Size Matters: How To Determine Your Horse’s Paddock

image of horse in field

In colloquial terms, the paddock, corral, or pen is often referred to as the “sacrifice area” because you’re giving up valuable land for greener pastures. As a horse lover, this is hardly a “sacrifice”, as your horse’s outdoor living quarters are an important part of their whole horse well-being. A paddock will prevent them from overgrazing, as well as give them a safe zone. The best way to determine what size to build your paddock will depend on a number of factors.


Criteria Checklist To Keep in Mind for Building a Paddock

– First and foremost, consider how many horses you have and their age, breed, and temperaments. Will they thrive grouped together or are there retired or youngsters that would do best on their own? Horses that aren’t ridden regularly will require a larger paddock to exercise themselves.

– How much land do you have access to? Work with what you’ve got. There are no hard and fast rules to shape, so fit a paddock around a building or make it track-shaped. Get creative!

– Does your horse receive regular exercise? If so, a smaller paddock will do just fine. However, if it’s a youngster or senior that isn’t ridden as much, a larger paddock where they can run greater distances to work off extra energy would be preferable.


The Bottom Line in Paddock Sizing

The bottom line is, the bigger your paddock, the more it’ll cost to build and maintain; both in time and money. Fencing, footing, picking up manure and putting down footing all require your effort and cash.

However, the confinement of a paddock also means confinement of manure which gives you better control of the situation. Regular maintenance will reduce parasite, contaminated run-offs and mud build-up. If maintaining a decent-sized paddock isn’t in the books, consider using an arena or pen for turnout.


What’re your thoughts on proper sizing for a paddock? Share with us on our Facebook page!