We know that too much turnout on lovely green grass is NOT terribly good for hooves, but its good for our horses to have the chance to move freely and socialise.
Instead of turnout in fields, putting a track round the edge of the field is a simple way of restricting grazing and encouraging movement. This idea was first mooted by Jaime Jackson, who has written a book called “Paddock Paradise”.
My horses, and Sarah Braithwaite’s have been kept on tracks for a number of years and thrive on it.
Tracks can be as complex or as simple as your space and budget allow, from a simple cordon of electric fence around the edge of a field to a system of interlinked yards over multiple different surfaces.
The essentials are enough space and feed stations to prevent bullying, good shelter and (ideally) varied surfaces to stimulate hooves.
If you are laying a track for winter use, you will need good drainage and a surface which doesn’t poach, but if you only need to use your track in summer then you can get away with just fencing round the edge of a field.
The trick is to be inventive – waste ground, old yards and areas of hard-standing are all great ways of providing varied, well-drained surfaces – and they come cheaper than “pony paddocks”!