Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

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Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by Sydney on Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:23 am

An interesting topic I reviewed when I found some of my university files is stablekeeping and nature (the way it was intended) vs nurture (the way we make them)

Which one does your horse fit into? Which one do you agree with and don't agree with? Discuss, I wanna hear more than my input on the idea.

My horses fit into the turned out 24/7 on pasture. They come into the barnyard at night but they have access to shelter anytime. We supplement their diet with hay and a little grain for extra nutrients but thats it. They are eating almost the whole day and well into the night.

I hope you enjoy and possibly benefit from it, I had a fun time writing it.

NOTE: BCS= Body condition score, in case some don't know.


When we think of management, clean stalls, green pastures,
and healthy horses come to mind. Sometimes what we consider conveniencefor
us, can be disastrous for the horse. Feeding large meals infrequently, seem to
suit our lifestyle; however, it is not nearly as convenient for the anatomic makeup of the horse. The horseís lifestyle is highly dependant on what use they are to their caretakers; the humans.

The majority of horses will be on turnout during the day and stall confinement during the
night. The horse would be turned out in the morning on either a grass paddock
or a dry lot, depending on the land available and the horses medical history.
They would be allowed to exercise and play with their paddock buddies. They
would be able to graze in the paddock or be fed hay outside but the majority of
the meal would be fed in the morning and at night in the stall in the form of
hay and concentrates. Water is provided outside and in the stall artificially
by water troughs and buckets. Hay analysis is common when hay is first cut but
not on grazing pasture or grass.

The horses on this style of management would likely change significantly in the winter with the onset of snow and the loss of green nutrient rich grass. They would be turned out later
and be brought in earlier and on some days not turned out at all. They would
rely 100% on hay and concentrates to maintain body condition score. Grass would
either not be growing or be lacking nutritional content at this time. The hay
analysis would be different from the first testing in the warm weather. Many
people add vitamin supplements to balance their horses rations because of hay
lacking nutritional value

The other group of horses would be the racehorse, sport horse, or show horse. They are kept in stalls most of the
day for various reasons, mostly because they are a financial investment. Some
receive minimal turnout in dry lot paddocks, while others are in their stalls for the whole season because they are
being used athletically. They are fed low forage, high concentrate diets to
maintain their BCS. The feeding regime does not change very much over the
course of winter except for the addition of different vitamins to balance the
hay analysis for the winter. For the reason of being fed high amounts of
concentrate, the horses are usually fed several times throughout the day with
meals being split up into smaller portions. This helps reduce the risk of
colic. Water is usually only provided in the stall when they are not turned out
for very long.

The last group of horses would be 24 hour turnout. These horses are outside as much as they want with the exclusion of, a run-in or lean-to for shelter at night or in extreme weather. There is enough land to allow the
number of animals to graze without killing plants and grasses, and water is
provided artificially with troughs or naturally with streams or ponds. These
horses spend all day (and night) grazing. They do not have a set meal time but
hay and concentrate may be offered to maintain BCS.

In the winter if snow covers the ground they might be fed hay and concentrates from mangers at timed intervals.
Most horses are allowed free-range hay at this time to mimic their summer eating
patterns. Others are fed at intervals like most stabled horses and receive
concentrates and vitamin supplements.

The evolutionary strategy of the horses digestive system leaves us as caretakers to carefully balance their
nutritional needs around our time schedule. When feeding a horse that is
outside for the majority of the day and inside for major feeding times we must
take care that the concentrates are not more than 0.5% of the horses total body
weight (so 5 pounds of concentrate to a 1000 pound horse). It is also wise to
feed these concentrates in more than one meal.

The horses digestive system is not like ours or even a dogs,
yet we still seem to feed them as if they were. The size of the meal largely
dictates how fast feed passes through the foregut. A horse that is fed two
large meals a day passes the ingested feed quicker. The foregut emptying is
influenced by how large a meal is, how much liquid it contains, and how finely
ground it is. Feed that is passed quickly reduces the quality of digestion in
the foregut because the feed passes rapidly. Normal passage of feed
through the stomach and small intestine takes one to two hours. Once the feed
reaches the hindgut it needs to be fermented. The fermentation starts in the
cecum. The cecum houses a lot of bacteria responsible for breaking down the
majority of plant matter. Disturbances to the cecum, such as large grain
quantities or large meals can result in bulging, impaction, and rupture. This
can be avoided by letting the horse graze continuously.

