Do ANY livery yards have.............this?

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So, on our yard, we turn out EVERY day no matter what the weather is doing. The consequence of this is that our paddocks get completely trashed and that means no grass. We feed hay outside so the horses have something to eat. In summer we have 24/7 Turnout as well on different paddocks that have been rested all winter. We resow etc in spring when horses move to summer ones. So what I would like to know is this, are there any yards that have the same kind of arrangement, but have grass all winter too?? We have other paddocks, but the walk to get to them would be very very long, and in the depths of winter, not really safe. Is it worth the compromise do you think, or do you think we are trying to get too much out of our land? We have approx 18 acres and 22 horses, quite a few of which are high laminitis risk as they are either elderly or very good doers. Thanks!
 

Tarragon

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I think it sounds like it is the makeup of the land that is the problem rather than the acreage. If it is well draining ground and well maintained I would expect there to be grass in the winter paddocks. Perhaps putting down some hardcore where you feed the hay to try and minimise the damage?
I keep my two ponies with 2 other horses on a 10 acre field but it is shared with a sheep farmer so well grazed. There is really only poaching by the gateways and in normal winters i haven't had to feed any hay. This year I have had to feed hay as after that dry summer we started the winter with very little grass.

Edited to add that I don't stable at all; the ponies are out all the time
 

Pc2003

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We can turn out every single day in winter regardless of weather/ground and also no set times so they could be out 6am to 6pm if you wanted. The paddocks do get trashed but they do recover. We don’t have separate summer grazing. All the farmer asks if we wish to turnout all winter and the fields get trashed don’t moan in the spring if the grass takes time to recover! I have natives so don’t want much grass anyway. I still have grass in my paddock this winter as so far it’s not been horrendous. Every other yard around me is day in/day out in winter or no turn out at all
 

meleeka

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I think you are very lucky 😀 I wouldn’t ever keep mine in just to save feeding hay for some or all of the year. I appreciate that giving hay to large herds in the field can cause arguments so grass is more important to those yards.

I’m not on a yard and don’t have much space. Mine have access to fields almost all the time. One field isn’t looking great and has very little grass but it’s not necessarily a source of food but somewhere to stretch their legs and socialise with each other. I feed hay all year because turnout to me is more important than grass.
 

ihatework

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I used to livery on a yard, and they are still going and full, that genuinely had all year turnout 24/7.
They would run 5 herds (in girls, out girls, in boys, out boys, young stock & nannies). At a guess there may be up to 60? Horses on the property at any one time but I think they had in the region of 120-150 acres. I could be wrong on that.

The grass was dependant on the weather and they could run out in very hot summers or very bad winters, but the ground held up pretty well. Gates might be a bog but the bulk of the field was ok. Hay was supplemented through the winter via tractor.

A pretty natural lifestyle and on the whole very happy horses.

Not the easiest way to keep competition horses, so I eventually moved. But it’s rare to find a yard like this imo.
 
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Would you use the farther away paddocks in the summer when there are long light evenings and less mud en route?

To be honest as someone said above, for me winter turnout is more about head space and leg stretching and socialising than actually eating grass, though it is nice if there is some! As long as there isn't lots of mud fever and arguments over the hay I wouldn't be too worried tbh- its hard enough to find somewhere with all year turnout of any sort
 
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I have 4 on 4.5 acres, at present 2 are in at night, other 2 in diet paddock at night.
Still plenty of grass (tiny lami one still in grazing muzzle) and mine are out 9 to 12 hours at present, no need to hay yet outside.

I didn't run out of grass last summer either. Mine are usually out 24/7 from April to Nov/Dec.

I manage it tho, only one slightly muddy gateway about half inch deep.
They were in the winter paddock longer this year as it was so dry for much longer, now up in the top paddocks as much drier at this time of the year.
 

