Treed Sacrifice Pen? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 01-14-2019, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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Treed Sacrifice Pen?

Hello all!

My boyfriend and I are looking into purchasing an acreage (and have been for a while) and just curious about some of our options!

Can one fence off a treed part of the pasture as the main area of the “sarcrifice pen”? The way I figured it, the trees might make the ground more stable (less muddy) and provide additional shelter from the elements and reduce boredom?

From other forums I haven’t seen anyone saying anything negative about trees (as long as they’re non-toxic) but nothing about them specifically being them making up a significant portion of the sacrifice pen to allow the pasture lands to rotate/recover.

My current idea is having a small acreage that’s broken up into three paddocks, two grassed, the third would be the mostly treed area. Would love any advice!

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post #2 of 31 Old 01-14-2019, 04:11 AM
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One of my friends did that. There had been grass growing around the trees (Pines) but instead of letting the horses eat it down she put her sheep in there first. Unfortunately they rip up grass by the roots so it did end up being pretty muddy by the time she put horses in the pen. So depending on how large the space is and if there's grass growing it might not be as bad with just a few horses--at least not for awhile! I think it's a good idea to have a few trees in all the pastures though if possible--whenever it's too hot or raining heavy our horses always head for the wooded area.
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post #3 of 31 Old 01-14-2019, 05:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pasomountain View Post
One of my friends did that. There had been grass growing around the trees (Pines) but instead of letting the horses eat it down she put her sheep in there first. Unfortunately they rip up grass by the roots so it did end up being pretty muddy by the time she put horses in the pen. So depending on how large the space is and if there's grass growing it might not be as bad with just a few horses--at least not for awhile! I think it's a good idea to have a few trees in all the pastures though if possible--whenever it's too hot or raining heavy our horses always head for the wooded area.
The entire acreage is small, wed only be having two horses on the property st a time (bylaw helps with that haha).

Itís winter and everythingís dead right now so Iím unsure of how much grass grows between the trees during the warm months. Itís quite a large bit thatís treed, be we walked through and the trees are spaces far enough apart for horses with clearing any (except the damaged ones of course)

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post #4 of 31 Old 01-14-2019, 06:11 AM
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Depends on the type of trees, space between and use of the pen. If it is kept with adequate forage(hay) in it and they are allowed ample grazing time then no problem. If you are using it to keep an easy keeper they will shred the trees. Either way you want to be able to get a brush hog through to keep underbrush out and you want limbs trimmed to a height they are safe. My area is not fenced off from pasture. I do have a separate pen that has a few trees and is used for quarantine, injuries and riding practice.
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post #5 of 31 Old 01-14-2019, 06:12 AM
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I'll add they will shred out of boredom too. So another reason to keep hay in there.
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post #6 of 31 Old 01-14-2019, 07:12 AM
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First make sure the trees in the pasture are safe for horses to be in a confined area with...
Some trees, plants and bushes are toxic and outright deadly to equines and hooved livestock so be very careful.
I see by me the dairy cattle operations use hot wire to keep the cattle from stripping the tree bark...they make a fenced off area under the trees no cattle are allowed to enter, but the cattle can and do still come to the shade and weather protection of the tree foliage, they just can't taste the trees bark.
Your other option to preserve the trees and not have horses stripping them, killing them over time is to wrap them in wire mesh fence...
Not chicken wire, ever....
But there is fence sold for wrapping trees to protect them from our "beavers"...
Some also use chain link fencing...just remember it needs to go high enough the horses who will stand on their hind feet can not balance on the tree and strip above the fence edge.
It works and might be a solution of trees and horses mixed together...
Zoos around the world do similar with certain animals, why would it not work for our horses...


Grass does not normally grow thickly under trees unless the trees are already pruned high for much sunlight to reach the ground...
You will have some growth, but sparse compared to open areas....
If the pasture is large enough the horses will eat elsewhere and come to the covered area for share and protection from the weather....
Sounds like a good trade-off to me.
....
jmo...
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post #7 of 31 Old 01-14-2019, 09:57 AM
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Those are really good ideas! I have an area I put horses in, and they have barked trees before. I started putting ivory soap on the bark, which helps a lot, but as it wears off the trees seem to become fair game again.
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post #8 of 31 Old 01-14-2019, 10:18 AM
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Keep in mind you'll have a lot of fence repair and fallen limb/tree clean up. Our fence line runs right inside a tree line and pretty much every bad storm you can count on having a tree or two down over the fence.
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post #9 of 31 Old 01-14-2019, 02:00 PM
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A highly kept secret regarding the evolution of horses is that they were once beavers... So while a sacrifice lot with trees isn't a bad idea... I promise you - they will eat your trees.....
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post #10 of 31 Old 01-14-2019, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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We would be providing hay in the sacrifice pen either way, I mean, I live in Canada, not much in the way of grass for a good portion of the year regardless. I also think our trees are limited in species and donít have too many, if any natural species that are toxic.

The trees in the back are all thin and there doesnít seem to much scrub brush in there so the horses could easily keep that maintained. Though I wouldnít want them killing all of the trees, we wouldnít be sad if those ones were lost as thereís a few back there already in rough condition that may need to be removed.

But then again itís hard to tell! Itís winter so everything looks dead in its dormant phase haha
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