A paddock has two primary meanings in different parts of the English-speaking world. In Canada, the USA and UK, a paddock is a small enclosure used to keep horses. The most common design provides an area for exercise and is often situated near the stables. Larger paddocks may have grass maintained in them, but many are dirt or a similar natural surface. In those cases drainage and a top layer of sand are often used to keep a suitable surface in the paddock. In the American West, such an enclosure is often called a corral, and may be used to contain cattle or horses, occasionally other livestock. The word paddock is also used to describe other small, fenced areas that hold horses, such as a saddling paddock at a racetrack, the area where race horses are saddled before a horse race.
In New Zealand and Australia, however, a paddock is a field of grassland of any size, especially for keeping sheep or cattle. It is normally fenced and defined by its natural boundaries, or is otherwise considered distinct. In that part of the world, a "Back Paddock" is a smaller field that is situated away from the farm house; possibly land of lesser quality. The equivalent concept in North America and the UK is a pasture.
In a new style of ranching developed in North America, featured in the Peter Byck short film Carbon Soil Cowboys, a paddock is a small (perhaps 1 acre) temporary subdivision of a pasture made with electric fencing, which is intensely grazed for a day and then left to rest for perhaps 80 days or more.
- Clarkson, Neil (18 October 2012). "Building a horse-riding arena: Thinking outside the rectangle". horsetalk.co.nz. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- definition of 'B-1', part of Australia Decoded at artistwd.com
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