Horse barn /pen/pasture set up thoughts

promiseacres

Herd Master
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
4,189
Reaction score
7,529
Points
503
Location
NW Indiana
So with our "hopeful" move I'm dreaming of designing a barn/pasture set up.

Was talking with Mom and of course we've different ideas. Her husband set their barns up with a stall per horse and they all run into their stalls to eat, they ONLY used the stalls to do this 90% of the time, occasionally they kept the horses in for inclement weather. I want more horses to know how to be caught outside the barn and find letting them run in and out creates rushy horses that get dangerous and stupid.

My current set up has a lean tos, dry lots, and separate pastures. I feed them outside hay and grain. Right now I have 1-2 horses to a pen but wouldn't be opposed to 3,4 per pen. We'll have the 3 minis, and 5,6 horses when we combine. My thought is 3 dry lots, 1 pony sized, 2 horse sized with lean tos. A barn with 3-4 stalls, a grooming area (aisle way?, though stalls could be used too), tack storage, feed room and hay storage. Well also have a round pen and possibly a separate arena. We'll have 6 pastures we can rotate horses on, 4 will be 1 acre and 2 1/2 acre for the ponies. We just trail ride so don't need anything too fancy, and don't think I need a wash rack, though they can be useful.
Any thoughts? What's something you'll love to add to your horse set up? Is feeding 100% separate a must have? If a horse is a butt I don't have a problem putting them up in a separate pen or stall but just not sure it's a necessity.
 

Simpleterrier

Loving the herd life
Joined
Nov 20, 2016
Messages
310
Reaction score
466
Points
133
Location
North central Ohio
I have all natural horses. Outside all the time and just a lean to for shelter. I group feed I just place more piles then horses and I make them eat it all before the get more no waste. In the summer just free range grass. Mine come when I whistle
 

Bunnylady

Herd Master
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
2,332
Reaction score
2,712
Points
333
Location
Wilmington, NC
Group feeding only works as long as you really don't care how much who gets. My minis can eat from the same hay bag, no problems there, but they must be separated at mealtimes. Two of the minis only get a couple of handfuls of alfalfa cubes and grain, but the mule simply can't be allowed to have access to that - she gets fat on air. The same sort of thing applies to my "bigs;" their needs are very different, and each would suffer (one would be skinny, the other immensely fat) if they weren't separated for meals.

Horses will push each other off of hay bags/piles, but IME, they don't get all that excited about it; true food aggression seems to need grain to trigger it. Some people manage to feed horses at buckets attached to trees or fence posts, but there needs to be enough space in between to make "swapping" impractical. When I've seen people try to do this, the more dominant animals always managed to get the most feed.

Another approach I've seen is "feeding slots," basically narrow stall-like structures, open on one end, that the horses stand in when they eat grain. Because there is only room enough in a slot for one, each stays in its place until it is through eating; even the most dominant horse usually isn't aggressive enough to launch an attack on the backside of a horse that can't run, and must kick back in self-defense. . . or at least, that's the theory.

How well run-in shelters work partly depends on how well the horses get along. I've seen a group of 8 - 10 horses in a pasture with a run-in that was plenty big enough for all, but there were only two or so horses in the shelter of the run-in, the rest were standing out in the sun/rain. It's kind of like what I used to say about some goats I had - "Q:How many goats can you fit in a 12' x 12' horse stall? A: It depends on who the goats are." If it was a certain pain-in-the-patootie wether named Spike, it wouldn't matter how big the space was, he would drive any other goats out, so the answer was, "1." If your top-ranking horses are bossy and pushy, what on paper looks like plenty may be nowhere near enough.:rolleyes:
 
Top