it is and the care is very good and the horses are happy and healthy. We feed high quality hay (timothy alfalfa) that costs about $12/bale. We feed quality grain and supplements as needed per horse. They are fed twice a day and get 2 flakes am/pm typically. Every horse at our barn is at their proper weight if not a little overweight (some ponies that get almost nothing) Some have some grass, some don't, some really don't need any because of health issues. None of them seemed distressed, bored or unhappy. We have colic very rarely but with the number of horses we have I think at some point over the years colic will occur. We give horses pysillium monthly and usually have no issues.
I am against round bales unless you can get them from a very reliable source, too many issues with them.
Most boarders let their horses hand graze in common areas or use the open pastures if they want their horses to get extra grass.
So you have to take into account what each horse is accustomed to, what works best for you and the horse. To OP: this barn may not be for you. Yes if they are okay with you supplementing with extra hay then maybe it will work, if not you may want to look around for another barn. I think that is the best solution. Unfortunately you cannot come into an established barn and change the way they do things or necessarily get the "premium" pasture. So might need to look for another barn.
P.S. Sorry I repeated so much, I hadn't been on this thread for a while so sorry!!
Last edited by lovemyponies; 08-26-2009 at 07:01 AM.