Older horse grazing advice

I wasn’t sure where to put this, so off course it is.

I moved my three horses home about nine years ago. We have a sacrifice paddock with hay available 24/7, and two grassy paddocks directly accessed through the sacrifice paddock. Then another three grassy paddocks across our driveway. We have the gate set up so it creates a chute across the driveway to move the horses.

Last November, one of my mares passed away unexpectedly during the night. She and my 22-year-old gelding were attached at the hip. My gelding is blind in one eye, and has limited vision in the other. My other mare, who is 24, is a bit more independent. She would always go off and do her grazing independently from wherever Daisy & Duncan were grazing. The paddocks are small (all are under an acre), so she was never that far away.

This spring as we opened up the grassy paddocks, I’ve noticed my gelding seems very reticent to go into them. He seems to hang out all day in the sacrifice paddock, hunting for grass (which is very limited in the sacrifice paddock). My other mare is happy to go out into the grass for whichever paddock I have open.

I am guessing that he has lost confidence, now that Daisy isn’t right next to him wherever he goes. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help him regain his confidence that it’s OK to go out into the paddocks. Or any other thoughts on why a horse might be reticent to go get good grass versus picking around at a sacrifice paddock?

He has been vet-checked and had his teeth floated recently.


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At his last vet visit, was his eyesight checked again? Perhaps it has gotten worse and and he’s only confident moving around in the sacrifice paddock which he is familiar with? If your other horse isn’t glued to his side like your old horse was, it would make sense he’s not confident venturing out where he’s not as familiar with the lay of the land. Could you maybe section off a smaller portion of one of your grass paddocks so he can remain near your other horse?

Just spitballing…
If you handgraze him in the grass pasture maybe he’d gain confidence & reorient so he could find his way there solo?


It’s a bit of a pain, but could you hand walk him in there a few times and put flags/bells on the fences so he can hear?

I would just take him to the paddock the mare is in?

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I’d definitely try just walking him across to the grass each morning. It’s possible that it’s something like crossing the driveway (change in color/footing) that is worrying him.

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Thanks for the suggestions.

I will try walking him through the paddocks a few times and see if that makes a difference.

Right now they have access to a paddock that directly connects to the sacrifice area, so he doesn’t have to cross the driveway.

I should clarify that he and my mare have access to the same paddocks, they are not separated. She walks out into whichever paddock is open and he just stays in the sacrifice area. I leave the gate open so they can come and go between the paddock and sacrifice area at will because their run-in shelter is in the sacrifice area.

The usual thing to do is put a bell on the mare.

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We had a forty some year old pony who for at least the finial years of his life was nearly or could have been totally blind. We kept him in His paddock, everything was always in the same place.

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Yanno the bell suggestion isn’t a bad idea…

As long as the two of them will tolerate the bell. When my horse became blind in one eye and had compromised vision in his remaining eye, with his owner’s permission I tied a bell to the halter of my horse’s best buddy/turnout companion. After a day or so the bell was gone. Tried again, several times, same result. Tried again - this time wiring it onto his halter. I gave up when the bell was not only on the ground yet again, but this time had been smashed flat in the dirt :rofl: - and it had to have been a joint effort to get it off!