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Anyone have a Paddock Paradise?

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  • Anyone have a Paddock Paradise?

    Aside from some of the author's more exorbitant ideas, the more I read about a Paddock Paradise setup, the more I like the idea and am probably going to implement it on any farm we end up buying. Just curious if anyone here has such a setup and would mind describing what they have.
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

  • #2
    I don't have one yet, but have the design laid out for one on our farm. I'm going to build it in the spring. I need to bring in some dirt/rocks in some low areas first... I love the concept though! Sure beats a little square dry lot for my IR mare.


    • #3
      I am lucky to rent paddocks for my horses that is rather a natural paddock paradise, two adjoining paddocks that make a dogbone shape, with clusters of trees in the middle of each. My horses end up walking paths along the fenceline. I encourage it by spreading out my hay in the morning and putting it as far away as possible from the water and shelter, so they have to walk back and forth all day. I'm convinced its the only thing keeping my aged gelding in the good shape he is for his age. Though my horses nap, they nearly never loaf.
      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


      • #4
        I want to try it (someday!)

        I will be watching this post because I too am interested in this. I've heard great things but never known anyone that has tried it! I know you can google it, and some pictures of people's pastures come up.
        Foaling Around www.facebook.com/foalingaround
        Custom Equestrian Items and Bath Products


        • #5
          I've visited a neighbor who has a sort-of one. She's not a stickler for the philosophy, just doing the general idea. Most of the paddocks on her farm had that double-fencing (with a car-wide space between paddocks) anyway, so she used 3 strand electric tape and panels in different places to modify it so there is a loop around the whole 10 acre perimeter, and pathways between the other paddocks, and optional/seasonal access into and through one of the medium-sized paddocks (maybe an acre or two). Some of this perimeter path goes through the woods, the rest mostly around the fields. It doesn't have rocks and stuff, though, and she tends to feed only at the part next to the barn, so they hang out there quite a bit, though they do wander around the rest of it once or twice a day.


          • #6
            I had to go google it to see what this is all about, and I guess I do have that sort of setup. 9 acre pasture, U shaped around the house in the center, barn on one side of the U. Horses out 24x7, with free access to the barn for food and shelter. Trees along the fencelines, and a few tree clusters inside the pasture as well. Would that be considered a "Paddock Paradise"?
            There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


            • #7
              We Use Paddock Paradise and Love it

              I have been using Paddock Paradise on my 60 acre boarding facility. We love it. We are here in Oregon and it is not only great for the horses, but is great for land management, becuase Oregon gets so wet that pastures are often ruined when horses are left on them all winter. So basically the tracks become a dry lot or a sacrafice area and as the weather calms down and begins to dry out they continue to walk on it and it gets hard and flat again.

              It is a great way to keep horses who have foundered, moving and off the grass.

              I am not soliciting business, but if you would like to see pictures of what we have implemented and have more questions, please visit our website at www.abidingacres.com.

              Good luck to anyone that wants to start this, I will be happy to help you in any way I can.


              • #8
                Originally posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
                Would that be considered a "Paddock Paradise"?
                if the horses roam all day long, sure. The whole point is to keep them walking as much as possible.

                I'll never forget, I went looking at a boarding facility once. On the phone, the BO was all exited about each horse having HUGE grassy runs off their stalls, and 24/7 access to come and go as they pleased.

                I get there, and it was true, they did, each stall had an electric tap run that was 15'x600', a huge long alley. But where were all of the horses? loafing in their stalls or mainly under the eaves of the barn. The BO could've cut the paddocks down in half and had another arena, the horses barely left their little spots, the whole thing looked rather pointless.
                Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                • #9
                  seems like a neat way to keep horses moving and keep pastures in good condition if they are big enough.

                  At my families farm we just have 3 large fields 4-10acres and the horses go out and move about as they please.
                  They actually do move around quite a bit, but sometimes the pastures suffer.

                  But if you have a fat cushings horse it's probably great. I know a bunch of people who should do this but instead they lock the fat horse in a stall and turn out muzzled or on dirt, when really the horses do so much better with exercise!


                  • #10
                    I have one. I bought property in February and was looking for ideas on setting it up. I keep 7-10 horses at one time on just 4 acres (only 3 usable for the horses), so needed some ideas to preserve my grass.

                    I am not an "NH" horse person per say. I adapted the idea for the usability of the land and couldn't be happier with it. I purchased the book and yeah, he's a little out there on some things, but it did give me some ideas.

                    It seems photobucket is being a problem at the moment, but my account on photobucket with pictures and slideshow of my paddock paradise is: SpottedTPP

                    There is no password.

                    And a recent article done on mine by Natural Horse:

                    Also, be sure to check out http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/

                    Lots and lots of hands on info there. Mine is the Florida track.
                    Read about my riding adventures at:
                    Spotted T Riding Blog


                    • #11
                      Ha! No Paddock Paradise (tm) here, but instead paddock paradise. I've got 3 horses on 20 plus acres divided into 5 paddocks...


