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View Full Version : Can a dressage horse live on pasture board?



Goodyfourshoes!
Aug. 1, 2006, 01:21 AM
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5
Aug. 1, 2006, 01:31 AM
Goodness yes!
My mare never looked better than when she was in pasture. I didn't do jack with her except pull her out, dust her off and ride her. She was in the best shape of her life.

Amchara
Aug. 1, 2006, 01:54 AM
What? I think that is larger then my manure pile!

indyblue
Aug. 1, 2006, 02:11 AM
Bollocks to your trainer.Coming from a country where 99% of horses are out 24/7 on pasture I can tell you they do a bloody good job conserving their energy in the paddock .I have 2x WB & 1x TB that during the summer are out 24/7 & they all have enough energy to do anything I want to do.My neighbour has endurance horses out 24/7 ,rides 6 days a week & competes most weekends.What level are you training at & how long & hard is your trainer wanting you to train for him to think this way?

naters
Aug. 1, 2006, 02:16 AM
The answer: yes.

Mine doesn't care whether he is in or out all of the time, but he does seem happier and sleeker when he is out.

The more they move around (walking around eating grass, etc) the less stiff they are...

Goodyfourshoes!
Aug. 1, 2006, 02:35 AM
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firerider
Aug. 1, 2006, 04:53 AM
I think pasture board is the best way to go. I've seen a lot of show horses get very bored/irritated/depressed when they are stalled too much. Then the only place they have to act out on that is when you are training or showing. Not always a good thing. Horses with lots of turnout just seem more mentally fresh to me.

ESG
Aug. 1, 2006, 08:27 AM
I'm with indyblue - bollocks to your trainer! :D

Horses are individuals. I have some that you can't chase in from pasture in a hurricane, and others who're done with turnout in an hour; less if it's sprinkling rain. If your mare is happier outside, keep her out! And what should the requirements for Third level matter, now, anyway? That's at least a year or so away, from your statements. :winkgrin:

Reynard Ridge
Aug. 1, 2006, 08:43 AM
I was talking to a BNT/R many years ago. Anne Gribbons, maybe? I really can't remember, but whoever it was, I think they were judging/riding at the Festival of Champions at USET? Ah, whatever, who it was isn't that important.

The point is, we were discussing turnout. A key issue apparently becomes (when one rides at the uber levels and is preparing for things like, maybe going to the Olympics with a horse who is very, very hot and you have spent gazillions dollars keeping them fit and healthy) is injury.

The horse we were discussing only went out for an hour or so a day in a dry turnout. Supervised. Which meant that someone SAT in a CHAIR and watched the horse. And if he got too up or something set him off, they brought him in. I wouldn't be surprised if this were a relatively common practice.

I think for those of us persuing goals that do not require us to ship our horses to Europe, 24/7 turnout is a spectacularly good option. Mine is out by choice 24/7. She always has access to a stall and 10 acres of lovely grass (and I have a dry lot in between I can lock her in if I need to). Perfect! Her coat is gorgeous and she is fat and happy.

If she were worth a million dollars and I were planning to head off to the WEG, I sincerely doubt I would leave her out like that. :lol:

fish
Aug. 1, 2006, 08:57 AM
You may want to find and loan to your trainer that old issue of *Dressage Today* which so clearly explains the numerous ways in which stalling horses sets them up for gastric ulcers.

My horses are out 24/7 (with access to shelter). Even when I was showing my colt at the hunter breed shows, he only came in for a few hours in the evening to promote early shedding.

Perhaps your trainer is one who prefers "brilliance" over relaxation/calm, and likes dressage horses to look like they're about to explode (like many of those presently winning at GP) or something???? If that's the goal, most certainly, stalling will "help"--- but is that what YOU want for your horse and yourself?

Leena
Aug. 1, 2006, 09:06 AM
Yes !!!!!!

My dressage mare was in a boarding place for winter and indoor use but back at my farm, turn out 24/7 and she loves it !!!!

Problem sometimes is to find pasture board with indoor access for winter here in Canada.

retrofit
Aug. 1, 2006, 09:10 AM
I think it depends on the horse. My gelding was out 24x7 and he wilted like an old flower. I used to get charlie horses from trying to make him GO after all that grass & sun. My young mare, on the other hand, would probably do better in that situation. She is young and I may find as she progresses that she benefits from stall time, but for now, I'm actually looking for a good pasture board situation for her. And hey - cuts the costs, too!

sm
Aug. 1, 2006, 09:12 AM
outside is best, in addition to the other comments there's also better air (not the stable dust).... Some horses truly don't want to be outside, you have to see about yours.

EqTrainer
Aug. 1, 2006, 09:49 AM
Well, my horse is doing approx. 3rd level (no arena to test his skills out in, but I know what is there) and he lives out 24/7 unless the sugar in the grass is so high that he needs to be off of it.

Quite frankly he is a much nicer guy when out 24/7. He really is a hottie and stall time just fuels his fire. No amount of turnout ever has taken the forward out of him <LOL>

Personally I think forward is not something you can "stall" into a horse. You buy it, or you train it in, but coming out of the stall breathing fire is not the same as forward.

LaraNSpeedy
Aug. 1, 2006, 09:50 AM
IN general, yes - there are also a lot of people who have long-term stable horses that say their horses cannot go out because they go nuts - nuts with happiness to be sure.

I think that there are some horses who may do better with SOME stall time. Like my TB needs alone time to eat peacefully and he is a big sweater in the summer - so I need to sit him under a fan. In the winter, they all come in at night and on very cold nights I blanket the TB at least - the WB I blanket him though it is more for me than for him. He looks at me like I am nuts.

Turn out all the time by themselves can help keep their tails and keep from getting nibble and knicks but that also robs them of some of that comradery time they love. I find that when I put my 4 horses together - they bicker more - when I split them in 2s - they do MUCH better and tend to not have any (or little) boo boos. But I still have to pull my TB away and give him some alone time with some extra food and a fan.

Except for bad weather - I feel guilty if I leave them stuck in a stall - as they look out staring at 20 open acres. And what do I get for that besides they tend to stay cleaner? I get to clean stalls! YIPPEE! naught.

Sabovee
Aug. 1, 2006, 09:53 AM
My PSG horse lives out 24/7 (Except during really hot/really cold weather)
He's never been happier.

It's a dressage horse - but it's still a horse!!!

Horsedances
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:01 AM
Maybee this sounds very arrogant, but the answer is very simple.

Horses who are trained every day and compete will lose a lot of their power/muscle-strenght when they are out in the field for more then 2-6 hours (depending on the color of the grass and who many food they take in the fields). Yes they will still eat the special food in their stables, but it will not be digested and transported to their muscles.

Ellen Bontje answered this same question in a clinic with the words.
First make your descission if you want a horse for recreation or a horse for competition. If you chose for recreation you can go for the 24/7 out in the field discipline, but if you want a competition horse you have to guide his feeding process, day in and day out.

Goodyfourshoes!
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:08 AM
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EqTrainer
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:16 AM
Huh?

Maybe Horsedances is thinking of horses that are pasture boarded where they have to fight over their food, etc. etc? That is not the same thing.. you cannot have a working horse in that situation.

My horses are all fed separately/individually, with the same care given to their nutritional needs as that of a stalled horse.. but they have the benefit of eating good quality grass also, AND moving around as nature intended a horse to do with their head down/back up.

I also find that horses that live out are much less prone to tendon and ligament injuries too, the constant movement over varying terrain strengthens them like no work in a flat dressage arena could ever do.

If you keep a horse stalled, you have a BIG responsibility IMO, to work them every day and then also take them for a long walk again later.. or before... standing in a stall for 23 hours is IMO unacceptable. I doubt that top level riders who keep their horses in do it like we do here in the USA, where the horse is standing the other 23 hours... I bet they have grooms and working students who get those horses out and moving. I also think the stalled situation in Europe can be simply a result of not having land to turn them out on and so the situation has been adapted to work for them. But that doesn't make it preferable, just necessary.

kkj
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:21 AM
My horse still has a ton of energy although she is turned out all day. She comes in at dinner and goes out at breakfast. She is grained twice a day and fed hay three times. She goes out on grass for two hours and then is rotated into a grassless pasture. My trainers FEI horses, the same thing.

Ulcers, respiratory problems, colic, arthritis, tying up, stable vices such as cribbing are all less in horses that get a lot of turnout. If your horse is too mellow for dressage if s/he is turned out, maybe this horse is not cut out for dressage.

I agree with Theo that high level competition horses may not do well turned out on grass all day, but I don't see any reason why they cannot go out. Some people are so worried about injury, but if it is a good pasture with safe fencing, I will take that risk. I think the risk of colic or ulcers or other issues is bigger for horses that never get out.

Speedy
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:26 AM
Not digested and transported to the muscle?? Please. Digestion is aided by movement (which is why horses that are kept in have a tendency to colic).

Lose their muscle strength while out in a field?? Walking around on uneven terrain all day long is far more likely to stengthen the muscle than standing around in a stall all day. Have you ever seen a horse that was previously in good form come off a few months of stall rest? No muscle tone. Bony. Wired.

If your horse is happy and looks healthier out, then keep him out. If I kept my horses in the barn 20 hours a day, they would go bonkers. Completely, utterly bonkers. You know how your horse looks and feels better than anyone...so don't let folks convince you to do something that cuts against that.

Folks in my barn compete at the highest levels of eventing and their horses go out. In herds. To eat grass. And, yes, sometimes they get hurt and somebody can't ride in the next *** or **** on their schedule. Somehow they manage to get over it.

Catalina
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:28 AM
I worked for a PSG rider who believed in practically bubble wrapping her horses when they got to go out for their one hour supervised turn out- in the early morning during the summer (don't want to bleach out the coat :no:) and evening in the winter. The horses wore boots all around, bell boots, fly sheets or appropriate blankets, and fly masks just to go outside. They all had seperate paddocks with enough space between that there could be no nose touching. The horses all looked gorgeous and did very well at the shows, but I have never seen more illnesses and mental issues then I did there :(.

Horsedances
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:37 AM
I just wrote down my lifetime experiences with competition horses.

Horses who are out 24/7 will become recreation horses within a few weeks. You have to control their feeding if you want to keep a horse fit and competitive for the dressage-arena <period>

If you can control their feeding when they are out...... NO PROBLEM.

hoopoe
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:42 AM
My horse lives out 24/7 and I would not have it any other way.

Before he got 4 hours ( minimum) t/o. Sometimes, even after I had ridden him in a hard training session, he would act like a nut case in t/o so much so that the foreman was concerned that he might harm himself ( think champion rodeo stock horse bustamove behavior) .

Now he is full bodied , fit and I know lives as close to a natural lifestyle I can provide.

Auventera Two
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:59 AM
Horses who are out 24/7 will become recreation horses within a few weeks.



Theo, that is just not a correct statement. I've seen far too many horses throughout my life that were on 24/7 turnout and were still in heavy work and/or competition. The discipline makes no different - you made the statement that the horse's body cannot handle being on 24/7 turnout. So I go back to the endurance horse scenario. Certainly you cannot call them "recreation horses" when they can cover 50-100 miles a day through the mountains over rough terrain, climbing steep hills, fording through rivers, etc. all on a time constraint and metabolic constraint. If the horse shows metabolic stress, phhhffft, you're out.

The fact is - people may prefer to have horses stalled for various reason, or it may be necessary due to available real estate, but saying it is healthier for a horse to be stalled constantly and his musclulature will be healthier is just totally incorrect. It might be your opinion, and your preference, but it's certainly not fact.

fish
Aug. 1, 2006, 11:19 AM
I just wrote down my lifetime experiences with competition horses.

Horses who are out 24/7 will become recreation horses within a few weeks. You have to control their feeding if you want to keep a horse fit and competitive for the dressage-arena <period>

If you can control their feeding when they are out...... NO PROBLEM.

Excuse me, then, I must edit that "24/7" to 23+/7-- the horses are brought into stalls to be fed their concentrates.

For optimal health-- and especially for ulcer prevention-- forage is available at all times, although some horses must wear grazing muzzles to prevent obesity.

Important fact: horses were designed to be free-ranging foragers: they do not salivate without dental pressure (chewing), and they secrete gastric juices at all times, whether there is food in the stomach or saliva present to protect the stomach lining or not. This is why horses are such complusive chewers-- and the primary reason why horses on high grain diets and limited forage are so vulnerable to ulcers, laminitis-- and behavior problems, too.

TropicalStorm
Aug. 1, 2006, 11:44 AM
I'm with Catalina.
I worked for a BNT who kept here horses in ALL the time with the exception of a 1/2 hour-45 minute turn out. These horses looked gorgeous, no doubt, beautiful coats, wonderful musculature but had SO many vices. They were also prone to lameness because they'd totally freak out during that 1/2 hour that they were out.

Now I'm at a stable where the trainer believes in total turnout, with the exception of winter. Both her and her daughter's horses (all 4 of them grand prix and intermediaire) are turned out 24/7 during summer. In winter, they get minimally 8 hours and survive just fine and still maintain great conditioning.

And while I am definately no grand prix rider (TL for one horse and 2nd level for another), I actually ride MORE in wintertime then in summer (and spend more time on the little detail simply because I can't say "meh, I'll go for a gallop instead!", and my horses are usually a bit more fit in winter, despite being out 24/7

slc2
Aug. 1, 2006, 12:14 PM
it really depends on the situation and the horse.

i HAVE had horses that needed to conserve their energy for riding. that's not any manure pile at all. for MOST horses, for MOST riding, it IS indeed a manure pile, but you can't force horses to comply with your philosophy when they simply don't - there ARE horses like that. and you can't change them.

yes, i have had horses that needed to be in and wanted to be in - the higher the level you work them, the more i think they want to be IN. sleep, lie on nice soft straw, sit in front of the fan, be groomed and live the life of riley after work. flies? search for food? MUD? PLEASE. i'm a star, i'm an athlete. peel me a grape and make it snappy.

and i had one that wanted to be in the barn with the people and not outside with those INSIPID...what are they...LIVESTOCK? that was his attitude.

i had another one that believed himself to be the original Marlborough Man horse. we accomodated him. he was king of the wind or whatever the heck he fancied himself to be, as much as he wanted to be. we made sure he got out as much as he wanted to. he would be 'out on the range' and we'd grab him, slick him off, throw tack on him and take him to a show, scraped up legs and all. that was what he wanted. we'd even drive home every night if the show was less than a few hrs from home and put him BACK out in his field. that's what he wanted. RIP, tristan.

in any case, there are practical matters when a horse gets to be upper level. no, you do NOT want to squander that energy, and yes, i think it's unfair to leave an athlete out in a crowded pen with rocks, dirt, no grass, broiling sun, other horses beating him up, and then say to him, why the hell aren't you giving your all in this extended trot? not fair.

my upper level horse went out in happy acres, i called it. nice grass, friends near by but behind a fence, give him some peace, his own grass, and his own little disgusting wallow to sow in. but when they're tired from working, yes, i think they want to be catered to and spoiled. and that's what i do.

slc

Horsedances
Aug. 1, 2006, 12:17 PM
Let one of the dressage-stables who are boarding top horses tell me (here) their story about leaving horses out in the field 24/7. I know a lot of them but nobody will ever let their horses out in the field 24/7.

We have manyyyyy people over here who have their own stables and greenfields at home, and who do have a daytime job. They hire people to put their horses in the field (depending on the weather) at 08.00 and put them back in their stables at 10.00 or 11.00 or 12.00 (depending on the horse and the kind of grass on the field).

Very recently our nextdoor neighbour got divorced and couldn't pay stabling anymore, her horses are now at home and put in the fields before she goes to work at 07.00 and collected again when she comes home at 18.00. The performances of these horses has dropped from high 60% to low 50%. They are sweating after 10 minutes warm up and don't loke like the horses they were before. They are lazy and have to be ridden with much more pressure as before. (BTW She is looking for a rich and good looking man who could pay the bills for stabling her horses again)

You can tell me every story you want and do what you please, but this is my lifetime experience with horses who have to perform at competitions.

inca
Aug. 1, 2006, 12:24 PM
Very recently our nextdoor neighbour got divorced and couldn't pay stabling anymore, her horses are now at home and put in the fields before she goes to work at 07.00 and collected again when she comes home at 18.00. The performances of these horses has dropped from high 60% to low 50%. They are sweating after 10 minutes warm up and don't loke like the horses they were before. They are lazy and have to be ridden with much more pressure as before. (BTW She is looking for a rich and good looking man who could pay the bills for stabling her horses again)


And is the decrease in scores and decrease in fitness of the horses in any way related to the fact that maybe the horses aren't worked as consistently due to the changes in your neighbor's life?

