View Full Version : 'Paddock paradise' newbies...how did it go for you?

Jun. 30, 2010, 12:45 PM
Ok...on another thread, concerning a useable size for a dry lot/ sacrifice area, this method is referenced.
I've checked out their website, read their discussions, etc..... I have a small acreage farmette that we fenced in nice fencing, and to the best of the ability of the open areas. It will certainly be a situation of good rotation and pasture management.
I'm interested in hearing from anyone? who has taken the initiative to 'try' this system on small acreage, and if they are favorable to adapting turnouts to this situation and / or how well it has worked for them?
I could, clear, invest in, and orchestrate, a fenced 12 ft. wide area into the woods, and a loop...with a few haying stations along the way, but ...heck (!) we've already invested a good chunk of $$ into the fencing of the limited turnouts already.....so---I'm looking for input from those who really (!!!) love this method and can tell me how it works? before I put more $$ into these additional double sided/cleared fenced in 'paths' around the back perimeter.
Does it save the pastures? Do the horses move along it? Is it worth it? (mine would be into woods, so clearing....plus fencing...plus gates, plus slow hay feeder stations......)

thanks for any insights! (again, I've visted their website/testimonials...I'm interested in COTH ers who've adapted existing small acreage property and their input)


Jun. 30, 2010, 03:52 PM
There was a discussion in Horse Care that I revived discussing this very subject just last week I believe!

Jun. 30, 2010, 04:48 PM
Thanks EL--- I scrolled back and found it.

would still love to hear from anyone else who's adopted/invested in this specifically to preserve small acreage, vs. 'to help keep a horse off grass'....and to know if they feel its working well for that and for their horses.

Jul. 1, 2010, 11:51 AM
Mine is sort of a cheat, not the real thing.

We already have nicely grassed tractorways in between the orchard fences and the horse fence and we put the horses there for a couple of hours. My old BO did that as well with the alley ways in between her larger pastures, mostly for the hard to catch or those with special needs.

Now, once we put up the perimeter fence on the North side all that area around that orchard will be useable and we'll be able to get a walking circle out of it. Right now we just have very narrow individual turnouts that we hot wire off. I think it gives them something to look forward to as the grass is less stressed. They'd really like to go into the orchards, but the trees are too vulnerable at this time.

Watermark Farm
Jul. 2, 2010, 07:17 PM
I have one. It's very helpful and gives the illusion of a lot more space than it really is. I find some horses don't quite 'get' it at first, ie, they get a little stressed because they can't make a beeline back to the other side of the area, they have to go around through the little lane/track. Once they figure it out, they are fine.

A word of warning, our lanes are 20 feet wide and it feels too narrow. Wish I'd gone with 36 feet so that I could put several horses out more comfortably.

Jul. 4, 2010, 09:33 AM
Thanks guys..

well, if it really doesn't 'work' well with the suggested 12 ft. wide 'paths' then, it really (!!) wouldn't be worth it on our small, already (!) fenced property. 20 ft. wide tracks would not be possible for us.
oh, well !

Watermark Farm
Jul. 5, 2010, 09:07 PM
Ayrabz, I think 12 feet would be just fine for one horse, or possibly for two horses that get along really well.

Jul. 5, 2010, 11:05 PM
My tractorways are twelve feet wide, so long as there are no corners or dead ends to get trapped in and the occasional larger area for separation I'm thinking they are adequate.

Jul. 6, 2010, 09:21 AM
Good stable managers have always known to arrange pens and pastures for the best flow for their charges.
A neighbor over 50 years ago had his shedrow type barn built like a big, wide U and pens in front of his stalls, a wide alley all along in front of them and several pens in the middle.

He could wean foals and have several in sets of a few where they could go to stalls, runs and walk around and around some of the pens, so they self exercised.

A few years later, we rebuilt our broodmare pens and had a similar set up, with pens and nearby a four pen set that horses could walk all around in there.

