Will be looking. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-30-2016, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Oregon
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Will be looking.

This won't be for another about two years or so, but I figured I could ask. My boyfriend and I are planning on buying a place with a few acres. We would like to get a few horses, between 2-4 horses. I am wondering roughly how many acres people think would be enough to keep them happy. I live in Oregon, and I know some states have better pasture then others. We would like to have them feeding mostly on pasture, but I realize it may not be enough, and hay will probably need to be added. Thanks for any help. I plan to keep doing research myself (as well as taking lessons soon too), but figured a little bit of extra input couldn't hurt. Thanks all.

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post #2 of 7 Old 10-30-2016, 11:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Southern Indiana
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I live in Indiana where we have decent rainfall and the soil to grow grass. I have 5 horses on a 23 acre pasture and 3 other horses on an 18 acre pasture. It provides enough that I don't have to give hay except during the winter months unless we have a drought year and don't have to worry about them tearing it up so bad that I have to take them off of it when the ground is wet. If I switch pastures and put the 5 on the 18 acre pasture they can eat it down to nothing. I must admit it's spoiled me and I'd be hard pressed to go back to horse keeping on smaller acreage. So it makes them happy and me happy both.

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post #3 of 7 Old 10-31-2016, 12:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
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It depends on where in Oregon you are. Great Basin is a bit different than the Willamette Valley. Total rainfall, evenness of rainfall, how cold it gets, soil, irrigation possibility, what kind of a pasture rotation you can plan out. It's an agricultural question. The person to ask is your county ag agent. Your taxes pay for him to help you with these questions.

You may as well count on it being at least 5 acres per horse under the most ideal circumstances (deep soil, careful pasture rotation, mild climate, and plenty of rain year-round).
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-31-2016, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Oregon
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Thanks Avna, I will keep in mind the roughly 5 acres per horse when we start looking. So far it's either going to be around the coast, or the Valley.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-31-2016, 07:54 AM
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Also add slope and whether the pasture is native or seeded/sprigged with pasture grasses. Depending on the things Avna mentioned plus this and you could be looking at up to 10 acres per horse even in an area with good growth. Your Ag extension agent will be able to help with more specific information.
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-01-2016, 09:32 AM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Where I live (coastal California), the rainfall is extremely uneven -- it's about 6 months of absolutely dry -- so a horse needs something like ten to twelve acres of non-irrigated pasture under ideal circumstances. And the fact is, it isn't usually ideal. I do suggest a lot of research. You'll find that in ag-speech there something called a "grazing unit" which is the equivalent of a cow and calf. A horse is about 1 grazing unit. Carrying capacity of pastures is discussed in terms of acre/grazing unit.

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post #7 of 7 Old 11-01-2016, 10:50 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NW Oregon
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You are going to need to plan on feeding hay in the winter months! And be careful of too much rich spring grass.
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