The Horse Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have 10 acres of land, of which 2-3 is zoned rural so we could have a barn and animals. We are surrounded by trails for riding. My dream is that we would prepare the rural zone for a horse (and mini horse as companion and maybe two sheep). We are presently spending time at the property on weekends but aim to retire there in 10 to 15 years. Right now, the rural zoned land is unfenced and treed (mostly maple, birch and pine). The terrain is rather uneven and because of the tree cover only a little grass and some wildflowers (but also no large patches of weeds like thistles). My rough plan so far is to: thin the trees; even out the ground; improve drainage; plant grass seed (what kind?) as first steps. Then we would think about a barn and fencing. The rural zone is pretty sheltered but we do get alot of snow and it can be quite cold (-30) in winter. The summer can be hot so we need to keep some of the trees for shade. I welcome any suggestions or do’s and don’ts as we are starting from scratch. Also, are there any books you would recommend?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,754 Posts
Cherry Hill author of "Horsekeeping on a small Acreage"....
Would be my first purchase and read cover to cover and used as a effective reference guide.


Are you planning on only using those 2 - 3 acres for the animals or fencing in and cross-fencing far more land?
That answer makes a huge difference in what animals, absolutely how many you might be able to use your land to feed..
Tree care, the proper pruning and cleaning up of the trees would allow much grass to grow yet provide share and protection for the animals too.
The amount of animals you mention, no its not many, but all are grazers who graze near non-stop makes your size designated land, now minus the space for buildings not large enough to withstand all the mouths eating.
The trees take up space...
Not every blade of grass growing will be eaten, all of which = maybe 2/3 or the land viable grazing and that means you need to either make more space and understand pasture management really well and or supplement near year round with giving hay too.
That book purchase would be your first spot to start the understanding of what you propose...
Good luck with your project.
:runninghorse2:...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,055 Posts
Book: Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage by Cherry Hill.
Do not neglect to contact your local agricultural extension office. They have pamphlets, .pdfs, and even human beings to answer these questions. Your tax dollars at work.

From my own experience working up a neglected pasture: cut down ALL the trees except some big ones near the north side where they won't shade your grass. Pull the stumps. Brush hog the whole thing once all the wood and slash are picked up. Meanwhile get a soil test. Then reassess. Drainage improvement is tricky, you may need expert advice in order to get it right the first time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,469 Posts
Red maple leaves are poisonous to horses so if you have those trees I would remove them.

You will want to think about feeding if you plan to keep large and small animals together.
It sounds like you will need to feed hay.

This can be tricky because for example you may not want to lock the animals in the barn while they eat hay for hours. But if you put out a lot of hay the horse will probably push the small animals off the feed.

Also some larger horses are too rough to be in the same field with mini horses, so the companions would need to be selected carefully. Plus minis with access to the feed a large horse has can easily be overfed.

You might consider keeping the smaller animals across the fence in a different field, or have the option available.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
12,687 Posts
I'd first have the property surveyed and marked to differentiate the rural zoning from what I assume is zoned in a manner that livestock are not allowed on. Then I'd take a good long look at climate, winds and shade for summer. Clearing, removing stumps and grading should have recommendations from someone knowledgeable about the area and laws.

You mention -30 for a winter temp to me that says add evergreens that are full and covered bottom to top mixed in with the trees you leave. If maples are a majority then removal on such small acreage would be prudent. Leaving one or two or leaving in other areas not a problem if you feed well and they aren't looking for food to satisfy hunger. Certain conditions and times of the year are more of a problem than others.

Better another animal that you don't have to worry about amount consumed causing founder than one you have to separate out to feed or hay.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top