Lauren Cartwright’s August Update

August 24, 2006

Well it has been a pretty hot and dry summer here. There hasn’t been too much to report until now on the Paddock Paradise experience so I haven’t updated lately. So, here’s what has been going on.

The trials and tribulations of managing horses with differing dietary needs….

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Until last week I was still allowing the horses access to the pastures at night to graze and putting them on the track during the day. I was doing that because I have a just turned yearling and I wanted her to have the benefit of grazing thinking it was best for her during this period of growing. The problem though is that my other three were getting too fat. I also noticed that my mare was lacking energy again. During the day they weren’t really going on track much, but just hanging out at the barn resting. Then we stopped getting any rain for the past 3 weeks and the grass is pretty dried up, so time to just take them off the pasture all together. I guess I needed that last push. Old habits die hard.

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I decided to put them on track full time with hay spread in little piles in a huge circle. I put out hay in the morning and in the evening because my work schedule doesn’t allow time for me to feed more than twice a day. I also purchased a scale so I could weight the hay and make sure I do not overfeed, as I have a habit of doing when I am “eyeballing” it. I also put my filly in a paddock for about an hour in the morning and evening to eat some hay on her own (just to be sure she is getting enough).

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So the verdict….

I was expecting my mare to get grumpy about not being on pasture at all anymore. I was also worried about them eating all the hay quickly and then being without forage for many hours until I got home. Well, so far this has not been the case. My mare is very perky and happy (even with it being extremely hot, humid and buggy). They are spreading out their hay intake throughout the day because when I get home at night (or go out in the morning to check) there is always a few morsels left here and there. But the best part is they are in constant motion. Ok, I am sold. It took me awhile, but I am thrilled with this so far and even when the pasture comes back in this fall I think I will just continue to use the track full time.

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Next….

I can’t wait to see if this helps with some self trimming of hooves. I have added more gravel around the barn area. It has been so dry that I have not been that motivated to spread more gravel on the track. It is so hard and packed on its own right now. I will do more graveling this fall when the weather cools down some.

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So that is all for now. I have just included some pictures from this summer of my horses in different places on the track. Thank you Carmon for your inspiration for being more diligent to carry my camera with me more. Your stunning photos of your horses has really inspired me.

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4 Responses to “Lauren Cartwright’s August Update”

  1. Belinda Park Says:

    Hi Lauren,
    I am very impressed with your paddock paradise setup. I am very tempted to start mine( when I get the energy to do the fencing) I am having the same concerns you had, mainly about having the time to spread their hay 24/7. And how my two would cope without any green pasture. They are quite spoilt and it is hard for me to change habits. But your article has inspired me once again.I think I just keep finding excuses not to start. Could I ask you a question? How much hay would I need to put out on a daily basis for two horses.This would help me a lot.
    Thanks, Belinda.

  2. Lauren Says:

    Hi Belinda,
    I’m glad to hear you are inspired! I think you will find your horses are very happy with the new arrangements once they get used to it. I actually used Carmon’s feeding routine as a guideline for how much hay to put out. At this time I am putting out approximately 1.2% of their combined body weights, split into 2 feedings. So I add together their combined weight and multiply by 0.012. That is the total amount of hay they get in one day. This has been working well for me so far. I may adjust it up a little as we get into winter. You may have to experiment to find what is the best amount for your individual horses, different horses have different metabolisms. All mine are pretty “easy keepers”. I probably wouldn’t recommend much less than that for gut health reasons. Really spreading it out good in very small piles does a lot to make it last most of the day/night I have found. Now that they are more used to the routine I have started “hiding” the hay in different places more to make them seek it. At first I started putting it in pretty obvious places to get them used to the routine.

    Let us know how it goes and if you figure out some more “tips” along the way.
    Lauren

  3. Lauren Says:

    Oops…I was re-reading my response to your post and realized I left out a pretty critical piece of information on the amount of hay. That calculation gives you the POUNDS of hay.
    Lauren

  4. Diane Engelsdorfer Says:

    Thanks for posting all the pictures and the description. I am in the process of having some woods cleared for pasture and a track for Pasture Paradise. I’m also in Missouri. If yoou are anywhere close I’d love to see how you have set your PP up You can email me at vital_resource@msn.com

    Diane


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