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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all.
well, I will soon be trying to acclimate my gelding into my barns gelding pasture.
I have not had a horse on total pasture ever so I know nothing about keeping a horse in this way.
Currently I just moved him aout of the main barn where he was in a stall with a paddock, to a bigger paddock with a run in.
He currently eats about 4 flakes of grass hay and one small flakes of alfalfa.
I just started the alfalfa about a month or so ago when I noticed he had dropped weight due to the cold.
He als is getting Safe choice, and farriers formula and OCD pellets. Which will become my responsibility to feed once he goes out to the gelding pasture. He also gets Adequan every month
At this time the horses in the pasture are being fed grass hay, but as the pasture grass gets better and the weather warmer they will not feed the horses in pasture.

A couple of things to take into consideration. My horse has never in his life been out with other horses in the same enclosure. Not even as a foal because he was really sick as a youngster.
I have already introduced him to one of the horses that is currently in pasture. My gelding seems to be the dominant one of the two.
When we walk around the property I try to let him meet the others in the pasture.
Right now there are 3 horses in that pasture. An older paint gelding, a yearling colt, and another gelding who will likely come out of the pasture in May because he gets to fat. lol he already is fat.

What should I know about him switching over from being fed grass hay to eating pasture grass? What are some things to watch for once he is settled and stays out in the pasture??

Any tips or concerns would be appreciated.
Usually when I change feed, I try to do it over a 7-14 days period, not sure how this will work for going to a pasture settinng.
HP
 

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My main concern would be how he gets along with the other horses, but they'll work it out themselves normally. Try to be around for 2 hrs after you put him in the pasture to see his interaction with the others. And at feeding time. You want to make sure he is able to eat his feed and he's not eating everybody elses.
 

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I would put him out before the grass gets lush. That way he will still be eating hay and get acclimated to the grass as it grows and not all at once. Depending on where you live and the weather.
 

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If your horse has never been out on pasture for long periods of time, I wouldn't just throw him out there and leave him to it. I would introduce him to pasture slowly. 1/2 hour, to an hour, to a couple of hours, to etc, etc, etc, gradually increase until he is out full time.

When you put him out for the first time, stand around and watch. Just keep an eye on how things are going and interfear if you have to - most of the time horses work things out amongst themselves and the pecking order will be established in no time.

My guy gets turned out with just under 40 horses *during the summer before his hock injury* and the pecking order gets established quite quickly. Nelson is just inbetween - he is right in the middle of the alphabet. He isn't in the A's, nor is he in the Z's - he's right smack dab in the middle where he'll dominate, but will also be dominated.

Nelson does very well when he is out on pasture, but even when the grass is good, I keep him on hay as well because alot of the contents of grass, is water.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all.
When he was in the main barn I had him going out for 2 hour turnout (in individual turnouts) so he has been eating the grass there since last summer.
I am considering starting this venture in the beginng of march or mid march. I suppose I should ask when the barn discontinues feeding out in the gelding pasture.
See I would like to put him out for a few hours and see what happens then bring him back in for the evening. But I suggested this once and the barn managers stated that most of the horses they tried this with had issues with going out then in then out then in.
But I in no way want to put him out and just leave him out. a) beacause I need to wtch as you all have stated and b) I don't want him to gorge himself , which he may do. He could end up getting to fat later in the sumer and need to be back in his paddock.
I will speak with the management and express my concerns about everything. I am now gradually trying to have the staff blanket him as little as possible because they do not blanket or unblanket pasture horses. The weather is extreemly unpredictable here. It has snowed in july before so you just don't know. I would like for him to get out soon as I think it will be much better for his body to be able to move around more and play with others....
I will post more about what the barn says on thurs. That is the next time I will be out there.
HP
 

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Put another horse that will be a pasture-mate in with him in his larger paddock, so he will have a "buddy" once he's turned out. Since it's a small group, you shouldn't have any problems.

