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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
Weed management in the pasture is a whole different ball game. Depending on the weed and how much is present and whether it has seeded (and next year you will have even more) or not, or does it also spread under ground. That will determine what you have to do to control it. If you have to apply chemicals then the horses will need to be removed for a time. If you are disking and burning then you have to allow time for reseeding and new grass if a large area or surrounding grass to fill in in small areas. Some areas you may be able to hand pull. Again it all depends.

I get the feeling you are new to all of this. I'd suggest you find a copy of Cherry Hill's book about keeping horses on small acreage and get to know the county extension agents. They should be a wealth of info for your specific area.

Same with fertilizers and same with overseeding. Dividing the pasture helps 3 to 4 sections with a dry lot is a good place to start.

Number of bales would be an estimate based on the weight of your horse/s and the weight of the bales. Then you adjust for how much they actually consume.

For every 1,000 pounds of horse I expect to go through 20 pounds of hay a day if there is no grass. Some of mine eat more, some less and amounts depend on how much grass is actually available that they are eating.

In winter I typically go through two 1,200 pound round bales a week when I am at maximum capacity for my pastures. That would roughly be 50 squares a week. That drops in the spring once grass starts coming in and depending on temps and rainfall I may not have to start putting out bales until November. Some years it is October. In a drought year it may also be all summer.

Rounds are cheaper but storage and moving can be an issue if you dont have the equipment to haul and put out as well as store.

If I have a good cool season grass established I can cut that in half. Here rainfall is abundant in the winter so establishing a winter pasture is not a problem. All of your costs are mostly up front as opposed to hay which is purchased as needed. But that can also depend on your area. Some places if you don't buy to fill all your needs you risk not having hay. If you buy for the entire season you have to have a place to store it.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
Yes, to reinforce what QtrBel said, you'll need to store hay somewhere. You can't just buy it and leave it in the field. Depending on where you live, some farmers will deliver regularly. But if you leave hay out, it will get wet and moldy. Quantities depend on the type of horse. Quality is really important too.

I also agree that the most efficient way to manage a pasture like this is to divide it into sections. That way, you can let the grass rest, fertilize, seed, etc. without horses on it. However, I may have missed it, but are you thinking of just leaving these horses out 24/7, 365 days a year? Because if so, they'll need shelter and clean drinking water. This includes a heated water trough in winter.
I give them water but for some reason they prefer to drink out of my pond. Yes, I do leave them out 24/7 365 days a year, I have 3 barns that they could go in, the barns are on my 2 acre field, their is gate leading from my 2 acre field to my 7 acre field so they have access to the barns in the winter..
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
Depending on where in Oklahoma a protected trough may be ok and no heating necessary. Being able to get out and break ice in a hard freeze though would be a consideration. Shelter could be trees and a good tree line a windbreaker. I see no trees in that pasture. If the tree line is thick and blocks prevailing winds it will be a help. The pond may of may not be suitable for year round drinking depending on size and source of water.


I get the impressions from pictures this is unimproved acreage meaning no access to water or electricity. I may be wrong though.
Thanks! I don't have electricity running out there, they have access to clean water that I give them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
I think the picture already shows an over grazed pasture - I would be interested to see what that pasture looks like in late August. How long has the pasture had horses on it? Why do you want another horse? Is it just to manage your pasture. When you say your pasture is wrist high keep in mind that horses should (ideally) be kept on pasture that is 6 inches high or taller in order not to stress the plant. My pastures are mowed and drug about every 3-4 weeks and rotated every 2 weeks. I also do not let me horses onto a really wet pasture so they do not tear up the roots of the grass. We lime and fertilize our pasture each year as well.
Thanks for info! I can post a picture in late august if you want, the pasture has had horses on it for about 3 years but I've had different amounts of horses on it before, I want another horse for myself..
 

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Discussion Starter · #65 ·
I have three on nine acres. I live in Central Texas in a rural area where there’s no limit as to how many I can have. I even supplement that with hay/pellets though. We recently took over management of this property and it hasn’t been maintained for over ten years so we’re having to re-seed, fertilize, etc. There’s “stuff” for the boys to graze on, but according to our county extension agent, what’s there has little to no nutritional value.


