View Full Version : T/O in the Snow

Feb. 7, 2010, 12:28 PM
Hi All- I'm new to this group, but have read COTH since I was a kid. A little background on us- DH and I just moved to a 5 acre farm over the summer and I have 2 horses...an OTTB and an App. QH. I have been eventing for the past 8 or so years and rode h/j growing up. I have always boarded my horse previous to moving out here, but spent summers on my aunt's h/j barn and lived on a farm, working in exchange for reduced rent for a small boarding facility for a couple years post-college. Anyway, my DH (who is not a horse person, but is in construction and his family has acreage property, so he does come in handy :) and I constantly butt heads about turn out. We have run in stalls with a pretty decent sized sacrifice area and ~1 acre pasture. We limit t/o to about 8 - 12 hours a day in the pasture when the footing is good. My DH is VERY protective of the pasture, and I am very adamant about t/o as much as possible. I don't t/o in rain or when its super wet, but I do when its a couple inches of snow and a little wet. DH thinks they should be in the paddock with ANY type of moisture. What are your thoughts?

Feb. 7, 2010, 12:45 PM
I guess it would depend upon the depth of the snow and the
condition of the ground underneath. If you have a solid 4 inches
of snow and pretty hard ground, go ahead and turn out - they
won't damage anything. If it is muddy underneath, then I
wouldn't turn out, you will just make more mud.
I use my pastures for all but a few weeks in the spring here
in Massachusetts.


Feb. 7, 2010, 12:49 PM
well, with only 1 acre in pasture, it will get horribly chopped up in the wet.

I don't care, in the wet winter, if it isn't too slippery, my guys get turned out at least an hour to stretch their legs and I let the pasture get chopped up. It always seems to recover by summer, and we do not depend on 1 or 2 acres to feed them- we feed hay. If the ground is actually frozen but not icey, they go out all day as the frozen ground doesn't get chopped up.

Like you, I think the turnout is mentally good for them, as well as physically.

Feb. 7, 2010, 01:21 PM
I guess that was my question- if it does get chopped up, with spring maintenance, would it recover by summer? We also feed hay, its more for mental/physical exercise then for food. That is what I've been doing lately, turning out for an hour os so while husband is working so I don't have to hear about it again...thanks for the input!

Feb. 7, 2010, 06:22 PM
How big is the sacrifice paddock. If it is too small for them to shake a leg in then I wouldn't torture them with confinement in a too small area and the pasture will not truly be pasture and needs to be used more liberally. If however the scrifice area is ample then I wouldn't use the pasture except in excellent conditions. It may also be that your horses don't "shake a leg" very much and just mosey about. They could have more pasture time as they are less likely to damage the grass while romping. If they romp then I would free lunge them before going on grass.

One acre is nothing and you will need to care for it intensively to have grass through the season. If you are an area that hard freezes for the winter...my horses have full access all winter intil we have frozen lakes late in the winter/spring transition. Then they are back in the sacrifice area. My horses are very active and I have a large sacrifice area but I have about 8 acres fenced so I can be generous. I also have sand that drains fast. I do know someone who kept a small lawn like pasture with fertilizing and sprinkling and they had a huge problem with fat horses and insulin resistance. Very dangerous for horses. PatO