The large colon helps absorb most
of itís nutrients through a fermentation process that occurs many hours after
the horse has ingested the feed it is digesting. Feeding infrequent
meals lets the digestive tract lay dormant. This decreases the passage of food
through the digestive system and can lead to colic. If large amounts of grain
are fed to a horse the acid content in the cecum can rise and create hindgut
acidosis and lead to things like founder and colic. Horses are therefore better
suited to smaller meals such as, very small meals of hay and concentrate.
Feeding at more regular intervals when a performance horse needs to be stalled
will indeed mimic their natural habits of eating but there is one thing
missing, and that is exercise.

When a horse has to eat a lot and
is confined to a very small space his body does not move as much as it needs to
in order to stimulate digestion and the moving of feed through the digestive
system. Receiving large amounts of grain poses a big threat to the hindgut;
however, when they are broken down into smaller meals the risk significantly
decreases. Performance horses are expected to be able to be worked to maintain
their level of fitness, and thus, to compete and win. It is a bit like eating a
big dinner and going out for a sprint immediately afterwards. Your stomach
would churn faster than it was supposed to, resulting in an upset stomach, or
colic for the horse.

When a horse eats small, frequent
meals the food is passed continually, he drinks more and everything is passing
like a smooth assembly line through his body. The horses stomach can only hold
approximately 18 liters and empties every one or two hours and when he is
eating small meals it will empty and refill in time, instead of emptying and
staying empty, as with infrequent meals. When the horse is continually grazing
he is walking around churning all these contents and allowing them to be
digested more thoroughly and effectively, absorbing nutrients as he munches
away.

The best feeding regime in mind of
the horse is the continual 24 turnout. He can eat as much as he wants, when he
wants, and allow nature to take its course. Concentrates that would be added to
maintain BCS could be ingested and then followed by many more hours of grazing,
allowing the rate of passage through the body to be more fluent and thorough.
Colicís would most likely be less frequent (some horses excluded in that
cribbers being one example) because the ingested food would be passing in and
out of each digestive organ relative to the natural time-phase it takes to
extract the nutrients needed.

When the horse is eating
continually there would not be this time-phase where nothing is ingested. The
stomach and small intestine are designed to allow constant entry of small
amounts of food, therefore leaving it empty. The stomach also continually
produces gastric acid that helps break down food. Continually grazing reduces
the instances of gastric ulcers because the acid has ingested matter to break
down, not the stomach lining. The hindgut is reliant on an adequate supply of
dietary fiber for fermentation and preventing digestive upset.

A horse that is outside all the
time with his herd-mates also has a big impact not on anatomy but his emotional
structure. Often times horses that are turned out for the day and inside at
night lack the bond and herd structure that horses turned out 24/7 have.

Horses that are together all the time can bond, are
constantly touching each other, and communicating freely. This is not the case
when a horse is confined to a stall for a portion of the day.

The upside of turnout/stall
management would be mostly convenience on the owners part. Horses that are
turned out in paddocks after hours in a stall confinement, can later be brought
back in and fed individual concentrates and hay rations to their own body
condition, training level, and individual needs. These horses can receive a
more accurate feeding regime. It is also more convenient for us humans in our
busy lifestyle.

The downside of this management
practice would be leaving a big time gap when the horse is not fed. Acids build
up in the stomach and eat the lining, creating gastric ulcers. The whole
digestive system is left empty when the horse has nothing to eat creating a
vast array of problems during post-meal time. The horse can get bored when not eating anything and will usually
begin chewing on things, cribbing, stall kicking, etc.

The upside of the horse that is
stall bound for most of the day on a high concentrate diet would be, the
ability to create a ration good for an individual performance horse. You would
be able to feed them to maintain their BCS and it is extremely convenient for
the person working the horse to access them from their stalls.

The
downside of this feeding management would be the horsesí inability to move
around and graze. The feeding practices may be split up into small, frequent
meals; however, a diet consisting of such a high energy level can lead to a
bored, extremely high strung animal, that gets minimal turnout and intense
exercise.

The upside
of the 24/7 turnout management practice would be allowing the horse to roam and
graze as he sees fit. Ingested matter is constantly being consumed, therefore
it is constantly moving through the digestive system smoothly. He can play and
socialize as much as he wants. In the winter, if and when, the snow covers the
ground the horse would have to be fed hay to maintain BCS. This would closely
mimic how and what the horse ate during times of drought or harsh weather in
the wild. He would be eating older, denser herbage, and rate of passage through
the digestive system would slow.