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Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
Wow, I didn't realize the numbers varied that much depending on area. I have 4 horses on 10 acres (no rotation) and they can't keep up with the grass. DH needs to bush hog about every other week. I only feed hay about 3 months a year, and even then the horses often eat the green scruff around the pond instead. One mare lives in a grazing muzzle 24/7, two others will be getting muzzles soon, and the 4th is old and needs all the grass he can get. I could double the number of horses and not run out of grass, but manure management would become an issue. I realized not everywhere could support as many horses, but I didn't realize areas like this were that rare.
Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
Friesians, I think you are feeling slightly ganged up on but none of the contributors responding is doing that...
You asked, they/I responded and you've now posted a picture of what you have....now seeing what you have just concerns those of us with years of owning and keeping our horses on pastures knowing how fast what appears great suddenly is not.
A quick education in pasture management and now to gauge weight and quality of weight on a frame is all part of that pasture management and horse thriving we all have had to learn and are trying to share our years of accumulated school of hard-knocks with you.
Your picture shows a lot of very short pasture grass, already eaten down by 2 horses, weeds that are very invasive and already started to choke out your grass growth all over the place.
Weedy grass my horses would not eat is very apparent.
The "watering hole" also used for storm run-off to me means you lose potentially a significant space to heavy rain flooding.
If you just cut that field then you need attention from your ag management people as your grass is noticeable showing fennel and a host of other nasty grass choking weeds in abundance. All of that brown wispy background is thin growth and if like our grasses those brown appearing wisps are weed tops flowering = more weed to come.
I also look at your fence and catch my breath at the amount of rusted barbed wire....
I don't like barbed wire for my horses to be fenced with, period. But adding rusted wire is a recipe for some nasty tears of more delicate skin of a horse by brushing into it as they mosey around in their wandering ways.

You asked how long a round roll will last....
For 3 horses allowed access about 18 hours a day free choice you might get 3 weeks on a 1000 pound roll...maybe.
You must factor in the loss/waste of a roll just set out for them to eat.
Those who just place it and do not daily cleanup and placing shelter over the top and a ring around it will lose near 300 pounds to waste from feces/urine, dragging through dirt and standing on it, etc...and could be more depending upon how wet and how it molds or not occurs.
There is no way to determine how much each horse will eat or not as some will eat and walk away to come back later, others will eat and never stop and some will just rip it apart making a mess as they search for select morsels...
It is cheaper to feed rounds providing you not have immense waste.
However...If you not have a way to move a round roll and a way to clean up and dispose of the waste from it then...think carefully of how you will address those things if you plan to put in your pasture cause you just lost a very large area of grass growth ruined. Even in a dirt paddock it is something you need to address before bringing in those rolls cause stench from that area, continued buildup of placing in the same location and no cleanup between placings also soils the bottom of and the loss starts as soon as you place...
I write from my heart as I do feed rounds and can tell you it is much work to keep the loss ratio low...
If you are asking about square bales, average of 50 pound bales and for 1000 pound horses... you should feed 1 1/2 bales every day for the 3 animals.
2% of their combined weight is 150 pounds = 1.5 bales and then segregate them from each other so they eat their amount and not gorge on others too.
Quality of those bales also is important as feeding better hay quality may allow a bit less fed, but you can't feed top-shelf and not also have adequate exercise or risk some health issue to show up possibly.

I live in Florida where it is now rainy season.
Between my and my neighbor we have 5 horses on 4 1/2 acres and currently I just finished the back field to cut it 6 - 7" high and am cutting the front field same height but the horses are out eating it...
Where they like the grass most is being fenced off cause in 2 days they have it to the roots = waste soon to happen if not controlled.
We have weed problems being addressed tomorrow with a sprayed weed & feed product the truck operator knows what mix we need as he walked the property 4 days ago and will have on the truck to add to the mixing vat then to be applied.
Once applied the horses are restricted for 24 hours off....so will be drylotted and on hay they will give nasty, dirty looks to eating.
Seeing what you have shown... no more than 3 and please get some help with the weed growth/suppression and improving your root system with correct fertilizer will give increased positive yield off your field.
And indeed, some new fencing "horse" safer, a sectioning/fencing off that pasture if mine would be done as rotational grazing would help you.
You mentioned OK as your homestate to me means you have very flucutating weather conditions of drought, torrential rains, snowstorms and with brutal wind-driven to all of them. You did not mention shelter and not seeing large stands of trees in your picture I would caution you to please consider some shelters placed so all the animals can benefit from wind-blocks and roof overhead to aid in them thriving during all kinds of weather present...if you section those pastures then providing shelter to each section needs to be figured out is my thought too..
Best of luck in your decisions
🐴... jmo...
Thank you! Their is shelter it is not in the picture I didn't get it all in the picture since I have a 2 acre field that leads out to the back Their are 3 barns that they can go in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
I keep manure picked up daily or every other day. On good years it's mowed 2 or 3 times a year. I do the maintenance required. Yes it depends I also know grass is stressed over grazed. But my horses have more then 7 acres my pasture is cross fenced. So I can close gate to back pasture.

No offense taken I know you're not trying to start an argument. I see both sides on this pasture thing it depends. Unfortunately it's not an ideal world.

