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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Came across something on Facebook a few days ago and am planning to set it up at our place. It’s called pasture paradise or track system. If you have something like this place for your horses, I’d love to hear pros and cons and if you have pics, would love to see them.
For those who, like me, have no idea what this is, let me explain what I’ve learned so far.
So the idea is pretty basic, it involves an existing pasture that’s fenced, and the idea is to create a ‘track’ to the inside of that, using electric fence. The track is ~15-20’ wide. Some areas need to be bigger to allow for camping (as in rest areas for the horses). Along the track you set up things like hay nets (when there’s not enough grass), salt and mineral blocks (beak these up into chunks and burry them under ground, so the horses have to use their feet to dig them out and then can have them, this helps to wear the hoof naturally and satisfying search instincts), some areas along the way would have sand, others gravel and hard on the hooves material, (toughening up the feet), in addition there’s a waterhole with an area convenient for rolling nearby. Hills as obstacle as well as trees areas for rest and shade.
So the idea is to keep the horses moving and exponentially increasing their exercise, in comparison to an open pasture, (thus promoting weight loss, increased conditioning and natural shape and soundness of the feet), and at the same time trying to simulate the wild horses track systems in horses at home (to keep their minds busy). Virtually eliminating the risk of laminitis and positively supporting the digestive system with grazing on the move.

It seems there are many benefits to doing this set up. Especially to overweight horses like mine. My hope is that with this set up Duke will lose weight, increase his stamina and help with the ringbone that he was recently diagnosed with.
As soon as I can get my hands on enough electric posts, I’m going to set up the perimeter and then go from there. Our pasture is about 5 acres and has a pond for water (need to find someone with some machinery close by who could deepen it by 4’ or so. Got a small hill through trees. Have another trees area that is at the opposite side of the pasture. Hopefully this will work.
Again would love to hear success stories from anyone who has this set up. If you want more info on it, you can google pasture paradise for horses and you’ll get a ton on info. Apparently it’s a common set up. It was news to me.

thoughts?

based on this book.
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Duke is not as far as he was before. But def needs to shed quite a few more pounds.
 

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Yup - a woman I worked for had her property set up like this. My job in the mornings was to scatter 6-8 hay bags along the track for her horses. There was patches of stone in the low-lying areas in the track, both for water drainage/mud prevention and to vary the horses terrain. Her horses were some of the best looking, senior pasture pets I've ever seen.

I'm not sure about the snow levels in your location, but during the winter there was zero way the track system could be used (200+ inches of snow per year). She would snow plow out a nice area for her horses and provide lots of hay, but there was much less movement in the winter months.
 
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I’d happily die if I had enough property for a paddock paradise. Mitch would really benefit. I’ve tried to set up “stations” around his paddock, but it’s not big enough for a track. And he tends to favor his slow feed hay net over the other options for feed (probably because they’ve all got bigger holes so he goes there first, rears ages where his porta-grazer is once it’s empty and then it’s back to the hay net.

Oh well, someday I’ll have enough acreage.
Hope it all works out for you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@ClearDonkey that’s reassuring! Thank you. In the winter we’d probably do what we normally do and that’s free access to the barn with hay in mangers or scattered outside. The snow amounts vary but nothing crazy for Southern Ontario (usually the highest dump we get in one go can be up to 8-12”). But I don’t have a shelter in the pasture so unless that changes, he needs to be able to get away from the elements.
Do you happen to remember if any of her horses had any feet troubles that were helped by this set up?

My main goals to achieve are weight loss and improve the ringbone if at all possible.

@CaliforniaDreamingaccording to the book, if you have 1acre or more, you can set up a system like that. Perhaps you need to make adjustments as in reducing the amount of hay given at any given station.

This is the idea for my current pasture.
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@Saigold the one horse had a shoulder injury and some arthritis. I certainly think this encouraged movement helped him, rather than just allowing him to stand around all day. As far as hoof issues, I don't think so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok thanks. We’ll see what happens when I can set it up!
If anyone has any more input. Would love to hear it!
 

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If I could get my act together to deal with setting all that fencing, I think j it would work well in my space. I have one IR/Cushings horse that is not a good self exerciser, and shouldn’t have grass, so it really would be good for her.

At any rate, the book you got is the main resource. My previous farrier does a lot of consultations with farm owners setting up tracks; you might like the discussion with him on this podcast episode:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you @egrogan !! I will def look that up. I’ll be setting up electric fencing on the inside of the existing fence. I already have everything for it except the step in posts. As soon as o get those. We’ll be up and running. No pun intended lol
 

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@CaliforniaDreamingaccording to the book, if you have 1acre or more, you can set up a system like that. Perhaps you need to make adjustments as in reducing the amount of hay given at any given station.
Unfortunately, I haven't got an acre. It's about 24'x72' tops. Big enough for him to do laps in anyway, which is more than a lot of SoCal horses get. I put his porta-grazer in the back of his paddock, he relocates it to the front side (I can totally see the drag line, it's like the moving rocks of Death Valley) I'd tie it to the fence, but he seems to think of it as a game, and it gives him a toy. His slow feed hay net is up front by the water buckets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah that’s not much land. But we can always dream of bigger lands in our future. Us too have a dream our our our property (the horses are at my parents). Lol he’s got it figured out. Smart guy
 

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I would not put it on an area that isn't mostly flat. It will worsen erosion if placed on a hill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@4horses notnsure which hill you’re referring too. If it’s the one by the pond in my drawing, that’s ground that was dug out from the pond years ago. I don’t mind if that erodes somewhat
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Was finally able to find and buy the electric step in posts yesterday. Can’t wait to get started. Having the pond dug out, hopefully this weekend, so the horses will have a good water hole again. And can even walk in it if they want. Then set up the fence and see how this works in reality. Really looking forward to getting Duke to exercise. I know it’ll be not as motivating for him since he’s alone right now. But I think it’ll still work. At the very least the grass intake will be reduced.
 