I agree that if I had a top-level international dressage horse, I would probably NOT turn it out 24/7. I would like for any horse I own to get out at least 4 hours a day, though.

I like my horses to be out as much as possible but my main riding horse stays in 12-14 hours a day now because the heat will kill her otherwise.

But, I think for MOST AMATEURS that are competing at a regional level (even if they are competing FEI), their horses can be turned out a good portion of the day and their performance is not going to suffer. For most amateurs, their riding ability is probably more limiting to the horse than turnout is. There are exceptions, of course, and I have known some horses that literally don't like to be out all day.

trailblazer
Aug. 1, 2006, 12:32 PM
Let one of the dressage-stables who are boarding top horses tell me (here) their story about leaving horses out in the field 24/7. I know a lot of them but nobody will ever let their horses out in the field 24/7.
So they must be right, and we must be wrong? :rolleyes:

We have manyyyyy people over here who have their own stables and greenfields at home, and who do have a daytime job. They hire people to put their horses in the field (depending on the weather) at 08.00 and put them back in their stables at 10.00 or 11.00 or 12.00 (depending on the horse and the kind of grass on the field).

Very recently our nextdoor neighbour got divorced and couldn't pay stabling anymore, her horses are now at home and put in the fields before she goes to work at 07.00 and collected again when she comes home at 18.00. The performances of these horses has dropped from high 60% to low 50%. They are sweating after 10 minutes warm up and don't loke like the horses they were before. They are lazy and have to be ridden with much more pressure as before. (BTW She is looking for a rich and good looking man who could pay the bills for stabling her horses again)
Yes, I see. Correlation must imply causation?

You can tell me every story you want and do what you please, but this is my lifetime experience with horses who have to perform at competitions.
Yes, I have a lifetime experience with horses as well. But your opinion must be the right one, yes? Your European horses only live to be in their late teens, early 20s. Poor care might have something to do with that!

For the vast majority of horses, 24-7 turnout is best. They should have shelter, clean water, their fill of hay. Keeping horses inside is the best way to insure their early demise! :no:

nhwr
Aug. 1, 2006, 12:33 PM
I think most dressage training stables (here and in Europe) are run as businesses. As such, they are managed in the most efficient way they can be while maintaining the well being of the horse. This means that compromises are made. It is surely better for a horse to be out as much as possible. But this means much more time is spent; taking horses to and from turnout, additional grooming etc.

In the situation you describe, Theo, I think there is probably a lot more going on than simply the horses used to be in a stable and now they are in a field. When people have big changes in their lives (like divorce) horses are often put on the back burner. They become a lower priority.

Having them in the field almost facilitates this because you don't feel bad that they have been locked in a stall all day. There isn't the same pressure to get them out to stretch their legs. I am struggling with this myself at the moment. So it isn't the fact that they are in a pasture that makes them less successful in competition but rather the way they are managed, IMO.

EqTrainer
Aug. 1, 2006, 12:36 PM
Tee hee slc, I think I own Tristans brother :lol:

There is a happy medium between the pasture board that most people envision, and the 24/7 stall/minimal turnout situation. It's called the ass-kissing version of pasture board, which is what I do, that is totally based on whatever the horse needs. Lunch? No problem, I'll bring them in for it. A hosing off and some fan/stall/rest time? Sure, no problem. That's my theme - what does it take? But the basis for the lifestyle IS turnout - turnout in big, grassy fields with just a friend or maybe two, a shady treeline to hang out in, refreshed cool water provided by yours truly at noon.. you get the idea. Even the grape eating variety of horse settles into it pretty well.

The biggest PLUS factor I see to them living this way, is that they maintain an overall fitness level that I just don't think a stalled/minimal turnout horse can have. They move more with less impact. We have a refreshing lack of tears, strains, tweaks, whatevers... of course now that I said that... I will shut up now before I curse myself.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 1, 2006, 12:55 PM
I have a 14 yr old OTTB with whom I do dressage. Since mid October, we have been at a barn where he is out 24/7.

From being a hard keeper, he has blossomed. In fact, HE DOESN'T WANT TO BE INSIDE. Yesterday, even in this heat, I brought him in, hosed him off, thought I'd spend the time scritching, but NO. he made it clear he wanted OUT (since we obviously weren't going to ride).

He is incredibly chilled, relaxed, happy. I'd rather spend the money in gas and eat up the miles than ever have him stalled again.

fish
Aug. 1, 2006, 01:11 PM
Tee hee slc, I think I own Tristans brother :lol:

There is a happy medium between the pasture board that most people envision, and the 24/7 stall/minimal turnout situation. It's called the ass-kissing version of pasture board, which is what I do, that is totally based on whatever the horse needs. Lunch? No problem, I'll bring them in for it. A hosing off and some fan/stall/rest time? Sure, no problem. That's my theme - what does it take? But the basis for the lifestyle IS turnout - turnout in big, grassy fields with just a friend or maybe two, a shady treeline to hang out in, refreshed cool water provided by yours truly at noon.. you get the idea. Even the grape eating variety of horse settles into it pretty well.

The biggest PLUS factor I see to them living this way, is that they maintain an overall fitness level that I just don't think a stalled/minimal turnout horse can have. They move more with less impact. We have a refreshing lack of tears, strains, tweaks, whatevers... of course now that I said that... I will shut up now before I curse myself.

Indeed, there are many options, and I've found it works extremely well to offer them outright to the horses:

I.e., I forgot to mention that my 23+/7 "out" horses, all have free access to stalls, with fans and electrolytes in the summer, heated water in the winter, bedding, etc., in addition to grass, shade trees, etc. Those who want to come in, do, when they want to-- and then go back out when they wish, all with the convenience of mutual-grooming, companionship, etc. (unless I have one who does not do well in company, in which case s/he has individual paddock with shelter, fans, etc.) I've been taking care of horses for over 30 years, from expensive race and show horses to retirees, done so using many different approaches from full-care stalling/100% controlled exercise, to 24/7 exclusively pasture boarding (and everything in between), and gradually came around to this-- after considerable research (including courses in equine nutrition and readings in exercise physiology), because it works best in every way. The horses are happiest, healthiest, soundest, and with minimal alteration in the sytem, they can still be kept sleek enough to show at any level of competition.

I have an email friend, BTW, who's bought non-winning racehorses and transformed them into winners by turning them out to-- and running them off of-- pasture. (My friend is a professor of equine exercise physiology at a major university. I highly recommend his and his colleagues' articles on the damage stalling does to bone density.)

I'm afraid the ways in which "elite" equine athletes are traditionally kept has much more to do with convenience, economics (esp. land availability) and snob appeal than it does with improving health, fitness, or performance.

For the second time, I would like to recommend that article in *Dressage Today,* entitled "Are You Giving Your Horse an Ulcer?" We have, indeed, selectively bred horses to run, jump, etc., but not altered one iota the fact that they EVOLVED to be free-ranging foragers who cannot be confined to boxes without posing multiple risks to their health.

slc2
Aug. 1, 2006, 01:45 PM
since riding began, horses have been taken off pasture so they have more energy for the work at hand. it is a simple fact, as horsedances states, it has to do with rest and with diet. the horses are sweating after 10 min of work. because they have a belly full of water, fiber and it weights them down and affects their ability to work, restricts their breathing, etc. read symmerhays, read anyone who has managed working horses - hunters, post horses, cavalry horses, large numbers of them - he has managed them for decades longer than any one here has been alive. read how the horses were managed. you can't remake nature to suit your whims. sure, a horse on field 24/7 will be fine for light work, but you won't take them to the olympics in any sport.

physiology is just physiology. you put horse on grass all day, it don't work the same. horses are kept up part of the day in stalls to allow them to work more efficiently.

Go to Golden Corral. Put some of everything on your plate. STAY at Golden Corral for 23 hours, continue eating, and then go run the Boston Marathon, and tell me where you finish.

there is, indeed, some sort of commonsense middle ground between keeping animals stalled up 24 by 7, and sending them to the Boston MArathon after spending 23 hrs in the equivalent of the Golden Corral Buffet.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 1, 2006, 01:48 PM
since riding began, horses have been taken off pasture so they have more energy for the work at hand. it is a simple fact, as horsedances states, it has to do with rest and with diet. the horses are sweating after 10 min of work. because they have a belly full of water, fiber and it weights them down and affects their ability to work, restricts their breathing, etc. read symmerhays, read anyone who has managed working horses - hunters, post horses, cavalry horses, large numbers of them - he has managed them for decades longer than any one here has been alive. read how the horses were managed. you can't remake nature to suit your whims. sure, a horse on field 24/7 will be fine for light work, but you won't take them to the olympics in any sport.

physiology is just physiology. you put horse on grass all day, it don't work the same. horses are kept up part of the day in stalls to allow them to work more efficiently.

Go to Golden Corral. Put some of everything on your plate. STAY at Golden Corral for 23 hours, continue eating, and then go run the Boston Marathon, and tell me where you finish.

there is, indeed, some sort of commonsense middle ground between keeping animals stalled up 24 by 7, and sending them to the Boston MArathon after spending 23 hrs in the equivalent of the Golden Corral Buffet.
slc2 - this isn't the same. Please remember that their guis have evolved quite differently than ours - for one thing, there's no emesis. In fact, they have evolved so that they keep moving - after all, we don't doze standing upright with one leg cocked just in case someone's going to swoop down on us.

And stuffing your face with the stuff on serve at the Golden Corral hardly compares with grass in a pasture, or hay. Period.

Edited to add: bet if we did the true comparison, with competitive horses kept stalled vs pasture on the same excercise regimens, the pastured horses would, in general, survive far longer and be healthier than the stall bound horses, and thus perform better.

slc2
Aug. 1, 2006, 01:52 PM
not if they're made to work on a full belly.

EqTrainer
Aug. 1, 2006, 01:57 PM
In my opinion and experience, horses are put up for part of the day to let PEOPLE work more efficiently.

It is only horses that are deprived of forage that act like nutcases at feed time. Horses that are allowed to eat as they wish don't pig out. It's the ones kept up and then given their fix that act like junkies about food.

Now, are we talking about an Olympic level athlete or your training level horse or your mid-level athlete? I would venture to say, having never had an Olympic level horse in my barn - and who here has? - that they might have interesting *caloric* needs. But that the majority of them probably don't get turned out due to fear of injury - which is funny to me, because the worse injuries I have seen (I don't mean cuts that needed stitching, I mean torn tendons and ligaments) happened WHILE the horse was in a stall. Indeed, anytime one of my horses gets down and rolls in a stall I watch with dread, holding my breath that they don't get cast. In fact, I won't hang buckets in my stalls - lost a hind suspensory to a hung bucket once. That was enough for me!

Daydream Believer
Aug. 1, 2006, 01:59 PM
Horses can be kept at the highest levels of competition with 24/7 turnout...I've seen it done. As for having a bellyful of grass, water and whatnot...horses have very small stomachs which is why nature intended them to eat small quantities (think grazing) often...not large meals of concentrates and a little bit of hay and stand with nothing to eat all day(think ulcers, cribbing, weaving, etc...) Most of those mainly stalled horses I'm sure have hay available at most times and water...so that's kind of a silly argument to say their stomachs are less empty than a horse on turnout 24/7. Keep in mind too that horses that get too fat on grass can be kept in poor or dry paddocks very successfully and still receive the benefit of gentle constant exercise.

I do know that before a hard cross country gallop or a race many upper level event riders/trainers will pull the horses water a few hours before so they do not drink too much right before that level of exertion, but we're talking only before a race, heavy training, or competition...not on a day to day basis. Most upper level event horses do not gallop hard very often.

Most people I know just don't feed a large meal of grain before working a horse (at any level) but to suggest that a horse that has been gradually feeding itself all day on grass and gently exercising is at a disadvantage at the upper levels does not make sense at all.

fivesocks
Aug. 1, 2006, 02:16 PM
Regarding keeping horses IN 20+ hours/day to conserve energy...


I have to wonder if these horses that MUST be kept in so they have enough energy are actually missing some key element in their diets. Or if they simply need to be fed more "x" and/or less "y"...any horse who can only muster up enough energy in a 24 hour period for one good workout probably has something else going on...

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 1, 2006, 02:48 PM
not if they're made to work on a full belly.

I don't believe it's wise to work any horse directly after a grain meal. But pulling him in from pasture and tacking up? NOT THE SAME THING. They are eating small amounts which is constantly being digested. Basic horse physiology here.

I would also like to add that I belive the major reason for lack of pasture board in Europe is lack of space/money - they simply don't have the land.

slc2
Aug. 1, 2006, 03:34 PM
a full belly of grain or a full belly of grass, note, horses do not work well on either.

am i saying i am against turnout? no. so don't jump down my gullet for that.

i am saying, that since horses began working, everyone has very carefully made sure a horse is not working hard on a belly full of anything. in some ways, grass is far worse than grain because of its volume, weight (moisture) and what effect it has on the blood circulation to the gut (away from the muscles), but grain causes problems as well. a horse doesn't run a race as well, doesn't cut cattle as well, etc.

most of you have never worked a dressage horse at the upper levels, and have never seen how fit the horse has to be or how hard it has to work, and most of you will never ever have a clue of what that means to the management of the horse or even the management of the rider.

sure, i can take a horse out of a field and work it for 20 minutes 'stretching at a walk' (walking on long rein), 'suppling' (walking on long rein), 'turning, bending' (walking on a long rein), and doing a circle or two of slow posting trot and slow canter. sure i can. i can and did for many, many years. and if a horse is in that kind of work of course if he will stay out there and and it's not hell's kitchen, i am going to have him on the grass.

and even though daydream believer feels that 'upper level horses can be out 24/7', i would like a report of how many elite horses are out 24/7 during their competing, showing and peak training years.

no, i don't think it's because people are too busy or too uncaring about their horses that this isn't routinely done, and i don't think it's about the land or the concept of it or philosophy or anything else. frankly, most of the really cool elite stables i've been to HAVE turnout, and the horses DO go out in it, and they dont go out 24/7 and there's a very good reason for it. you may not agree that a horse can't work on a belly full of pasture grass, but a whole lot of other people DO.

indyblue
Aug. 1, 2006, 03:54 PM
SLC2.Are you sure they cant get to the Olympics on 24/7 in any sport? The key to successful turnout is knowing about the type of grass your horse is eating & how much.I can only speak for NZ where we have alot of Mycotoxins in the types of grass grown here (Rye grass mainly) but I understand that the main studies for Mycotoxins have been done in the States so maybe you guys have them too?.Mycotoxins reek havoc on horses.Its like poison & shows up in many forms of symptoms, behaviourable (sp?) & physical.The trick is not to put your horse on lush pasture as this is not what a horse is designed to dijest.Its like just feeding them candyflosss.You get this mental picture of your horse wondering through a beautiful field without a weed in site & grass up to his ankles.Dont go there girfriends!!! (&Theo). Im wondering if this is kind of what Theo is getting at.I make sure the bulk of my horses feed is fibre & supplement with a high grade magnesium & use a toxin binder which helps counteract any negative effects too much grass offers. Ive never had a horse get colic or any other dijestive problem in my life (touches wood).I like to think little old NZ has had a small impact on the international scene with our horses over the years through a range of disciplins.Weve won the odd gold at the Olympics .While I know that alot of our riders are based overseas now & have to stable due to weather & land restrictions ,they also know the benefits of good turnout & have their horses out as much as possible.

Daydream Believer
Aug. 1, 2006, 04:07 PM
and even though daydream believer feels that 'upper level horses can be out 24/7', i would like a report of how many elite horses are out 24/7 during their competing, showing and peak training years.



I think you will find I'm hardly the only one on here that feels that way but for some reason you are calling on me by name so I'll reply. I'm not name dropping but I knew of several GP horses in competition that lived in paddocks (not large pasture)...yes 24/7...and they were plenty competitive. I knew of several advanced level eventers over the years that were turned out at least 12 hours a day also and when the weather was nice they were out all day. They did not stay in a stall the majority of the day which is what you seem to think is necessary for some reason. Since I lack your broad range of experience with upper level horses I guess what I saw and experienced was just an anomaly. :rolleyes:

Fairview Horse Center
Aug. 1, 2006, 04:10 PM
Horses grazing on grass do not fill up on it, they keep eating choice bits to keep some in their tummies. Also, grass is a very high percent of water. No one pulls their water before work. We are also not talking on competition day. Who pills their hay an hour before work. A horse is just as likely to be full of hay.

