Ask the Expert: How big should a decently sized pasture be for a pony with Cushings Disease?

Q:

Hello!
My family and I will be moving onto a property that will (hopefully) have enough space to move my pony onto. Though if the property doesn’t come with a pasture and/or lean-to we will be putting one in ourselves. How big should a decently sized pasture be for her?
A bit about her:
Darla is twenty-six years old POA with Cushing’s Disease- she isn’t able to have grass and has a strict diet of hay and grain with her medication. Being older she doesn’t move around too much, and she would be by herself in the pasture- she’s always done better in smaller spaces; the bigger the space the more anxious she gets and the more she paces.

Thanks!

Tristian


A:

Hello Tristian! Congrats on your new property.  I have a suggestion for your question about the size of the pasture.  Because your pony is not to eat grass, a very small pasture area is fine.  I use a system for my own horses that allows them to move quite a bit on a small acreage and keep off the grass forage.  It consists of a perimeter fence around the entire area that you have to work with for a pasture.  Then, inside the perimeter fence use another fence to create a lane that is as wide as you wish, for example 15-20 feet wide that follows the perimeter fence as closely as you want to.  One end of the lane would be at the lean-to for the pony to freely enter and exit. The other end can be open or gated. If gated then your pony could walk the lane to the end and back, creating more movement, or if left open could make a complete loop from lean-to, around the lane to lean-to.  I want my horses to move as much as possible so my lane is gated at the end and I feed them there.  Then to get back to the barn and water they have to turn around and go all the way back.  I use the center area that is left inside the lane to grow grass and let them eat it occasionally when it’s tall enough. I use temporary fence posts and one strand of electric fence wire or tape for the interior fence which has kept fencing cost down. One more thing is making some of the lane nice and wide for resting, napping and rolling.  Depending on what the land or footing will be in your lane, you can add sand, wood chips, gravel or leave it the way it is.
Wishing you well!

Wendy Croney

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