For his health, I would turn him out soon, before the grass starts coming up. That way his system will acclimate to the grass as it slowly comes in. If it springs up quickly, I would only turn him out on it 1-2 hours a day for a few days, then 2-4 hours for a few days, then 4-6 hours a day for a week, then out on full pasture turnout. You don't want him to colic or founder from rish spring grass.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Loves2.
That was what I was thinking but the staff was reluctant to do it that way. I will get more info tomorrow when I go out.
The grass is already out ..just kind brown at the moment. The snow melted already but that is not to say we won't have more down here on the valley floor.
Colic, founder are two big concerns and scratches too. Some of the horses in pasture had it last season. Oh and getting too fat is another concern as well.
I will post back with how my barn wants to address it. But there is no way I want to just throw him out there.
hp
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey all.
Thanks for the advice.
I spoke with one of the barn owners and a barm manager when i was out yesterday.
I have decided to have Tiny turned out for 2 hours in an individual turn out to eat grass every day til march first. The barn does not turn out in bad weather.

They didn't want to turn him out in the gelding pasture so that is the reason for the individual turn out pasture.

At least he will be getting the grass every day. Then on March 1st he will go to the gelding pasture. He is no longer getting blanketed either.

I have been doing my best to get him introduced to the other horses in the pasture. One of them I ride regularly so I know he is fine with this horse. The other two Tiny has met through the fence.
I wish there was an easier way to do this but since it isn't my property etc etc, I have no other choice but to do it this way.

Tiny will still get pampered.

Hope it all works out.
Thanks
HP
 

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is there a place where you can turn him out across a good safe fence from the other geldings, so he can meet them all?

too bad they won't let you turn one new buddy out with him first. that would have been helpful. but if he can meet them first, and if they spread the hay out far enough apart, he will probably adapt. but may get himself kicked a time or 2 til he learns his pasture "manners". they do adapt pretty well after a week or 2.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks JB,
Yeah I tried to get them to do things differently but Rules are what they are. So this was the best option.
The one gelding "Bear" I ride frequently so whenever I have him out of the pasture I take him over to visit my gelding Tiny.
All Tiny does is pick on him. I have had them next to one another a few times, but there is a horse moving into the paddock next to Tiny's so they asked that I did not use it. No biggie.
I expect he will have to get with the pasture program and he will learn his way.
Thanks for your support.
HP
 

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Hi,

Haven't read all replies so sorr if I repeat...

He currently eats about 4 flakes of grass hay and one small flakes of alfalfa.
I just started the alfalfa about a month or so ago when I noticed he had dropped weight due to the cold.
He may well need the extra protein in the alfalfa too, but I'd be giving him more grass hay if he's not keeping condition. I'd be ensuring he gets as much as he will eat of it if he's underweight.

[/quote]A couple of things to take into consideration. My horse has never in his life been out with other horses in the same enclosure. Not even as a foal because he was really sick as a youngster.
I have already introduced him to one of the horses that is currently in pasture. My gelding seems to be the dominant one of the two.[/quote]

This is my main concern. Your horse has never learned social skills if he's been kept in solitary all his life. He is probably displaying 'dominance' because he's unsure of himself & defensive. I'd be inclined to ask the other gelding's owners if they can put their horses in with yours in the small paddock he's in now, one at a time, to see how he acts with them individually first.
 

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being winter putting him to pasture isnt much of a feeding issue right now, monitor his behvaior, You can bet hes gonna be extra rambunxious about his new room to kick up his heels.
Slowly wean him off the hay, and see how he takes to grazing,it should take a month to fuly wean him off hay. Id keep him on the grain ration unitl hes off hay and you can see how hes doing weight wise
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the info folks!

I checked to see if they changed the feed chart to start weaning him off his alfalfa and apparently they did it a while back. Which sort of irritated me.
In Dec. I noticed he dropped weight. It was very very cold, in the neg's. At that time I asked them to titrate him up to a flake of Alfalfa. Which I know they did because it was to be fed in the morning and I was almost always there and could see he had gotten it.
Anohow, when i talked about weaning him off they said he already was off, so I was a bit mistified how the miscomunication happened.

