Time-Saving Tips: Pastures and Horse Turnout
If your horse spends all or most of his day outside, then you likely don’t have to worry about spending time bringing him in and out of the pasture. You do, however, still need to take a few minutes to check on him regularly and keep his fields in good shape.

Regardless of your horse’s housing situation, here are some handy pasturing and turnout tips from TheHorse.com staff and sources.

Keep Horses Outside as Much as Possible

First of all, keep your horses outside as much as possible. Not only is it healthier for them than being stalled, but “fewer stalls to clean means less time spent wielding a pitchfork,” notes Erica Larson, news editor for The Horse.

Install Handy Gate Latches or Pass-Throughs

For the most efficient turnout, install handy gate latches, such as Kiwi latches, that make opening and closing gates as easy as possible, suggests Alayne Blickle of Horses for Clean Water. She also recommends adding pass-throughs to fencelines (about 12 inches wide), which allow you to slip in and out of fields to check on horses or complete chores without wrestling a gate.

[image imageid=”6965″ includeTitle=”false” includeSummary=”false”]While it doesn’t work for everyone (due to safety concerns), some owners with a fence around their entire property train their horses to be led together calmly for turnout. [/image]

Clean Paddocks and Pastures Regularly

Though many farms drag their paddocks and pastures regularly, some owners go the wheelbarrow/pitchfork route. Larson suggests cleaning these enclosures at least daily; the more frequent the better. “And once you learn where to look for poop, it’ll go even faster,” she says. “You (and your back!) will also be faced with fewer manure mountains to deconstruct.” Kill two birds with one stone and pick pastures while your horses eat their meals or while those water tanks fill.

Install Outdoor Lighting for Chores After Dark

Consider installing flood lighting on paddocks as well as along walkways for efficient feeding, watering, and manure-picking after dark, says Blickle.

This article was originally published in the June 2015 issue of The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care.

More Time-Saving Horse Care Tips

You can find additional time-saving horse care tips from our series on TheHorse.com!