- If it works for your situation, use electric tape and standards to fence off most of the center of the paddock. That way you can reasonably cheaply see if your ideas actually work in the real world... if not then you can change or adapt your fencing during your initial trial time before maybe converting part or all of your property to a more permanent track system
- Angle fence corners to provide room
- The width of the track depends on the size, amount and temperament of the horses or donkeys using it
- Leave enough width for individuals to comfortably turn around or for those down the pecking order to get out of the way of the bossy ones!
- Dry, firm areas could be added to develop good internal hoof structure and external horn quality – race rock, gravel, sand, pumice etc can be used
- Leave a larger area for rolling, sleeping or hanging out
- Make use of any natural features, trees and hedges for shelter, safe shallow ponds for play or drinking, small ditches and fallen trees for jumping/stepping over but be mindful of the limitations of geriatric equines
- Having the water trough a good distance away from the hay source adds extra movement
- Can be very cheap using electric fence standards and tape
- May involve the addition of gravel, sand, woodchip, pumice or similar to create dry standing or walking areas
- Slow feed haynets are a great addition because hay is eaten more slowly which encourages good gut function
- Natural hoof wear through extra mileage - movement is extremely beneficial, not only to hoof health but also to physical, mental and emotional well-being
- Pasture areas don’t get pugged up or overgrazed in the winter so there is more growth with a quicker recovery time in internal areas that might be strip grazed
- Will reduce access to grass for the laminitic or greedy ones
- Easy keepers are healthier – they get to move instead of being yarded or confined to a small area
- Encourages movement - more control over grass intake without restricting movement
- Creates a herd dynamic through almost constant walking and grazing small amounts of grass
- Develops relationships and natural equine hierarchy through socialization
- Room to run, play, roll and sleep
- Grass growth in the center can either be grazed by other species or used as a feed source for some grazing time for equines that benefit from the lower carbohydrate levels in early morning grasses
- Pick up poop or have two or more tracks so that one area can be rested or cross grazed (cows or sheep) to reduce parasite build up while the other track/s are being used
- Drench regularly or do faecal egg counts to check parasite load if using herbal, homeopathic or other non-chemical wormers. Just remember though that faecal egg counts are only a general guideline. The ball of poop tested one day can vary greatly from a ball tested a week later depending on what stage of the reproductive cycle the adult worms are in at the time – growing, making babies or having babies!
- Muddy in winter in medium to high rainfall areas
- Unless your horses come when you call you may sometimes have to search a bit for them
- Make tracks really narrow if you have a very dominant horse, donkey etc
- Spray out the grass! Use other stock to graze it off first if you have a carbohydrate challenged equine. Some horses are very sensitive to toxins. Spray drift and eating dead sprayed grass is not healthy. Don’t believe the propaganda - Roundup is not a safe herbicide!
- Use sand or small gravel in areas where hard feed or hay is fed
- Make corners narrow or trappy
- Feed hay adlib to those obese equines who constantly just have to eat! Equines are only meant to eat for around16-18 hours a day not 24! Make sure the obsessive eaters have some dental down time!!