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Hi all! I have been lurking around the forum, absorbing all I can. I have posted about feeding a new (to us) horse we are looking to bring up in a couple of months. We are working on getting everything ready for her now. So, I have a couple of general "what do we need, is our set up okay" questions.

1. We live on 5 acres, half of it is wooded but we have cleared it to the point of being able to mow it all. We also have worked for 3 years trimming trees so there are no branches hanging lower than 6 to 8 feet. The back, where our 15year old QH will be is approx 3 acres. Her lot runs about 250 feet wide and about 460 feet deep. Its a nice mix of trees and open area, grass, weeds, clover. Does this sound adequate for her? I can post a pic if you like.

2. We have the rest of the 5 acres (minus the house and the pool) to ride her on. We are keeping her fence 15 to 20 feet inside our property line so we can ride her around the entire perimeter, as well as at least 1 to 1.5 acres of open "yard" in front of the house. Our 5 acres is flanked on both sides by another 5 (15 total) that are still for sale. We walk our danes on all 15 all the time, it would be awsome for trail rides! Does that sound adequate? If/when those lots sell, and we are just down to our 5, what about riding her on the solid surface road? We live outside of town, very little traffic, but she will be the first horse out here.

3. We are toying with the idea of getting the kids a pony (or very small horse). We have an 11 year old boy and 4 year old girl. I would really like to get them a horse / pony they can handle better on their own. Do you think the pasture would support both the QH and another okay? We will be feeding free choice hay, a ration balancer, pasture (of course) and some grain in the winter (the QH is a bit heavy right now). And of course clean water at all times. We are going to build a 3 sided walk in shelter for them, 20 x 25 I think.

So...what do you all think so far? I have more questions...but I wont over load this just yet. :wink:
 

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That size pasture will support 2 or more horse IF you are feeding free choice hay to them. They should be able to not need much hay but i think you would be better off cutting they pasture in 2. and switching them back and forth. Give one pasture time to rest while they are on the other.
 

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That size pasture will support 2 or more horse IF you are feeding free choice hay to them. They should be able to not need much hay but i think you would be better off cutting they pasture in 2. and switching them back and forth. Give one pasture time to rest while they are on the other.
I have seriously considered this. My concern was putting 2 on only 1.5 acres at a time. I'm sure 2 on a 3 acre pasture can turn it into nothing but dirt in no time. We will be feeding free choice hay, no round bales as I don't think 1 or 2 can get through it before the center molds. We will have a tack / feed room on the barn so we will just buy several bales at a time and keep them dry.

She is on a working cattle farm right now, in a 10 acre pasture with 3 other horses. They have free choice hay and daily grain now. But, because they aren't working her as much now...she is getting a bit fat. She is still able to work the cattle when needed, but could really use more frequent light riding to get back to a better condition.

I'm concerned about her getting lonely, she was born on this cattle ranch and has always had her buddies.
 

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I have seriously considered this. My concern was putting 2 on only 1.5 acres at a time. I'm sure 2 on a 3 acre pasture can turn it into nothing but dirt in no time. We will be feeding free choice hay, no round bales as I don't think 1 or 2 can get through it before the center molds. We will have a tack / feed room on the barn so we will just buy several bales at a time and keep them dry.

She is on a working cattle farm right now, in a 10 acre pasture with 3 other horses. They have free choice hay and daily grain now. But, because they aren't working her as much now...she is getting a bit fat. She is still able to work the cattle when needed, but could really use more frequent light riding to get back to a better condition.

I'm concerned about her getting lonely, she was born on this cattle ranch and has always had her buddies.
It may take 1-2 weeks before they eat down 1.5 acres by them your other pasture will have grass growth to switch them too. This will keep you pastures a little longer and healthy so they grow better. If they are on one pasture they may eat the whole thing down faster and it wont have the time to heal and it may hurt your grass growth and be worse then if you split the pasture.
 

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It may take 1-2 weeks before they eat down 1.5 acres by them your other pasture will have grass growth to switch them too. This will keep you pastures a little longer and healthy so they grow better. If they are on one pasture they may eat the whole thing down faster and it wont have the time to heal and it may hurt your grass growth and be worse then if you split the pasture.
Good point. So, what about their shelter? Would you just run the split up close to the center of the barn, then use a steel tube gate that can swing to either side of the barn? I dont think I can clearly put into words what I am envisioning. The shelter will face East. I would much rather split the pasture N/S, so I would have to get creative with that.
 

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Good point. So, what about their shelter? Would you just run the split up close to the center of the barn, then use a steel tube gate that can swing to either side of the barn? I dont think I can clearly put into words what I am envisioning. The shelter will face East. I would much rather split the pasture N/S, so I would have to get creative with that.
Sounds like what i would do. Not knowing what you have. The best way to do it for some places is like you said have it so if the gate goes one way they can go into one pasture if it goes the other way they go into the other pasture. Just have a open area by hte shleter before the split.
 