I was told many years ago, by a very good friend and mentor that the upper level horses needed to be kept up with no turnout to prevent injury, and so they would "show off for her when she rode". I politely said "hogwash" :D

Horses that are turned out with quiet companions for a large portion of their day are not any more likely to be injured because they actually hugely decrease the amount of work related injuries. Riding a horse daily that is not turned out, is worked to their maximum fitness and conditioning. A horse that is turned out to pasture spends a lot of time in low level conditioning work. They then always have a large buffer zone for riding, and rarely have strains and pulls. Their heart and lungs are also MUCH healthier, so MUCH less likely to pick up illnesses.

Horses that are turned out and stalled for a rest period (1/2 day) are VERY willing to show off - especially if ridden close to the time when they are due to go out again. Adjust the schedule, and even top level competitors can spend a lot of their time on pasture.

I have managed an Intermediate 3-Day horse. She finished 4th against the Barcelona horses from other countries at the Atlanta Heat Trials. She was turned out 12 to 15 hours per day, in a 28 acre pasture until she actually loaded on the trailer to go to her competitions.

fish
Aug. 1, 2006, 04:13 PM
not if they're made to work on a full belly.

By "belly" do you mean the stomach or the caecum? And full of what? Grain? Fiber? Water?

Many studies have been done evaluating equine perfomances in many different sports, using many different nutritional and other management techniques. Have you read any of them, slc?

Indeed, stalls can be handy in many situations--- and putting horses into them is often necessary for competitive success if only because pastures are not available on most show grounds-- but this does not alter the fact that the healthiest place for horses is out grazing, and whenever we stall them, it does subject them to numerous risks (starting with ulcers) that we need to take careful management measures (e.g. free choice hay, only small meals of concentrates, frequent exercise outside the stall) to alleviate.

Puddin Pie
Aug. 1, 2006, 04:21 PM
Mine is out all the time and comes in for feed and has a stall if the weather is really nasty: thunderstorms, ice storms etc. There are woods to hide in and get out of the sun. He is schooling 3rd, shown successfully through 2nd. He is 23 and the vet thinks he needs to move around as much as possible due to his age.

Beau_Cheval_Rouge
Aug. 1, 2006, 04:36 PM
Dressage horses better live well out on pasture, or someone forgot to send my horses the memo!!

I think 24/7 turn-out for ANY horse is a huge factor in their mental and physical well-being. I feel so sorry for those horses kept in 12x12 (or near) stalls a majority of the time, and only allowed an hour or so of turn-out in teeny tiny paddocks or just hand walked.

slc2
Aug. 1, 2006, 04:46 PM
"which is what you seem to think is necessary for some reason"

yiou would do well to not try to read my mind or decide what i think is necessary. in fact, that is NOT what i think, nor what i have ever said in any way. in fact, i have spent every penny i have to make sure my animals are NOT in stalls 24/7, so don't accuse me of that - ever - i am going to the poorhouse to do the opposite of that. be assured, you do not know what i think on this matter.

and no, your grand prix horses you talk about seeing, were actually not out 24/7 on pasture, by your own description. they were in a paddock, for part of the day. there is a difference between that and 24/7 pasture.

re toxins in pasture, yes, we have that here. but it is a matter of managing the pasture better to avoid that - that's usually possible. sometimes during severe climate changes it's not.

i don't agree that categorically for all horses, animals on pasture don't eat alot, and i've seen studies that disprove what is said above that they pick and eat small amts, i d think they graze slectively, but i also think that in quite a few situations, if they are on pasture 24/7, and it is good pasture, studies show they eat quite a lot. and yes, i've read a lot of studies on nutrition and grazing in horses, for many years. many more lately, as we plan our own pastures.

so, in conclusion, those of you who want to keep your grand prix olympians on pasture 24/7, you are quite free to do so. i'm not going to, for reasons stated above. and in fact, there is a certain level of commonality between a human gorging at the Golden Corral Buffet and running a marathon, and a horse trying to do strenuous work requiring maximum muscular effort, with a belly full of grass and water pressing on his lungs and requiring blood for digestion.

no it is not grain, but it still requires blood and circulatory preference for digestion.

trailblazer
Aug. 1, 2006, 05:03 PM
Go to Golden Corral. Put some of everything on your plate. STAY at Golden Corral for 23 hours, continue eating, and then go run the Boston Marathon, and tell me where you finish.
You might want to freshen up on your equine anatomy and physiology. Horses are grazing animals, and as such they are designed to move around and eat all day long. This has nothing to do with the Boston Marathon and everything to do with BASIC animal husbandry. Horses who stay inside and who are fed one or two large meals daily will not be as healthy as those who eat throughout the day. I don't know what school of horsemanship you graduated from, but you must be thinking of a different animal when you say that horses should not be eating all day! :eek:

trailblazer
Aug. 1, 2006, 05:07 PM
=most of you have never worked a dressage horse at the upper levels, and have never seen how fit the horse has to be or how hard it has to work, and most of you will never ever have a clue of what that means to the management of the horse or even the management of the rider.
Oy vey, are you trying to tell me that YOU of all people have worked a dressage horse at the upper levels? Let's see some pictures! :lol:

I'm curious though. Just what about dressage "requires" that the horse be managed poorly? Horses that are out for longer are healthier. Why is this bad for a dressage horse? :confused:

trailblazer
Aug. 1, 2006, 05:11 PM
so, in conclusion, those of you who want to keep your grand prix olympians on pasture 24/7, you are quite free to do so. i'm not going to, for reasons stated above. and in fact, there is a certain level of commonality between a human gorging at the Golden Corral Buffet and running a marathon, and a horse trying to do strenuous work requiring maximum muscular effort, with a belly full of grass and water pressing on his lungs and requiring blood for digestion.
Nope, that is not true at all. :o The equine digestive system is vastly different from that of humans. For a horse to be healthy, he NEEDS to be outside eating and moving. This is a fact. You must be mixing horses up with some other species...

Mozart
Aug. 1, 2006, 05:23 PM
Frankly, the biggest determining factor for you will be the weather.

If you have aspirations of just getting to third level and there is no time frame in which you want that done and the horse doesn't need to stay blemish free and you (or someone) will bring the horse in to get fed appropriately (which, in the case of a very hard or very easy keeper, is better multiple times per day) and you CAN bring the horse in somewhere when a blizzard hits or the flies are atrocious...sure go for it.

Where I live the weather goes to minus 35 Celsius in winter and up to plus 33 in the summer. A horse living out will do just fine if he has a shelter and a nice woolly coat. However, if your riding consists of anything more than a brief jaunt that does not result in a perspiring horse, living out is not going to work.

My horses in work go out for about 6 hours during the winter and wear a heavy blanket for turnout. They do not get very hairy but they will still get wet at which point they have to stay in until they are dry. A lot of arenas in my area are heated so the horses are frequently clipped or they perspire too heavily when working. Again, this will result in limited turnout.

In the summer, some horses will be in constant motion due to flies and will lose condition quickly unless they have a chance to get in out of the flies. Fly sheets and sprays only work to a point.

If you are prepared to essentially give your horse the winter off, or just trial ride or hack a bit for fun it would not be a problem. As spring comes and your horse sheds out you can get going again seriously. I did this for a few years with my old eventer/jumper who knew his job and just needed conditioning and tuning up in the spring beginning with road work.

However, you don't really make progress very quickly this way, it could work for an older horse who basically knows his job.

So for the pasture board situation, really, so much will depend on your weather, the temperament of that particular horse and how he maintains his body weight, whether nutritional needs can be addressed and environmental factors.

So as usual, the answer is IT DEPENDS.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 1, 2006, 05:35 PM
Nope, that is not true at all. :o The equine digestive system is vastly different from that of humans. For a horse to be healthy, he NEEDS to be outside eating and moving. This is a fact. You must be mixing horses up with some other species...
I loff you.

and Mozart - you are correct. I forgot about places where the weather can go to such extremes for long perods of time.

Sabovee
Aug. 1, 2006, 05:44 PM
The mere mention that a top equine athlete HAS to be kept from 24/7 turnout is RIDICULOUS.

I have competed at upper levels. The last Grand Prix horse I worked with was out 24/7, except in severe weather. PERIOD. He was far more expressive in his work after being allowed out to be a horse. He had a joie de vie that came through in his work.

BOTTOM LINE
HORSES WERE MADE TO LIVE OUTSIDE. (as Mozart said above)
Wild horses are some of the hardiest, healthiest horses you will find.

Although I understand the need for owners to keep their horses inside. I also appreciate that horses are different, one may thrive out when another may not.

I also don't see the logic behind horses in a stall keeping muscle etc better than horses on field. Horses in a stall are standing wasting muscle, horses outside (as said above) are moving, grazing, stretching - SLEEPING FLAT OUT if they desire (Umm.. can you say, stress off the joints?).

You simply cannot say that an upper level horse, in order to be competitive MUST be kept in - it's a generalization and it's not true in every case, Because it certainly wasn't in mine.

Also... It's unwise to believe everyone on this board is a neophyte. I think you'll find we are blessed with MANY talented and knowledgable members.

Horsedances
Aug. 1, 2006, 06:11 PM
The mere mention that a top equine athlete HAS to be kept from 24/7 turnout is RIDICULOUS.

I have competed at upper levels. The last Grand Prix horse I worked with was out 24/7, except in severe weather. PERIOD. He was far more expressive in his work after being allowed out to be a horse. He had a joie de vie that came through in his work.

BOTTOM LINE
HORSES WERE MADE TO LIVE OUTSIDE. (as Mozart said above)
Wild horses are some of the hardiest, healthiest horses you will find.

Although I understand the need for owners to keep their horses inside. I also appreciate that horses are different, one may thrive out when another may not.

I also don't see the logic behind horses in a stall keeping muscle etc better than horses on field. Horses in a stall are standing wasting muscle, horses outside (as said above) are moving, grazing, stretching - SLEEPING FLAT OUT if they desire (Umm.. can you say, stress off the joints?).

You simply cannot say that an upper level horse, in order to be competitive MUST be kept in - it's a generalization and it's not true in every case, Because it certainly wasn't in mine.


Horses were not ment to do dressage, and certainly not in a indoor arena. Why do we shave our horses ??. Why did they found out all this exotic nutricion, food-supplements and all other stuff.

The answer is not blowing in the wind, but very simple THINK.

And I can't do anything with these kind of answers, because did you ever try to keep your horse stabled 20/7 ???

Let someone who is running a stable with top-dressage horses react to this topic directly with name and location, not all this hear say answers.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 1, 2006, 06:43 PM
Just speaking as a biologist and one whose specialty is animal behavior -

horses evolved that way for a reason. There is no question that it is healthier for them to be outside - vagaries of weather etc aside.

doccer
Aug. 1, 2006, 06:51 PM
No one pulls their water before work. We are also not talking on competition day. Who pills their hay an hour before work. A horse is just as likely to be full of hay.



I'm sorry, you can't generalize this to everyone. My Fabulous ;) First Level horse is out 24/7 rain, snow, wind.... And on competition day, his hay is taken away an hour before we warm up, and no water 30min prior to warm up. (I know, there's always one - "but *i* do it that way" *lol*) And even on regular days, it takes about 30min to get horse ready.... that's ample time for grass/water to settle imo.

I won't even lie and say i'm close to the top levels of dressage, or even PSG (altho that is my 10 year goal) But i'd like to think that even once you're in the top levels of ANY equine discipline that 'conserving energy' for a great ride takes the backseat to keeping a horse a horse. A horse's life is not serve "Grand Prix Dressage" it is to be happy and to be a horse.

Maybe this is where turnout ends and ego begins.

Who knew 'turnout' was such a heated topic :yes: :lol:

fivesocks
Aug. 1, 2006, 07:29 PM
Also - do you realize that the horse's stomach only comprises about 10-15% of his total digestive tract? The horse's digestive system is meant to process a constant flow of forage throughout the day. This is why horses defecatate every few hours. It is ridiculous to say that you can't work a horse that has been grazing all day because his stomach is full of grass/water.

I can see the wild horse lounging on the sofa telling the mountain lion "Give me a couple hours. I've been grazing all day and I just can't run from you right now. My belly's full." *puffs on cig, sips martini*

If pursued by an assailant, a wild horse can gallop at top speed as necessary to try to save his own life. Even though he's been grazing all day.



Good point, but one cannot always equate the grass eaten by a wild horse with that grown on farms. Many places seed and fertilize their turnouts, resulting in lush pastures of only a few grass species. The grasses eaten by wild horses are more sparse, and more dry. They take a bite, take a few steps to get to the next clump of grass, take another bite, etc. In that sense, if a horse is ankle deep in thick bermuda/fescue/orchard/timothy/whatever; I can see why a horse on lush pasture could have a belly full of grass, much like they can have a belly full of breakfast.

DocHF
Aug. 1, 2006, 07:41 PM
Well, I do not own a top level dressage stable, so I'm obviously no expert. ROFLMAO.
I have no doubt that top level dressage barns and many top level stud keepers of old ( like Wynmalen- who died and made him god BTW? of yeah- he did) would swear by their methods. And they likely ran top notch efficient operations that kept wonderful horses, who were stabled most of the time, but kept so well that it did them no harm.
But the cutting and reining worlds involve a lot more prize money than dressage does over here, not that its a recommendation, but the reiners and cutters make actual prize money, so they are likely to keep their horses the best way they can. And yes, many of their horses are pretty much out 24/7.

Goodyfourshoes, you're in Canada, where as you know, its next to impossible to keep a horse out at pasture in winter except by feeding them hay and heating the water trough so it doesn't freeze. If you keep a horse rough like that in canada, you're right, you ought not to clip it, even with a good winter blanket. So your horse might take the winter off riding and come back in the spring, the way a lot of cowhorses are kept. Because riding with a heavy winter coat is just a recipe for overheating and illness.

I prefer to keep my horses stabled but recognize that its because I'm not a millionaire who can afford the necessary 5-10 acres of pasture per horse needed . And also because, yes, my horse seems much more likely to be injured while at grass, and because they stay much cleaner and are less work when they are stabled. They get turnout 4-10 hours a day. They love it.

What rubbish that horses kept out 24/7 won't be strong enough or have endurance. Theo, your example just speaks more of a divorced lady who has no time or energy to ride her horses after working all day long and keeping her house.

When horses are kept in reasonabley sparse rangeland pasture 24/7, like we have in the prairies, they eat about 11 out of the 24 hours and mostly they stand around sleeping, just like in their stalls. They play with others a little and they walk around a bit, but mostly like cats, they eat and doze. If they are otherwise trained on a normal schedule, the major difference I see with pasture kept horses is that they are far calmer than their stable kept mates, but they work just as hard.

EqTrainer
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:00 PM
I confess, I am just too lazy to flip thru my COTH's after taking care of and riding horses in 100 degree weather today, but I remember reading that - was it Kim Seversen? Keeps Winsome Adante? out 24/7 with a run-in.

Probably got those names mixed up but it was a big time event horse. Who undoubtably works a hell of a lot harder than a GP dressage horse does, even on his best day!

Horsedances
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:32 PM
Theo, your example just speaks more of a divorced lady who has no time or energy to ride her horses after working all day long and keeping her house.

Her daughters are riding the horses, when they come home from school.
She doesn't ride competitions anymore herself. They have 6 hectares of greenfields attached to their house. I help this people out because I can see from the color of the grass how long these horses can stay out.

Furthermore you have a very funny idea about our country. All the dressage-stables which I know have at least 40 acres of greenfields, wood and lakes.

Again when you can't control the feeding of a top dressage horse you create tons of problems. And don't tell me that horses only eat blablabla, because there are many so called "vacuumcleaners" who eat as long as they can.

EqTrainer
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:38 PM
Maybe what we have here, is one of those situations in which the facts (how horses digestive systems work) have been misconstrued for years and years, to suit the preferred management styles of barn managers.

Think about it.. even five years ago, people knew very little about ulcers. People still thought cribbing caused colic. People still fed their horses feed laced with molasses!

Maybe, just maybe.. the facts will become better known and more and more horses will get to live out and still be working horses.

