What to do - too many horses and too little land?

Marigold4

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I think I'm going to find myself with one horse too many soon. I'm moving to a house with 3.25 acres and have 3 small horses. Two x 15 hh small WBs and a 14.2 connie. The land I'm going to is in a pretty poor state - needs spraying for weeds, harrowing, rolling, re-seeding and re-fencing. It's wetter than my previous rented land and has a thin layer of clay over chalk so gets poached. It doesn't look as though it produces much grass at the moment but I think it will improve after we've dealt with the weeds and reseeded. I can stable at night.

Do you think that will be enough for 3? I'd like the ground to recover and worry they are going to trash it over winter. They are all barefoot.

So I'm thinking of either selling or putting on loan the connie but he's only 4. He's been professionally started but obviously still very young - and he's developed a sarcoid. Would he be too young to loan to a competent teenager? He's a really nice chap, keen to please and sensible. Would he be impossible to sell with a sarcoid? It's not on his face and nowhere near any tack.
 

MissTyc

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Lots of people would consider buying a nice horse with a sarcoid. If you want to sell him, he'll be snapped up.

However, the land management can work and you have time before winter. I would definitely make a "corral" ; mud control slabs would be my personal preference but woodchips work fine for a few years. That gives you a non-slippy area to contain them on the worst day, surrounded by hay nets. I would then consider an outer track with smaller sections inside, i.e. a sort of DIY Equicentral system. I've managed to keep 3 horses on 0.7 acres for 6 months like this and had plenty of grass left over (wasn't sure how long we'd need to stay like that so I was economical!). Trashed land always recovered with a bit of care.
 

ponynutz

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Option 1: Yes, they will be fine if you use an arena (or an arena sized grass paddock that you supplement with hay once they've eaten everything) for winter and the first few months when you move in as turnout. An arena would be better so they don't trash it but honestly as long as you give them hay they'll survive. It will give you time to sort out weeding and harrowing and such this summer (probably will take more than one season to make a huge difference from what you've described but you can make a big start with no horses on it this year) and also keep them out and about and moving.

Option 2: If you're not particularly attached to pony you could sell. Probably the best time to be selling with a sarcoid given it'll lower his price slightly. If he's sound otherwise anyone with sense in this price market would snatch him up. I personally would, and have, bought with sarcoids. As I say, the lower price because of it will encourage people given the main other reason I've seen for lowering price is kissing spine. I know which I'd prefer.

Good luck with the move! Having any kind of land at home is exciting!
 

rextherobber

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Equicentral and the facebook group Land management for horse owners by Dr Lisa Stansfield are both excellent for land management advice. Agree, keep them all and see how you go. Personally, I wouldn't loan out a 4 yr old, so much can go wrong so quickly.
 

Goldenstar

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You will need a hard standing that would be the best way to manage it .
I would divide it into three and if you can do that so each bit opens onto the hard standing and the hard standing is by the stables so that’s best .It depends on how it all sits .
If you can keep the horses on livery and get onto the land as soon as possible if you can find a contractor who will go on and blitz it .
Soil sample so you can condition the soil early on .If it’s been carelessly cared for worms as in horse worms are something you must consider .
A contractor can direct drill grass seed without turning the soil over this works well I have done it on my winter field at time .
Get a look at what growing if theirs to much clover get that sprayed out as well some clover is fine but if it’s out competing the grass you need to deal with that .
It takes work to manage horses on small acreage you will need some kit I have a diesel mower with a heavy duty mulching deck and a small set of chain harrows and a roller I do use contractors as well .
I
I have plenty space now I did not always but I enjoy my pasture management .
 

Marigold4

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It might be ok, especially if you can organise an area for use in wet weather, either a trash paddock or a dry surfaced bit
I'd keep all of them initially and see how it goes
Thanks for replying. Good idea about the dry surfaced bit. I might scrape off the top surface of mud from one bit and put down wood chip to help us get through winter
 

Marigold4

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Lots of people would consider buying a nice horse with a sarcoid. If you want to sell him, he'll be snapped up.

