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

Landcruiser

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13 May 2011
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Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
I have 3 x 14.2+ on 3 acres of heavy clay, which also includes the house and large garden. just about to lose half of one of my 3 paddocks to an arena. I couldn't manage without my yard/hardstanding, which means even if they are off the land they still have a good size area with open stables. I wouldn't consider clay land without a hardstanding.
 

MagicMelon

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6 November 2004
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North East Scotland
I only have an acre of land and 2 horses. I have good well draining soil though so its rarely very poached (only in depths of winter and only the bit closest to the stables). I had a big hardcore pad put down with my stable block on top then the hay ring feeder sits in the yard bit. Its totally open to the field so they come and go as they want. Its brilliant as due to the lack of grass, I do have a round bale in the feeder all year round, it encourages them off the grass and with the hay all year round, they look good and are certainly never hungry.
 

Backtoblack

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Yesw its doable,look at track systems, wood chip turnout area,hay feeding stations, I keep 2on2acres and manage to get a hay crop on about half of it.
 

Marigold4

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17 May 2017
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I only have an acre of land and 2 horses. I have good well draining soil though so its rarely very poached (only in depths of winter and only the bit closest to the stables). I had a big hardcore pad put down with my stable block on top then the hay ring feeder sits in the yard bit. Its totally open to the field so they come and go as they want. Its brilliant as due to the lack of grass, I do have a round bale in the feeder all year round, it encourages them off the grass and with the hay all year round, they look good and are certainly never hungry.
Thanks for replying. I'm planning something similar. At my current place I scraped off the topsoil and then put chalk down, compacted the chalk, then put cushionride on top. It's great so hoping to do similar.

It's encouraging to hear you manage two on one acre. Thanks
 

Marigold4

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Yesw its doable,look at track systems, wood chip turnout area,hay feeding stations, I keep 2on2acres and manage to get a hay crop on about half of it.
Thanks for replying. That's encouraging news. I'm planning woodcip turnout too - it worked well for my previous place. I'll look at track systems too.
 

Marigold4

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17 May 2017
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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.
oh thanks. That's an interesting idea about a barn instead of stables. I shall investigate! If you use gates, what happens during firework nights or thunderstorms. That's the only reason I would want to be able to shut mine in securely in a stable.

Also interesting to hear what you have used for extra grazing. Inbetween the field and the house is approx 1/2 acre of orchard - very overgrown but once trees have been properly pruned, this might give us some extra in winter. We will aslo have 1/4 acre of woodland which might work too, depending on what trees are there.
 

julesjoy

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13 December 2013
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Can I jump on and ask for a link to the mud slabs people mention on here? I also need to create a hardstanding for the winter, but didn't find mats worked well last time I tried. Good luck sorting it Marigold!
 

Marigold4

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17 May 2017
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I have 3 x 14.2+ on 3 acres of heavy clay, which also includes the house and large garden. just about to lose half of one of my 3 paddocks to an arena. I couldn't manage without my yard/hardstanding, which means even if they are off the land they still have a good size area with open stables. I wouldn't consider clay land without a hardstanding.
Thanks - that seems to be the overriding message - put in hard-standing!
 

paddy555

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23 December 2010
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oh thanks. That's an interesting idea about a barn instead of stables. I shall investigate! If you use gates, what happens during firework nights or thunderstorms. That's the only reason I would want to be able to shut mine in securely in a stable.

Also interesting to hear what you have used for extra grazing. Inbetween the field and the house is approx 1/2 acre of orchard - very overgrown but once trees have been properly pruned, this might give us some extra in winter. We will aslo have 1/4 acre of woodland which might work too, depending on what trees are there.
if you have a big barn you can shut them all in and close the doors. You can work out where you want partitions when building it (ie how you would set up a couple of stables) and then build hangers into the wall to hang gates on, you can use gates or partitions and cover the gates with marine ply so that it is a "solid" gate wall and no one can put a foot through it.

Look back at some of YCBM's pics of her barn and see if you think you could make that work (in some form)
Look at some of the equine central pics on the various sites for that and see if you can get some of their ideas for how they have set it up.

Your new place sounds to be very nice. :D
 

HashRouge

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16 February 2009
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Manchester
Thanks - that seems to be the overriding message - put in hard-standing!
That would be my advice too! I have two that winter out on a 3 acre clay paddock, but we have separate summer grazing so are able to really rest the winter grazing and keep them on the summer paddock as late into the autumn/ winter as possible. I will then stable overnight if the weather is very wet. I think with your land to horse ratio, and the fact you are on clay, you will want some sort of hard-standing/ all weather turnout area. I still think you'll be able to use your grazing in winter, or some of it, if you can get it back into decent nick (unless you're in very deep clay - I'm not, luckily!). But it will be essential to be able to close it off if needed.
 

mariew

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23 February 2009
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500
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.
That is gold to gardeners as long as not full of weed killer. I suspect you would be able to get it removed if you offer it for free on Facebook :)
 
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