Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage
Edition - Arriving Soon!
I've just received my first copy of
the Second Edition of Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage and it looks fantastic!
My publisher, Storey Books, has done a great job with it. In a few weeks, I'll
be receiving my first shipment, so will be able to fill your orders. Thank you
for your patience !
The first edition of this book was reprinted over 30
times since it was first published in 1990. The Second Edition has 120 more pages
than the first edition, twice as many drawings (by that partner of mine, Richard
Klimesh), and twice as many photos PLUS the entire book is in color! I took many
of the photos here at Long Tail Ranch so you can see our facilities, pastures,
horses, and management.
I've included more information about arenas and
footing, caring for the environment on our horse farms and ranches, and I updated
and expanded the entire tractor and implement section. There are so many other
new features in this book that you will just have to see for yourself. Visit this
page to see a full table of contents:
from Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage
2006 Cherry Hill
Choosing Your Management Style
There is no one right way to keep horses. But horsekeeping will go
more smoothly if you design a management routine that fits your lifestyle, facilities,
and locale. If you have ample pasture but little time for daily horse care routines
and plan to ride only on weekends, then keeping your horses on pasture full time
might be the best choice. If, on the other hand, you have limited space but have
the time and interest to do barn chores and can provide daily exercise for your
horse, then stabling could work. Another popular way to keep horses is in a partially
sheltered pen or run. To tailor your own horse management plan, consider the pros
and cons of the most common methods of keeping horses.
Keeping a Horse in a Stall
The smaller your
acreage and the closer you live to an urban area, the more likely your horse will
spend part of his time in a stall. Although it is a space efficient way to keep
a horse, it requires a large investment of capital and time. Keeping a horse in
a stall requires you have a well-designed barn and that you feed at least twice
a day, clean the stall at least once a day, and exercise the horse every day by
riding, longeing, driving, ponying, or providing active turnout. Even with all
that, stall life doesnt suit every horse. For the best chance of success,
start with a good stall.
A good stall environment begins with a minimum
space of 12 x 12 with an 8 x 4 door. Many horses over
1100 pounds or 15 hands are much neater and more content in a 12 x 14
or 12 x 16 stall.
For hoof and respiratory health, the barn
should be located on a well-draining site. The base of the floor should be porous
material such as 10-12 of gravel. The flooring, which goes on top of the
base, should be comfortable and safe, such as rubber mats. The bedding must be
non-toxic, clean, dust-free, comfortable, and something the horse wont eat.
The stall walls/doors should discourage rubbing, be able to withstand damage
from kicking or chewing, allow ventilation to flow through the stall, and allow
the horse to look out of the stall. There should be a clean place for the horse
to eat hay (preferably at ground level), a grain feeder and a large water pail
or automatic waterer. The stall should be located where there is not a lot of
noise or bright lights. The barn environment overall should be healthy - plenty
of ventilation (windows, doors, vents or fans) that keeps the temperature in the
30-80 F range and humidity in the 35-60% range.
Pros and Cons of stall life.
See the book.
a Horse on Pasture
Part of the dream of having a horse is the
visual satisfaction of seeing a horse peacefully grazing on a well-maintained
pasture at your home. Pasturing a horse might be the most natural way to keep
a horse, but unfortunately, it is out of reach for many and can be far from ideal
from a horses viewpoint. For the best chance for success, start with a good
A good pasture has a stand of plants suitable for horses. The
best kind of horse pasture is a well-drained grass mix with few weeds and NO poisonous
weeds, trees or shrubs. If there is a good grass stand established, you have decent
rainfall or access to irrigation, and you mow, harrow and reseed as necessary,
you should be able to keep one horse on 2 acres of pasture during the growing
season. However, arid ranchland with minimal browse plants can require 20 acres
or more to support a single horse. To get a better idea of the specific stocking
rate for your property, contact your county extension agent.
A pasture needs
to be enclosed with safe fencing and gates. Pasture fences and gates should be
at least 5 feet tall and well maintained to maximize the horses safety and
minimize the liability of loose horses on public or private property. Using electric
fencing in conjunction with conventional fencing decreases the wear and tear on
fences and adds to security as long as the electric fence is checked daily to
be sure it is working.
There should be no old dumps or farm equipment in
a pasture; horses can easily get hurt on items hidden by tall grass.
should be easy and safe access to free choice, good quality water. Natural sources
should be running, not stagnant. Know the source of the water your horse drinks.
If it contains agricultural runoff, it could be high in nitrates. A trough or
automatic waterer should be kept clean and situated to minimize mud and to prevent
a horse from being crowded into a corner or against a fence.
be well drained with no bogs or stagnant water and preferably the soil should
not be not sandy.
The pasture should provide shelter - either natural (trees,
rocks or terrain) or man-made (shed or windbreak) to ward off sun, wind, cold
precipitation, and insects.
There should be free choice salt and mineral
blocks at all times.
Pros and cons of pasture life - see book.
a Horse in a Pen or Run