Following the same patterns, that is what we have today and our horses walk around here and there all during the day.
Our veterinarian also has set up similar to that, where he has some yearlings growing up and playing thru his mazes.
He has outside pipe fences, but the inside divisions are mostly electric tape.

We do that because we think horses not only get to move more, they become smarter about fences and looking where to go and where they are going.

Regularly we change the gates we open and close, so they have to learn a new pattern.

Those principles of keeping horses somewhat confined, but still using the area to have them walk around and find interesting things in there have been part of those designing barns and raising and training horses forever.

Jul. 6, 2010, 10:25 AM
Thanks, guys.
I guess its simply something I was wondering about in direct application to OUR property---not in theory in general.

I have one 'pasture paddock' that is 140 ft. x 175 ft. I could (?) set an inside 'walk' using that perimeter fence...of 12 ft. all the way around its 'inside'....which would of course, make the interior of that already small turnout, then, to be about 115 ft. x 150 ft instead.

I could put haying stations at 2 'diagonal' rounded corners of that outside track, to keep them moving.....

I'm just saying I"m not sure, on an already small acreage, with already set fencing....if this is adviseable? I'll pursue it (!) if its going to be best for the limited existing grass, and to add 'acreage' for their turnout in a way....and if those who have similar set ups, find its a good way to go (!)

I've got numerous threads on here that have small acreage questions/concerns, that have links to the photos of the property...but basically, I have:
a 60x96 'sacrifice' area that adjoins the 12x24 run in...
a 60x104 small grass paddock that does adjoin that
and a 70x200 grass turnout/dressage arena (must double for both) that adjoins both of those as well.

the remaining other turnout/pasture paddock is across the lane, and is the 140 x 175 that I am considering putting the '12 ft. wide track' on the inside, all the way around in a loop....IF it would be adviseable to assist grass rotation/haying/turnout on this limited acreage. Just didn't know if it will use up too much space, and be a hinderance vs. a help.

I would consider a 12 ft. wide 'loop' path back into the woods...but that would involve LOTS of clearing of mature trees, going up and down a ravine into/back out of a creek bed....and I feel would be too costly, as well as 'double' fencelines to create, vs. what I already have.

Guess, in a nutshell was: those of you on LIMITED turnout of under 3 acres...would you / have you used this method, and found it retains green areas and is worth it? or would you rather use the full area for open turnout vs. tracks.

Jul. 6, 2010, 11:02 AM
I see the pasture paradise more as a self exercising circuit, which could be used to spare limited ordinary pasture. IIRC the concept was created with the hoof health of the barefoot horse as part of the equation , which is why some of them are set up with sand pits and terrain features and why feed and water are placed at stations designed to make them have to move from station to station. They aren't expected to be eating the grass in there really although it is nice if they can graze from station to station.
The idea is the hoof will toughen and wear etc etc.
Bearing this in mind I would be carving a track through the woods and welcoming the terrain/footing changes offered by the creek bottom (up to a point as erosion and pollution come into the picture there), utilizing the trees for mental education rather than chopping them down, possibly bringing in rocks and placing them. Some of the examples I've seen on the web include trappy footing such as downed logs, boulders etc..

As I said before, the pasture paradise I'm putting up is really just a way to name a series of tractorways and waste spaces linked together, it isn't the real deal.

Jul. 6, 2010, 11:06 AM
Keeping horses in a small acreage or stalled/penned means we have to provide much of their exercise and interaction needs.
That is the way horses live in riding schools, where they give several lessons a day and go on trail rides and are glad to go back to their place, a box stall or standing stall for the rest of the day.
Ideally, horses would live outside on miles of pasture and be penned in the mornings to be worked with, then turned out again, like we did with ours, until they started to get running fit, when they needed to live under standard racing management, as they ran best like that.

To answer your question, if you work with your horse several hours a day, every day, you are not just warehousing them in a small acreage, then you may not need any kind of track for them.
If your horses just stand there most of the day, day after day, then you could try a track and see if it makes much difference in their well being.