Paddock Paradise Q&A
Paddock Paradise Problems and Solutions
Some of the many questions that have been asked about paddock paradise are going to be posted and answered here – enjoy! I hope this helps anyone wanting to set up a track…………
“I currently rent a 9 acre field for my 4 ponies and have been attempting to put in a track. The problem is that on the clay earth in my part of the UK it keeps ending up as a muddy bog! As I don’t own the land it is very difficult to put down a lot of hard standing ( I am also reluctant to spend huge amounts of money on land that I don’t own)
I have recently been given the opportunity of moving the ponies to a disused 7 acre quarry near by. I am hoping it will be a great place to try to create a paddock paradise system due to the stoney ground, ponds, marshy areas and plenty of natural shelter. The problem is all my ‘traditional’ horsey friends are skeptical and think I would be cruel. I could really do with some advice from anyone who has made a track in the U.K. that could point me in the right direction!
Any help gratefully received (I am in Warwickshire UK)”
Quarry Paddock Paradise Answer
With regard to your current 9 acre field all your issues I fully understand.
The offer of the quarry sounds quite fantastic. Without seeing pictures it is difficult to really evaluate but if you have read Jaime Jackson’s book Paddock Paradise and studied this and other websites I am sure you will already have a basic understanding of how a track can work.
Regarding your friends why don’t you say you are going to try it. In this way you are not committing yourself to anything. Ask them for their support and help. If they won’t do this, then just don’t discuss it, as you cannot expect them to help and support you if they are not familiar with these ideas themselves.
I have just read J Jackson’s Paddock Paradise and was very impressed, then I found your site which is also very impressive.
I am about to embark on my own Paddock Paradise out here in NE Victoria, Australia. Grass here is so lush and rich that it’s a constant battle against laminitis.
What do you think of using steel posts with the plastic caps on them instead of wooden posts and plastic droppers?
Also, how often do you pick up the droppings around the laneway? When I have a horse locked in a large yard I normally pick up droppings morning and night but would have my three horses in the laneway around a very large paddock. Have you noticed any trends towards ‘poohing areas’ using the laneway method?
I can’t wait to start and I am planning all sorts of ‘scenic wonders’ for ‘my chillun’. I must keep a journal!
Suggestions and Answers to the Above
In answer to your questions:-
Steel posts will be fine, I see no problem with using them at all. We used wooden posts because that is what is easily available over here.
On and around the track we don’t pooh pick. It has saved us many hours. We may from time to time harrow the track. We still have to pooh pick around the hay feeding areas otherwise these can get very mucky. On one of the tracks, we have two set up here, there is an area where they tend to leave droppings, we leave this for a while and then will clear it if necessary.
In essence the overall management of their droppings is a lot easier. No doubt you will find certain areas which will need to be kept clean but I suspect the track will create a lot less work for you.
Take care of your track – ours became too trashed through the winter. We had to spend quite a bit of time repairing it as it got so pouched. This has been the biggest problem, but once you are aware of this, you can then manage it.
This may mean turning your horses into the middle of the field during the winter, if it is very wet where you are.
Keep us posted and let us know how you get on.
I am able to rent 5-6 acres of old cow pasture. It has not been fertilized for ages and is a mix of the old grass ley, plantain, buttercups and very small ferny type weeds (no ragwort).
The owner is very keen to keep it ‘pretty’. I can set up any amount of electric fencing but am not allowed any mud.
The area is prone to mud if the turf gets worn through.
My aged Arab mare is not diagnosed laminitic, but gets a fat leg when on too
much sugar. The other younger mare is a good keeper, very greedy, quite lazy
Am I mad in thinking about renting this field? I envisage setting up
‘runways’ to get the girls moving – but I will have to reposition regularly to
stop them wearing through the turf. They are both barefoot which will help of
course. I don’t mind the work, but I am worried about the Arab getting full
What are your thoughts?
Suggestions and Answers to the Above
No you are not mad, but lets see how best I can help you:-
- A Track based on Paddock Paradise is good but you will have to move the fencing in order to prevent the ground from getting beaten up or use it, but when the grass gets low, accept that you will need to rest it for a few weeks plus, depending on the time of year.
What we do is use the track from the spring till the autumn and then put the horses back in the field to graze through the winter.
- Alternatively you could divide the field into 3-4 areas and then rotate the horses. This will be the best way to protect the field and stop it getting muddy.
- With regard to their weights and laminitis – the more they move the better – you can’t afford to let them get fat otherwise you are heading into danger zone – hence exercise is very important.
- When you begin to dig deep into grass and sugars there is an enormous amount of information, but by simplifying it it makes it easier to understand and manage.
- Stressed grass i.e. overgrazed and grass in the morning has a higher amount of sugar as well as the evening. Stalky dry grass has less sugar. You can still study grass in much more detail – but if you keep that in mind, plus:-
- correctly trimmed and balanced hooves,
- and no sugared molassed feeds,
- or chemical wormers/medications,
You will have done more than a very large percentage of horse owners and be well on your way out of laminitic problems.