As of now he is on straight grass hay 2 flakes morn and eve and his other suppliments. He will stay on most all the suppliments when he goes to pasture, but not the same amount. I will talk to my vet about that one when the pasture grass gets better.

I also talked to my Dad and asked him if Tiny had ever had any period of time when he was out with others. He told me he did have about 6 months where he was out with some other horses. My dad is a tb breeder and sometimes sends some of them to other places for short periods of time. I think Tiny was about 3-4 when that took place. Sometime after his stifle surgery.

Another gal at the barn is now going through the same things as I am. She has a 21 year old Warmblood who has some joint and lamness issues. Right now she has him in the barn with a 12x12 stall and 12x24 run. (same as Tiny was in a few months this winter. She is considering putting him into the gelding pasture in March. She just moved her two horses back to my barn.
That would make four of them out there.
Right now he has been sort of weaned off his blankets. He still has a good amount of hair. Since the weather got crappy ( a foot of snow at the ranch today) I told the staff if it gets below 15 degree's throw a blanket on him Preferably a sheet unless it is reall really wet out.

He has met all the horses currently in the pasture. One he knows fairly well now. The other two he has met through the fence and the only one I see him having an issue with is the yearling colt.
I have planned the day for March 2 as I have no school that day and can be at the ranch all day to watch and observ. May even video if I feel up to it.

halffass:wink:
 

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Hi,

I would personally be keeping him on alfalfa, as it's a good source of phosphorus, calcium & protein among other nutrients, in addition to his 4 flakes of grass hay(more if he wants it).

Another gal at the barn is now going through the same things as I am. She has a 21 year old Warmblood who has some joint and lamness issues.
Yep, more low stress exercise is generally helpful to these sorts of probs. Horses benefit in a lot of ways from more exercise than many(most?) domestics get.

Right now he has been sort of weaned off his blankets. He still has a good amount of hair. Since the weather got crappy ( a foot of snow at the ranch today) I told the staff if it gets below 15 degree's throw a blanket on him Preferably a sheet unless it is reall really wet out.
I'd be generally hesitant to 'wean' him of his rugs if he's been acclimatised to wearing them & it's still winter where you are. If there is a problem with rugging them for turnout, I'd perhaps put off putting him out until the weather's a bit milder. The thing is, horses are designed for living out unrugged in all weather & will generally be fine with it. But if they wear rugs a lot, especially if full time/long term, especially if they're at all heavy, as most are, not only are they likely to have a thinner, shorter coat and not be acclimatised to the cold, but an effective method for self regulating their temperature is largely put out of action. Muscles under the skin cause the hair coat to stand up or to lie flat, which helps the horse to be warmer or cooler. When a horse is rugged for long periods, these muscles can atrophy and it takes them some time to recover. Of course, you know the situation, your horse & environment best tho, so the above may not be a problem for him. Just something else to consider.
 

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I think your horse is going to enjoy pasture life. They adjust better than a lot of us think they do. Your horse will have lots of time to run, buck, frolic and just be a horse. It won't be pretty for the first few minutes...there will be running, kicking and biting, but that's just normal. My horse is in the pasture and I give him the same amount of grain in both summer and winter. The only thing I do different is give him hay (free choice) in the winter because the grass is gone. Of course if your horse has to be out of work for some reason, then you might have to cut him back on something. Good luck!
 

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It won't be pretty for the first few minutes...there will be running, kicking and biting, but that's just normal.
Beg to differ, but reckon 'horseplay' is when horses are at their 'prettiest'!!:lol::lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hey thanks all.
I am going to at the least have my camera with me.

The weather is supposed to be on and off wet over the next week, but the temps will not drop below 20 degrees. So I am fine with Tiny not being blanketed. He still has enough hair.
Who knows what will go on with the weather after that. It is something I will have to play by ear.
Halfpass
 
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