The
downside of this management practice would be the inability to regulate what
your horse eats, thus having to provide supplemental grains and hay to keep BCS
optimal. The horse has a short supply of amylase in its body. Amylase
helps digest starch. In our artificial grassed paddocks we may plant several
types of grasses. Some will be higher in a starch called fructan. Fructan is
the carbohydrate-like starch responsible for grass founder. Not being able to
limit when a horse eats grass can severely increase his chances of grass
founder, especially if he is overweight. When a horse eats grass on a cloudy
day, fructan production ceases because growing time is not optimal for the
plant. When a horse eats the grass on these days he is ingesting a higher
amount of fructan or a higher starch level.


In conclusion, it is far better to
let the horse be. If the land is available and you want happier, healthier
horses, let them roam in a grassy paddock that is more suited to their
evolutionary needs.
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by Cyndi on Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:40 am

Hi Sydney.

Fanny is out 24/7 with a shed and an old cast-iron bathtub full of water. There is always a round bale in her field too, as there are too many horses for the amount of pasture Neutral The most negative thing is the overgrazing, but there are a lot of positive things.

The field is kind of rolling, so there is an advantage with that over a flat field, as far as natural movement goes.

There are five horses in her field, two of which go in at night, especially in the winter. The remaining three - Fanny and two geldings - are out all the time, and you can see a nice bond with them. The two that go in at night are the ones that are very dominant and pushy at the feeder, in the shed, etc..

The nasty lady at my barn stalls her two geldings most of the time. They have a private paddock with a run-in that she uses on nice days, but if there is a cloud in the sky or any hint of rain or snow, they stay inside (where the flies are worse than outside). She has to have a private paddock because otherwise her two horses will get beat up, and the one fights back and has hurt other horses that he felt threatened by (which could mean any horse that comes close to check him out). She is very overprotective of her horses (even separated a third horse that she owned from her other two because that third horse and one of her other horses were playing too much and she didn't want them to get hurt!), and she doesn't want a blemish on them AT ALL! When in the barn, her one horse kicks the stall like crazy, especially when the owner comes into the barn. She thinks it's funny.

I sometimes wonder if there is an advantage to stalling a horse at night (or at least once in a while), just so they get used to being stalled. Does it make a difference? My concern is that what if a horse is never stalled, then for some health reason they have to be and they go crazy in the stall. Or would they adjust and be fine? Fanny used to go into the barn on cold winter nights at the breeder's, but she won't have that "luxury" now. Mind you, the breeder didn't have a run-in for her to use. Even without a run-in, the horses would have prefered to be outside - none of them wanted to go in at night. I think that the horses staying close together in a run-in would keep them warmer than being alone in a stall on a long winters night.

The facility where I was taking a Parelli course is a natural horsecare place. The horses have oodles of rolling hills and pasture to roam on all night, and there is an old barn they can go into on their own if they need to. Each morning and evening the horses are brought into the "new" barn for some hay and a natural supplement in their own stall, but as soon as they're done, they go outside again (they are only kept in if there is a severe storm or freezing rain). During the day they are kept in a large paddock, with a run-in, near the barn so that owners have easy access to their horses, rather than having to walk miles to find them out in the hills. At night, the gate is opened and the horses move back out to the wide open spaces. I wish this place was closer to me.

Cyndi
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by FlorayG on Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:26 am

My horse have nearly perfect conditions in that they have several acres (6 horses share), they are out all the time, they have big hedges to shelter in and a stream to drink from.
No it's not perfect at all. Because the owner of the farm wants to 'look after' his land and not overstock it, and so the grass is green and lush and there's plenty of it all the time.. This is fine in winter, it means we don't feed hay until January, but in summer my two are restricted to a bare half acre section with not enough room to gallop while the other 4 get enormously fat.
In the UK I have never seen enclosed land that is really suitable for horses. Only 'wild' ponies get the sort of diet that keeps them healthy, becasue they spend all day looking for enough to eat. Also 'kept' horses don't go through a breeding cycle every year, which in the wild burns off all that lush spring grass. I think it's impossible to keep a horse 'naturally' in the UK unless you don't mind not seeing it for weeks!
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by Sydney on Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:47 am

My horses can be kept in stalls. All of them were raised outside. We tie them in the barn a few hours a week when they are young. They scream and carry on at first but eventually they learn it's a lot easier to just chill and stand around. I've never had a problem stalling one of my horses. It's all in how you manage/train.
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by lightertouch on Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:54 pm

Great thread Sydney.