I can honestly say, my horse worked his tail off tonight and that was after eating hay and guzzling water all day. He'll eat grass all night tonight, too. He had PLENTY of energy to work on all kinds of things, including things like S-I on a hillside, bless his heart. Then he went for a two mile or so walk. When I turned him out he chased after his pasture mate.. and don't forget, it was about 100 degrees today.

mbm
Aug. 1, 2006, 10:40 PM
at my barn the horses are out all day - they are put out after breakfast and brought in before dinner - weather permitting. if it is too hot or too rainy they come in.

my mare does not like being an out all the time horse. she wants to come in if it gets too warm (she is dark bay) and she does NOT like rain touching her. she stands at the gate and winnies. so she comes in.

interestingly tho she does not run around at all in her field. which is funny because she is a hottie. when she used to go out only for 45 minutes a day she would run the entire time. so for her, it is safer to leave her out for as long as she wants.

some of the horses comes in half day when the grass is ripe because of weight gain. and we have horses up to I1 in out barn.

Most of the barns i have been at turn out all horses for as long as possible and most of the barns i have been at have FEI horses. some quite famous.

I have also been in barns where the horses were so bubble wrapped and so coddled and the injuroes were sky high. the horse would be so pent up and so unable to take care of themselves that injury was almost predictable .

whereas i think that is the horse knows how to take care of him or herself they chance on injury is far less.

my mare does not get turned out with others. i think about it but she doesn't really care....

i think that it is healtier for a horse to be out as much as possible.

i understand why top horses are kept in - but would hope that they get at least a few hours of horse time to play and stretch their muscles.

Goodyfourshoes!
Aug. 1, 2006, 11:04 PM
edit

Mercedes
Aug. 1, 2006, 11:40 PM
Butkus indeed!

I've raced horses out of the field and won. In fact, the racing world has been realizing over the last decade that the more turnout they give their horses, the better they race. I've competed endurance horses out of the field and won.

The reason stalled horses 'go crazy' and 'hurt themselves' when turned out is because they're so bloody uptight from being locked up in a box all day.

I've done it both ways...performance horses in 23/hrs a day and performance horses out 24/hrs a day and everything inbetween. There's a definitely correlation between turnout time and performance as well as overall health.

Most horses will do significantly better if they can at least choose to be in or out...as in stalls that lead out into paddocks/pastures.

There are always exceptions to the rules and I do know horses that don't do outside well. I'm not sure why. It might be that they've been away from herd conditions and such for so long that they develop an insecurity.

Sabovee
Aug. 1, 2006, 11:48 PM
Horses were not ment to do dressage, and certainly not in a indoor arena. Why do we shave our horses ??. Why did they found out all this exotic nutricion, food-supplements and all other stuff.

The answer is not blowing in the wind, but very simple THINK.

And I can't do anything with these kind of answers, because did you ever try to keep your horse stabled 20/7 ???

Let someone who is running a stable with top-dressage horses react to this topic directly with name and location, not all this hear say answers.

Horses were not meant to do dressage? - Is that's why you see them passaging and doing canter pirouettes in the wild?

I have had upper level horses on both pasture board and indoor board.
The simple truth of the matter is that my outdoor horses were always happier and more expressive in their work.

And sweetheart, I have managed 3 upper level barns, I am not into name dropping but... 1 for a Canadian Olympian, 1 for a Canadian World Cup Rider and 1 for myself.

We had a wide mix of horses, both being kept in and out. When it comes to running my own barn I chose to leave my horses out and have been very happy with the results.

I can see both sides to this discussion, but I simply don't agree that to be competitive a dressage horse MUST be kept in. Just because it's the norm doesn't make it the be all and end all. I'm happy with my horsekeeping and am seeing great results. When I had my horses in more I dealt with a lot more health problems, colic, vices etc. I think you're so deeply rooted in your belief here you can't see the forest for the trees.

and PS - Just because you're European, doesn't make you right.

Fairview Horse Center
Aug. 2, 2006, 12:38 AM
I have some of my horses in half time, and some out 24/7. Truly the ones that are happiest are the ones in days in the summer, and nights in the winter, but out at least 8 to 10 hours per 24 hour period with a group of other horses. When I bring one of the out 24/7 guys into a stall for a few days, or weeks, if I have one available, they pout when I pitch them back out.

My barns are very comfy though. We have stall guards up, so they can hang their heads out in the aisle. The big fans keep the barns cool. They have a nice place to rest/sleep, and no bugs. They also have people doing the rounds of treats, because you can't give to just one.

naters
Aug. 2, 2006, 03:17 AM
...but I have never seen more illnesses and mental issues then I did there :(.


The horses or the rider??? ;)

TBsRgr8
Aug. 2, 2006, 03:20 AM
They also have people doing the rounds of treats, because you can't give to just one.

I almost got kicked out of a barn because of this principle. I had a horse that liked to kick the stall wall to get attention. Well-meaning boarders would dispense treats to "shut her up". She caught onto this and started kicking more and more to the point that the BO suggested that we might need to use kicking chains and if the kicking didn't stop we would have to make other arrangements. I asked if we could put up a sign (I was able to do a tasteful one cheaply because my mom was working at a sign shop at the time) and he agreed. Within a week of the sign going up, her kicking was cut by at least 2/3s of what she had done previously when there were treats being dispensed to reward her offensive behavior.

fish
Aug. 2, 2006, 08:32 AM
[QUOTE
I can honestly say, my horse worked his tail off tonight and that was after eating hay and guzzling water all day. He'll eat grass all night tonight, too. He had PLENTY of energy to work on all kinds of things, including things like S-I on a hillside, bless his heart. Then he went for a two mile or so walk. When I turned him out he chased after his pasture mate.. and don't forget, it was about 100 degrees today.[/QUOTE]

I got a kick out of this one-- reminds me of using one of my 24/7 out mares for fox-hunting. Same thing: after 3+ hours of almost continuous galloping over every imaginable kind of terrain, she ran bucking up the hill to tell her pasturemates about it as soon as she got back home. Healthy horses have incredible reserves of energy, and the people doing the research are very clear on their opinion that living out (with access to shelter) keeps horses healthier.

E.g., At a symposium I attended on respiratory ailments in horses, one of the researchers remarked that the vast majority of horses donated to his vet school because they had heaves recovered completely when turned out to live in a pasture with a run in shed. A large postion of the symposium was devoted to the problems involved in trying to maintain healthy airways in stalled horses.

fish
Aug. 2, 2006, 08:43 AM
Her daughters are riding the horses, when they come home from school.
She doesn't ride competitions anymore herself. They have 6 hectares of greenfields attached to their house. I help this people out because I can see from the color of the grass how long these horses can stay out.

Furthermore you have a very funny idea about our country. All the dressage-stables which I know have at least 40 acres of greenfields, wood and lakes.

Again when you can't control the feeding of a top dressage horse you create tons of problems. And don't tell me that horses only eat blablabla, because there are many so called "vacuumcleaners" who eat as long as they can.

Theo-- you can easily "control the feeding" of your horses by (1) having your pastures analyzed and managing them to meet the needs of the horses: I have 6 different fields, including what I call the "diet pasture and mental health field," so I can have individual horses on the type of forage that best meets their needs, (2) putting grazing muzzles on those "vaccumcleaners" (Half the horses here are in muzzles for at least part of the day when the grass is lush), and (3) bringing them in for their meals of concentrates.

In these ways, you can monitor and control the horses' feeding quite closely without subjecting them to the many risks to their health that result from keeping them in stalls.

asterix
Aug. 2, 2006, 09:36 AM
To confirm an earlier post, yes, it's Kim Severson, one of the best event riders in the world, and, yes, she keeps Winsome Adante, and her other horses, out 24-7. Poor thing won best-conditioned at Rolex one year, one of the three times he's also won the event.

Once again, as has been pointed out numerous times, there are all kinds of methods of keeping horses, and all kinds of arguments for why horses "need" to be in for x amount of time, and I am quite sure there are horses that do better in a more managed setting, but...

to say that it is "impossible" for an Olympic level horse to be kept out, or that it will "turn into a recreation horse" once kept out, is very simply Not True and an Oversimplistic Generalization.

Please.

ToN Farm
Aug. 2, 2006, 10:14 AM
Maybee this sounds very arrogant, but the answer is very simple.

Horses who are trained every day and compete will lose a lot of their power/muscle-strenght when they are out in the field for more then 2-6 hours (depending on the color of the grass and who many food they take in the fields). Yes they will still eat the special food in their stables, but it will not be digested and transported to their muscles.

Ellen Bontje answered this same question in a clinic with the words.
First make your descission if you want a horse for recreation or a horse for competition. If you chose for recreation you can go for the 24/7 out in the field discipline, but if you want a competition horse you have to guide his feeding process, day in and day out.

No, it doesn't sound arrogant at all. However, I do not understand the reasoning about the digestion being negatively affected if a horse is pastured on grass.

I do agree that a competition horse ideally should be treated differently than a 'recreation' horse for a few reasons. Competition horses do best on a strict program. While I can't explain it, horses that are on this strict program have a better work ethic than those that live out 'being horses'.

My opinion is that no horses should be 24/7 pastured boarded. They ideally should have a stall when they choose and to go out when they choose.

Daydream Believer
Aug. 2, 2006, 11:30 AM
My opinion is that no horses should be 24/7 pastured boarded. They ideally should have a stall when they choose and to go out when they choose.

I'm not picking on you by quoting you but what you said here made me chuckle. :) I know of several ranches involved in the breed I have ...in Wyoming, Minnesota, and N. & S. Dakota where the horses never come inside. There is no "inside" or a horse barn on the ranch. These horses not only live outside but there is not so much as a windbreak for them in blizzards. Only in very rare circumstances have these ranches lost horses...usually the casualty is a foal born too early out on those 4000 acres somewhere and they can't get the baby in before a storm. My stallion's sire was put down last year at 31 years old when he got down and could not get back up. He was never in a barn in his life. He was still breeding mares up until that last spring too. I remember being so impressed with the way the horses looked in their natural state and the fact this ranch hardly ever had injuries or illnesses. They hardly knew what a colic is.

Maybe this is why my perspective changed over the years from the same thinking that you have now not all that long ago to the idea that outside is better for 99% of the horses out there. My current horses ranging from a stallion, to mares/foals, yearlings and youngsters all live out 24/7 in large pastures. They have run in shelters which is their only shade. It is very rare for any of them to choose to go in their shelter...even yesterday in 100F with a heat index of 110F, only a few mares in one field chose to stand in the shed for a little while. It makes me feel better that they have the choice of shelter but sometimes I wonder why I bother to even have sheds. :confused:

Since I started managing my horses this way a few years ago I have not had a colic on an outside horse, a cold, a sniffle, an allergy related issue (one heavey horse is cured now despite still getting hay)...no lameness problems, no vices, nothing...just a lot of healthy and content horses. If you try to bring them inside, they fret and worry and want back out. The only horses of my own that come in are the mares in their last month before foaling and they do seem to enjoy the pampering at that point but seem eager to get back out when the foal is born.

I guess each to his own when it comes to equine management but keeping with the topic, I am not surprised to hear Kim keeps Dan out. She impressed me as a no nonsense person when I met her at a clinic a couple years ago. I have been out of eventing for a few years but I did know of several other folks with advanced horses back in the 1990's I worked with that managed them that way also...in large grassy paddocks as well as the GP horses I knew of.

Spoilsport
Aug. 2, 2006, 11:49 AM
I've had horses that were in 24/7, horses that were in part of the day, and horses that were out 24/7. Most of our youngsters are out 24/7 until they go into regular work, then they come in for part of the day.

I used to think it depended on the horse, but now I think that once a horse gets use to a stall it is MISERABLE when it is out 24/7. At least the vast majority of horses. Mine is in 1/2 day and loves being brought in. I ride another one that is out 24/7 with a run-in shed, has been most of his life, and still prefers to be in a stall. But I'm not the owner, so I have no choice. One of our 2 y/o's, after being stalled for an injury, is now back out 24/7. He hates it.

There is no way we can replicate a horse's condition in the wild. There, they can move across large distances to stay out of the sun and away from insects. A horse in a pasture is in a totally different situation. And domesticated horses are different.

I'm not even a dressage rider :lol: but the topic caught my attention, and I think all show horses are the same when it comes to horsecare.

Timex
Aug. 2, 2006, 11:58 AM
24/7 turnout has yet to kill any of mine. my (sound, healthy, happy) 21 yr old 3rd level mare is perfectly content to hang out with her buddies, comes out, works her little heart out and gives 110% every time. Sure, we're not headed off to Europe any time soon, so injury isn't a real concern (ok, it IS, but you know what i mean), and luckily the mare is the sane sort that I don't have to worry about. But as long as you understand and accept the possibilities of injury, then why not let your horse have as much turnout as possible? besides, I know a guy whose very talented 3 yr old prospect suffered a major tendon injury while in her stall. go figure.

Mozart
Aug. 2, 2006, 12:01 PM
Based on what you describe, I would say go for it. If you take most of the winter off anyway and 3rd level is a far off goal, why not? You could certainly try it for a year and see how it goes.

In Southern Ontario though you will get (I think) more cold rain and sleeting at the beginning and end of winter so that is actually more taxing to the horse than dry snow. So definitely the horse will need shelter, lots of hay to keep the internal heating engine going and access to clean (and liquid :) ) water. The horse will not need too much grain in the winter, hay is more important to hold water in the digestive system and to use for heat energy. However, you may find you need to feed some grain and certainly if you feed supplements, you have to figure out a way for the horse to be fed appropriately.

If you horse grows a wooly mammoth coat you will not be able to do much schooling over the winter, but if you just want to hack around a bit you should be able to do that. Some TB's, if kept blanketed, don't get too much of a hair coat even if kept outside, I don't know what your horse is but you will have to just see how it goes. I believe that the horse's natural coat is much warmer than any blanket and has the advantage of built in thermo regulation, and if a horse is truly living out, as opposed to going out for several hours a day during the winter, I prefer to let them grow a coat and not blanket.

Your trainer may be opposed because then s/he has to find another horse to live out with yours. You could try to find out what the root of her opposition is and try to come up with a solutions to any perceived problems.

Perhaps she is worried that you will change your mind halfway through winter and then she won't have a stall for you?

I suspect her opposition to having a training level horse living out has more to do with the practical problems for her. I am not faulting her for that, if you run a big barn by one system and one person wants a different system for themselves it can be a challenge to accomadate everyone.

WBLover
Aug. 2, 2006, 12:11 PM
I live next to people who have their horse out 24/7, and watch them quite frequently because it relaxes me. They most certainly don't gorge themselves on grass all day and I doubt they ever have a full belly at any given time, except maybe after their grain 2x per day. And I don't see the owner pull them out and ride them right after that either.

I see them eat for some time, then stand and rest, then walk to the other side of the pasture, eat a little more, then trot back to the front. Then mutually groom each other for a while, then stare over the fence for a while. Then the gelding has some fun mounting the mare for a while :eek:!! They don't sit there and EAT 24/7 while they are out. Unlike a horse who has been stabled for 20 hours and then is let out for a few hours, all I see them do is gorge themselves on grass for the 4 hours they are out. Them, I could see having a full belly!

Goodyfourshoes!
Aug. 2, 2006, 12:23 PM
edit

MyReality
Aug. 2, 2006, 12:31 PM
The horse will tell you if he wants 24/7 or not.

I am pretty sure my horse will be pretty much unrideable if he is turned out 24/7 even grained. He never gets fat on grass... I think it's the type of training and what nutrients the grass offers. So I actually agree with what Theo said... although I still say different horses are different. Now they are turned out for longer in the Summer, he is getting skinnier and skinnier, ribs are showing. It is making me worried. He only gets condition from good hay, and it takes him forever to eat it so he needs certain amount of time alone in his stall. And I already feed him a crazy amount of grain.

In the winter, with heavy blanketing he still get tense muscles. He just doesn't grow a coat. He shivers in the rain... if he gets rained on without a blanket, for sure he will not offer a good ride.

He would be equally unrideable if he has to stay in 24/7. He loves his herd.

I say whatever that works. Some horses loves 24/7.

Mozart
Aug. 2, 2006, 12:41 PM
I would suspect she is probably just adjusting to a new schedule. Horses are adaptable, but like people, they need a bit of time to get into a new groove.

