Managing 2 horses on 1 acre

Mitchyden

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8 February 2009
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445
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Hertfordshire
For various reasons, I will be moving from my current livery yard with 4 horses on 6 acres to a yard closer to home. Although this yard has lots of facilities - menage, horse walker and lunge pen, you are only allocated a field of approximately 0.5 acre per horse. This means both of mine will go in together and I will alternate fields. This is absolutely fine in the summer, the less grass the better, I'd rather top up with hay as I have a horse with cushings and an extremely good doer native. My concern is that in the winter they will have nothing but mud in their field.

Anyone else manage horses on such little grazing and still turn them out during the day in winter?
 

Ladyinred

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24 November 2007
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Bit of a nightmare as I assume Herts is clay?

I think I would have to view turnout as simply a few hours exercise and boredom relief, it certainly won't be grazing :( Personally I wouldn't alternate fields, given the horses you have. I would keep them on around a third of an acre, topped up with hay and leave the rest to grow long and let them have a section at a time as winter draws in. We have two 'good doer' natives and they are on this sort of area and one is still managing to put on weight despite it appearing to have zero grass. Some of them seem to live on fresh air.. literally!
 

milliepops

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I've got 2 on about 1 acre at the moment and have done for almost 12 months now. It's on a steep hill so there's not loads of standing water, but we are on clay so it does get muddy in the winter. I didn't turn out in the worst of the weather, but realistically the most they were in at a time was a week or so. they are now out 24/7. I am still haying Millie as she's in a restricted turnout pen within the field due to injury, but there's enough grass for both horses really.

I am obsessive about poo picking and I am trying to keep on top of the weeds too. The field was limed and had appropriate minerals etc applied earlier this year after soil testing, as we really want to improve the grazing. But it can be done with care. I love huge big fields but you have to make do with what you have :)
 

Clodagh

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17 August 2005
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Essex
I keep my two on a field of just over an acre from January - April. It is on a slope and yes clay. It does have a large hardcore area where I feed hay. Mine live out 24/7 on it, it soon recovers come the spring. Will the YO roll/fertilise/reseed or if you trash it is it your problem?
 

MyBoyChe

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17 April 2008
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N. Bucks
If you can I would let them have it all between them. Set up a track round the outside or shut the far end of it up for the summer, open it all up, bit by bit during the winter. Assuming that the area by the gate is the most churned up, fence them back from the gate to let that recover in spring, then go back to step 1. I have 1 native on about an acre and this is my strategy. It would happily support 2 all year round but as I only have 1 and everyone at our yard is trying to restrict grass, noone wants to share. We are on clay and it does recover surprisingly well although in January it would break your heart!
 

milliepops

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We are on clay and it does recover surprisingly well although in January it would break your heart!
that's the thing, you have to hold your nerve when it looks doomed :) it always looks OK again with a bit of time. I only keep mine off the ground when it's sodden to avoid (further) injuries as they are hoodlums ;)
 

Kacey88

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5 September 2011
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726
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Ireland
I only have 1.3 acres at home for two. I can keep them out during the day end of April - November. I have a pen for them to get daily exercise if weather gets very bad, and I chuck them off to 24/7 turnout livery January until April. Mine would destroy the field quickly in wet weather, but I am in Ireland.
 

Skyebald

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31 October 2011
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I have 3 on 1.8 acres, they are ponies though. the field is split and they are kept on the 1 acre all winter with haynets in their shelter. I do give hay most of the year round and it does get poached around the gate and shelter and these areas don't really recover but the rest of the field does. I reseeded along the fence line last year and used electric tape to keep them off it. I'd prefer them out in mud than stuck in a stable all day and they seem happy
 

zandp

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23 September 2009
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946
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Somerset
I'm on a livery yard with a teeny bit over 1 acre for 2. This winter I sectioned off the wetter half and kept them in the dry half during the day, they've been out almost 24/7 since April and I'm now sectioning off bits of the field to a) let it recover so YO is happy and b) keep them off the grass - both barefoot, one with EMS and Cushings.
 

Mitchyden

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8 February 2009
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445
Location
Hertfordshire
Thanks for the positive replies. It's not ideal but other than this, the yard is just what I want so I'm glad to read that it is possible. To be honest I think I've been spoilt at my present yard as I've never been anywhere with so much grazing per horse. Not only do we have only 4 horses on 6 acres but we have a field to move into for a couple of months in the winter to let ours rest. Hoping my horses will be happy though in their new field without the field bully which they have at the moment!!
 
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