I'm the same FlorayG, my horse's owner has another 2 and a friend's 5 and they have the closest to perfect conditions I've come across. They've a 20 acre for the winter and get supplemental hay which is great, but then have to be strip-grazed in the summer and still go up like balloons!
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by armargo on Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:02 pm

Great write-up Like a Star @ heaven cheers

My boys are out 24/7 and most of the fields they graze in have trees, hedges, etc for shelter. I am hoping to construct a new field shelter before the end of the autumn in the field I usually over-winter them in and I would like to put up at least one stable early next year in case one of them would need to be stabled for any veterinary reason, etc or if I get in a stray/rescue equine that needs to be isolated/treated.

In the winter I feed our own hay (organic) once a day and then a few times a week they get some ration to top them up if needed. I don't rug them because they roll too much and I would worry about them injuring or trapping themselves. They grow nice thick winter coats so I feel they are happy going with nature


Sheena
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by Sydney on Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:13 pm

Glad you guys like it. I love exercise my knowledge study

I don't rug them because they roll too much and I would worry about
them injuring or trapping themselves. They grow nice thick winter coats
so I feel they are happy going with nature

My belief is the horse came before the barn did: Barns are a human comfort, not an equine. They evolved to live outside but it's a lot more convenient to feed rations, catch a horse and ride it or make sure they are not missing limbs if they come inside each night.

Also I find if they are outside for the fall equinox they start to grow a winter coat. If they are inside their coat starts to come in a week later.

I only own coolers. No blankets on my guys they are nice and fuzzy in the winter.

Indigo was born and for the most part raised with a herd of 5 horses in northern Ontario. They had trees for shelter and she was never in a barn until she was about 10, but thats a whole other big story. Theres often 6 feet of snow there almost to June in those parts. I go out some stormy nights and the rest of the horses are in their shelter and shes got a few inches of snow on her back, quite content to stand in the weather.
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by bohohorse on Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:16 am

Nice thread. I completely agree that most of the management humans do to horses is about the humans convenience. Of course even keeping them in a field is a compromise but we should be making every effort not to interfere too much with their own natural coping mechanisms.

Interesting that twenty or thirty years ago zoos fell out of fashion as people started to realise that it was wrong to confine wild animals in cages and the very sight of it became unacceptable. Visitors stayed away and zoo owners realised that they would have to strive to recreate a more natural environment for their animals - not only for the animals wellbeing but to bring back the visitors!

Yet here we are with horses still in stables 24/7...

Like others, I've made compromises but I question myself with what ever I do - is it for him or me? Z is out 24/7, 9 months of the year in a huge hilly field with a herd, stream and wooded area. But he comes in at nights for the 3 worst months of the year. Partly because if he stayed out... he'd be on his own! I take comfort in the fact that when he comes in he has a mountain of hay to eat (as big as he is), he gets respite from the rain and a chance for his coat and hoofs to dry. There are horses all around him he can talk to over low walls.

Also I know he spends the entire night eating and sleeping as the hay is nearly all gone in the morning and there is straw in his mane and tail. So I know he has had a good sleep which is important. But he is never in during the day whatever the weather.
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by mazrush on Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:22 pm

My little herd lives out all the time at 1000 feet up a steep sided valley. Their lower field, which they only use in winter, is nearly 400 feet lower than their summer grazing yet only a short walk away. I'm lucky to have a quarry with lots of nooks and cranies to shelter in.
One of the most fascinating things about keeping the ponies outside is how well they take care of themselves. They always take advantage of the lie of the land, going to the plateau when the midges are out to take advantage of the breeze (you can see them chilling out there in my avatar) or choosing their shelter according to the direction of the wind. I always know where to look for them in the winter even though they have about 18 acres to roam in and they are mostly checked in the dark when I am at work.

HOWEVER I would like everyone's imput on my old mare Bethan. I have owned her for 16 of her 22 years and for the last four years she has been cribbing after feeds. I feel that there is something wrong with her digestive system but the vet hasn't found anything. She has stopped cribbing for a time when I used a herbal mix containing meadowsweet but I stopped giving it to her for a few weeks when I had trouble getting hold of it and when I resumed feeding it didn't work. I've tried every supplement designed for gastric problems and some work for a time then the effects wear off. She gets haylage in the winter and fast fibre and sugerbeet to keep the weight on, as for the first time last winter she didn't maintain her usually fine figure through the cold weather. Horses aren't supposed to crib when they live outside. What do you all think?
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by bohohorse on Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:58 am

Cribbing is usually a sign of digestive discomfort... it's often associated with ulcers which can also cause a loss of condition. A vet who knows what to look for can get an idea of whether she may have them by an external examination but not all vets are familiar with them.