However, the land management can work and you have time before winter. I would definitely make a "corral" ; mud control slabs would be my personal preference but woodchips work fine for a few years. That gives you a non-slippy area to contain them on the worst day, surrounded by hay nets. I would then consider an outer track with smaller sections inside, i.e. a sort of DIY Equicentral system. I've managed to keep 3 horses on 0.7 acres for 6 months like this and had plenty of grass left over (wasn't sure how long we'd need to stay like that so I was economical!). Trashed land always recovered with a bit of care.
Thanks. I'll have a look at the Equicentral system and mats
 

Marigold4

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Option 1: Yes, they will be fine if you use an arena (or an arena sized grass paddock that you supplement with hay once they've eaten everything) for winter and the first few months when you move in as turnout. An arena would be better so they don't trash it but honestly as long as you give them hay they'll survive. It will give you time to sort out weeding and harrowing and such this summer (probably will take more than one season to make a huge difference from what you've described but you can make a big start with no horses on it this year) and also keep them out and about and moving.

Option 2: If you're not particularly attached to pony you could sell. Probably the best time to be selling with a sarcoid given it'll lower his price slightly. If he's sound otherwise anyone with sense in this price market would snatch him up. I personally would, and have, bought with sarcoids. As I say, the lower price because of it will encourage people given the main other reason I've seen for lowering price is kissing spine. I know which I'd prefer.

Good luck with the move! Having any kind of land at home is exciting!
Thanks for your thoughts. I'm trying to find some land nearby that I could rent for a couple of months so I can get on with sorting the land. No luck so far.

The connie pony in this post is the spitting image of the pony in your avatar!
 

Marigold4

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You will need a hard standing that would be the best way to manage it .
I would divide it into three and if you can do that so each bit opens onto the hard standing and the hard standing is by the stables so that’s best .It depends on how it all sits .
If you can keep the horses on livery and get onto the land as soon as possible if you can find a contractor who will go on and blitz it .
Soil sample so you can condition the soil early on .If it’s been carelessly cared for worms as in horse worms are something you must consider .
A contractor can direct drill grass seed without turning the soil over this works well I have done it on my winter field at time .
Get a look at what growing if theirs to much clover get that sprayed out as well some clover is fine but if it’s out competing the grass you need to deal with that .

It takes work to manage horses on small acreage you will need some kit I have a diesel mower with a heavy duty mulching deck and a small set of chain harrows and a roller I do use contractors as well .

I have plenty space now I did not always but I enjoy my pasture management .
Thanks. That's a really useful post. I'm trying to find somewhere for the horses to go for a few weeks while we do the work - no luck so far. The previous user of the land did not poo pick, it seems. There's also an enormous manure heap from her stables - I'm guessing several years worth. I'm going to try and insist she gets it removed but as she's only renting I guess she will just leave it for me to do! Ragwort and docks seem the main problem and I will set to with my spraying knapsack and Thrust weedkiller. I have a small tractor, topper and harrow. Just need a roller now.
 

Marigold4

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Equicentral and the facebook group Land management for horse owners by Dr Lisa Stansfield are both excellent for land management advice. Agree, keep them all and see how you go. Personally, I wouldn't loan out a 4 yr old, so much can go wrong so quickly.
Thanks for replying. I'll look at the Equicentral system. I might see if I can find a local livery for the connie over the winter. It'll do him good to see a bit more of the world anyway.
 

ponynutz

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Thanks for your thoughts. I'm trying to find some land nearby that I could rent for a couple of months so I can get on with sorting the land. No luck so far.

The connie pony in this post is the spitting image of the pony in your avatar!
That's a shame but good luck. Whatever you decide on I don't think the situation sounds desperate :)

Haha, she's a 13.3/14hh connie so very similar it sounds like! (and with sarcoids - she's still a superstar).
 