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Sounds like you are wasting alot of space, all those little exclusions add up, Put the fence on or as close to the property line as you codes allow. Your plan has you excluding 1420 square feet of grass. If you are restricted to your land you can ride on the inside of a fence just as easy as the outside. If you can ride the adjoining lots you can open the gate and ride there also.
Why the 1.5 acre front yard ? all it is is grass that needs to be mowed, Sounds like more pasture space to me. Keep a small area for a backyard play, BBQ area, the rest can be pasture space.
Get some of those trees cut into firewood. More trees means less grass, Nothing wrong with a couple shade trees, or a line of poplars or junipers on the property line for privacy aqnd wind break, but sounds like alot of them should go.
More grass is always better. Price of hay adds up. Having enough grass to feed them makes a huge difference in the annual expense of keeping a horse.

After those changes are made you should have more than enough room for 2 horses, still rotate the fields in some way. find out what kinda grass works best.
Personally I would never buy kids a pony. Ponies are not easier to handle. Even a small pony is way stronger than a child and most adults for that matter. I dont like ponies at all. They tend to be mean and stubborn and have severe cases of little man syndrome. Id look for an older dead head calm QH .
 

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Sounds like you are wasting alot of space, all those little exclusions add up, Put the fence on or as close to the property line as you codes allow. Your plan has you excluding 1420 square feet of grass. If you are restricted to your land you can ride on the inside of a fence just as easy as the outside. If you can ride the adjoining lots you can open the gate and ride there also.
Why the 1.5 acre front yard ? all it is is grass that needs to be mowed, Sounds like more pasture space to me. Keep a small area for a backyard play, BBQ area, the rest can be pasture space.
Get some of those trees cut into firewood. More trees means less grass, Nothing wrong with a couple shade trees, or a line of poplars or junipers on the property line for privacy aqnd wind break, but sounds like alot of them should go.
More grass is always better. Price of hay adds up. Having enough grass to feed them makes a huge difference in the annual expense of keeping a horse.

After those changes are made you should have more than enough room for 2 horses, still rotate the fields in some way. find out what kinda grass works best.
Personally I would never buy kids a pony. Ponies are not easier to handle. Even a small pony is way stronger than a child and most adults for that matter. I dont like ponies at all. They tend to be mean and stubborn and have severe cases of little man syndrome. Id look for an older dead head calm QH .
You make valid points. The property on either side is heavily treed. If we put our fence right on the property line, there is no riding on the outside of the fence. That would limit us to to the front 2 acres for riding space (that is once the other lots sell and are built on). For now, there is plenty of room to ride...but we are looking for years down the road as well.

Our plan is to uproot about 20 more trees. There is some really nice open grazing area back there, but there are also some places with far too many trees. If there was some way to post a google earth link to our property it would sure help me explain everything!

I totally get what you are saying about the front "yard". Our house sits approx 100 ft back from the road, the pool and swing set is right behind that. Currently, we mow all 5 acres. That in fact is a big reason hubby is so okay with getting 2 horses, cuts his mowing to less than half.

Now I am wondering if that would be the best way to split their pasture time? To give them 2 separate ones. Then comes the barn issue again...how to make that work.

We also need a dog yard for our 2 danes. That was going on the east side of the house. Has anyone ever done a "C" shaped pasture...wrapping around the house on 3 sides? Thats what would end up happening.


Sorry for the rambling, but you are bringing up great points. The horse we are getting is 15 years old, 15.2 hands. She is as push button as they come. I worry about my 4 year old daughter on her though, thats a lot of horse for her. I know...my daughter will get bigger. Maybe horse #2 should be for hubby and I? Something a little younger / taller?

So much to think about.
 

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I have actually a little less than 3 acres fenced in right now with 5 horses. I have 2 sacrifice lots though. They are smaller paddocks that are attached to the barn. I put two horses out at night and three out during the day. In the winter months I close off the pasture all together and it seems to work fine. I do have plans to enlarge it soon though. The land is there... Just need the time and money. The grass does stay healthy doing it this way though.

I posted pix of the field in mid summer and then pix of what my sacrifice lots look like mid summer. In the winter they get pretty sloppy but the pasture stays healthy.
 

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Oh... and the "beaver" tree is gone. We chopped it down. One thing mentioned above was the cost of hay so I wanted to throw out my suggestion (which is what I do). I buy really large round bales at $50 per bale. I put them in the barn on the side and peel them each morning and each night. I get about a month out of them that way. (Only four of mine eat hay - one has no teeth).
 

