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[RC] limited pasture/horse health/paddock etc. - Kathie Ford

Well, bottom line is if your horse is happy and healthy no matter how you keep them. Many of us are limited in many ways and do the best we can with what we've got.

My horses have a little of both worlds. I had wanted them to have beautiful grassy pastures. When I told my farrier I was going to sell my house to find one with lush pasture he told me what I had was better for their feet and that I shouldn't. So I didn't. I only have one with fronts shoes on, all other barefoot several months during the year including my endurance mare. Their feet are strong and hard.

I feed them 24/7 free choice hay, placed in piles everywhere to simulate grazing best I can. I put out little feeders with free choice minerals and loose salt and plenty of fresh water everyday.

I also have a barn. Mine do like their barn and are happy in it in bad weather, or in the spring when the mosquitos are bad. Many of my mares also seem to enjoy a little "space" to themselves once in a while too. I do try to keep them outside until it's really bad. However, I also have a slight slope to my property that is great for drainage, but can be very slippery and dangerous with a lot of downpouring which we do get. So in the barn they go for safety. Believe me, I've tried to leave them out and many have slipped and had bad falls. NOT worth an injury and ribs and hips out which I have had to have fixed. So in they go, although for short periods of time. My daughters mare was running around once in the rain, jumping, leaping, playing, then reared, lost her footing, fell over backwards with her head just missing two big rocks. My stomach hurt and I held my breath watching that one. So I don't care what anybody says about barns. Mine are in in bad weather. Period. Their stalls do have paddocks and an overhang so they do have good ventillation and can stand outside, walk around etc... yet have shelter from the elements.

I do have one gelding who likes to be outside no matter what. But he does have a barn stall offered him just in case. He has 4 acres all to himself. He's almost 30 and a QH we rescued 3 years ago. But, when we do bring our other gelding down the street (he hates being outside) then Pops is inside with him. They don't particularly like the metal roof as it is very noisy. But they do stay in especially during the heavy downpours and wind especially. After that they are both romping around. Flat and safe ground.

However, I don't use my barnl when the rainy season stops. So they get a little of both worlds and it works for them.

I think we just have to do whatever works for us all, even though there are many directions of care we can take.

Frankly, I don't mind mucking stalls and maitenance as it keeps me busy and working my muscles. I benefit from the extra work. Keeps my tushy off the couch! I also clean my pasture everyday to keep the parasites down, and the flies. Got a nice manure spreader that works great and helps.

They do get to graze at a neighbors so there is a litte of that too. Best and all I can do. So far so good.

Good feet and all are happy and healthy...



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