Based on what you describe, I think your horse will be fine. Especially if she has lived out before. I'm not going to wade into the debate about whether an upper level dressage horse need to live in or out or some combination in between, but for your purposes I think it would work. And if it doesn't, well, do something different!

I too have found that my horses at home rarely go in the run-in during the winter. Sometimes if if is raining really hard, or perhaps on one of those prairie minus 45 C (with wind chill factored in) days, but they spend way more time in the run in in the summer. It is the hot buggy summer days that I wish I could run home and bring them in during the afternoon, not the winter days.

EqTrainer
Aug. 2, 2006, 03:46 PM
The horse will tell you if he wants 24/7 or not.

I am pretty sure my horse will be pretty much unrideable if he is turned out 24/7 even grained. He never gets fat on grass... I think it's the type of training and what nutrients the grass offers. So I actually agree with what Theo said... although I still say different horses are different. Now they are turned out for longer in the Summer, he is getting skinnier and skinnier, ribs are showing. It is making me worried. He only gets condition from good hay, and it takes him forever to eat it so he needs certain amount of time alone in his stall. And I already feed him a crazy amount of grain.

In the winter, with heavy blanketing he still get tense muscles. He just doesn't grow a coat. He shivers in the rain... if he gets rained on without a blanket, for sure he will not offer a good ride.

He would be equally unrideable if he has to stay in 24/7. He loves his herd.

I say whatever that works. Some horses loves 24/7.

Not to derail this thread, but what does your horse eat?

slc2
Aug. 2, 2006, 03:54 PM
after riding shotgun on marlborough man horse, myreality, it was a shock to get a cold-baby which is the horse world equivalent of adrian monk.

a cold-baby wants to be in the house.

my cold baby was born in california, and i am sure he greeted his next quebec home with horror.

imagine his further horror when after 12 hr on the road in a blizzard, he arrived at his new home...in the snow belt.

but in fact he loves snow, he just doesn't want it to be cold snow. snow should be pleasantly cushy and warm, like a couch, and should neither melt nor produce ice, or very small steps must be taken. a temperature of 50-60 degrees would be ideal, sunlight should be pleasantly diffuse, as in a portrait studio, no riding in the dark, please, as it could contain germs.

a light breeze, and no rain while cold baby is outside, thank you. intermittent drops are almost as disturbing as torrential downpours. if there should be a fly, please call the mobile crisis unit. if a bath is provided, please check the water temperature on the back of your wrist. wraps on front legs will be removed promptly, or become shreds of fluff. velcro closure boots on the hind legs that may snag a stray tail hair can cause great distress.

trail rides? tolerated while silently sobbing and penning letters to the aspca, unless rules above are followed.

keep in mind, this is a boy horse.

EqTrainer
Aug. 2, 2006, 03:55 PM
IWhile I can't explain it, horses that are on this strict program have a better work ethic than those that live out 'being horses'.



Well, I can help explain it.

Used as an example - if you have 4 horses in a pasture, ONE horse is the boss. The other three get told what to do, all the time. THOSE three usually have fabulous work ethics and are very submissive. The boss? He's the one who can be real a$$hole time to time. He is used to telling his friends what to do, and you might be one of them <LOL>.

My personal horse is the "Boss". When he is turned out with a horse he has to put manners on, he is also less submissive with me undersaddle. I would be an idiot to not acknowledge this as a fact of life. On the other hand, the horse he is "working on" is much nicer to deal with. I guess you could call this a partnership (ROFLMAO, thinking about that).

My horse, if kept in a stall 24/7 and only handled by me, is MUCH easier to deal with and becomes quite a bit more submissive than he naturally would be. So he falls into your category of getting a better work ethic by being stalled. BUT IMO it's not worth risking his physical well-being, even tho' it might put MINE a little more at risk on ocassion! I'd rather have a healthy horse that I have to have a talk with sometimes, than an unhealthy, always submissive one. But that's just me.

DocHF
Aug. 2, 2006, 04:25 PM
Furthermore you have a very funny idea about our country. All the dressage-stables which I know have at least 40 acres of greenfields, wood and lakes.

A little arrogant, Theo. I said nothing about your country, so why do you imply I am ignorant of it? I'd lay a bet I have seen more of your country than you've seen of mine, but no matter.

The ranges and prairies that I was talking about are climatically and geographically, closer to Kazakhstan or Siberia than the Netherlands. Forty acres would be considered a smallish holding.

But the OP is in central/ eastern Ontario whose geography and climate is more like northern Germany, and in some sections, as lush as the Netherlands.

Mozart
Aug. 2, 2006, 04:28 PM
I feel a derailin' about to happen, but your horse does not sound very happy. Could it be that he is low down on the pecking order and the others aren't letting him get enough hay? If you are relying on this summer's grass to provide him with nutrition...you may be out of luck. Lots of places have been very hot and dry and have no grass to speak of. Or what is thought to be grass is really just weeds. Just because it is green doesn't mean it has food value.
Or what about the fly situation? I have seen TB's and other thin skinned horses get really thin in the summer because the flies keep them on the move and they just expend too many calories.

Sorry, I know you didn't ask for advice but I guess I am going to stick my neck out and give it to you.

This horse may need to come in for a while to get out of the flies in the p.m. and eat some hay undisturbed.

Mozart
Aug. 2, 2006, 04:41 PM
Who is Adrian Monk?? Do you mean Adrian Mole (famous diarist...age 13 3/4's) ?

slp2
Aug. 2, 2006, 05:24 PM
I find it interesting that everyone seems to be at polar opposite on the turnout discussion. It's either 24/7 or nothing? I have always boarded at barns where the horses go out during the day (9-5 ish) and are in stalls at night. Seems to work pretty well. I can tell you that my horse loves her turnout . . . . but is waiting at the gate to come in at the end of the day (or when it's hot, buggy, cold, or rainy). In addition, when you talk about maintaining weight and energy--it depends on your horses status in the herd. My horse is pretty submissive. I would be concerned if she always had to "fight" for her food because she would end up with the short end of the stick (or the short pile of hay). I had a friend who's horse was submissive and became very dehydrated out on 24/7 turnout. It turned out that the more dominant horses were chasing him away from the waterer. So there are a lot of factors. If they go out in a group--keep in mind the herd dynamics. Some horses cannot flourish if they are constantly picked on by other herd members.

For me, I like the middle ground on the turnout issue. My horse spends about half her time in a stall, which means she doesn't flip out when she is stabled at a show for 3 days (or has to be on stall rest for an injury). Also means that she has some "personal space" that she doesn't have to defend. I would not want her in a stall for 23 hours--then I would end up spending the majority of my ride working off her excess energy. But I also think it would be hard to expect her to be a competition horse if she were out 24/7.

slc2
Aug. 2, 2006, 05:30 PM
"was kept that way his whole life, or has been conditioned to not know any other way."

ha ha ha. you don't know this horse. he was raised by someone who was a FANATIC about having horse go out in huge pasture 24/7.

"screaming on fence" ha ha ha again. you don't know this horse. horse does not go running screaming along the fence.

"check into motel"

so what's your point? yes he WOULD check into a motel if it would get the fly off him.

you don't understand. our dear cold baby was raised by a marlborough man type who ALWAYS had him out in all weather. he spent most of his life outside before we got him.

the simple point is this. not every horse you get can be forced to be a validation of your own agenda, Two Simple.

i wanted another marlborough man horse. i've always had marlborough man horses. horses that loved to go out and roll in the mud and run and do the wild stallion of the desert thing. horses that LAUGHED at flies, rain and mud. NOT horses that liked track lighting, bottled water, and the like.

i got Adrian Monk. (OCD detective on tv show).

for quite some time i put him out in the rain, rode in the rain, and did all the things that he didn't like, because for some reason i was believing people like YOU who told me if i did these things, he would suddenly start to like all these things.

however, that did not happen. therefore, when that happens, what i do, is change what i do to match what suits the horse and keeps him happy, because horse is a saint, sound as a bell and twice as safe and has taken me from -1 to +11, and i need to thank him every day for what he's done for me, and i DON'T do that by trying to make him into something he's not or make him miserable.

you go around trying to make every horse you have validate your own personal philosophy of how horses should be, eventually you will run across a horse that didn't read up on your personal philosophy, LOL.

Patootie
Aug. 2, 2006, 05:53 PM
Every horse has different needs. Some I believe really do need to be out more than others. Some horses are very happy inside in airy bright stalls with bars between them for ventilation and talking to their neighbors. If your talking about digestive issues, some horses, if properly fed with ample hay, water, and air do quite well inside.

There is no wrong or right to this answer. I don't know why people have to make it into a crusade.

MyReality
Aug. 2, 2006, 05:58 PM
For those who asked... thanks for asking. Here is some more information.

My horse is right at the very top of the herd. It has little to do with pecking order. It's the type of grass that grows in the pasture and the fact he is in training, 3-5 times a week... usually pretty hard work... and shown around 3/4 weeks apart with some other outings e.g. parade and clinic. Other horses in the same paddock grow like a weed and needs to be on a diet.

He is not offered hay during the day... mainly because other horses are too fat as is. If I want him to be hayed during the day, I need to bring him in myself... which I do sometimes but not regularly.

He is on 1 and 1/4 cups of Challenger 12 (or 14... forgot which one). Mind you the cup we use is huge, it's those plastic milk jug (for milk in bags). And 1 cup of beat pulp for bulk. and half cup of sweet feed and supplement (just vitamins/minerals/biotin. He gets nicer coat and hoof not other benefit). That's more than 2 cups of feed per meal. He gets even skinnier if he is on more oats/sweet feed.. probably he gets a little more high and runs around in the pasture too much. I also tried corn oil... and to my horror, it makes absolutely no difference. There is only one other horse, also in dressage training, that eats that much at our barn.

On the side, we go through 10 pounds of carrots, 10 pounds of apples, every 1.5-2 weeks.

I tried to up his hay too but he doesn't eat it fast enough, i.e. before being turned out, and between dinner/nightfeed... resulting in a lot of wastage so barn staff refuse to give him more hay unless he finished what's in the stall, which I understand. But they will give him more if he can finish it.

He has his teeth done once a year.

If he is turned out on small dry lot (like last time he got injured... it's a cut from overreach), and he has hay all day long combined with less work... even if I half the grain, he still gains weight, as in fat.

He is absolutely amazing to ride with a great attitude. Not hot, not too quiet... just right. He is a little machine, he is game for everything I ask... very rideable. He hasn't spooked in years. He has the right muscles and beatiful topline... but he needs to bulk up.

In the winter, he gets cold so he stands there and shivers... tensing up his muscles. For the longest time, I thought there is something wrong with him cuz he could get really sore.... but a friend suggested I blanket him heavily and that solves the problem. I just need more time to supple him. Still if there was a blizard, just forget about working him.

I can relate to what slc said about hacking. So funny! My horse hates hacking because he hates bugs. I would put so much fly spray on him... he is literally wet. On the trails, once the bugs start to go near him, he would chomp on the bit, pin his ears, jog in the same spot, and fling his head up and down in protest... just miserable. Actually I tried putting a fly sheet on him for turnout but it's not made to last like other blankets... he has fly mask but I buy the cheapest kind cuz he destroys one per 2 months.

Mozart
Aug. 2, 2006, 06:25 PM
buying muzzles for the other horses and asking them to put hay out for your horse?? :lol:
I'm kidding but it sounds like he needs more hay (which you clearly already know).

If he is bugged by bugs he will use up a lot of calories moving around to try to get away from them. We have had good success with the newer finer meshed fly sheets. A friend of mine has a mare who is a lunatic about bugs and she wears the Weatherbeeta sheet with belly band, built in neck protector and fly mask. It has lasted all season so far and she is turned out with others. Also, Weaver makes a similar fly sheet for less money, you could try one of those.

Anyway, just a thought....

EqTrainer
Aug. 2, 2006, 10:22 PM
The horse needs fat, and not from corn oil. Try flax. Feed a few ounces a day and watch him get fat.

I guess this is exactly why pasture boarding gets such a bad rap... I would NEVER put a horse that needed to eat hay all day with a bunch of horses that were on a diet. His needs are not being met. That is what I mean when I say keeping horses out and keeping them happy is a major ass kissing proposition. If he needs to be double blanketed in the winter to stay warm, fine. What's the problem? I really don't get it. Weren't we put on earth to serve them?!!!

letaquinent
Aug. 2, 2006, 10:54 PM
My horses would murder me if I tried to keep them in a stall all of the time. I strongly feel that pasture board is healthier for them and they like the opportunity to run around and be horses. However, I'm not trying to compete them all over the world and in the Olympics and such.

Also, it's easier on my bank account. Most of the places around here will charge for stall board but don't actually use the stalls. I've been to ONE barn where stall board meant your horse was brought in year round- the night (winter) or the day (summer). The rest of the barns feed them in there and toss them back out. While I think it's better for the horse in that kind of a situation, I don't enjoy paying the extra money for a stall that isn't used. Call me crazy.

Edited to add that no matter where I've boarded my horses are fed 2x a day hay and grain, and they are separated/tied when fed. They aren't just thrown out on several acres and left there.

Sabine
Aug. 3, 2006, 12:10 AM
Every horse has different needs. Some I believe really do need to be out more than others. Some horses are very happy inside in airy bright stalls with bars between them for ventilation and talking to their neighbors. If your talking about digestive issues, some horses, if properly fed with ample hay, water, and air do quite well inside.

There is no wrong or right to this answer. I don't know why people have to make it into a crusade.


Well put- I think every horse is an individual. Just on a sidenote - since we are not 24./7 out here in Southern Cal, I know from the farm my mom owns in Germany that it is true punishment to put a showhorse out all day in summer- they truly get eaten alive by bugs- so you have to put the plastic sheets on to protect them and they sweat their living guts out...no- we put the horses out in the early morning 5-8am and then maybe 6-8 pm if there is a breeze- otherwise they enjoy their cool stalls-which are made of large bricks and stay cool for a good while in summer- even if it's hot. AS far as feed- I think show horses need to be fed according to individual need and experiences and this can not be done in a pasture alone. You can count on the good grass of the pasture contributing - but it needs to be planned according to the horse's metabolism and other needs.
Now the pasture schedule changes in fall and spring- winter is very unpredictable and therefore can't be counted on- too much rain and bad footing...

narcissus
Aug. 3, 2006, 12:58 AM
When I did my working student position a few years ago I was working for a GP rider. Her PSG horse (as well as Hano breeding stallion) was turned out in the morning for roughly 4 hours on about an acre of grassy field. Any longer than four hours and he would be pacing the fenceline to come back in.

Her GP horse was also turned out for about 4 hours in the afternoon (in the sunshine! gasp!) and both horses were fine. They all wore protective leg gear and bell boots, as well as fly sheets and fly masks, but at least they got to go out for a bit and be horses.

However I do agree that horses that are competing at higher levels of dressage are just not capable of being top athletes with 24/7 turnout. (And before I get flamed my mare is on 24/7 turnout, but she is not a GP horse).

sbloom
Aug. 3, 2006, 04:46 AM
Any horse "turned out for 4 hours" is likely to be on solo turnout (being an expensive competition horse presumably) and so is bound to be happy to come in after 4 hours. I think almost all horses are happy to be out in warm weather with plenty of fieldmates, but I know my horse wanted to come back in come September when SOME of his field companions went onto a winter regime of in at night, out during the day. Two companions weren't enough and it was colder, he had been happy enough on 24/7 all summer...(chiro wanted him out 24/7 for longer after she started treatments on him).

Bats79
Aug. 3, 2006, 06:51 AM
Plenty of Grand Prix dressage horses kept out 24/7 in Australia. Much harder with stallions because of the tendency to be distracted and perhaps do an injury.

Occaisionally it will not be possible to keep a horse in a large pasture if it has a tendency to gain too much weight - but pastures like that are fairly rare in Australia unless you deliberately irrigate them.

I ran a barn with 7 stallions - various different levels and competitions up to GP dressage. In winter and prior to competitions most horses were kept in at night - totally for rider conveinience. Easy to keep them clean for work the next morning if you didn't have to trek through the mud first. One of the jumping stallions became a weaver and had a sacroiliac injury that was always problematic. This went away when the decision was made to turn him out in an electric fenced pasture - although he still hated anyone he thought was competition his soundness and behaviour improved enormously.