But OP pasture looks nice an green so must be getting plenty of rain. Yes short but grass is still growing horses will be fine. If already in good condition weight wise.

Had a neighbor who had 3 horses on 7 acres 24/7 from may to November. Was like golf course greens all summer. She never fed a stitch of hay fed no grain. Horses were in good weight. Never did that pasture have bare spots,was never turned to dirt lot. I know because I took care of her place when she went out of town. But that was back when we got lots of rain over the summer months.
Wow!
 

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I keep 4 horses on 3 acres. During the winter the horses are in a dry lot. In the summer they are turned out at night and in the dry lot or stalls during the day. The guidelines around here are 1 horse per acre. Doesn't mean that is what people have. One barn might have 13 horses on 5 acres.

You can have multiple horses on a small property if you manage your manure well, and are willing to feed hay year round. This may mean having a dumpster delivered and the manure removed. Or composting your manure into dirt and spreading it on the pasture. The limitations are the extra labor involved in upkeep.

Right now I have enough grass for 3 fat horses (old horse excluded since she can't eat grass)- I feed 1 to 2 flakes of hay per horse per day during the summer. My grass is sectioned off with electric and pastures are rotated.

My manure is dumped directly on the pasture and either dragged or mowed down.

My grass stays short. Mowing height is 3 inches. I could mow on 4 inches but would miss the smaller weeds.

Coming from south Florida - I had 2 horses on maybe 1/2 acre. Technically we had a one acre lot but the house, driveway, barn and pond took up most of the room.

3 acres is plenty of room for 4 horses, especially with the abundant rainfall we get in the summer. Grass is almost growing faster than they can eat it without getting obese.

It is entirely dependent on where you live. As land becomes developed and cities start swallowing acreage, it seems like the rules as far as horses per acre get looser. Most people don't mind well-managed horse farms. This area is getting housing developments put in and pretty soon I will be surrounded by the city again.

You have a large enough property you can either put in a drylot around a barn or run-in, if needed. The horses on lush grass around here are at risk of obesity and laminitis. Being able to control access to the pasture is important. You just have to decide what set-up you want to have and how much work you want to do. A big enough drylot can be dragged without mucking.
 

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She is talking about having a sacrifice area (dry lot) - it is not intended to have grass. It is an area (smaller than other fenced off portions) that you put the horses when you need them off the grass. Because it is small the lot is typically without grass due to the intense pressure (eaten down and cut up by hooves) a horse or horses put on it. My dry lot is where I feed every day and hay is typically put. Part of it still has grass but not much. Any injured, colicky or sick animal can be kept there safely. If I had a metabolic horse they could be kept there indefinitely. We ride in that pen if practicing dressage, cavellletti work or small jumps, if there is a new rider with us or if I am working with a group of kids that have never been around horses or ridden. My round pen is in that area as well. It is also where any visiting or new horse gets put until they can be turned out. A dry lot can have many functions.

I have an 8 acre pasture that it is cut out of And will attach a photo of a drawing of the layout. It takes up about a half acre. There is a bit of grass in the center of the oval pen and the end the small dressage area is on is grass but the rest is basically dirt. Two of the horses are fed in there as they get totally different feed and a greater amount. To the bottom from the drawing if you were in the pasture is also dirt. That is where hay bales go and the rest that are in that pasture are fed. They only get about a half pound of feed - enough to keep them coming when called.
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The rest of that pasture is divided into two sections as we are having to keep all the horses in one field. Still rebuilding fence from Sally. They are turned out part of the day in the area around the house. That has meant no garden this year but gives us another acre and a half of grass. And then rotated between the two sections that are separated with a really hot electric fence. Manure has had to be picked up but since we have plenty of room it is on the top backside of the property. Usually the numbers in each field are low enough we just spread with a chain drag and mow.
 

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I keep manure picked up daily or every other day. On good years it's mowed 2 or 3 times a year. I do the maintenance required. Yes it depends I also know grass is stressed over grazed. But my horses have more then 7 acres my pasture is cross fenced. So I can close gate to back pasture.

No offense taken I know you're not trying to start an argument. I see both sides on this pasture thing it depends. Unfortunately it's not an ideal world.

But OP pasture looks nice an green so must be getting plenty of rain. Yes short but grass is still growing horses will be fine. If already in good condition weight wise.

Had a neighbor who had 3 horses on 7 acres 24/7 from may to November. Was like golf course greens all summer. She never fed a stitch of hay fed no grain. Horses were in good weight. Never did that pasture have bare spots,was never turned to dirt lot. I know because I took care of her place when she went out of town. But that was back when we got lots of rain over the summer months.
Isn't it interesting how different people's perspectives are?

