Our ultimate goal for Pony Playland isn’t just for people (especially children) to be able to come and enjoy the horses/ponies, it’s for our horses and/or ponies to get the most out of their lives here, too. That is why we’re planning to develop a Paddock Paradise, or Track System here. It’s still a fairly new concept here in New Zealand, but we’re ready for the challenge–and the fun!
So, here is our current proposed map (it changes as new ideas/information is gathered, but not a whole lot):
You’ll see we’ve got two paddocks designated as Hay paddocks. That’s because neither of these paddocks are accessible without going on the road, so I’d prefer not to include them in the plan, and if we can grow most of our own hay, all the better!
We’re hoping to plant some food-bearing trees to suit the areas available to them (some will need to love wet areas!). These would help feed our family, but hopefully also those who come to visit.
Our track system will effectively consist of two halves. One side will pretty much surround our house (I love watching the horses run past the window!), and the other will loop through and around the large pockets of native trees we are going to plant in our 5-acre paddock. It’s this 5-acre paddock that I picture when I envision future Christmas celebrations, the sparkly lights and Christmas songs floating through the trees, and ponies pulling carts (…”in a one-horse open sleigh…”).
We suffered flood damage at the end of July (Cedar Creek goes from a pretty steady flow to crazy fast, and back to normal, very quickly in heavy rainfall), which has wiped out a few of our fences (luckily the horses are currently in the paddock marked “Normally closed off” as this is the best paddock for them at this time, anyway). But from potential tragedy comes new dreams. We’re planning to realign the fence that currently follows the stream to go straight across to the driveway. It will open up the entrance to our property to make it more accessible to the public, and potentially give us a car park. We will likely have to reinstate a fence along the creek for health and safety, but we will work on that as funds allow.
Another feature I’d like to invest in as funds become available (We’re a hard-working family! We’ll get there!) is a playground. I’ve toyed with a few possible locations, but with the fence realignment, I really like the idea of having the playground down there near the creek. It’ll make it more accessible, and it’ll mean kids can play there and say ‘hi’ to the ponies as they meander along their track.
So, the first part of the track to be set up will be a little square around the “Standing Hay” paddock. It will grow grass to a hay stage in the middle and the horses will be allowed in there for short periods of time. The second step will be to extend the track up around the back of the house to that top left corner in the image above. Behind the house is a nice steep climb, so it will be great for their muscles.
It’s likely that the three ponies we currently have (miniatures Chino and Micki, and Welsh x Diego) will stay in that track for quite some time while we get the 5-acre paddock planted out in trees. Then we’ll put in fencing as money allows and eventually they will be able to alternate between tracks, and even sometimes have the run of the whole place. Imagine watching them go, then!