Here are the reasons why I find the track system approach to horse management so effective for my horses and why it works so well for me.There are other ways to  successfully manage your horse, so if you are unable to create your own track, do not despair!

 

The whole idea of the track is to provide a positive environment in which your horse can freely move, socialise with other horses and where you can easily control his diet towards one that suits him best.

Providing grass free options is a key priority for Calm Healthy Horses and for most of the year a good track set up will do that fundamental task for you. 

By setting up your track along a fence line, picking the best places you can for firm ground conditions and using  natural shelter, you can provide your horse with the most important things he needs.

For this reason, my track is not traditionally circular. It is long – over about 1/2 mile, with a large ‘loafing’ area at each end.  In setting up my track I considered where the natural places that provided shelter from wind, rain and sun were.  Then I made sure these places were in my track space.   Doing it this way at my location means that only the headland of the field is affected by the track. This will make it easier to put right if I eventually move.

Horses love a view! They thrive most when they can see out across the fields and experience fresh breezy air. So I made sure to use this opportunity in my track.  In the top corner of my field I am lucky to have a great viewpoint, which also has a little shelter from the wind.

Moveable electric fences allow me to create firm ground in wet weather. As the ground dries up, I shrink the track back to its normal size.  Being flexible like this gives me a simple way to keep the track reasonably grass-free in summer and manage the mud and ground conditions in challenging times over winter.

I store my hay near to the hay boxes on pallets covered by a plastic sheet to keep off the rain.  This means I can easily fill the hay boxes off the track, which makes life easy and saves me struggling to carry hay out of a barn and up to the hay stations.

How does keeping horses on a track compare to using alternative an management system?

I find track life still creates regular work but for me its much more managable than a stable and turn-out system.   I poo-pick every day and I tend to fill the hay boxes on the same basis.  Its important to check and adjust the fences regularly and most days I feed the horses the small simple bucket twice a day.   When I have a clipped a horse I rug him in very cold and wet weather.

In many ways track life is the same but different!   Where I feel the real benefit of this system lies, is the saving I make from bedding which can be reinvested in good  hay to be fed all year round.  I feel I have more flexibility around the times I need to be there. This means I can have a life beyond horses! My horses are relaxed but also self-maintain a level of fitness which really helps with my competitive goals. Most importantly of course, I have confidence that they will not be at risk of any grass-affected issues. This is something that was a real problem when I managed them in alternative settings.