Tiddlypom

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I keep three (two 15.2hhs and one 16.1hh) out all year round on not much more than that.

An area of hardstanding is key, plus field shelters to loaf in and hay up in.

I've posted this pic on various threads - this is my set up in temporary summer equicentral mode. I strip graze into the foggage come late autumn.

5B897B1F-D492-449F-ABBA-E8BE527D0F8C.jpeg
 

Marigold4

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You will need a hard standing that would be the best way to manage it .
I would divide it into three and if you can do that so each bit opens onto the hard standing and the hard standing is by the stables so that’s best .It depends on how it all sits .
If you can keep the horses on livery and get onto the land as soon as possible if you can find a contractor who will go on and blitz it .
Soil sample so you can condition the soil early on .If it’s been carelessly cared for worms as in horse worms are something you must consider .
A contractor can direct drill grass seed without turning the soil over this works well I have done it on my winter field at time .
Get a look at what growing if theirs to much clover get that sprayed out as well some clover is fine but if it’s out competing the grass you need to deal with that .


It takes work to manage horses on small acreage you will need some kit I have a diesel mower with a heavy duty mulching deck and a small set of chain harrows and a roller I do use contractors as well .
I
I have plenty space now I did not always but I enjoy my pasture management .
Thanks for that detailed reply. That's really useful. I'm trying to find somewhere to stash the horses for a couple of months but no luck so far. The land has not been poo picked in monthe grrrr. How long do you think I need to leave it having cleared the field of the poo to avoid picking up worms? I have a small tractor, harrow and topper. Just need a roller now. Can't quite get my head round how I would transport a roller if I buy one secondhand. I guess on a pallet? Buy one that fills with water so not too heavy and put in back of my 3.5 lorry?
 

Marigold4

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I keep three (two 15.2hhs and one 16.1hh) out all year round on not much more than that.

An area of hardstanding is key, plus field shelters to loaf in and hay up in.

I've posted this pic on various threads - this is my set up in temporary summer equicentral mode. I strip graze into the foggage come late autumn.

View attachment 93092
Thanks for posting this. I won't have an arena, sadly. Have to sort out a number of planning issues - current stables are illegally placed and current renter is taking them with her. I think I'll have to have mobile stables to start with until I get proper planning, but at least I can tow them around.
 

GinaGeo

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Yes it’s possible. I manage four on less and they live out.

An all weather turnout area will be essential though. As others have said best if it’s attached to the yard and all fields can be accessed from it.

You also need to look after the land to maximise productivity. All of our manure gets spread back on the land, to improve the soil biome.
 

rabatsa

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The worms will hang around for at least a year. You need to fec regularly so are aware if you start getting a problem, also fec a couple of weeks after worming to check that any worms on the land are not resistant to the wormer you have used.

Personally I would be buying mud control slabs, as and when you can afford a pallet, for the next few years. This way you can build up areas for winter/wet weather use.

I have a loafing area which is slightly larger than an arena in size. Two winters ago I put down some slabs along one side and it made a big difference to the condition of everything. Last summer I added to this area so there is a good length of slabbed area and this last winter the equines stayed on the mats when the loafing area would usually look like a ploughed field. The farrier was impressed with the condition of all their hooves as they did not stand in the mud/wet all day. As the rest of the area did not get churned up the same as previous years it dried out faster and so got used more for playing on. This summer for the first time since it was set up the loafing area is trying to grow some grass. The matted area has grown grass.

Enjoy having your horses at home.
 
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Goldenstar

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Your top priority is ,
Safe fences, I would do the boundary in permanent fencing and then if it’s at possible use a mixture of round posts and electric fencing stakes to divide it up until you know the land well.
Get as much poo off the land as you can .
If you divide into three you can graze one and work on two if you have too .