They only way to know for sure is to get an endoscopy but it is traumatic and many people don't want to put an older horse through it.

This might be another one for Trinity Herbs. www.justbespoke.com. Give them an email. They have a mix which my friend gave to her old horse who cribbed so much that he wore his teeth down and she had to put a towel over his metal edged door out of sympathy! A few days on the mix and he stopped completely.

I do wonder about haylage and it's effect on digestion. My horse (who is 'naturally' kept and in no way a typical ulcer candidate) suffered a bout last winter which coincided with him starting on haylage. But I have no proof or evidence. I shall feed hay this winter and see if it makes any difference.

More info on EGUS here:

http://www.equinegastriculcers.co.uk/
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by Sydney on Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:51 pm

I get about 6 magazine subscriptions a month and four out of the 6 had something in them about new found research on cribbing!

They did tests with cribbing horses and non cribbers and their saliva. Cribbing increases saliva intake which acts as a buffer in the stomach when a horse has ulcers.
Cribbers produced a significantly larger amount of saliva than a non cribber. This is why feeding hay helps to alleviate cribbing because when they are chewing they produce more.

We used to feed haylage when we had cows. It was kept in silos and not the bags so botulism wasn't as big a deal. It's always a good idea to get all horses eating haylage vaccinated against botulism.
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by mazrush on Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:25 pm

Thanks for the advice. I have suspected ulcers might play a part and most of the stuff I've tried was supposed to assist this. I have considered sending her for investigations but don't think she would cope with confinement/separation very well and as she is very healthy in all other ways it doesn't seem worth the risk. I've already emailed the link you gave so will see if that produces anything.

As to the hay/haylage choice there is no contest where I live. The climate here is very damp and storing hay properly is difficult even if you can get decent stuff in the first place. Bethan has always had haylage so though i don't rule anything out, this has been a constant whereas the cribbing hasn't. Please let me know if you feel the hay worked out better.

The saliva thing was interesting. I only ever rode her in a straight bar happy mouth fulmer snaffle or a french link sweet iron before I went bitless but she never had much saliva and never did any of that frothing thaat other horses do with bits in.
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by mazrush on Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:17 pm

It's taken a while to get in touch with trinity herbs but the ulcer mix should arrive tomorrow. Will let you know how it goes
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by Sydney on Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:43 pm

A girl in my course was talking about feeding her gelding that cribbed aloe vera juice every day. It healed his ulcers and stopped his need to beaver the barn. She said you can get it in bulk at some supermarkets and drug stores. Her horse stopped wood chewing and cribbing (he did both, if he had the cribbing collar on he would chew wood) within two weeks.
I've never heard of that before but it might be worth a try.
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by mazrush on Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:05 pm

Thanks for that. The new ulcer treatment arrived and smells amazing but what is even more amazing is that it contains a significant amount of aloe vera juice! I won't try the straight Aloe juice just yet as I need to see if the new mix works but will certainly bear it in mind. How much does the girl on your course give her to her horse? I appreciate you all giving my problem so much thought.

Maz
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by Sydney on Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:08 pm

I have no idea, she didn't say. Call the vet or ask around.
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by bohohorse on Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:35 am

I've also heard that aloe vera can help, I agree, best to stick with one treatment for now though, especially as your current treatment contains some.

Please let us know how you get on with it Smile
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by PiePony on Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:29 pm

Super and informative topic.

As soon as we take a horse and put up a fence, unless we have 10,000 acres, how can we be sure they have acces to the broad spectrum of geology for plants to gain mineral uptake or allow a wide availablity of vitamins. Fences mean we become responsible. I think it was Peter Laidley who made this a fairly clear point in a talk I went to. He calls English turn out "frog ponds".

I have kept horses both stabled and out 24/7. Although even when my old horse was in race training, ( he only had a couple of races as most were cancelled due to frost or flooding and I ran out of racehorse funding), he still had a couple of hours liberty with friends every day.