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The ratio of horse/pasture depends upon where you live and the weather conditions. Where I live, on an old farm(mette) in IL, the ratio is 1 horse/1 acre with normal rainfall. My 3 horses have adjoining, gated pastures of about 4 acres. Last fall the drought brought my pastures down to stubble and I was feeding hay in October, the first time since I moved to this property.
THIS year, they started grazing 3 weeks ago, UNHEARD of, having grass/clover/weeds (Dandelions are great for horses) up--everything is one month early in 2012.

Talk to your closest University Extension Office about this bc they'll have the best advice and figures for you.
 

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One more comment. Sorry for all the posts. I do feed hay year round. It's less in the summer but mine never go w/out the added hay. I do get to where I give hay only once per day in the summer though.
 

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Sorry for the size of the pictures...I'm not sure how to make them smaller. Here goes...

This is the North West side of our lot. Our home faces South. This is a area the barn was going to be, cedar trees behind the barn for a wind break...facing East.



Towards the North East of the lot.



Trying to get a close up of the center of the lot, its hard to see any of the clearings but I promise, there are good sized ones back there. We are also planning on clearing another 20 to 30 trees.



The pass (on the West) through from the North (behind the house) to the South (front of the house)



This is the South West side of our lot (in front of the house)



And finally this is the South East side of the lot (front of the house.)

 

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The ratio of horse/pasture depends upon where you live and the weather conditions. Where I live, on an old farm(mette) in IL, the ratio is 1 horse/1 acre with normal rainfall. My 3 horses have adjoining, gated pastures of about 4 acres. Last fall the drought brought my pastures down to stubble and I was feeding hay in October, the first time since I moved to this property.
THIS year, they started grazing 3 weeks ago, UNHEARD of, having grass/clover/weeds (Dandelions are great for horses) up--everything is one month early in 2012.

Talk to your closest University Extension Office about this bc they'll have the best advice and figures for you.
We have had the same weather here. Total drought last fall, one of the driest I can remember...green and summer like mid March. So strange. I am just south of Kansas City, MO...Pleasant Hill, Mo to be exact.

We do have a lot of trees, but we have already cleared well over half of what was here when we bought the land! Hubby and I walked it the other day. There are places where the grazing is awesome, beautiful grass and clover...no trees. Then there are places far too treed. We estimate 20 to 30 minimum need to do, but we dont want to clear cut it all.

The front yard is 1/3 sod..in other words crappy grass that dies over 80 degrees. Not suitable for grazing at all. And its a big hill. I have tossed around the idea of fencing part of it for pasture, but I am not sure if money will allow for that right away.

So, with the round bales...do the centers mold on you? Or are you able to keep them dry enough. We would only be feeding one at first...a think a round bale would last a month.

Love seeing all your pics by the way! Makes me want to go get my girl now!
 

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Personally I would never buy kids a pony. Ponies are not easier to handle. Even a small pony is way stronger than a child and most adults for that matter. I dont like ponies at all. They tend to be mean and stubborn and have severe cases of little man syndrome.
Gosh :shock: I'd hate to meet the ponies you've been meeting. Just to give the original poster some reassurance on this one, there are some fabulous ponies out there that are as safe as houses and perfect for a child. You just need to keep looking, do your research, do lots of talking to the right people, and you will find one.

Where I am, the really good ponies all go by word of mouth through the pony club and never get advertised at all. I don't know where you are, but I suggest that the best thing is for the kids to have lessons, and you'll make contacts at the riding school.

I'm not sure though if you'll find something suitable for both an 11 year old boy, and a 4 year old girl.... something that is suitable for a 4 year old child is probably going to be too small and too boring for an 11 year old.
 

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I don't own a property but from the places I have seen I would think about even making three paddocks, even if they are a little smaller, or you can just add an extra at the front/sides. Two paddock rotation is okay, but 3 is better. Where I used to keep my horse there was a large herd but we had 7 large paddocks for rotation. It took weeks, especially in less than ideal weather, for a paddock to recover so having 7 let us cycle through. Horses don't need heaps of room, they spend most of their day grazing, not running around. Better grass is best. Besides, if your paddocks are going well you could always open two of them if you wanted.

Instead of just building a shelter running into the paddock, I'd consider a small sort of stable/barn type thing where they can get shelter, and you can store tack and hay. Around that I would put a dirt yard. Coming off from that yard you could have three gates to the three paddocks. You can just leave the gate open to the paddock they're in and they can come and go. That way you can feed them in there. Or if you have a new or injured horse keep him contained.

Get your first horse and see how she is. Even if she is quiet she might not be suitable for a kids horse. Often you can lease kid friendly ponies and horses from families who have had them for years and don't want to part with them. Your children will quickly advance from their first pony and will want something more.
 
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