Chippers1

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We have 24/7 turnout all year round (mine's out all the time, there's only a few stabled). It's a riding school/livery yard so a few horses - I couldn't tell you the acreage of each field as I have no idea but there's about 7 in his winter field and about 10 in his summer field which is bigger however is a ten minute walk away down a private dirt track with farmers fields surrounding. The winter fields don't get too trashed, in fact I would say the fields that the stabled horses go into get more trashed as they all run around when they first go out.
We also have big round bales of hay every week in winter (moved around occasionally to save the ground around them) and the winter fields are on a slope so drain pretty well. We're quite lucky really, nothing apart from gateways gets too trashed.
 

milliepops

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I've just moved to a yard that has daily turnout and they have grass to eat every day but they only go out for the mornings in winter.
This is an improvement on where we were before where turnout was limited to a couple of hours and sometimes there was none at all, no grass and not allowed to hay outside.
They are small individual paddocks which are stripgrazed, YO moves the fence as required so they always have something to nibble on.
It's early days but I'm impressed so far... i actively choose individual turnout for one of mine because she even scraps with her best friends.
the summer fields are further away and they will be out overnight.
 

Sussexbythesea

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We are very similar to you except we have individual turn-out although my two are in together. I’ve only just started feeding a bit of hay in the last couple of weeks when it was snowy and icy and today because the weather is horrendous but they both seem to find a fair amount in their field even though it looks pretty barren now. I may move over to my other winter paddock in a week or two which may mean I can stop again. Some paddocks are worse than others depending on the drainage of that particular padlock, how much the horse was out last summer, whether they are a paddock trasher or a greedy pig.

I think we have just under an acre per horse on average from having done a map from an online app.
 

Widgeon

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We also have all year turnout - horses are out during the day in winter, in pairs in small paddocks of about half an acre to an acre each over winter. In summer they go into identical paddocks that have been rested over winter. There isn't loads of grass by now but there's enough to pick at and they seems happy enough without hay in fields. The only problem is the bottom gateways which are awful to wade through!
 
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My yard allows 24/7 year round turnout (which I do) and my horse and one other are in the furthest field possible away from the yard. We still have a glut of grass in our field, and there are others who keep theirs out but are closer to the yard but their fields, although not trashed, are not looking as good. Most other people can't be bothered with the trek I do (approx 5-7 min walk each way). Last year there were five in our paddock and it fared less well but we have been more lucky with the weather so far this winter. I consider myself very lucky that I am on year-round grass livery with access to stable, yard, school and excellent hacking. My summer paddock, that is strip grazed for the fatties, is also the same distance away but I don't mind.
 

be positive

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Apart from the difficulty of keeping 22 on 18 acres I think you are probably wasting time and money reseeding the trashed paddocks every spring as it will never get good enough roots to become established so will be trashed very quickly.
I have always turned out every day, with the odd day in or brought in early, and usually have a few out 24/7 over the winter, maximum has been 12 on 16 acres of low lying clay, this year I have only 7 and 5 have remained out getting hardly any hay, what I have tried not to do is allow any to get completely trashed, apart from the gateways that can be dreadful, I don't save land for summer as such I just try to rotate as and when to allow it to recover before it gets totally trashed it can get rolled, harrowed in the spring and I move them back on once it has grown up enough to show.
I think I would rather they had something to pick at in the winter than too much in summer, my fatties get hay in their bare paddocks if required.
 

Louby

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The yard Im on has a simiar set up to you but its only a small yard and they go out in small groups, its split mares and geldings so theres 4 max in the field Im in, not sure of the acreage but its not a massive field. We are allowed turnout everyday but we choose to keep in or just give them a few hours if its bad or really wet. Its worked, we still have grass, the field isnt a mud bath and they are getting to go out daily. I think shes stayed in probably 4 times since we changed to the Winter fields so its worked well.
 

Nudibranch

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I used to be on a yard, and it was 25 acres for a small mixed herd. They all stayed out 24/7 year round. There were 3 main fields and then a couple of smaller paddocks, and we could electric fence off sections for fatties. However, there were no more than 10 horses at any one time and the soil was very sandy. There were always 2 large fields being rested at any one time. I never saw mud, ever.
Clay and large numbers of horses make a massive difference.
 