In the OP's field, I see some short areas that are obviously favorite spots, but I would not call this field overgrazed at all. To me, an overgrazed pasture/field is grass that is so sparse you can see the dirt. And it is like that equally throughout the area, not just focused in one spot.

Lots of people manage horses on less than ideal landscapes/areas. To me, if you @Friesians45 wanted to add another horse you could, but your management would change and you would have to be okay with that.

Good luck in whatever you decide!
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
Isn't it interesting how different people's perspectives are?

In the OP's field, I see some short areas that are obviously favorite spots, but I would not call this field overgrazed at all. To me, an overgrazed pasture/field is grass that is so sparse you can see the dirt. And it is like that equally throughout the area, not just focused in one spot.

Lots of people manage horses on less than ideal landscapes/areas. To me, if you @Friesians45 wanted to add another horse you could, but your management would change and you would have to be okay with that.

Good luck in whatever you decide!
Thank you! I thought I could add another horse since I have green grass back there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Ok, one question if I wanted 4 horses back there, I honestly don't think they would eat the hay I give em... Would they?
 

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Ok my pasture isn't anywhere near as nice looking. Yes it has green but also a lot of brown grass.

I put out some hay today because horses were doing a lot of walking around. Did 3 different piles spread out about a flake of hay each pile. Both horses came over took a bite an left to graze grass.

They seem to choose grass over hay even when I think they wouldn't be finding enough to eat. Oh well my boy is rather fat ,so doesn't hurt him to scrounge around for food.
 

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You've jumped from adding one horse to two. In an area where the recommendation of 1 horse per 5 acres is given by the Ag. Ext. Cooperative. And you already say there are 2 on 7 acres. That recommendation is based on the climatic history of the area and not one picture on one day in a year where your area is experiencing higher than normal rainfall. You have demonstrated you do not know what pasture management involves. Who is ultimately responsible for these animals? Stop and think about the possibility of adding two horses and then heading into drought and having no grass and having to support not one, not two but four. At some point in past replies you said you wanted one more because you wanted a horse of YOUR own. So who do the other two belong to? Is this family property? Your personal as in your name is on the deed property or do you just pasture board?
 

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I am by far no expert, but that pasture looks like something that is currently acceptable, but could not take any more horses, and honestly even if you keep the same number of horses on it that you have now I'd expect it to get worse, and to be a weedy lot within a few years. What I'd like to see is the horses taken off that pasture, mow for weeds, let the grass grow for a few weeks and then turn them back out on it. It would really really benefit from a rest IMO.

The more horses you have, the more intensely you have to manage. Smaller paddocks, faster rotational grazing, using dry lots when the pastures need to recover a bit. Your set up as it is won't take any more horses without extra work on your part.
 
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Discussion Starter · #77 ·
Ok my pasture isn't anywhere near as nice looking. Yes it has green but also a lot of brown grass.

I put out some hay today because horses were doing a lot of walking around. Did 3 different piles spread out about a flake of hay each pile. Both horses came over took a bite an left to graze grass.

They seem to choose grass over hay even when I think they wouldn't be finding enough to eat. Oh well my boy is rather fat ,so doesn't hurt him to scrounge around for food.
See that's what other people are telling me they would eat the weeds and grass stuff before the hay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
You've jumped from adding one horse to two. In an area where the recommendation of 1 horse per 5 acres is given by the Ag. Ext. Cooperative. And you already say there are 2 on 7 acres. That recommendation is based on the climatic history of the area and not one picture on one day in a year where your area is experiencing higher than normal rainfall. You have demonstrated you do not know what pasture management involves. Who is ultimately responsible for these animals? Stop and think about the possibility of adding two horses and then heading into drought and having no grass and having to support not one, not two but four. At some point in past replies you said you wanted one more because you wanted a horse of YOUR own. So who do the other two belong to? Is this family property? Your personal as in your name is on the deed property or do you just pasture board?
Yes, this is family property some of my other family wants a horse of their own instead😕 of sharing with someone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
I am by far no expert, but that pasture looks like something that is currently acceptable, but could not take any more horses, and honestly even if you keep the same number of horses on it that you have now I'd expect it to get worse, and to be a weedy lot within a few years. What I'd like to see is the horses taken off that pasture, mow for weeds, let the grass grow for a few weeks and then turn them back out on it. It would really really benefit from a rest IMO.

The more horses you have, the more intensely you have to manage. Smaller paddocks, faster rotational grazing, using dry lots when the pastures need to recover a bit. Your set up as it is won't take any more horses without extra work on your part.
Thanks! Maybe I just shouldn't add anymore horses, from replies I'm seeing on here I just don't think I should..
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
If I put a haybale out there they wouldn't eat it, I have a haybale in my barn and their not interested.
 
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