TRACKED GRAZING OR
PLEASE NOTE: Track grazing IS NOT the same as strip grazing, which does not offer the movement required for healthy horses but we also appreciate that we all have to use what we have for the best results for our own individual horses, so if you can't track graze please strip graze as the next best thing.
Tracked grazing is when you make a continuous loop around the inside edge of your paddocks (often using electrical tape and standards, though some tracks are permanent too) as to give your horse/s enough room to move freely but restrict the amount of grass s/he can eat due to this excellent design, which is basically a living treadmill for your horse as it allows him or her only to take a few mouthfuls of grass and then to be forced to move on another step for more grazing .......and just like with people, movement and exercise are the key to having healthy horses. Why does this work ....
Horses naturally follow trails and tracks in the wild, and will make their own prefered dirt tracks in your paddocks if they are big enough. So we can mimic this natural behaviour by setting up an easy and cheap tracked grazing system from anything as small as an 1/2 acre upwards as shown in the diagram above.
This encourages your horse to move his feet to eat, which is great for circulation and has the bonus of developing excellent barefoot feet too.
And it's this natural movement that allows for 24/7 turnout-even for those with grass restrictions like miniatures or horses prone to founder/laminitis.
Now as I am such a sceptic, of course I had to test this out fully to see if it worked before using this method. So I used a digital pedometer attached to my herds halters and monitored this over a week with them on a track and then a week on a free paddock, and guess what-yes it definately made a difference, and to my pleasant surprise my horses walked on average 5000 more steps per day when on a track which adds upto a lot over 365 days per year. Plus I could restrict their green grass intake without being cruel and locking them up, which made me (and them) feel better, especially those in danger of developing laminitis/founder etc...
That was 11 years ago and I have never looked back. Plus I have since gone on to become more imaginative with my track, and added gravel, and river stones, crushed lime etc....and placed the water troughs in strategic locations as to encourage even more movement of my herd....putting herbs in pots and hay in our slow-feed hay nets in various locations as to make the herd forage for their food as to create more movement.....
Now you can Google for more info on this and we recommend the following for in depth info
Paddock Paradise Book by Jaime Jackson
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