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Field Management Options

Discussion in 'Horse Care' started by KP nut, Dec 5, 2017 at 1:01 PM.

  1. KP nut

    KP nut I'd rather be riding.

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    I love my new yard but turn out is limited to half days when wet in winter to protect fields. None of mine seem bothered, but I don't like it much. There is a field that may be becoming available that I could ask for. I would then have that for my own exclusive use and manage turn out as I see fit. It currently has 2 horses on it and is about 2.5 acres. BUT it is on VERY steep ground and includes a granite outcrop that means there is basically a sheer drop in it. It is also where the muck gets dropped - the muck heap is fenced off from the rest of the field though.

    The horses seem to have created a DIY track system - there are paths tracking up the steep bits which the horses have made.

    I worry about injuries. Amber seems particularly accident prone! But the other 2 in there seem fine. I guess horses in the wild avoid going off cliff edges generally!! Tbf mine were on steep rocky field before but that was ponies. Horses seem more fragile. Well Amber does anyway.

    What do people (@Jessey !!) think? I'd have 3 in there all year round so I would need to think about preserving the ground etc. I know that is not enough space for 24/7/365 but it would allow for much more turnout then they are getting now - which is basically a muddy square of field for 3-4 hours a day on wet days and 6-8 hours on dry or frosty days.
     
  2. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

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    Think of the positives, they'd all be lovely and muscley living on a good slope and their balance and control on poor footing will improve :) I wouldn't worry about the outcrop, they aren't stupid, but if it's going to give you sleepless nights just pop a few electric fence posts and some string along the top so they can see it.

    Does the muck being put in there mean a tractor going through and churning it up?

    Will YO still maintain it? As in rolling if necessary, fertilising etc? If not you might find it doesn't have near as much grass as the rest of the yard.

    I'd probably go for it, I'd much rather mine were out than not :) The old rule for 24/7 turnout was 1.5 acres for the first horse and 1 for each horse after....less for ponies, so I would think 2.5 acres managed well would see you through happily. Mine are currently on just under 2 acres (of my 3.5 acre plot) and because I track they are only just starting on the bulk of the grass, my neighbor has 2 big horses on a similar size patch and they don't have a lot of grass but are always grazing on something so they aren't without but she never rests it and they don't do anything to improve it.
     
    #2 Jessey, Dec 6, 2017 at 5:36 AM
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017 at 7:29 AM
  3. Jane&Ziggy

    Jane&Ziggy Learning together!

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    I would go for it subject to all of @Jessey 's questions. Who was it who kept her ponies in an old quarry? They managed themselves very well over the drops and edges, and hills are just great for their musculature.
     
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  5. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    For me it would depend on how often the half days are limited. It doesn't rain everyday (at least it doesn't where I live), so on average how many days are they on restricted turnout and for how much of the year? Does your current grazing suit your needs in every other way?
     
  6. newforest

    newforest Opinion, a view not always based on knowledge.

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    Look at the pro and con of both situations.

    If it's very steep the first thing I can say is good luck poo picking.
    Steep could mean harder on the tendons, shoes pulled off.
    Is there a flat area at all? We are hilly but there are two flat areas so they are not standing like goats all day.
    All fields flat or not the horses create their own paths, the only thing you need to consider is walking up it daily and getting them back in.
    This is the worst time of year, is it boggy.

    But I would weigh up how often they have to stay in currently because if the new field isn't great you will still be bringing in.
     
  7. KP nut

    KP nut I'd rather be riding.

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    There are flat sections at the bottom. It is not that boggy compared to the rest of the fields. I think I will go for it if it becomes available.... No one else wants it if the current occupants move off.
     
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  8. Jane&Ziggy

    Jane&Ziggy Learning together!

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    I would say if you have the chance of more space and can afford it, take it. You can always manage it to suit yourself!
     
    KP nut likes this.
  9. KP nut

    KP nut I'd rather be riding.

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    The beauty is it won;t be more expensive! Everyone else prefers the muddy postage stamps.....
     
    Jessey likes this.
  10. Lemme

    Lemme Well-Known Member

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    We have access to 3 acres over summer and a further 2 1/2 acres over winter, other than the bottom of the 3 acres none of it is flat, the hilliest 1/1/2 acres of the 3 acre field is kept for Winter, all 5 initially then the big girls move up to the 21/2 acres leaving the small ponies on the bottom winter field, the summer grazing is kept to rest over winter, works for us. the 21/2 acres is harrowed and fertilized once we come off and then cut for hay and allowed to grow up until we need it again, the 3 acres is poo picked and no fertilizer touches it other than natural poo! having ponies requiring restriction, poor grazing and management due to lammi couldn't be better for us- the 21/2 acres rises gradually at one side and then drops steeply at the other with a long length of flat over the top, certainly keeps them fit on the hills and is perfect for Tess who tends to go down to the bottom of the steep side on a night out of prevailing winds and then comes back up and grazes the other side during the day - as soon as she is fed on a night she gathers Gem up and off they go up and then drop out of sight. the ponies have a high hedge on 2 sides and tuck under there on a night, a favourite standing patch at each side depending on wind. We have 2 stables and a small turnout with field shelters separate to this but other than for vet visits or in for medical reasons we try to keep them out, last year was the first year we managed the 4 we had then out 24/7 during winter, all 5 are currently out, the only one issue is Acorn who has a habit of acquiring groin strains due to the boggy conditions in winter , messing about, mad attitude and little legs , he's a bit short at the moment but watching him yesterday up and down the hills and running into the pond area to P Charlie off then there is no wonder , alternatively if we put him in he seizes up anyway due to lack of mobility so I would rather keep an eye on him out and manage him that way if I can.

    we are so lucky to have private exclusive use.
     
  11. KP nut

    KP nut I'd rather be riding.

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    Sounds perfect @Lemme!

    I think the different attitudes on different yards is really interesting. My old yard most horses were out 24/7, whereas where I am now most are in throughout the winter. Mine are just about the only ones out today even though it is not wet - just very windy. It is a competition yard and people worry about injury - so keep in when muddy. But I have never known a yard with so many injuries! Horses are kept in to protect them which makes them go mental when they get out, so they get injured! Or maybe these horses genuinely are a bit more fragile - the stressy tb/wbs seem forever to be having huge swollen legs from the tiniest of knocks. Ponies seem much hardier.
     
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  12. joosie

    joosie horse slave

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    Meh... this is a competition yard too and the horses go out every day :rolleyes:
    I am like you. I want them to be out as much as possible.
     
    KP nut likes this.
  13. newforest

    newforest Opinion, a view not always based on knowledge.

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    The racehorses get turn out. In boots but still go out.
     
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