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What is a sacrifice area and where do I put it?

A sacrifice area can be anything from a box stall to a pasture. For most horse owners a sacrifice area will be a paddock or corral. It is simply a term used to best describe a small enclosure where you will give up the benefit of grass or vegetation for the benefit of your pastures. Horses should be confined to sacrifice areas when overgrazing presents a threat to pasture grass or during the rainy season when the ground can become sensitive to erosion or compaction. It may also be the primary living area for horses on very small pieces of property.

Sacrifice areas should be convenient to feed and water sources. It is best if they are ground that is high and dry, or that has some slope for drainage. Safety usually dictates that there be separate pens for each horse. Planting grass or vegetation around the sacrifice area allows for natural filtration of surface water run-off. They should also be easy to keep manure picked on a regular (we recommend daily) basis.

Some people prefer runs attached to the barn where the horses can come and go from their stalls. The benefits of this arrangement are time savings, easy arrangements for horse-sitters if you are away from the barn and freedom for the horse. Drawbacks include horses chewing on the outside of the barn, injuries from running in and out of a narrow stall door and the potential for mud outside the door in the narrow path most traveled.

Separate paddocks located away from the barn are recommended for commercial facilities because each horse is handled for daily turn-out and any injury or ailment is more easily spotted by this personal interaction. It also allows for different turn-out schedules for individual horses.



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