You can hand seed grass rake the area with a metal rake and just sprinkle on

A company called Suregrow make products for horse paddocks a viable in small sacks you can handle it yourself they have grass seeds ,a horse friend fertiliser and pellets lime you apply all these things yourself by hand it’s just time and heft .
Get a soil sample you probably will need to lime .
It’s worth getting right so that your grass has the best chance to thrive and out compete other things .
There’s little point in seeding except for little patches now I would concentrate on getting the fencing in getting rid of poo .
I bought a horse sick paddock last year I rested it a year to be sure it’s not wormy you are going to have to be meticulous about testing and worming and poo picking and do it that way .
 

Tiddlypom

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Thanks for posting this. I won't have an arena, sadly. Have to sort out a number of planning issues - current stables are illegally placed and current renter is taking them with her. I think I'll have to have mobile stables to start with until I get proper planning, but at least I can tow them around.
Good luck. My arena isn't ever used for turnout btw, as the horses dig it up when they paw the ground before rolling 🙃.
 

Marigold4

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Your top priority is ,
Safe fences, I would do the boundary in permanent fencing and then if it’s at possible use a mixture of round posts and electric fencing stakes to divide it up until you know the land well.
Get as much poo off the land as you can .
If you divide into three you can graze one and work on two if you have too .

You can hand seed grass rake the area with a metal rake and just sprinkle on

A company called Suregrow make products for horse paddocks a viable in small sacks you can handle it yourself they have grass seeds ,a horse friend fertiliser and pellets lime you apply all these things yourself by hand it’s just time and heft .
Get a soil sample you probably will need to lime .
It’s worth getting right so that your grass has the best chance to thrive and out compete other things .
There’s little point in seeding except for little patches now I would concentrate on getting the fencing in getting rid of poo .
I bought a horse sick paddock last year I rested it a year to be sure it’s not wormy you are going to have to be meticulous about testing and worming and poo picking and do it that way .
Thanks. That really useful when would be the best time to reseed? Is there any point in reseeding in September before the autumn flush of grass?
 

Goldenstar

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Best time is autumn so yes unless it’s dry September would be good .
Grass seeds need water . You can also seed in spring .
You will need to keep the horses off the ones you are seeding .

There’s another option for your land . I have a friend who has three acres for two large horses they run them on the whole field most of the year in spring they Harrow the whole thing ( they poo pick all year round )and then half it they electric fence it so the horse can get back to the hard standing from both half’s
They rest one half get in deal with weeds then the other then open the whole thing up until the next spring .
One of the horses is a TB and it needs some additional food most of the year and they are feeding hay well into May .
The horses are stabled at night when it’s wet in winter .
 

exracehorse

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My friend has two horses and two ponies on two acres. She has made it work by doing a track system around the field. In winter it’s track with hay boxes down. Plus a large hard standing area by the field shelters. Go in middle of field where grass in summer for half day. Then back on track.
 

paddy555

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it's very doable but consider other options. What about a barn (if you can get pp) rather than stables? you can make a barn into stables (with gates) and then back to a barn. A lot more useful. In winter they are not standing in stables, they are wandering/loafing in a barn. Doors open and they can wander out to a yard/grazing. In summer they sort the problem of flies themselves by wandering back into the shade of the barn.

If you have a house then the area around that is often a waste of space horsewise. Can you make something of that to give the horses more space? For example our house, buildings etc occupy about 1 acre of wasted space. Not any more. The concrete path along the front of the house is part of a hard track, gate opens onto the lawn when we want it mowed, the hard standing vehicle parking is part of their wandering track. All it takes is a bit of electric tape or a couple of rails to fence of the bits you don't want them on.

We are so short of land in this country that if we move away from the idea that horses live in stables and then get turned out into a field, often of restricted square or rectangular size (due to grass restriction) you can make some really interesting areas for them to live in that gets them out of stables and gives them some freedom.

People with horses at home are so lucky in this respect.
 
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