Acres - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-06-2015, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Texas
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How many acres does one horse need?
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-06-2015, 01:33 PM
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I wouldn't put a horse on less than 2-3ac myself. and even then I would split it in to 2-3 sections. The issue, is not so much having room for the horse or having feed, It is more about being able to keep the horse on fresh grass. Yo can raise livestock on 1ac/head, but they have to be able to get to fresh grass, it won't take a horse very long to walk an acre down into mud, and be on dry lot.

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post #3 of 13 Old 02-06-2015, 01:38 PM
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I would ditto Jimmy. The smaller the pasture the more unhappy they are and pick/torture each other. A lot more arguing. Where I board my horse in the winter they are on a very small dry lot and tons of fights go on. Then in the summer they get turned out onto about 2-3 acres of grass and are rotated and as happy as can be. I love it when they leave each other alone! Mine is at the bottom. If some tend to be the more aggressive ones I would keep them separated or with horse(s) that they get along with well. Keeping a smaller buddy system seems to always go well such as 3 horses per pasture. Just my opinion though.
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-06-2015, 01:40 PM
Green Broke
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This is a very debatable topic.
Are we talking just for movement, to have grazing, to have supplemental grazing vs enough grazing to sustain a horse without hay?
Is this arid land, land with rainfall, does the rainfall come in the growing season, is irrigation available? Is there TOO much water making the soils hydric and growing less palatable hydrophytic plants?

If it is just for movement and exercise, not including grazing, I like to see 1-2 acres per horse total. This leaves room for shelter, compost/manure management et cetera.
For grazing, that is super variable. Irrigated (naturally or via sprinklers or flood irrigation) pastures require a lot of maintenance to keep them nice, but you can get away with 1-3 acres per horse is rotated and not overgrazed.
In my neck of the woods, without irrigation and only 9 inches of precip per year, a horse would need about 500-1000 acres to survive without hay. Not practical.
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-06-2015, 01:56 PM
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On Long Island we don't have much room, the minimum amount of land you need (in my township) is 1/2 an acre. Legally you can keep 2 horses on 1/2, 4 on 1ace, etc.

It's less then ideal and requires a lot of up keep, but unless you have a million dollars plus go drop on a horse property or you want to pay $800-$1000+ A month your not going to find or get those "wide open spaces".

You just need to make the most with what you have. Horses should be exercised as much as possible! All the horses to be let out on larger areas of the property, like the arena. Stall toy are excellent! Slow feed hay nets keep horses "grazing". You'll need to also keep the place meticulously clean, every poo once a day, minimum! Many people in my area clean twice a day.

Caring for horses in a small area isn't easy, but it can be done!
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-06-2015, 04:00 PM
Green Broke
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Its extremely Dependant on your area, and even your individual prpperty. In some places a horse can survive indefinitely on one acre, in others a single horse can quickly eat down 5-10 acres.

Space wise, an acre is okay, however I personally think a nice 5 acre paddock is best, with maybe three to five horses. The extra space means you might have a little hill, a dip, different grazing areas, tree belts etc. The horses like the variety.
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-06-2015, 05:57 PM
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It really does depend on the area. In Florida, my 3 horses did great on 3 acres and rarely needed hay. Now that I moved to three acres in North Carolina, I have to rely on hay for half of the year.
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-06-2015, 07:46 PM
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I am getting ready to move a horse to a two and half acre property. Sounds good, except really, she's going to get a fifty by eighty paddock with a shelter to share with two goats. We'll use electric tape to fence off rotating sections of the rest of the property, but she'll never really have a lot of grazing. I figure I'll just keep her in hay constantly. It's enough room to move around on, and I'll be riding regularly. Horses adapt to less than ideal circumstances. There are horses in cities and small properties all over the world. As long as you manage your horse area well, you'll be fine.
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-06-2015, 08:42 PM
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Depends on where you are located. If you have pastures. If you irrigate the pastures.
What your zoning laws are regarding livestock.
Where i live it is one hooved animal per 1/4 acre. now for irrigated pasture 2 acres per horse, less if you also feed hay. People keep horses in pens, mine pens are 18'w by 34' long.
I have some other pens that are 30x60 and two horses to a pen, they are happy and do not fight. Then there are the 10x10 and 12 x12 box stalls people use.
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-07-2015, 08:48 AM
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Location: Palmer Lake CO
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Hi All!

We keep four, somes five monsters on ten acres. Of that ten, perhaps six is open. I hesitate to call it pasture, but there is grass in the mix. They get maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of their ration by grazing during the growing season, and have 24/7 access to hay other than that.
They are all fairly, um, plump.
I think nearly everyone in this part of the world feeds supplemental hay. I see a few equine (generally mixed with cattle) out on large tracts; 100+ acres, but far less than one would expect: most always they are on smaller pastures in close to the house. I guess I wouldn't want to play The Catch Game on 100 acres either ;-)
In the long run, any amount of open area is better for the animals than being confined to a stall/small paddock.

ByeBye! Steve
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Steve Jernigan KG0MB
Microelectronics Research
University of Colorado
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