How wide to make chute to pastures UPDATE: Paddock Paradise?

As we continue fencing our property, I’m planning on fencing a chute that connects the barn and dry lots to all of the pastures, the chute will run down the back property line covering about 13 acres. How wide would be appropriate in your opinion? 30’? No more than 3-4 horses would be using it at a time.

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How big is your mower? Wide enoughso you can mow.
:smile: I would think 30 feet would be fine.


Oh good call, will need to get the tractor and brush hog back there. I was more concerned with horse safety since I can foresee them in a mad gallop from the barn to the pastures :laughing:

I have one who leaps for joy and does handstands when turned out, so I want to avoid anyone getting inadvertently nailed by her!

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Any video of that graceful ballerina impersonation?

30’ would be plenty for a few horses, unless you have an alligator that sneak attacks.

Our vet has some older horses and yearlings that travel around the 12’ alley to his pens respecting each other’s place, at most making a face to each other.
The alley is long but goes by two larger pens a horse being chased can run into, then back in the alley after the bossy one went thru.
Having safe places to get out of the way is another way to handle long alleys.
They also have free access to that alley, that has two large pens, one on each end.
Since they come and go at will, there is less fighting/playing along it.

With horses, any they do is a chance for injuries.
Watching them interact helps decide how to manage them, which groups are working and take any that doesn’t play nice out of there, as you know.


Wide enough to not turn into a muddy mess in the wet season! (Or narrow enough to mud proof!) Those types of alleys can be tough to maintain since they take so much traffic, just something to keep in mind :slight_smile:


Of course I do :slight_smile:


We have a couple of thoroughfares here. From fourlane highways that can also be used as small paddocks to one-lane roads. Shown here is the 50’ turnout on the creek and the most narrow of the lanes. It’s 16’ wide. So can be closed easily with a cattlepanel anywhere along it. You can see it going up over the hill. From this particular lane, four pastures can be accessed. 16’ is wide enough for my herd of 10 to move together at will (sometimes quite fasssssst!) to and from their barn. (no matter where my horses are, they are always allowed 24/7 barn…same with the sheep flock) AND, 16feet is wide enough for haying equipment to get to the fields too.

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My chute is 24 feet wide, and that has worked fine for 4 horses, some of whom like to run down it at full speed.

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My chute is 20 ft wide AND I angled my fence to avoid a sharp corner when they’re coming around
the corner. And my plan is no more than 3 horses.


Looks like I’ll have a third horse here shortly…assuming I do a 12’ gate opening into the chute, does 15’ sound reasonable for two quiet retirees and a young warmblood? I know this is half the width I’d originally planned on, but I would like to add rock/screenings so the chute has nice footing year round, which ya know equals $$$.

I just now caught up to this, she is really agile, very athletic, ye-ha!

Thanks for that video, is smile worthy.


Loved the video!

I would align the width of the chute to the width of your mower. So if you plan to get a 6ft mower, make your chute an even increment of 6ft (ie 24 or 30ft) That way when you’re mowing, you’ll be taking a full 6ft cut with every pass through the chute. Drives me CRAZY when I have to make an extra pass with the mower just to get a tiny little strip that’s ‘leftover’.

Check your turn radius of your tractor with mower attached-- make sure you can turn around at the end of the chute, or have a gate at the end that you can open and make a nice big U-turn outside the fenceline.

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The chute will be completed today, and turned out SO much cooler than I anticipated! The drylots open to the chute, which goes down through the woods about 400’ before hitting a 90 degree corner with a large open clearing, then down another 1000’ or so to another large clearing, maybe 200’ in diameter. At the bottom of the chute, I can open a gate into the lower pasture, and from the top of the chute by the dry lots, I can open another gate into the upper pasture.

With the chute being so long and with a couple of larger clearings, I am thinking it would be a perfect winter turnout option where I can rest my pastures while always allowing access to the chute and dry lots. And with the layout of the chute with some narrower areas, some open areas, and all of the different terrain throughout the woods, I thought of setting up some “paddock paradise” types of things to keep them entertained. So far, I’m planning on keeping their water trough in the dry lots and putting a round bale in the large clearing towards the bottom of the chute. That way, they have to move back and forth all day. What other ideas would be fun to incorporate? Maybe a sand pile for rolling? What about a fallen log they have to step over (and also encourage them to not gallop madly down the chute?) Would love more ideas!


What lovely leaps! She could show baby goats a thing or two about spronging!

You could put a salt station down there too! I really like the sand pile idea too. Though to be sure some may use it as a pee spot

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Oh good call!! Will definitely put a salt station somewhere :slight_smile:


Hahaha right?! I do appreciate that she rarely shows off those moves while I’m on her back, thank the lord for a polite mare!

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They’ll love the sand pile in the winter. I think you’ll end up regretting the log-- how will you get over it with your tractor / ATV / mower?

You could get some fill delivered and create a “roller coaster” section – make a series of 3 or 4 low, rounded hillocks that stretch across the width of the chute, with a stride or two of flat ground between them. Make sure they’re not so steep that your mower would scalp them as it goes over.

That’s a good point about the log, didn’t think of that. Fortunately, we already have a “roller coaster section”, there are actually a few little hills they’ll have to go up and down!

Of course, we got torrential rain last night so I haven’t been able to put the chute to use yet, they’ll be in the dry lots another day or two until things freeze again :upside_down_face:

You guys weren’t kidding - apparently, the only speed appropriate to go up and down the chute is full out gallop :woman_facepalming:

I had to stop watching, they were going to give me a heart attack! All came in for dinner in one piece, and looked like they had way too much fun. Will definitely have to add rock in some spots, already have some deep hoof holes in some places (on another note, what do you guys do about that? I can see them twisting an ankle, but maybe I’m being paranoid)

They also seemed to forget their heated trough was in the dry lots at the top of the chute, I ended up having to refill their pasture trough because they never came back up for a drink. They’ll need to figure that out quickly since it’s in the teens later today and the pasture water will be frozen!