                      • #12
                        I just got the book for Christmas! (Finally!) and like the general idea, but there are some things that are a little too far out for me to want to follow. I.e. I like my deworming and dental health.....
                        Foaling Around www.facebook.com/foalingaround
                        Custom Equestrian Items and Bath Products


                        • #13
                          I set one up last summer - really like it and it keeps my horses busy and moving. It was easy to set up and I enjoy watching the horses move around instead of just standing there in their pens. I use slow feeding hay nets and ended up making my track a closed one instead of a loop (so more of a U) to get more distance out of it. Mine is set up of very small acreage, but it still works. Great concept!

                          Some pics and diagram here:

                          PS: I borrowed the book and did not find a lot of info in there, but liked the concept.
                          "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                          • #14
                            There is a lady around here who has a BEAUTIFUL one... if you want to check it out sometime. She's very much into naturalization, and horses are VERY happy. I can get directions and a phone # to you sometime if you'd like.
                            Standardbred Lover- owner of Studs Hooligan, aka Strider, ex- pacer, retrained for eventing and endurance
                            Strider-OTSTB-, Gus-OTTB-, and Rio-rescued QH!
                            Founder of the High Maintenance Horses Clique


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AJHorsey View Post
                              There is a lady around here who has a BEAUTIFUL one... if you want to check it out sometime. She's very much into naturalization, and horses are VERY happy. I can get directions and a phone # to you sometime if you'd like.
                              I'm so glad to find this thread. I'm going to be forced to do this for my 7 special needs horses. Uggg, over 12 acres. I'd love to see her set-up since I am also in OH (Dayton area). May I have her information?
                              "Concern for animals is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done." Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896

                              Ponies are cool!


                              • #16
                                Little narrow strips of fenced-off "freedom" where a critter goes where it's fenced--I get the concept, but it hardly seems like Paradise to a free-roaming animal.

                                I just try to keep the grazing pressure down by never having more beasts than the place can handle. After having five here (normal capacity 2-3) for a month, I'm relieved to have just a pair again!
                                Click here before you buy.


                                • #17
                                  Even with grazing muzzles none can have more than a couple hours/day grazing due to 7 Cushings/IR horses ranging in age from 6-30. I can't keep insulin down this year even with muzzles and I don't want them getting bored in the paddocks they are confined to. With this year's rain and extreme green growth they are totally off pasture and will be for a few more months - I'm thinking the first heavy snow that may or may not come. My pastures are just going to waste so I need to do something besides letting them sit.

                                  It's both a blessing and a curse to have 12+ acres of great pasture. Selling the farm and buying 5 acres of dirt is out. Of course if I wanted to off all of them I could do 24/7 t/o but I've worked very hard to maintain them and am ready to explore other options after 2k in vet bills the last 2 months.
                                  "Concern for animals is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done." Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896

                                  Ponies are cool!


                                  • #18
                                    I'm not sure if what I have qualifies as a Paddock Paradise, but I do love my set up!

                                    There are some photos on my website below but I'm not sure if you can tell so I'll also describe my farm layout.

                                    We have 7.5 acres but only 250 ft frontage, so our property is very long and skinny. My barn is about 100 ft from our house, located on the right side. I have 6 stalls, and each stall has an attached paddock approximately 30 ft by 30 ft. Each paddock has a gate which leads to a 10-20 ft wide "chute" that leads to individual pastures. Most of the chutes are at least 150 ft long or longer, depending on which pasture it leads to.

                                    I love the set up because I have lots of options on turnout. In the summer I lock the paddock gates and they are in the stalls/paddocks for about 8 hrs/day. This helps give the pastures some rest from constant grazing. In the winters, I reverse the schedule and they are in their stalls/paddocks from nighttime until the following morning. Since I have overhangs on both sides of the barn, they always have shelter even if locked out of their stalls. I never have to worry if a storm blows in and I'm not at home. It also allows me to turn out in all kinds of weather. I used to have 24/7 access to stalls but it ended up being more expensive and labor intensive because they'd come in to relieve themselves and then walk back out! I don't have 24 hr access to pastures because I try to rest the pastures at least a little bit each day. Even if locked in their paddocks, I have a few different places to hang my small mesh hay nets, so they still get to move around a little.

                                    I also like the fact that no one has to lead the horses in or out from the pastures. I originally did this because the rest of my family are not horse people, so if anyone had to cover for me in a pinch, they could do so safely with minimal handling of the horses.

                                    I do think all the horses here are happy with the layout. Since I board retirees, I like having individual pastures (although one is shared between 2 horses) because the horses can all move at their own pace. They still get to play over the fenceline, but they also have private time where they can graze at their leisure.

                                    Hope this helps!!


                                    • #19
                                      Thanks for the pictures mk. I love your overhangs and that's on my list. Those hay bags just came recommended and I was told I could get them from Miller's Harness. I usually ground feed hay and there is zero waste but they need something to take up more of their time.
                                      "Concern for animals is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done." Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896

                                      Ponies are cool!


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by BEARCAT View Post
                                        Great concept!

                                        Some pics and diagram here:

                                        PS: I borrowed the book and did not find a lot of info in there, but liked the concept.
                                        Yes it is! I so wish I had some trees but we only have them on the fence lines so it's all open space but divided into 3 big pastures ~3 acres ea. and then a couple pastures ~1/2 each, and the paddocks. I've got gates leading to all so I may do a track to start.

                                        I found the book on amazon and may get it. I don't like to follow 1 person blindly but have seen some great ideas.
                                        "Concern for animals is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done." Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896

                                        Ponies are cool!