My Grand Prix dressage horse - whom some of you might remember from the early 90's as St Tropez - lived inside all the time. I wish he hadn't needed to but he had an injury as a two year old and he was always at risk of re-injuring it due to the misconception that he was a super-charged merry-go-round horse when you let him be free (even in an indoor). If I was in the same situation again I would be certain that he rehabilitated in the pasture so that this didn't become an issue.

My brother's 3DE horses trained from the pasture - if afct it was much easier to keep the high load of calories up to them in the pasture than in the stable.

I also find that my mares do much better out than in - although we pay particular attention as to who shares a pasture with whom - because they are very social animals and do have strong pecking orders.

I would never again chose to stable a horse 24/7 unless I had no other option - even though I HATE mud.

slc2
Aug. 3, 2006, 08:19 AM
to the poster who said everyone is 24/7 or nothing....what thread are you reading?

i'm the guy who moved from boarding stable to boarding stable precisely to GET more turnout, i'm the guy who quizzes the staff every day to find out if my horses went out that day (causing great umbrage), i'm the guy who bought the farm so the horses could get more turnout, i'm the guy who reschedules work on days the horses don't get out so i can do it myself, i'm the guy who turned em out a SECOND time a day if i felt they didn't get out long enough, i'm the guy who employed a groom to come turnout when the staff was not doing it, and i am NOT on the nothing side of the argument.

i don't think anyone is on the no turnout side of the argument, unless injury or poor fencing or turnout prevents it temporarily.

what i am NOT on the side of, is taking an adult horse with fixed habits and trying to force him to be on my schedule. i am also not on the side of taking a horse and forcing it to do something that clearly makes it miserable.

horses and situations are individuals. horses do not read people's agendas. and someone who doesn't turn out 24/7 is not an evil being.

slc

fish
Aug. 3, 2006, 08:45 AM
Yes, many horses will decide that they want to come in after a relatively short time out-- especially if there are bugs out there. Many of these same horses, however, will want to go back out again relatively soon-- especially if there's grass and a herd outside. I found that building sheds (with fans going in the heat, heated water in the winter) solved the "want in/want out" problem completely. The horses go in and out as they please, satisfying their own needs as they arise. Now I only have one field without a shelter (plenty of trees, though), and whenever the weather is hot or icy, the horses (sensibly enough) want in-- not into the barn, but to the fields with shelters.

egontoast
Aug. 3, 2006, 08:59 AM
Slc, flip flopping on turnout because of the new crush on Martin.:lol: Slc used to jump on anyone who believed in lots of turnout.

Listen, just do what you want to do!!!! Why does anyone need people on this board to tell them when to turn out their horses? Do what you want to do. See how it goes. If 24/7 works, great. You can always change it if it does not work for you.

I had a horse on 24/7 one summer. He was apparently very happy but also got very very fat and lethargic. A hard keeper might do better. Our horses go out all day, weather permitting . Sometimes they come in in the heat of the day and go back out in the evening. They also come in in nasty weather. None of them are suffering on this schedule. They are on grass and yet they come to the gate when they see me or they come to the gate if they are being tortured by flies and heat. I never have to go looking for them. They seem content.

We have a very cool breezy barn with open windows (head can hang both outside and in the aisle) in every stall which may have something to do with the contented attitude of the horses when they come in.

tirnanog
Aug. 3, 2006, 09:11 AM
I haven't read through all the replys so if I'm repeating something someone else said -sorry.
Horses are creatures habit. But instictively they live in herds and always on the move. Their digestive tracts are designed for almost constant moving and grazing. If the horse is raised this way, they will be quite content. On the other hand, if the horse is raised in a stall most of the time, they will prefer that.
Any horse in any sport can live out 24/7 if that's what they are use to.Those of you who have horses that run the fence line to come in because of insects or it's too hot or it's raining have not had the opportunity toughen up to the elements.
My horses currently live out 24/7 and are quite happy and content. but it hasn't always been that way. My TB mare, now 20, from the day she was born, only had partial turnout. Then on to the track where there is no turnout. When I retired her from the track, I tried to put her on pasture 24/7 but she would run the fence line from the slightest discomfort. So, into her stall she would go. It's taken several years and good pasture pals but she has made the adjustment and is doing extremely well. Although, I do put my horses in stalls when the temps are over 100. They have plenty of shade trees in their pasture but I do it for my own peace of mind.:o
Sometimes, I think it's the horse's owner who has a harder time leaving their horse out than the horse. As the owner, we feel that we have to protect our horses and make them as comfortable as we can so we infuse our own comfort levels onto our horses.

"OMG it's soooo hot I can't stand it - you're coming in".
"Oh no, it's raining, I'm getting soaked - you're coming in."
"Jeeze - the mosquitoes are eating me alive - you're coming in."
"Gosh it's sooo muddy, it's sucking my boots off my feet - you're staying in."
"It's sooo cold my nose won't stop running - you need you're liner blanket, you're down filled blanket and your waterproof blanket and you can go out for 30 min. only"

Did I miss any?

egontoast
Aug. 3, 2006, 09:19 AM
Hey, fish, you are right. Run ins or field shelters are great. My own 2 horses have a loafing barn but I still shut them in from time to time to limit the grass intake and if they get into a galloping frenzy and are sliding around on wet grass. I can't afford a Barbaro.

slc2
Aug. 3, 2006, 09:21 AM
actually, egon ,you're making that up for effect.

i am in favor of as much turnout as the horses want and the owner can provide. if less turnout is available, horses still need to be worked and exercised every day.

EqTrainer
Aug. 3, 2006, 09:26 AM
I really think that with thoughtful management (read: extreme arse kissing) most horses can be happy, healthy AND productive out 24/7. IMO it's really all about your commitment to your horses living that way. I do not consider turnout ALONE a viable option either, that is surely why a lot of horses beg to come in - they are lonely. The idea of them still being able to see each other is NOT ENOUGH.

As always, I don't fault anyone for not having the same priority or commitment. I just would like people to know that it is possible, if that's really what you want to do. It just requires specific management. The one thing I keep reading about - bugs - I just shake my head - what about flyspray and Biospot? Works great for my guys, and no fly sheets. But YES, you do have to apply the Biospot every ten days or so religiously, and you do have to flyspray them CAREFULLY, with the emphasis being on their legs and underbellies/sheaths. You can't just mist it about or it won't work.

It's all about the details, as usual.

EqTrainer
Aug. 3, 2006, 09:26 AM
Hey, fish, you are right. Run ins or field shelters are great. My own 2 horses have a loafing barn but I still shut them in from time to time to limit the grass intake and if they get into a galloping frenzy and are sliding around on wet grass. I can't afford a Barbaro.

Eggy, I am sorry to tell you this darling, but you cannot STOP a Barbaro.

friesiandriver
Aug. 3, 2006, 09:32 AM
Horses who are trained every day and compete will lose a lot of their power/muscle-strenght when they are out in the field for more then 2-6 hours (depending on the color of the grass and who many food they take in the fields). Yes they will still eat the special food in their stables, but it will not be digested and transported to their muscles

WHERE on earth did you learn this??? I want references! I just finished taking a course through my university taught by a phd in equine nutrition (yes I was very excited this class was available!) and there was NEVER a mention of this, but only the possitives of turnout. A horse is DESIGNED to forage about 12 small meals a day(grass meals) and yet be able to flee and run at any given time. What is natural is what is optimal, in terms of health. However, if they need more energy, by all means, give them more, but locking them in the stall because they burn off their energy if they are turned out is CRUEL. I can't beleive anyone who truly cares for their horse would think it acceptable to lock a horse up the majority of the day in box the size of its body. Besides, how is a horse going to be highly competative when faced with that much physiological and mental stress?? I don't get it.If your horse is THAT lazy that he needs to be locked up 24/7 to have any energy for riding, perhaps assess the horse and his suitability to competative dressage. It's of course one thing if you want to bring them in but they should have at least 10 or 12 hours of turnout, and I don't believe for a minit that most horses will turn noncompetative if left out side to excericise themselves. Another things is, no wonder we have so many leg and developement issues in young horses...people forget that turnout ( and no, not 6 hours a day) is ESSENTIAL to proper phsysiological and mental developement.

Ja Da Dee
Aug. 3, 2006, 10:02 AM
Horses are creatures habit. But instictively they live in herds and always on the move. Their digestive tracts are designed for almost constant moving and grazing. If the horse is raised this way, they will be quite content. On the other hand, if the horse is raised in a stall most of the time, they will prefer that.



My horse spent his first 8 years on 24/7 living in a herd situation, when I got him, He was turned out with a small herd at 8:00 am and brought in at 4:00 pm. It took him all of 2 days to be standing at the gate waiting to come in. He sure seems happy to me. Would I move him to 24/7 again... sure, if I had to for financial reasons, but he really seems to like coming in, having dinner, sleeping in a safe spot, being out of the bugs. He is also an air fern, so gets way too fat in the summer, I'm surprised that he doesn't object to coming in because his dinner is skimpy to make up for all the calories he consumes during the day. Oh yeah... also ... he's in a herd of 10 horses right now, and constantly getting dinged up because he's a pest. The safest he's ever been was on individual turn out (recovering from a pasture injury) with hot wire so he couldn't play over the fence. He likes to play, so I risk his safety and turn him out.

I am a firm believer that each horse is an individual, and their care needs to be tailored to them, not the mold you want them to fit into.

citydog
Aug. 3, 2006, 11:05 AM
I'm wondering with the comments on horses becoming dull and lethargic on 24/7 turnout if folks are mistaking the actual temperament/flash/briliance of a given horse to a "manufactured" one. Domestication (timewise a drop in the evolutionary ocean) doesn't change millions of years of evolution for the horse to be optimally maintained ("optimally" in biological terms, not in terms of human sporting goals) on a herd-livin', 24/7 moving and grazing lifestyle.

This has been touched on in another thread (http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=56105). What is "heat" or "brilliance" or "flash", really? Is there a difference between what a horse has in a biologically appropriate (not necessarily a value judgment) lifestyle vs. what we can create through management? If there *is* a difference, does it matter from a sporting point of view? From an "artistic" one? Is there a difference between something we "create" and something we "enhance"?

My preference is for horses who are happiest on 24/7 turnout (all hail the Electro-Groom (http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1%2D27105)! :lol:), and I think the horse I see on 24/7 is what the horse really is, and work from there. There are, of course, oodles of horses who do just fine being stalled at night or whatever, and some real little hot-house flowers who due to some quirk of nature or result of husbandry want to be in. I just don't want 'em. ;) YMMV.

Ultimately, go with whatever works for *both* parties in any horse/human combo. :yes:

Mozart
Aug. 3, 2006, 11:33 AM
Would love to hear more about Biospot. Never heard of it. I can't use a flysheet on my broodmare and find that even if I use flyspray in the a.m. before turning her out, she is still madly stomping by the late p.m.

What is it and where do you get it? TIA

DocHF
Aug. 3, 2006, 11:41 AM
, it's easier on my bank account. Most of the places around here will charge for stall board but don't actually use the stalls. I've been to ONE barn where stall board meant your horse was brought in year round- the night (winter) or the day (summer). The rest of the barns feed them in there and toss them back out. While I think it's better for the horse in that kind of a situation, I don't enjoy paying the extra money for a stall that isn't used

Where I live now, which is NOT the prairies but an island in the PAcific, to get the same kind of facilities and care, you are likely to pay MORE for a place that provides pasture turnout, than for stall board with no turnout or turnout into a small dirt paddock.

pawsplus
Aug. 3, 2006, 11:52 AM
Horses who are trained every day and compete will lose a lot of their power/muscle-strenght when they are out in the field for more then 2-6 hours (depending on the color of the grass and who many food they take in the fields). Yes they will still eat the special food in their stables, but it will not be digested and transported to their muscles.

What?!?!?!? Goodness. What is your reference for this info? Stalled horses are STANDING AROUND. They are not USING their muscles. Horses on 24/7 TO are moving around all the time, USING their muscles. If anything they will hold their fitness better than stalled horses. "Special food"??? Not "transported" to their muscles??? I'm just amazed that anyone thinks this.

Horses are herd animals and they need to (1) move, (2) be with other horses. If they don't get those 2 things, they are subject to digestive problems, including colic and ulcers, foot problems (exacerbated in the case of many dressage horses by shoes and high heels), and emotional and behavioral problems. Of COURSE dressage horses can be out 24/7! The fact that most upper level dressage horses are stalled most/all of the time doesn't make it right -- it just makes it habit.

pawsplus
Aug. 3, 2006, 11:56 AM
Sometimes, I think it's the horse's owner who has a harder time leaving their horse out than the horse. As the owner, we feel that we have to protect our horses and make them as comfortable as we can so we infuse our own comfort levels onto our horses.

"OMG it's soooo hot I can't stand it - you're coming in".
"Oh no, it's raining, I'm getting soaked - you're coming in."
"Jeeze - the mosquitoes are eating me alive - you're coming in."
"Gosh it's sooo muddy, it's sucking my boots off my feet - you're staying in."
"It's sooo cold my nose won't stop running - you need you're liner blanket, you're down filled blanket and your waterproof blanket and you can go out for 30 min. only"
Did I miss any?

Absolutely! This used to be me, and I was SURE my TB couldn't deal w/ 24/7 TO. Granted, there are days when I come home and he's sweaty. I hose him off, feed him, and stick his butt back out. And he always wants to go. He'd MUCH rather sweat out there w/ his friends, snacking on hay and grass, drinking from the creek, rolling in the arena sand, than stand in his stall. And it really only took a few weeks for him to get to the point where he was ALL ABOUT 24/7 TO!

Best thing I EVER DID for my horses (next to going BF, that is). ;)

egontoast
Aug. 3, 2006, 01:08 PM
Sure, horses will adapt to different routines and despite what people say there is not just ONE right way to do it.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Aug. 3, 2006, 01:11 PM
sure, a horse on field 24/7 will be fine for light work, but you won't take them to the olympics in any sport.

physiology is just physiology. you put horse on grass all day, it don't work the same. horses are kept up part of the day in stalls to allow them to work more efficiently.



Can somebody confirm my recollection that the fat, recreational POS Winsome Adante, as well as all of Kim's horses, live out 24/7? If it's not Kim, it's another one of those crazy Virginians, as I recall...Olympic eventers, at any rate.

Daydream Believer
Aug. 3, 2006, 01:19 PM
Jeanette, Yes someone mentioned that Kim does keep Dan out 24/7 earlier in this topic. Yup, that's one horse that has been "ruined" by his excessive turnout schedule! ;-)

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 3, 2006, 02:05 PM
Why is it that so many trainers forget basic horse physiology and evolution? See - once again, lack of science education in this and other countries.

After all, if anyone in the bush admin had even a second grader's understanding of biology, and/or the lack of selfish greed, they might comprehend that global warming is, in fact, a reality.

slc2
Aug. 3, 2006, 02:17 PM
i'm really not sure that there is a wholesale lack of knowledge on trainer's parts. it can seem so to the customer when the customer is especially dogmatic and inflexible, though.

Janet
Aug. 3, 2006, 03:19 PM
Can somebody confirm my recollection that the fat, recreational POS Winsome Adante, as well as all of Kim's horses, live out 24/7? If it's not Kim, it's another one of those crazy Virginians, as I recall...Olympic eventers, at any rate. Sporstcar, while not quite Dan's caliber, WAS Mare of the Year on 24/7 turnout. And sucessfully completed two CCI***s Not necessarily out in the pasture for 24 hours, sometimes she was in the sacrifice paddock. But I don't think she is ever shut in the stall except for injury.

Bethe Mounce
Aug. 3, 2006, 03:49 PM
I would say that it is safe to assume that every horse owner, regardless of "status" wants only the best for their horse and that every owner is willing to do what is necessary to ensure their horse performs at his optimum in a safe manner.

I have had stalled and non stalled competing horses; horses not stalled had fewer vet bills, better focus and won more money. Horses stalled had more vet bills, less focus and won less money.

Facility/land availability and financial means where one lives can dictate how horse is taken care of with regards to indoor/outdoor living.

Whether or not one is Olympic bound is sorta pointless to bring into the equation. You develop a living/feeding/training program that works for that particular horse so that he is comfortable, safe, healthy and able to do what we ask of him whether it's to piaffe/passage down centerline or not.

I've seen horses kept in the most meticulous of manner...horses that made money for a living for their riders/owners abroad---saw more injuries and sicknesses from these horses than the not so well kept.

