Grazing un-fenced pasture

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Ourpairofminicolts

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Our acre for our horses is split in half. Our horses get the back, it's fenced off from the front. Last year we had a drought that almost killed all the grass in the backyard. We've over-seeded, and have more seed for spots that need it later, but the funky temperatures have prevented the soil from maintaining 60°, so the grass seed hasn't had a chance to germinate. It needs the horses off of it as much as possible as well.

So, we'd like to let the horses graze in the front yard, without constant supervision. I've been taking them out on lunge lines, and tying them to our porch, (only with supervision), for an hour or 2 a day when I can.

Ideally, we want to make a PVC corral, like a kit we found online. But I've read good things about picket hobbles as well, and they'd be cheaper than a portable PVC corral, and allow them to cover more area.

Whatever solution we get or make, we'd also like to be able to use at horse shows or camping, too, ideally.

Here's a picture of the PVC kit we can buy, (or make ourselves) with the panels assembled. It has an option to add electric wire, I'm sure we could do that as well, if it ends up necessary. It uses step in stakes.

Screenshot_20210515-213131_Chrome.jpg

Does anyone here graze your horses somewhere without a fence, and what do you use to keep them from running away? (Not that ours are very interested in doing anything but eating that grass anyway lol)

Just trying to get a read on what might work best for our situation, before we start spending any money, and trying to keep it as cheap as possible...
 

Marsha Cassada

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I have a large area I turn my horses into that is unfenced. 99% of the time, they nibble and wander and all is well. The other 1% they get into trouble. I also use a picket rope sometimes. Some horses are fine with it, and some panic if the rope is around a leg. Either way, they have to be watched. I would go for the portable corral; safest in the long run since you want it for camping. I'm still doing the unfenced and picket sometimes, but I have to watch them.
 

JFNM miniatures

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I've used the Gallagher Smartfence for several years now, and I really like it ! It's a portable electric fence, 328' long and 36.5 tall. It's got 4 rows of poly wire. I found my horses were very respectful of it and it even worked for my big horse.
It's easy to transport and set up! I used it to let my horses graze, and I'd move it every week or so to rotate their grazing. Also, you can add more lenghts of poly wire and extra posts if you want it bigger.

Now that I have a permanent pasture, I still use it if I want to divide the pasture, or if I want my horses to graze somewhere else to let my pasture rest. Plus, it's perfect for camping or even moving in to a new place that doesn't have a pasture or barn. (like in our case)

Here is a link to it, although there are many other websites that have it. You could also see it on Gallagher's website. And I also included a video where they show how to set it up.


 

Dragon Hill

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If you tie your miniature horse out to graze, can I suggest you use a length of chain instead of rope? Zero chance of rope burn, and I've never seen or heard of one getting tangled up in chain. I wouldn't use double loop chain (typically porch swing and dog tie out chain), but any light duty smooth link chain would work.
Of course you're keeping an eye out on them, but maybe this information could help someone be a little safer.
 

Dragon Hill

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Well, I would never tie out with a rope, but I think the important thing is if you do tie out, never take your eyes off them. The rope incident was a mini I had to transport to the vet. The owner (worked with my husband) left her tied out to a tree unattended, when he came back she was upside down, wrapped against the tree, and rope wrapped around a hind leg, and that leg was broke.
 

Ourpairofminicolts

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Thank you all for the insightful replies, and personal experiences with stuff like this! That's what I was looking for.

That Gallagher fence setup is pretty neat! I think it's about the same price as building a PVC corral ourselves, even minus fence charger, if we decide to electrify it. I'll have to look into that more before we make a decision, thanks JFNM.

PS every time I take them out with the ropes right now, they are supervised constantly. They haven't done more than get a little wrapped up, and when they do, then they just look at me and wait for me to come free them lol. They're learning better too how to step over them and not get tangled at all. I do want to get a better solution soon though, although they would still be supervised.

I've also seen a horse, chained to a concrete block, injure himself pretty badly. For a senior photo shoot 😒 and she never visited that horse, anyway. I've never seen anything but bad things happen with horses plus chains. Not to discount your experience, Dragon Hill, just my personal experiences!
 

JFNM miniatures

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Thank you all for the insightful replies, and personal experiences with stuff like this! That's what I was looking for.

That Gallagher fence setup is pretty neat! I think it's about the same price as building a PVC corral ourselves, even minus fence charger, if we decide to electrify it. I'll have to look into that more before we make a decision, thanks JFNM.
Of course ! I was just sharing my experience with portable fencing... but it may not fit with your situation... :)
 

Dragon Hill

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You guys make me think I must have been the luckiest person in the world. Although it's been over a decade since I've tied anything out to graze, I never had even one horse get tangled in any way, let alone hurt. I was surprised by all the horror stories, and it made me wonder if you guys were talking about miniature horses or full sized horses? I wouldn't "tie out to graze" anything bigger than a mini, but I'm grateful I no longer have need to do so.
 

Marsha Cassada

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I have been working with staking out Midnight. I use the stake that twizzles into the ground and the ring that the rope is tied to, turns. She has not yet figured out how to graze without the rope getting around her hind foot, but she waits patiently for me to come and show her how to lift her foot. I realize the inherent danger, but this is how I choose to handle a certain situation. It is good for her to learn how to be staked out. She is a smart girl, and will learn to keep her feet out of the rope, I'm sure. There may be a time when staking is necessary, and it is best to be prepared.
We use electric fencing. Haven't even turned it on in months, as once they know what the wire means, they respect the boundary.
 

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