It is easier for me to have the horses out 24/7 with access in the home field to their barn and field shelter. Although I am currently reviewing as we have 8.5 acres, some wooded areas, a small river as one boundary, some steep banks but far too much grass for just a yearling shire, a 3 year pony cob and a 5 year section b welsh pony.

I will have to consider cutting down their wonderful exercise gallops and strip grazing them. Bringing them in on hay instead of grass for some hours of the day or night.

Even Paddock Paradise systems have drawbacks, if the horses have to stick to a track of e.g. 16 feet around the field perimeter and a rabbit digs a hole, or there is a steep dip in part of the track, without the fencing the horses tend to fan out and can race and gallop unrestricted, turn, change direction etc.

For my yearling, Arthur, turnout with a lot of grazing is fine, he is converting everything into growth, for Ben the section b as a 5 year old he is worryingly showing signs of laminitis, although the farrier can find no laminal bruising or indications in his hooves. Better safe than sorry. He is in a restricted non electrified paddock presently where he can get into the barn without being shut in a stable.

Dan has been gelded during his 3 year old year and again is much fatter than I would like him to be. I am itching to begin riding him, he will benefit if I can be patient a little while longer, do more in hand, incorporate some long reining and begin in the Spring, but I do climb on and sit on him sometimes while he is grazing.

Previously I have used electric fence and kept horses from the centre of the field to reduce their grass availability.
We seem to be targeted by theives and have had several fence energisers stolen from our field.
Our other problem is the lower part of the field is subject to flooding, which can be a bonus as we still have grass when other people are feeding hay through a dry spell in summer. Nevertheless, we also suffer deep mud and have some clay.
Nothing a lot of money, stone and time cannot fix.

Dan and Arthur are currently out 24/7 in old pasture in a local nature reserve, shelter on every side, dips, hills, woodland and a lot of pasture. This field never becomes boggy and is free draining even after torrential rain.

(Due to the trust having a new official in paid employment drawing up grazing contracts, a reduction in the number of sheep we keep, plus costs for various insurances when grazing off our home field, it is not cost effective with just the two of them out and I may relinquish my paradise winter grazing and stick to just the home field. Since I don't need extra with enough at home.
There are rules coming in that animals may not be offered supplementary feed on Wildlife Trust Reserves, in case seeds contaminate, even though oats would be rolled not whole and sugar beet is hardly going to grow after shredding.
I may not need to offer more than a vitamin/mineral block but if I think they need extra then I will want to feed as I see fit, so I am not good at agreeing to rules.)

My old horses liked to come into their stables, daytime through Summer, night time through Winter. It meant I knew they had a dry bed and would properly lie flat out and get REM sleep. They were offered ad lib hay and I like sugar beet in a feed for the length of time it works in the gut.
I have quite often turned up after work to find horses have put themselves into individual stables ready for bed in the past.
I suppose it depends on the horses work load too.

I would like, if I am fit enough and if I put the work into fittening my pony, to do some drag hunts and longer cross country rides when Dan is a little more mature, (and I may be too mature) he may then require to be clipped but that is something for consideration in a year or two, there may be alternatives.

So many angles to consider in this thread. I need to reread from the beginning.

Love Susie xx PiePony
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PiePony

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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by Sydney on Fri Oct 17, 2008 7:27 am

Sounds like you have a wonderful setup for your horses.

"frog ponds".
lol! I couldn't agree more! At a boarding stable it's a little hard for all the horses in the barn to get along so small turnout is a necessity.

And about ponies eating grass. The other week I was with the local carriage club on a drive and one of the passengers in my carriage and I were talking about ponies. He remarks "Theres only two types of ponies, foundered and gonna" I LOLed hard. Very true with a lot of owners considering ponies evolved in places where they might have to travel for hours or days to find a single patch of grass and here we go throwing them hay each day.
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

Post by bohohorse on Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:28 pm

Good point about the sleep PP - I read an interesting article a year or so ago about how many horses are suffering through lack of proper sleep. Noisy stables, too small stables, lights left on etc. I have Z in at night for the few worst months of the year - usually Dec - March. Ideally (and one day I will) it would be in a barn but at the moment its in a stable. But I know that he has eaten and slept all night and is ready for another wet and windy day!

How funny about your passengers quote Sydney. I see people looking at my horse askance if he goes carefully over stoney ground. Then watch their shod horses doing the same, only they are get kicked and chivvied on. But no-one worries about founder, lami, sensitivity etc if their horses are year round shod... as the symptoms are masked.
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Re: Evolution VS Management: Stablekeeping

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