Lily5453
Aug. 3, 2006, 04:03 PM
some facts:

Horses are meant to be outside (I don't think mustangs have a stall to call home....could be wrong though..:lol: )

Horses are meant to be continuously eating

Some opinions and observations:

1) Horses that live inside for the evening and are turned out 9-5ish stand at the gate in the evening because they are not hardy. IF they were out 24/7 they would get used to the heat/flies. My mare used to do the 9-5 turnout and would jump out of her paddock. Then, put her out 24/7 and she is happy as a clam.

2) horses, unless young and never having been in a stall before, do not "flip out" when put in a stall for a night or two.

3) Horses out in the fields are looser and more sound structurally (from my experience). They are much easier to warm-up when riding and are less difficult to keep sound.

4) Horses out in the fields are more mentally stable, more respectful, and more energy conscious. Not meaning that they WONT work, but that they save their energy and will not (generally) spook/waste energy on useless actions.

just my observations.

My mare and her colt will be out 24/7 for the rest of their lives or until I move somewhere that wont allow it. I had to search long long LONG and hard for a place in Florida with suitable pasture board, but I did and I'm glad!

Oh, she will be moving up to intermediate (eventing) this winter.

Janet
Aug. 3, 2006, 04:14 PM
There was a recent article in British Dressage about the imprtance of turnout (not necessarily 24x7, but that in some cases) for internationally competing dressage horses.

With horses turned out all or most of the day, the tricky part is getting and keeping the correct weight, whether that involves extra feed, or shutting them in a dry lot/sacrifice paddock part of the day.

But it can be done, and, IMHO, is worth it.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 3, 2006, 04:24 PM
I would say that it is safe to assume that every horse owner, regardless of "status" wants only the best for their horse and that every owner is willing to do what is necessary to ensure their horse performs at his optimum in a safe manner.

I have had stalled and non stalled competing horses; horses not stalled had fewer vet bills, better focus and won more money. Horses stalled had more vet bills, less focus and won less money.

Facility/land availability and financial means where one lives can dictate how horse is taken care of with regards to indoor/outdoor living.

Whether or not one is Olympic bound is sorta pointless to bring into the equation. You develop a living/feeding/training program that works for that particular horse so that he is comfortable, safe, healthy and able to do what we ask of him whether it's to piaffe/passage down centerline or not.

I've seen horses kept in the most meticulous of manner...horses that made money for a living for their riders/owners abroad---saw more injuries and sicknesses from these horses than the not so well kept.


Perfectly stated.

Dressage Art
Aug. 3, 2006, 04:45 PM
I didn't read any of the responses, (I’m sorry, I'm short on the time) but I do have an experience with the several horses who were kept 24/7 in the pasture. I've been with them for a 1 year and a half. One was 1st level, another was an I1 and last one was GP horse. I loved the idea at the beginning, but after witnessing all of the seasons and how being on the pasture with out any shelter (just a couple of trees) were affecting those horses, I will not expect any athletic to live this way.

The bonuses are obvious:

1. Horse can be a horse
2. Horse can move around and not get stiff in the small stall (or cage, how some people call it)
3. Horse can run around and get his turn out all day long

The minuses are as follow:

1. Not enough nutrients - all of 3 horses were really skinny, with their ribs sticking out. Even if they had plenty of hay and were under the regular vet care (regular worming) and additional supplements and graining - they seem to burn their food really fast.

2. No good shelter - horses would be freezing in the winter and totally wet during the reins. They were loosing their blankets and ripping them weekly. All blankets were covered in the thick mud and soaked in muddy water. Again horses needed extra nutrient to stay worm, sometimes they would get skinnier overnight, if the night was colder than usual. They burn their fat really fast this way.

3. Standing in mud and feces. Every horse had a bad case of mud fever, they were standing in mud and their own feces mixed together in a mush almost knee high in the rainy season and the front of their hind legs were covered in bloody scabs. Never ending thrush as well.

4. Weight changing a lot - horses can colic or founder in the spring time. In the spring, when the grass comes up - they gorge themselves on it and can founder from eating too much. Some become overweight for the 2-3 months of green grass but then after grass is yellow- they loose all this weight really fast.

5. Horses constantly had scrapes, nicks, bites, kicks on them from being at the pasture.

6. Flies - it's impossible to control flies in the pasture - horses always had little bloody scrapes that are supper attractant for the flies. The horse poop was mashed in with the dirt or mud and was breeding grounds for the flies. Horse's faces were covered black from the flies.

7. Coat, mane and tail conditions - very hard to keep the horses clean, scrapes free and with a healthy looking coat.

8. When you go to the overnight show – you horse freaks out in the stall.

9. Forgot to add the barb wire - all of them had a rips on their legs from the barb wire. and one of other horses had to be put down, after he got tangled in the barb wire there.

All 3 horses were actively competing in dressage with around 50% scores, they loved running around in the pasture and didn’t need any turn out. Pasture was really cheep for the owner. All of 3 horses looked really skinny and not taken care of and people at the shows would always comment how skinny those horses are and how bad they are taking care of. Remember that I'm talking about the athletes, who give a lot of energy for training on the daily bases. I know plenty of horses who are in the light work and really fine in the pasture. I WOULD LOVE to put my mare back to the full pasture, but she is dramatically better in her stall with the 6 hour daily pasture turn out. Sometimes she doesn't even want to go to the pasture turn out or calling to come back in back to the stall. She was raised on an 80 acres pasture until 5 and was in the 3-5 acre pasture until 6 years old. Then I put her in the stall with the pasture turn out. She doesn't have a weight problem anymore and she is not eating anymore than she use to. Actually, I took her of the 4 scoops of the "weight gain" per day that she had while in the pasture and she looks much healthier now, when she is in the stall with less nutrient intake.

To sum it up, an athletic needs a good shelter, dry footing, and plenty of nutrients. If the pasture can not provide that - that's not the place for the athletes. If let's say that the pasture has a good shelter with dry footing and plenty of food - that would be a great place for any horse to live. I can't imagine how much money anybody would charge for that luxury though.

sunridge1
Aug. 3, 2006, 05:16 PM
movement=bloodflow...... bloodflow=bone density.....bone density=soundness

twnkltoz
Aug. 3, 2006, 05:23 PM
Dressageart, sounds like these horses were not kept in good pasture conditions.

My horse lives out in a paddock 24/7. She has a stall she can go into if she wants. She is by herself so I can feed her what I want and know that she gets all of it, though. Knock on wood, I've had her for a year and a half and she's had nothing more serious than a scrape here and there (Knock on wood again for good measure). During the winter I was fanatical about cleaning her feet as she was in mud, and we had no problems with thrush or scratches.

As for conserving energy...seems silly to me but I guess it depends on the horse. I have to turn mine out in the arena to RUN at least every 3 days or so to burn off the extra energy so she can contain herself while being ridden. She does best when she's turned out or lunged before every ride, but I don't always have time!

But then...we're just starting so we're hardly paragons of the ideal dressage team.

Dressage Art
Aug. 3, 2006, 05:31 PM
When I'm thinking of a pasture - I'm thinking of an acre and more. twnkltoz,
may be we are talking about the different things? How big your “paddock” that you horse is that he can't run over there? Mine can do a full gallop at her pasture and did that regularly.

twnkltoz
Aug. 3, 2006, 05:39 PM
That's true. Mine doesn't count as pasture. However, I've had horses in pastures (including shared pastures and shared paddocks) off and on over the years, and rarely had problems.

Her paddock is big enough to run in if she wants to (and will sometimes if her boyfriend is working in the adjacent arena), but she rarely full-on gallops unless she's told to.

EqTrainer
Aug. 3, 2006, 05:45 PM
DressageArt, that's just bad management.

sabryant
Aug. 3, 2006, 06:13 PM
Perfectly stated.


I second that!

Janet
Aug. 3, 2006, 06:24 PM
If let's say that the pasture has a good shelter with dry footing and plenty of food - that would be a great place for any horse to live. I can't imagine how much money anybody would charge for that luxury though. THAT is pretty much what I mean by 24/7 turnout. That is the basics. I wouldn't call that luxury. It isn't always ALL dry, but they always have a dry place to go.

slc2
Aug. 3, 2006, 06:25 PM
i wonder what it would take to have a 24/7 pasture year round that wasn't a muddy pit if horses were on it year round. here, the best way to turn a piece of land into a hog wallow unfit for horses, is to put horses on it 24/7. not everyone has 2000 acres of sandy high ground. how many people that board have a boarding barn that provides 24/7 turnout?

no, i do not hate turnout, and no, i am not against turnout. i am paying a half a million dollars so my beasts can go out 24/7. i am however, in favor of discussing both sides.

Janet
Aug. 3, 2006, 06:31 PM
i wonder what it would take to have a 24/7 pasture year round that wasn't a muddy pit if horses were on it year round. here, the best way to turn a piece of land into a hog wallow unfit for horses, is to put horses on it 24/7. not everyone has 2000 acres of sandy high ground. With a sacrifice paddock. 24/7 TURNOUT is not the same thing as "turned out in the same small pasture the whole time." Even when it isn't wet, my horses spend part of each day in the sacrifice paddock.

fish
Aug. 3, 2006, 06:42 PM
To sum it up, an athletic needs a good shelter, dry footing, and plenty of nutrients. If the pasture can not provide that - that's not the place for the athletes. If let's say that the pasture has a good shelter with dry footing and plenty of food - that would be a great place for any horse to live. I can't imagine how much money anybody would charge for that luxury though.

You're describing here exactly what my farm offers-- and I am very glad to see such recognition of what it's worth. One thing I have learned from this thread is how many people mistakenly equate "living out" and/or "pasture board" with what I would consider out-and-out neglect or, at the very least, "penny-wise, pound-foolish" horsekeeping. Keeping pastures nutritious and safe for each individual horse requires considerable study, time, labor and money. Each horse here has that-- and run-in shelter, AND a stall available as needed for lay-up/rehab, foaling, show prep, protection from extreme weather conditions, etc. I wish I felt it was possible to charge what such "luxury" is worth without driving away my favorite clients-- who are far from rich.

Bethe Mounce
Aug. 3, 2006, 07:02 PM
Keeping horses out 24/7 does require a substantial amount of land management so that the muddy bogs do not appear.

Our pastures are sloped 3-5 degrees approximately and herds are rotated in and out depending on a plethora of conditions ranging from weather to grass quality. I feel like I live, eat and breathe weather reports! :)

Water drains from the pastures to the back hay patch where horses never get to go unless for some strange reason their caretaker (me) forgets to shut the gate! :) My riding arena is there too and I rarely have to water.

All pastures have access to loafing sheds placed in strategic positions to ward off the hot sun as well as northerly winds in the winter time. Pastures have plenty of tree shade as well. Granted we don't get super cold in our part of Texas so blanketing doesn't happen very often. Plus, mine really do better with going ahead and growing a winter coat; I will do a half clip if necessary and blanket when called for.

I don't mind the nicks and scrapes, their coats don't have to look perfect as if they stepped out of the beauty salon.

The show horses have to learn to be in stalls, so I will do a bit of stalling prior to an overnight show and at the show there's plenty of hand walking. I do have a barn with 12x12 stalls, one of those red and white gambrel roofed barns my father built...so out of place in Texas, but it sure stands out on the road where my farm is!

Managing horses so they perform at their optimum is an art unto itself; timing becomes everything and getting that peak performance at show time is even more of an art form. We all learn how to gauge when to do what.

My pasture horses......well, they're not skinny! None of my horses are on a strictly grass and water diet.....everyone gets grain. They stay in pretty good shape considering the distance they walk to the water tanks and the slope of the land. I do so like riding the youngsters on a non flat surface.....they figure out balance so much faster.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 3, 2006, 07:51 PM
DressageArt - doesn't sound like that place offered the best care. My OTTB was always underweight and needed a blanket in winter. Since 24/7 turnout (in the appropriate conditions) - he has really filled out and doesn't require blanketing - his call. When their nutritional needs are satisfied, they should be fine.

We're in MO - and having a 2 yr in a row draught. The grass offers nothing. They have to be given hay, and hay is adjusted depending upon heat, cold, etc.

In the winter the horses are in a dry lot to maintain the pastures, but they're given hay, and they have shelter and a (heated) automatic waterer.

sketcher
Aug. 4, 2006, 11:20 AM
I worked for a PSG rider who believed in practically bubble wrapping her horses when they got to go out for their one hour supervised turn out- in the early morning during the summer (don't want to bleach out the coat :no:) and evening in the winter. The horses wore boots all around, bell boots, fly sheets or appropriate blankets, and fly masks just to go outside. They all had seperate paddocks with enough space between that there could be no nose touching. The horses all looked gorgeous and did very well at the shows, but I have never seen more illnesses and mental issues then I did there :(.

Good grief. I worked at a place just like that. The horses has cards on the front of their stalls describing what combination of outerwear was required for each 10 degree change in temperature. If the horse went out in their little, stall sized paddock and the temperature changed, they had to be brought in, and the particular mixture of blankets/sheets and sometimes boots had to be changed. It was a ridiculous waste of time. The horses looked beautiful but many of the people quite were neurotic and demanding and I saw the same illness/lameness and mental issues. It seemed like they were all trying to outdo one another with having 'the best' of everything with the reasoning that they were trying to protect their investment. To each his/her own but I felt bad for the horses.

Phaxxton
Aug. 4, 2006, 12:03 PM
DressageArt, that's just bad management.

PRECISELY what I was thinking.

Most people who pasture board take MUCH better care of their horses than that. Heck, most people, regardless of turnout, take better care of their horses than that. Don't blame the 24/7 turnout - blame the poor management. :no:

slc2
Aug. 4, 2006, 12:05 PM
it doesn't bother me if people fuss over their horses, i don't feel it's my business to dictate how fussy other people are, i just decide how i should take care of my horses.

alot of fussiness is in the eye of the beholder, or the employee. frankly, nearly all of what you describe, isn't that unusual, and i would say that nearly all of it wouldn't bother a horse at all. horses get used to whatever routine they're in. if someone doesn't want their horse all beat up looking or wants to keep their coat nice, the aspca isn't exactly going to get called out to that farm.

again, this goes along with the group that insists to 'really be happy' a horse has to be eating grass 24/7, and anything less than that is 'cruelty' or 'unfair to the horse' or 'unnatural' or 'causes ulcers'. there ARE ways of keeping horses, not on pasture 24/7, that keep them very happy and healthy.

in fact, about 99% of the horses in the world aren't on grass 24/7, either because there is no grass, there is no pasture, or there is no room for the horses in the pasture, or simply that they need to work all day. this 24/7 pasture or it's bad for the horse is a particularly american, and particularly affluent american, thing, and pasturing animals is a particularly bad use of scarce land; and of course a large proportion of land simply isn't suitable for pasturing horses.

most horses, around the world, just aren't kept that way. and aside from the usual froth of roth it brings down on my head, i will still say that i don't feel that that necessarily has to be bad. sure, a horse that is stalled 24/7 is going to be restless and develop bad habits, and of course, it would be better if he got out, got exercised and had some green food - keeping a horse stalled instead of turned out involves a certain level of responsibility, such as getting the horse out of the stall for a couple hours a day and training it, working with it, giving it attention, getting it with other horses.

race horses are worked briefly and explosively for a few minutes a day, but alot of the restless behavior you see may be because they are selected for speed, rather than placid dispositions, and because many of them are fed on a steady diet of steroids and other stuff to make them run faster that doesn't engender calmness, and that and their feeding schedule and what they are fed (often pure alfalfa), may have a great deal more to do with ulcers than how often they are on pasture. they do quite often get green feed. my office is across from one of the leaky roof circuit tracks and even at that track, i regularly watch trucks full of fresh cut green pull in.

it's also a matter of opinion as to whether wearing a fly mask causes a horse to have mental problems. you may see it that way, i don't. i think people can dress up their horses however they want; how they ride them and what temperament the horses have is probably a lot more important in determining mental health than if they have a fly mask on or not.

i've gone thru periods where i've been very fussy about the horse's care and periods in which i haven't been at all fussy. as far as i can tell, it makes very little difference to the horses, except that most of the fussiness they regard as extra attention. the idea that it causes mental problems in horses to have them wear different stuff, i think that is a bit far-fetched.

slc

WBLover
Aug. 4, 2006, 03:11 PM
i wonder what it would take to have a 24/7 pasture year round that wasn't a muddy pit if horses were on it year round. here, the best way to turn a piece of land into a hog wallow unfit for horses, is to put horses on it 24/7. not everyone has 2000 acres of sandy high ground. how many people that board have a boarding barn that provides 24/7 turnout?

slc, by no means do you need "2000 acres", or even 20 for that matter to keep your pastures from being a mud pit. My next door neighbors have 2 pastures that are 1.75 acres a piece, and with 3, sometime 4 horses together at a time and even in the height of the rainy season in spring, there was somewhere in the pasture those horses could go to get away from the mud. They rotated the horses every 2 weeks to let the pastures recover, and only the very front of each pasture would get muddy at a time. The horses would not stand in these muddy areas 24/7 either, they tended to stay in the middle/back areas for grazing, etc. where it was grassier and rarely did I see them with excessive amounts of mud up their legs this spring.

