I was wondering if anyone can tell me a good standard size for an equine rehabilitation paddock?!? I am thinking of something for a horse to be turned out in as they are coming back from an injury. The way most people describe them is that they are large enough for the horse to walk (and at most trot) around, but not big enough that they can pick up speed while injured and hurt themselves further. Any input would be most helpful. Thank you!
I don't know that there is a standard size, really, as it can depend on the horse, the injury, and the vet. Part of my permanent setup at home includes a 30x30 mudfree paddock off one of the stalls. But with some of my horses, my vet has felt that it was too big and had me cut it down to be 20x20 -- which is definitely not big enough to really canter or bust loose. I just use electric tape fencing to temporarily make the paddock smaller as needed. I can also close gates to make a really nice stall rest "suite" of a stall with 12x24 overhang off it -- but again, there are times the vets want them strictly in a 12x12 stall so I think you have to maintain flexibility, no matter how you lay things out.
I agree that it depends on the horse, the injury, and the rest of the situation.
My very quiet sensible horse who has been on stall rest for 9 months, and now needs small paddock rest at least through the winter, is doing great in her new 30x35 paddock adjacent to her stall. We brought in limestone dust to prevent suctiony mud, and got her a donkey for companionship, and so far it is working perfectly! I did Ace her for the first 2 days, just to take the edge off until the 'freedom' was no longer exciting...
My other nutty horse would probably not stay quiet in something that large-- she would probably need at the most 20x20, and even then she would probably be doing pirouettes... It really depends on the individual.
We have a 12x12 area under the run in at the back of each stall which can be boarded off - they can walk in and out of their stalls, but can't get up enough steam to do much else.
When ready that increases to a 12x24 by changing the way the boards are set up - still under the overhang on stone dust so we provide hay which is a great distraction and they don't usually act the same stupid way they do when you "turn them out" in a paddock - they just wander around quietly.
Then they can go into a 24x24 grass paddock, then to a 24x34and then by opening gates I can put those two together into one large paddock.
At that point they are either ready to go home to their own turnout or out into my larger field. Gradually adding to their area, a lot of hand grazing, and sometimes a bit of ace can keep most of them from getting too happy.