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Yes, I know a few people who have this and love it. However, the fencing would kill me. I don't like using step-ins because I have had horses get tangled in it and the step-ins we can get around here are not very tall so the line in between is only about 3 feet off the ground, which is not enough for me. And putting in that many solid posts would kill me, though I am gradually expanding my existing fences to include various areas with various types of footing. Right now, I have 5 grazing areas of various shapes and I can just move gates (I just attach handles to electric fences wherever I need them) to move the horses around so they go from one to another. I have a brook, lots of bushes and trees, and they can always come back to the barn for shade/water/shelter. I think it's really good for them, and they always get excited and run around when I open a new area.

The other difficulty with using step-ins is that you can't have corners or the step-ins will bend over and your fence will sag. So you need a solid post for any corner/turn and you can use the step-ins for straight lines.

So yes, all in all, I think it's a great concept. Just make sure you make your paths wide enough that horses don't push each other into the fence if you eventually get a companion for your horse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If the horses were to get tangled in the electric wire. Does that just break? Duke is quite respectful of it in an another area and the charger is not even turned on. The step in posts I have are 4’ high. I will also tie hunters tape or some else similar to flap on the wind and show the new boundary.
I set up a few posts yesterday, creating a 20’ wide track. I think I like that size for now. And if need be will change if and where needed. Kind of hard to see the posts in the pic but they’re there.
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Not planning to have any corners in the electric fence. So will be using steps ins all the way around the perimeter. Eventually, may install permanent fencing. But that would not be any time in the near future. That’s expensive.

I am looking for a friend for Duke. But with the prices and what’s available, it might not happen for awhile unfortunately.
 

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My horse freaked when she got caught in the fence and it did not break. Fortunately, she wasn't injured. She just eventually untangled herself, but judging by the hoofmarks, it wasn't pretty and she was pretty worked up.

I still don't understand how you can not have corners. I get that it goes on the inside of the perimeter fencing, but that still requires corners.

And yeah, those look like the same ones I use. They're fine as long as you have an exterior fence, but once a horse figures out they give, it won't be long before they push them over, especially if the electric is not on. And to have the electric on, you either have to have a solar charger, or run the wire underground which again, make things a little more complicated.

Do let us know how things go!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I guess I can’t say I won’t have corners at all, but the plan is to have very rounded corners with multiple step ins taking the force. I have a solar charger that has a range for 5miles, I believe. So more energy than I can use.
Glad your horse didn’t get hurt. I’d love to have the poly tape, so it’s more visible, but it’s expensive, so future expense. Will try the other one first with warning ribbons.
 

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I had a terrible freak accident with a horse getting tangled in electric rope fencing. My mare somehow managed to get the top strand of a three strand fence looped around her leg twice, above her hock, and she was caught up in it like an animal in a snare trap, getting shocked over and over by the fence. She wasn't like that for any more than 15 minutes, as I had fed dinner, gone back in the house, and just happened to look out my bedroom window before getting in the shower to see the other two mares running around in circles frantically. I thought maybe there were loose dogs chasing them, so went out to the pasture to investigate, finding the third mare hung up like that.

She had snapped two wooden 2x6 posts in half trying to get out of the fence, but was still stuck. We got the fence turned off, got her untangled, and thank god she only had a tiny bit of rope burn above her hock, and was a little sore in the hip, which a chiro visit took care of. It could have been so much worse. She's perfectly fine now.

There have never been any problems with the fence before or since, and it was not loose or sagging anywhere that would have made you think it was a disaster waiting to happen. I really have no explanation for how she did it.

If I could have 10 minutes to talk to my mare in a way she could really understand, the first thing I would do is apologize for how painful and terrifying it must have been to be getting shocked over and over by the fence with no way to get away. I'm just really grateful I found her as quickly as I did.
 

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I wondered what this was, and after looking it up and reading about it if you have one horse, it might work. But more than that and I think it's a mega disaster waiting to happen. You get 2 horses, or more, and your're going to have kicking contests at some point. A horse will go thru the fence and depending on what it's made of, cut up horses.
I would file this under just something to sell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got the pond dug out today. This is the before and after pics. We’re supposed to get quite a bit of rain overnight and tomorrow, so we’ll see how much it’ll fill up. The rest will be ground water that fills it up. The guy was able to get it done in 3 hours and charged me less than what he originally said. So that was a bonus.
Got the grass partially cut too, to be able to set up the electric fencing. Makes me somewhat apprehensive hearing the tangled stories, but got to try it. But Duke needs to lose weight. So really hoping it will work without issue.
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