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Horse-y TCSers...need your knowledge!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My father just bought a gorgeous farm. He is going to let me keep my horse there rent-free, which is WONDERFUL, as it will free up some much-needed cash. He's also planning to buy a horse for himself so my mare will have some company...I have impressed upon him that horses need herds.
Thing is, my horse is 20 years old and has always lived in a boarding stable, in a stall, on grain and hay. I plan to keep her in the barn for a while and just take her out on the lead until she gets adjusted to the new surroundings, but eventually I would like to let her roam free on pasture. How long does it take to get a horse accilmated to grazing? I know that if I let her at it right off the bat she'll probably get a potentially-leathal case of colic so I need to ease her into it, but how should I go about it? No one at my barn seems to know...they all have show horses, and there's no pasture at the barn.
Also, she has very tough hooves...I have thought about pulling her shoes when she gets to the farm and just trimming her up when she needs it. If I do that, how should I go about it? She'll still be ridden occasionally, but the ground at the farm isn't very rocky at all...it's all pasture, with some woods.
I want for her to live out her days as naturally as possible after a life of living in stables and such...I think she will be a happy horse.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoe'n'MissKitty
My father just bought a gorgeous farm. He is going to let me keep my horse there rent-free, which is WONDERFUL, as it will free up some much-needed cash. He's also planning to buy a horse for himself so my mare will have some company...I have impressed upon him that horses need herds.
Thing is, my horse is 20 years old and has always lived in a boarding stable, in a stall, on grain and hay. I plan to keep her in the barn for a while and just take her out on the lead until she gets adjusted to the new surroundings, but eventually I would like to let her roam free on pasture. How long does it take to get a horse accilmated to grazing? I know that if I let her at it right off the bat she'll probably get a potentially-leathal case of colic so I need to ease her into it, but how should I go about it? No one at my barn seems to know...they all have show horses, and there's no pasture at the barn.
Also, she has very tough hooves...I have thought about pulling her shoes when she gets to the farm and just trimming her up when she needs it. If I do that, how should I go about it? She'll still be ridden occasionally, but the ground at the farm isn't very rocky at all...it's all pasture, with some woods.
I want for her to live out her days as naturally as possible after a life of living in stables and such...I think she will be a happy horse.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
ONLY let her out for small periods of time at first and do not feed her extra unless the grass is short and old.

I let my mares out in early summer late spring and one of them foundered. The grass was too rich. I had to then fence part of the pasture off and only let her out there for a few hours at a time.

Good luck! OH and ask your VET for HIS/HER advise!
post #3 of 15
First of all. LUCKY YOU. Second. Yes you will want to gradually switch to pasture. I would say start with an hour a day and see how she does. than bump to two hours..ect. some horses take to it easier than others. And some wont gorge, while others will.

And YES YES YES. if she has good feet and the ground is good and she has no known lameness trouble. by all means pull her shoes! My horses are always barefoot! I like it that way, and they do great that way. I actually think its healthier myself. and idont have to worry about shoes getting pulled or thrown!

I always keep my babies in pasture, sometimes they are pulled into the barn for one reason or another. But otherwise back out they go so i can help you on that!
post #4 of 15
Personally I would be more worried about founder than colic on the green grass. You don't want her on full pasture- buy a small round pen fencing and put it up in the pasture. Allow her in there only one hour a day for several weeks, but don't give her free roam grazing. Also buy a large industrial magnet and drag this field to pick up loose metal you will more than likely find plenty. Talk to your vet about if he makes up a special spray turpentine/idodine to toughen her soles so she can go barefoot-
post #5 of 15
Our horses are always barefoot, and on pasture all summer. The 3 acres of fields are fenced into 3 pasture areas. They are rotated all summer. They still get grain in the barn almost every night. Occasionally, on hot nights, they are left out all night, but never more than one night at a time.

In the winter they are turned out almost every day into the barn lot. They get hay outside, and then hay and grain inside every night.

Maybe your vet can give you good advice for how to turn your horse out. It may be difficult to turn her out for one hour at a time. I don't know how obedient she is, but ours will refuse to come into the barn if they are only out for a short time! You may need to fence in a small area, and mow it short so she can't overeat.

When we first got our own farm, the people who were keeping our horses brought them to us before we had the fence up. I spent a few days walking two horses out on a lead. It gets to be a drag pretty quick! (I had a baby at the time, so it was hard to balance their needs with hers!)

Best of luck, I am sure the transition will be great for your horse!
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
THANK YOU ALL so much for the info/advice!!! I plan to have the vet come out as soon as we get my mare moved. I'll get some input then. My baby has had her yearly check-up, but who knows if my dad will bother to have whatever horse he buys vetted before he hands over the cash, no matter what I tell him....
I'm really excited about her being able to live like a real horse...she's not a show horse, but I've never had anywhere but show/boarding stables to keep her, and she's always had a problem with weaving and swaying in the stall no matter how much she gets out. I think pasture living will be great for her.
There's a small area behind one of the barns that I can probably talk my dad into fencing off for a while until she gets adjusted.
And I will FOR SURE check about a spray for her feet. She's got HUGE, tough feet even for an Arab so going barefoot probably won't be a problem for her, but since she's had shoes all her life any little bit helps.
Now...if I can just get my dad to understand that horses are more environmentally friendly than tractors and safer than ATVs, we'll be set. Before we know it he'll be plowing with Percherons and bringing in the cows on a Quarter Horse. hehe
post #7 of 15
My horses are always barefoot too. They do well in the pasture barefoot it is not very good for them to wear shoes unless they will be on a lot of concrete or rocks. Her feet might be tender for awhile but she'll adjust and be fine.
Pasture is the best! I hate to keep my horses in a stall. My arab gets too energetic when he's stalled and my other horses get very board and chew wood.
post #8 of 15
shes an arab? oh she will be FINE barefoot! lol
post #9 of 15
just to mention-old horses generally don't do well on hay and grain. They can't chew it well enough to digest it. You might want to consider switching your horse to hay pellets if she starts to lose weight. She may not do perfect on pasture grass becuse of the chewing problem and you might want to suppliment her with wet down hay pellets.
post #10 of 15
Aww what a nice change for your horsey
post #11 of 15
My horse lived in a stall for the first 13 years of his life. All he ate was hay and a little grain. We put him on grass pasture when we moved here (he had been on pasture in texas, but "pasture" in the part of Texas we were in was like dried up weeds and stuff...

When we moved here last year he foundered in the spring from the lush grass. Be very careful with that.
post #12 of 15
A slow intro to the pasture is the way to go - I have a old arab mare, 24, on my parents farm, who is prone to getting chubby in spring - we have to lock her up a bit when the grass is very thick and rich. She has never actually foundered, but I'm sure It has been close a few times. Keep an eye on your horse, check with your vet - who could also do a dental check on her if she has not had one recently.
Goodluck - She should be happy with her new life!!
post #13 of 15
As well as all the above, I am sure you know to check the pasture well for poisonous plants like ragwort, and to ensure she has a fresh water source available as you move her round the fenced in areas. If the area has been used recently for cows it would also be well to get it checked as there could be some parasite infestations that could affect your horse. Good luck - I intend to put two ponies to pasture when I move eventually to France.
post #14 of 15
Also solid fencing is a plus. No barbed wire at all- if you use T-Posts be sure and cap them.
post #15 of 15
Yes yes please make sure you CAP the T posts......I got called as the OC to a scene last night, through my clinic..and it was not pretty a mare impaled herself on a tpost amazingly she is still alive shes on alot of fluids and such but..we shall see.
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