Friday, November 6, 2009

sacrifice paddock size

OK my blog buddies.  I could use a little help.

As you know this place is a work in progess, and the latest is getting the grass paddocks established to hold upto hooves and grazing.  The top paddock (the largest paddock) has been re-seeded, is doing great with grass growing, but is off limits until late spring.  The lower paddock (the nice grassy one down hill from the barn) has nice grass, but horses with shoes are too tough on it right now and we need to baby that paddock a little.  And, Java's paddock, it's nibbled down to the nub and is barely hanging on, but Java loves it there, so I have let this happen.  Then, there is the newest paddock, the one Lobster has been in, it has no grass.  It is our sacrafice paddock.  It is very pleasant though, sun, shade, room to run, and the barn and other paddocks can be seen from that spot.

This is the issue:
We want 3 sacrafice paddocks.  (3 stall barn, 3rd horse arriving later this month).

Do we split the existing sacrafice paddock into 3.  Each horse would have it's own sacrafice paddock of 44x73.  (3,212 square ft of sacrafice space each horse).


Do we split the existing sacrafice paddock into two and clear more trees and auger more fence post holes (you get the picture) and make a third sacrafice paddock.  (4,818 square ft of sacrafice space each horse ).

The ring will be fenced in soon(?) and that would be a larger space that can be rotated into the mix if one of the horses would like to stretch out a little more.  That is like 125x150, plenty big to get a little more exercise.

I'm reading everwhere and the recommended sizes for sacrafice paddocks is small, 400 to 1,200 square feet.  This sounds too small to me.  If we took the existing sacrafice paddock and split it into 3, each horse would have 3,212 square feet.  If we split it into two, each horse would have 4,818 square feet.

Your thoughts on what you think is best for the horses?  I'm really stuck on giving each horse as much space as possible.  And, I want their joints to not get too wrenched if they have to screech to a halt too often if they feel like playing.  OR, Im crazy because for example, Java is standing still taking a nap in the sun, and would be fine in a 1,000 square ft. paddock right now and 3,000 would be plenty, especially if she gets to be with her buddies.  When weather permits, grass permits, conditions permit, the horses will be on grass.  Like great grass.  This is our transition period to get to that point, and if we want it to happen we have to work in some rotation.  Oh, and we are adding a 4th grass paddock to the mix for good measure.  That grass is growing establising and we just have to fence it in.

Ugh, please, your thoughts.  You guys can help, and I would really appreciate it.  Thank you thank you thank you.

Below are pictures of the sacrafice paddock that will be either split into two... or three...

Bandy says:  "Thank you all very much for your help.  I cannot make ALL the decisions around here".


Anonymous said...

I want a sacrifice paddock large enough for the horses to run and play - we put up to 6 horses in a dry lot that is about 1 acre, and you could go quite a bit smaller with only one or a few horses. We also reseed our dry lots in the spring with a tough grass mix, so that we get at least partway through the winter without the mud being all there is.

SoraSoul said...

If it were me I'd split the one into three. Since you do have larger spaces for them to run around especially. We have fairly small dry lots/sacrifice pens and the nice thing for us is that in muddy or icy conditions the horses actually run around less and build up less speed making them safer. I would suggest putting some kind of footing in, even if just in a corner of each section to combat the mud. When I'm able to I plan on putting gravel or wood chips in a corner of each lot just so the horses have some nonmuddy place to stand.

Terry said...

Here in the West, the grass is fragile, so we have manage our pastures carefully. Our sacrifice areas are our "runs" attached to the stalls. Our stalls are 12x16, so our runs are 16x60 with pea gravel footing for mud control. The stall doors to the runs are open 24/7, weather permitting. The runs open into a paddock that's about 3 acres, and the paddock opens into a large pasture. We control access to the paddock and pasture, but we want our guys out as much as possible. They rip the grass up more with playing than with over grazing.

Jason said...

I'm sure there are reasons that all three horses couldn't go out into your current sacrifice paddock together, but I'd be curious to know them just the same. I concur with the poster who said a little bit of dry footing is a good idea, especially around the gate areas, as much for you as for the horses. Two more loads of gravel for us today and a few more coming as conditions permit.

Jason said...

Never mind about them all going out brain is working properly again ! :)

Psaelemn said...

I wouldn't feel bad about 3,000 odd square feet per horse in a sacrifice paddock. There are tons of horses that get 3 hours (or less) a day in a postage stamp, then go back in their stalls *sad face*.

Are you worried about the trees in the paddock(s) at all?

dancilhoney said...

paddock management did a brill job spraying weeds and topping - the paddocks now look more like playing fields than horse fields!