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Old 07-06-2006, 01:40 PM  
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How much space is needed per horse?

Hi guys! I was wondering if any of you could tell me how much pastured acreage is needed for 3-4 horses? What we have is 3 fenced acres with a small barn with a feed room and 6 stalls(we can make more!) with our tack room off our house and we only have our mare in the pasture and barn now and we are just working on bringing our second horse home! But we are also wanting to buy a mare we have found that is too good to pass up for breeding reasons( we are hoping to have a baby!) if we have enough room! I always thought we did but my hubby though it was a good question for my horsetopia family! Thanks for all your help as always!
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Old 07-06-2006, 01:47 PM  
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I have always heard minimum one acre per horse.
I have 2 horses and 2 ponies. I have two separate pastures that are about 4 acres each that I rotate between.
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Old 07-06-2006, 01:50 PM  
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We only have about 2.5acres for two horses and a shetland pony and it may not seem like enough but it really is. I think you would want to go with about 1 acre per horse but I have heard you need 2 acres per horse. Unfortunatly 1 per horse is all we have but if you have the room I would give them all the space they can get.
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Old 07-06-2006, 01:55 PM  
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It depends on where you live. I don't know what kind of growing season and soil conditions you have in British Columbia but in Michigan where I'm at the rule of thumb is 2 acres for the first horse and 1 additional acre per each extra horse. I have three acres fenced for pasture with 2 adult horses and one yearling and they are keeping it down to nothing. I don't have to supplement, they're staying fat, but it looks like nothing left out there. It sounds like you might be overloading 3 acres with plans for that many horses. Check with your Agriculture office and ask them. They would know how many horses/acres pasture you need for your area.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:01 PM  
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do you mean three acres in one fence or three seperate pastures that are all one acre?
i've always read 2 acres per horse, i would think you could have fewer acres per horse as long you rotate and there is still plenty of length for them to run. like if you only have three acres, it would be better to split them up into two 1.5 acre pastures and rotate them to give the good stuff a chance to grow back.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:02 PM  
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Thanks guys! I guess I should also say that we live on 10 acres so we can add to our pasture area if we have to! With my hubby working it is a little tough for time but if the agriculture people say 1-2 acres per horse, then I guess we will be adding another 2-3 acres of pasture over the next few weekends! Thank the good Lord that we got this much property after all! We were considering a home with only 5 acres! We obviously needed 10! Thanks again for your help.....
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:03 PM  
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In Mi it depends on where you live if there are acerage requirements for livestock. Where I live in the western part of the state we do not have any minimum acerage requirements.

I have 3 horse on 2 acres of pasture. It really dpends on how much you want to supplement their feed. My horses are on pasture and half a bale of hay a day (per horse) in the summer and get grained in the winter months.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:06 PM  
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Just to answer bettymo's question, we have 3 acres fenced all together right now with the barn sorta right at the front of the pasture where we feed and where jazzy goes into her stall at night. Since we will obviously be adding 2-3 acres, should we have a seperate pasture or add it to our original pasture for a 5-6 acre BIG pasture? What do you think? Thanks again!
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:07 PM  
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Where we live in Virginia, it's 7 acres for the first horse (and I'm not sure how many acres/horse after that). Needless to say, there aren't many in my area, except for the boarding stables.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:33 PM  
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I was also told 1 horse per 2 acres, but as stated before it is according to the area and how much grass you have. They eat continually and can graze down a few acres in a short time if you dont have plenty of grass.

I have almost 17 acres with 20 horses. 14 are in paddcoks with free choice hay.

The rest are on pasture.
We also feed grain as well.

Fertilizing your pasture also helps keeping good grass.

If you have the grass, 2 horses on the three acres should be enough.
Cross fencing and rotating will help keep grass all the time.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:38 PM  
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i have 4 adult horses and a foal and probably only have about 3 acres pastured. we feed hay all year round. We have a total of 9 acres and where we live you have to have 5 acres for the 1st horse then 1 acre per horse after that
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:48 PM  
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We have 20 acres and 17 horses - and about three acres are worthless - we too feed hay all year long, grain in the cooler weather, and an excellent worming program...our horses are fat and happy! The acerage is important for space to run and play, but three acres in a dozen different states will never produce the same feed supply - some will provide all the feed, others might not even support one horse - unless you have your pasture grass tested, you won't know what it will provide..the acerage you have sounds fine for the horses you own, just add hay if they need it and you should do very well...
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:55 PM  
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I've always heard one acre per horse, but I guess it also depends on where you live. We have 2 horses on a 13 acre pasture so you know what that means...........we NEED more horses, otherwise its wasted space right??? (yeah, I got it bad)
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:57 PM  
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In my part of VA, you only need to have more than 1 acre to keep livestock in an area zoned agriculteral. No legal limit on how much livestock you keep on it after that, except that the animals have to be healthy and the living conditions have to be maintained.

Generally, around here, you can forage a horse on 3/4 of a well-managed acre for 3/4 of the year, but during winter you will need to feed hay, and grain all year round for most horses (but maybe not ponies).
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Old 07-06-2006, 03:22 PM  
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I agree that it depends on whether or not you plan to supplement with hay. You can obviously get by with less pasture if you do. Where I live in Virginia, the rule is one horse per 2 acres up to ten acres (5 horses) and after that one horse per acre. No one has yet to tell me if that is cleared acreage or if you can count wooded acreage into that formula. I think where people get themselves into trouble is if their animals look "boney" and someone calls the authorities. If your animals look well fed and healthy, some places don't really hassle you over how many animals you have on your acreage.
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:10 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLovely
I've always heard one acre per horse, but I guess it also depends on where you live. We have 2 horses on a 13 acre pasture so you know what that means...........we NEED more horses, otherwise its wasted space right??? (yeah, I got it bad)
Ummm, we can help you with that - we need a few less horses!!!
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