DirectorFury

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The yard I'm on has this setup. It's on good land and is full livery only with only 12 horses for ~30 acres. Mares and geldings are split into different herds and winter fields always have grass and a roundbale available. There's sometimes a bit of mud round the gateways but it's still the best I've experienced!
 

Pippity

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We have around 25 horses on 40 acres in small herd turnout of around 3-4 per field. Winter fields are around three-quarters of an acre, and each small herd has two that they swap between depending on mud. Summer fields are a couple of acres and, again, each small herd has two that they swap between depending on needs. Because the winter fields don't get completely trashed, they easily recover in time for next year.

We get turnout pretty much every day in winter. By this point, when we're getting close to going into the summer fields, they may stay in for the odd day if there's been heavy rain or snow, but there's still enough grass that they don't get hay in the fields. The mud is ankle-height around the gates, but the path up to the fields is paved so it isn't an endless slog.
 
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Whilst a yard that allows turnout all year round is to be applauded, I can't see it working with 22 horses on 18 acres. What sort of soil do you have, and does the land drain well?
Yes we use the driest paddocks in winter. They’re out for at least 8-10 hours a day every day. Like I said, we have more land it’s just geography that prevents us utilising it in winter!
 
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The yard I'm on has this setup. It's on good land and is full livery only with only 12 horses for ~30 acres. Mares and geldings are split into different herds and winter fields always have grass and a roundbale available. There's sometimes a bit of mud round the gateways but it's still the best I've experienced!
Do yours go out all day every day? And do you have 24/7 in summer?
 
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Would you use the farther away paddocks in the summer when there are long light evenings and less mud en route?

To be honest as someone said above, for me winter turnout is more about head space and leg stretching and socialising than actually eating grass, though it is nice if there is some! As long as there isn't lots of mud fever and arguments over the hay I wouldn't be too worried tbh- its hard enough to find somewhere with all year turnout of any sort
Yes we do use the further paddocks in summer. Tbh, I’m probably making the paddocks sound a lot worse than they actually are. They still look green when you look at them, but they are definitely under stress now after all the rain we’ve had lately. I’m of the opinion, that horses are better off outside moving around than stuck in stationary😏 if this means having to feed hay then so be it. More land would be useful, however, as I said, it doesn’t solve the issue of having to walk a long way in the pitch black dark, or horrid weather, which nobody wants to do, and to be frank, on a health and safety level, I couldn’t justify it.😏 what I have noticed over the years is the geldings paddocks always get far more churned up than mares as they do A LOT of playing and tanking round. In the oldies paddock, it still looks pristine even at the end of a long wet winter lol!🤣
 

windand rain

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I find they do a lot less damage liviing out 24/7 than they do going in at night but that too depends on how good the land is and how careful the stock levels are monitored. We dont have much grass cover but we dont have mud either
 
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I think you are very lucky 😀 I wouldn’t ever keep mine in just to save feeding hay for some or all of the year. I appreciate that giving hay to large herds in the field can cause arguments so grass is more important to those yards.

I’m not on a yard and don’t have much space. Mine have access to fields almost all the time. One field isn’t looking great and has very little grass but it’s not necessarily a source of food but somewhere to stretch their legs and socialise with each other. I feed hay all year because turnout to me is more important than grass.
I agree and thank you. We do split them in winter over 4 paddocks, the largest number being 8 in one very large one. All the others are smaller groups. It’s annoying that I have more land I could use, but as our farm is spread over 200 acres, it takes some walking to get to some of it. We use the paddocks closest to the yard in winter for very obvious reasons, however, it does mean the downside is the land gets very stressed 🙈😏
 

annagain

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Yes! Our go out every day no matter the weather. There are 2 herds of 6 in winter in fields of about 7 acres each. These fields are untouched from about July to November, on the top of a hill with good drainage so we still have a fair amount of grass even now - which is just as well as YO won't let us put hay in the field to prevent fighting. They come in overnight to ad lib haylage. There's a little bit of mud in the gateway but a couple of days with no rain and it dries up well. In the summer, once the hay is cut they go down onto the 18 acres of hay fields all in one herd. They're all very settled and happy.
 
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