Right now in this part of the season, those pastures are totally covered in lush grass and the horses coats are absolutely spotless and have the healthiest glow. They have had them in one pasture for the last 4 weeks now and haven't had to rotate them to the other one yet.

I am not a "24/7 or nothing" freak, I am sure there is the right balance of turnout for every horse. But I also know that 24/7 TO can be managed very well on small acreage with the right balance of horses per acre.

pawsplus
Aug. 4, 2006, 03:22 PM
i wonder what it would take to have a 24/7 pasture year round that wasn't a muddy pit if horses were on it year round. here, the best way to turn a piece of land into a hog wallow unfit for horses, is to put horses on it 24/7. not everyone has 2000 acres of sandy high ground. how many people that board have a boarding barn that provides 24/7 turnout?

Well, I board 1-2 horses at a time and I provide 24/7 turnout. The horses come in to each 2X a day (low-starch ration balancer, supplements), and they get hay in turnout. I am just as finicky about care and safety as a barn that keeps the horses stalled.

You're right -- I don't have grass all the time. But that's GOOD. Horses are not actually meant to eat lush pasture, and as we all know, too much of that particular good thing causes problems (laminitis, etc.). At this point in the summer, I have a little grass left, but not much. The horses have to work to get it, which is how it should be. They also have hay all the time. The pastures are narrow and are linked together and the creek flows through, so that in order to move from one area to the other, they really have to MOVE. They're not just standing in one spot all the time. Even the hay is spread out around the pasture to encourage movement.

Do we have mud? Yup. Quite a bit in the winter. Other than aesthetically speaking, it's not a big deal. There are always higher, drier areas they can go to, and they have a run-in shed. The horses are all BF w/ good performance trims, so their feet are not bothered by the mud at all.

An excellent resource on this topic is Jaime Jackson's new book, Paddock Paradise, available here:

http://www.star-ridge.com/

hototrot
Aug. 5, 2006, 08:11 PM
Mine are out 24/7, well rugged in the winter and absolutely thrive.

EqTrainer
Aug. 5, 2006, 09:13 PM
BTW, for anyone who cares to hear it, pea gravel at gates and water troughs makes your pastures somewhat mudproofed if you rotate well enough. Plus, it's good for their feet.

merrygoround
Aug. 5, 2006, 09:22 PM
Didn't read all your responses, but have dealt with Intermediate Level 3-Day horses, and FEI level dressage horses, and they were or are out as much as possible depending on time of year, and weather. Even in almost blizzards, they go out.

First, last and always, they are horses.

Voguesmum
Aug. 5, 2006, 09:27 PM
I would say that a horse that lives out on pasture won't be drained of energy to work; that being my experience. I keep all mine out 24/7 and one was a former halter showhorse that had not EVER been outside till she was 2. All are brighter-eyed; and have had way less health issues as well as being more willing to work undersaddle than when they were in their stalls for days on end(crappy weather at old boarding stable would have em in 24/7 for up to 21 days)

I decided to just take my chances with the show horses getting any blemishes from getting frisky in the pasture. I also keep them in a herd of 4-5; 1 gelding and 4 mares.

tirnanog
Aug. 6, 2006, 08:48 AM
Sure, horses will adapt to different routines and despite what people say there is not just ONE right way to do it.


Yes there is - it's just not always an available option.:winkgrin:

Dressage Art
Aug. 6, 2006, 04:02 PM
PRECISELY what I was thinking.

Most people who pasture board take MUCH better care of their horses than that. Heck, most people, regardless of turnout, take better care of their horses than that. Don't blame the 24/7 turnout - blame the poor management. :no:

and others who responded to my post.

That was my only experience with the out 24/7 pasture (not paddocks). In this light, I think when we are talking about the out 24/7 we need to keep in mind that not all pastures are created equal. The owner of those horses is the avid out 24/7 advocate and her pro-pasture reasons sounds really good. I was totally convinced by her, until I experiences the reality, not just words.

Now I'm still a strong believer in the long turn out, but I'm also a strong believer in the good shelter, dry place for horses to eat and lay down, and for the plenty of nutrients if the horse is at the pasture - more nutrients than the horse needs than if he is at the stall. Also, after witnessing how dangerous the barb wire, loose laying old equipment or unfenced big ditches are, where horses can fall in to - I think it's not safe to have those at the pasture. If those needs are not met I'm against pasture.

That said, I was looking for a place to have my mare at the safe pasture and didn't find it. What I found was

1. Pastures perfect for retired horses or for young horses, with out shelters and all of them have mud at the several months rainy season of N. California. Very inexpensive.

2. Large paddocks with the shelters or "mare motels" with the large runs. All of them smaller than 1 acre, all of them for 1 horse (+baby) almost the same price as stalls.

I was looking for the barn that had a covered arena and none of them offer a pasture board. A couple offer mare motels or paddocks with the shelters. May be California is not a good example; b/c the price of the land is so high. I ended up putting my mare in the 12x12 stall with the 12x14 paddock and 6 hour pasture (that has a shade cover) turn out 7 days per week. Let me note that this barn use to have an option for the pasture and for the paddocks, but decided to discontinue doing that, b/c of the mud – they put the French drain in the pasture and paddocks and it still gets muddy in the rainy months and they close the pastures and paddocks for that time to give the land a rest.

For those of you who have their horses at pasture, can you post photos? Do you have covered arenas? How much do you pay for your pasture? If the pasture price would be the same as the price of the stall with the paddock – would you still choose the pasture?

stuge
Aug. 6, 2006, 04:45 PM
From personal experience, my two horses seem to be at their best with "some" stall time particularly in the summertime. Living in the carolinas, I can get away with more turnout time for most of the winter. For me in general though, 1/2 day turnout and 1/2 day stalled is the perfect situation. Yes the horses would actually prefer to be able to come and go as they please but that isn't always an option and not always the best for their coats (call me vain if you will, but I don't think I am sacrificing my horses health to have them stay in the stall during the day in the summertime). An absolute must though is that they have good hay in front of them all the time at the very least when in the stall.

What I have found around here though, is that it is hard to find a good quality 24/7 pasture board care. They either are not handled enough to really get a good look over or checked thoroughly to make sure nothing is wrong.

At the place where I board it is $500 for full pasture board with a stall and $300 for pasture board. This is on the higher end of board costs in my area.

philosoraptor
Aug. 6, 2006, 04:58 PM
I do agree that a competition horse ideally should be treated differently than a 'recreation' horse for a few reasons. Competition horses do best on a strict program. While I can't explain it, horses that are on this strict program have a better work ethic than those that live out 'being horses'.

The work ethic could have absolutely nothing to do if they're stalled or not. Work ethic comes from training, handling, and the expectation we place on the horse. Why do you think there is some connection?


My opinion is that no horses should be 24/7 pastured boarded. They ideally should have a stall when they choose and to go out when they choose.

That IS pasture board: living outside and given a shelter to use when needed. Am I missing something? :confused:


With a sacrifice paddock. 24/7 TURNOUT is not the same thing as "turned out in the same small pasture the whole time." Even when it isn't wet, my horses spend part of each day in the sacrifice paddock.


Why isn't it the same thing? The keys here are that horses (1) are not trapped in a small stall (2) have access to forage most if not all of the day and (3) get social interaction with other horses. While I agree hay isn't the same as grass, nobody in my region can offer grass in January but that's about the only big difference.


the best way to turn a piece of land into a hog wallow unfit for horses, is to put horses on it 24/7. not everyone has 2000 acres of sandy high ground.

It's a management issue. I don't think anyone here has 2000 acres to turn their horses out onto. I have a 15 acre farmette with only a few actual open acres. It's all about managment, rotation, reseeding, & a sacrifice lot in winter when no grass can grow.


how many people that board have a boarding barn that provides 24/7 turnout?

Every barn in my area offers 24-7 turnout. Why wouldnt they? I'd be shocked if I found a barn that didn't allow it unless I was in Manhattan :)

I keep most of my horses at home but the two barns I had to board at both do 24-7 turnout for all horses. The one place I boarded did have a sand ring for boarders to use, but it wasn't covered. Personally I'd rather ride outside then in, assuming the footing is good and it's not thunderstorming. A little drizzle or cold never stopped me from riding.

My own horses aren't dressage stars, but they're valuable to me so i try to do what is best for them. They live on 24-7 turnout year round. I built them a nice run-in shed for bad weather, and the funny thing is they rarely use it.

I am unhappy that one of my horses is on stall board 24-7 at the moment due to surgery to both front feet. He is bored. There are still bugs in the barn despite the BOs best efforts. And I dont care what anyone says it is hotter inside the barn (even with his fan going) than outside, and this is a well built wood barn w/big fans at either end. :eek: I cant wait for him to graduate to turn-out. Poor guy!

Dressage Art
Aug. 6, 2006, 05:20 PM
That IS pasture board: living outside and given a shelter to use when needed. Am I missing something? :confused:

Why isn't it the same thing? The keys here are that horses (1) are not trapped in a small stall (2) have access to forage most if not all of the day and (3) get social interaction with other horses. While I agree hay isn't the same as grass, nobody in my region can offer grass in January but that's about the only big difference.

It's a management issue. I don't think anyone here has 2000 acres to turn their horses out onto. I have a 15 acre farmette with only a few actual open acres. It's all about managment, rotation, reseeding, & a sacrifice lot in winter when no grass can grow.

Every barn in my area offers 24-7 turnout. Why wouldnt they? I'd be shocked if I found a barn that didn't allow it unless I was in Manhattan :)

Not all of the pastures offer the shelters - you are missing that.

If the pasture is a knee high mud pit and has no forage at all - what forage you are talking about?

Some barns don't have an option of rotation and don't care for reseding, but still call it a pasute board.

MOST of the barns in my area DON'T offer the 24/7 turn out, b/c they don't have the land for that. They make more money on the stalls rather than on pasture board. Most of the pasture board around here is on the unbildable hilly land, still surounded by barb wire and converted from the cow pastures.

Every pasture situation is very different - you can't put all of them in the same pile and call all of them the same name. Again I'd like to point out that most of the pasture situations are not benefitial for sports horses. Most pasture boards are benefitial for the mare and babys, retired horses, recreational horses or horses under 4 years old. For sport horses you have to have an exeptional pastes to live in.

fish
Aug. 6, 2006, 06:17 PM
FWIW: The horses here have grass year round: winter rye (annual) in the winter, orchard grass mostly in the spring and fall, and bermuda grass during the worst of the summer. I recently had gutters installed on the shed and barn roofs to further reduce the mud (I've been using gravel for years)-- not to mention the waterfalls on my head when I have to feed in a downpour.

Until I read this thread I was naively bewildered as to why people expected "pasture board" to be dramatically less expensive than stall board, considering how much better it is for the horses and how expensive it is to maintain good pastures. Silly me, I had no idea that "pasture board" meant throwing horses out to fend for themselves in barren/muddy fields with wire fencing and no shelter.

Fact is, it takes a lot of work to maintain a horse properly, in or out of a stall. People on this thread have written sad stories of horses turned out and neglected. I could tell much worse ones of horses kept in stalls and similarly neglected. As others have mentioned, if a horse is stalled, it becomes not so much uniquely possible as absolutely essential to monitor diet, ventilation, hygiene, etc., while to providing ample exercise, relief from boredom, etc., etc. to compensate for the horses' removal from anything resembling their natural habitat. You don't need to look very closely at many barns to realize that finding places where all of these tasks are performed as scrupulously as needed to keep horses in optimal health is far from easy. Good ventilation alone can be hard to find-- at least that's not a problem with the horses outside!

twnkltoz
Aug. 7, 2006, 12:07 AM
Dressageart, I don't think anyone here thinks a poorly managed pasture is an ideal situation for any horse, let alone a show horse. The assumption is that the pasture is well maintained, with no barbed wire or other dangerous things in it, some shelter, etc. I am curious about where in NoCal you are, though...my horse is in Elverta.

Dressage Art
Aug. 7, 2006, 12:29 AM
I'm very glad to read that pasture board can be safe and benefitial for the horses. Love to see the photos of your pastures.

I'm in the Silicon Valley or East Bay or Plesanton. I'm not sure if it's OK to post the link to the barb wire pasture barn here, but below is the links of some of the dressage barns around my area and none of them offer pasture board.

http://arribavistaranch.com

http://www.denville-kanani.com

http://www.extendinc.com/greenville/

http://shilohwest.net/

http://www.lajollaequestrian.com/

http://www.yarrayarraranch.com/

http://www.leapoffaithfarmsllc.com/

All of those have a covered arenas, it's a must to survive the months of rein and still be able to train.

Dressage Art
Aug. 7, 2006, 12:42 AM
Dressageart, I don't think anyone here thinks a poorly managed pasture is an ideal situation for any horse, let alone a show horse. The assumption is that the pasture is well maintained, with no barbed wire or other dangerous things in it, some shelter, etc. I am curious about where in NoCal you are, though...my horse is in Elverta.

As I said, I've been for a year and a half with the 2 FEI horses (one I1 and other GP) who were/are kept in the poorly managed pasture all their life and their owner thought/thinks that it's the best for the horses, b/c horses need to be horses and any pasture is better than a stall or a cage how she calls it. She even convinced me that it's the best and I believed her for a long time. Why? B/c theoretically it sounds great and on the words everything makes sense. So obviously there are people who think like her and I think it's important to make a difference between the poorly managed pastures and good managed pastures. I see a lot of poor managed pastures around here, I can take photos of them and post them. It blows my mind how unsafe some of them are! If you pro out 24/7 – it’s important to educate people around you how to give a good out 24/7 care and pinpoint the problems and offer the solutions.

fish
Aug. 7, 2006, 09:02 AM
[QUOTE=Dressage Art]I'm very glad to read that pasture board can be safe and benefitial for the horses. Love to see the photos of your pastures.[QUOTE]

Gosh-- good idea. After reading this thread, I think I should take pictures of them for my (still to be made) website. The only one I now have that shows the grass well is the attached one (mainly of my colt). It was taken in the early spring, so the rye grass is still abundant, while the orchard grass is coming up.

Regarding the need to educate people on how to keep horses properly on pasture, I think the same can be said regarding keeping them in stalls. I've walked into barns in this area where the ammonia smell almost knocked me over, seen supposedly high class barns in which the horses were standing over pits because the dirt floors were so eroded-- and it goes on and on. Unfortunately, trying to "educate" people regarding horse care is often like trying to tell other people how to raise their children. Most people tend to take a MYOB stance.

I definitely understand the problem in California. Real Estate is so expensive there that the market value of my farm would barely buy me a condo in most areas I'm familiar with. I can't even imagine how much it would cost to try and reproduce what I have here in such an expensive state.

Dressage Art
Aug. 7, 2006, 07:55 PM
Horse care and management is an ever evolving thing – what we know now (for example that the barb wire is not good for horses) was a common place only 20-40 years ago. I hope most of us somewhere in the middle of locking horses in the stalls 24/7 or muddy pastures with out shelters for 24/7. Unfortunately most of people are defensive about their horse care and I have no desire to march the streets for the better horse care, but if somebody asks an advice, I think it’s a good chance to share your experience and knowledge.
And what a cute, cute baby you have!!!

PS: check out this poll that I've asked on the other Of Course Forum:

http://praha.planetsg.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=57983

fish
Aug. 7, 2006, 09:58 PM
Very interesting poll-- and it looks as though most of the horses owned by people on that forum have it pretty good (not too surprising, right? I mean, they are participants in a horse care forum :)).

Thanks for the praise of my baby.

EqTrainer
Aug. 7, 2006, 10:22 PM
Here is a pic of one of my pastures :)