Right now I have my horse on pasture board and it's been working out great. He's fat and sassy and seems to love it. Even with the brutual heat this summer in Texas, he did great.
With winter fast approaching, I'm considering "bringing him in" at night. He really loves full-time turn out though. He's been on 1/2 time stall keeping and he just seemed grumpy (and a tad spooky) about it, but then again he was just coming off being a sales horse for about 4 months and was very guarded personality wise.
What are the thoughts on full-time pasture board in the winter as well? he doesn't have a loafing shed so I ask that if it's going to rain for longer than half the day to keep him in so that he doesn't get soaked (precious doesn't like being wet).
He'd have a turn-out rug at 340 grams and I don't body clip. I realize that just because I'm cold, doesn't mean he is. But I can't keep pushing off my human issues on him.
If there's no shelter, I'd definitely bring him in. Especially if it's raining. I would never leave a horse outside in the rain with nowhere to go. That is, at least provide the *option* to get out of the rain. One of my Morgans loves the rain, but he has a shelter to go in if he wanted to so I never feel bad when I see him drenched to the skin looking miserable. My other Morgan, however, is pretty sure he'll melt if rained on, so he's always holed up in the shelter.
If there's a place for him get out of the elements, then he should be fine. All of my horses live in the pasture in the winter and do just fine. Though I suspect your version of "winter" is different than mine; It rarely gets above 20oF in MN. I actually prefer leaving them out 24/7 because when they're brought in, even to an unheated barn, it's usually warmer than outside and they'll start sweating. Then they go back out in the morning, which is when it's coldest. Even my thin-skinned TB does just dandy outside in the winter. He actually needed lighter blankets than both my Morgans last winter!
The only time my mares come in overnight is if we're expecting a very cold rain or an ice storm. Otherwise, out they stay. Winters here are about the same temp wise to Texas, so if your horse grows sufficient fur, let him be.
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If he has no shelter, I'd make sure I had one or two waterproof turnout sheets, plus a waterproof turnout blanket. You can use a sheet alone when its just cold and rainy. Then, when you expect super cold and icy - you can leave the turnout sheet on over the blanket for double the waterproofing.
Also, having a horse that lives out means having a spare so you can change him into dry clothes when the rain lasts for days and soaks through what he has on.
I would make sure his turnout blanket is waterproof and let him stay outside. The only reason to worry in the winter is ice, both on the ground making for some slippery conditions and in the water trough making the water undrinkable. If you get any ice storms, bring him in until it passes and be sure the barn workers are checking the troughs in the fields each morning to break up ice.
He has a waterproof turnout blanket now, but I didn't think about a backup! Thanks for that! I was even thinking a new zealand rug.
We do get ice storms, and they have a little "forest" towards the top of the pasture as well as a bunch of huge trees to "hide" under near the watering/feeding area.
I know last winter was unusual for us, but it snowed like 5 times and like 12 inches. The good news is that my trainer can see him ALL day and the owner of his boarding place knows she'll call me so they always pull him in when it starts drizzling.
I would not pasture board my mare anywhere that had no actual manmade shelter, but I also live in IL where the winters can be fairly brutal.
Ditto. But instead of IL, it's MN. And man, does it get BRUTAL here. I'm really dreading it. What happened to when I was a kid and looked forward to all that snow? Now, all it is (literally) is a four-letter word, and not a very nice one either. I hate our winters, but I wouldn't move to another region of the U.S. if you paid me. I like having seasons. Makes summer that much more enjoyable (if not bearable).
ETA: I would be sure to have a change of "clothes" too, like someone previously mentioned. I would also suggest having a sheet and a midweight, or at least a liner of sorts. A 340g fill blanket it truly a "heavyweight" blanket and if it's all or nothing, that can be hard to regulate his comfort level (going from naked to heavyweight blanket). Just a thought.
with the odd exception.
Most of them would far rather be outside with other horses than in a stall.
It's us the humans that want to have them in.
You could look into one of those temporary shelters, plus two turn out rugs that would do fine.
All my brood mares and babies live out, until they are ready to start under saddle, and then they only come in when they are going to be worked.
They do fine, of course I'm in Virginia which does not have fearsome winters, until last year that is.
I have run-ins in all the fields, but they never use them in winter they only use them in the summer, Most of the time the round bale does double duty as food and shelter, oh and as a bed.
I'd say leave him out, invest in two good turnout rugs and maybe a run-in shed and let him be a horse.
Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
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A run-in is nice but lots of horses do fine with some trees. They use them more for a wind break than for shelter from rain.
I bought a 3 year old from Sask., Canada. Went to see the horses in March (I thought the weather'd be "better" by then - what do I know!) anyway, all the horses lived out, mares, babies, stallions. They had wind-break walls in the pastures, a couple of fields had run-ins and all were fed tons of hay. They all looked like wooley mammoths but were toasty under all the hair. It was so cold when I visited, my camera froze up!
I think a 340 fill blanket would be fine on a clipped horse in a barn in NY, but way too much for a horse living out in Texas.
A couple of rain sheets and you're good.
You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!
I live in NH, my horses live out year-round (with shelter), and the heaviest blankets I own are 200g. ONCE it has gotten cold enough that I layered up with fleece liners under that: it was -20 without the windchill. They don't get blankets at all if it isn't precipitating and is above freezing (older TB) or above 10 degrees (younger Arab). Rain sheets go on under about 60 (TB - being cold and wet makes him stiff) or 45ish (Arab) and raining.
Remember, "room temperature" for a horse is in the 40-50 degree range!
As others have said...have spare waterproof turnouts on hand. Make sure he has plenty of hay, and he should be fine. If there's no shelter for him, just keep track of the weather & if there's a really bad storm coming in, you could bring him in if you wanted. If he starts acting like he wants in, at least you've tried.
I kept my older TB on pasture board last winter, and honestly, he couldn't have been happier. He was able to move around and keep his joints nice and loose.
as long as there is shelter or a way to blanket/bring him in if it is rainy/really cold or windy, I'd leave him out. It's better for them to be out and moving around, and it can't really get that cold in Texas, can it? We were in OK last December and it was in the 30's and the locals were acting like hell had frozen over.
We live in MN and keep our trail horses out on 24x7 pasture boarding, and we don't blanket them- unless the temps are going to be below zero for a few days in a row or windy/rainy, then they wear a mid-weight blanket. My show horse comes into an un-heated barn in at night in the winter and does wear a mid-weight blanket. horses like it much cooler than we do and tolerate cold much better than humans.
My TB mare lives out 24/7 and has for years. There is a shed in her pasture, but the two oldsters that live with her usually take it over in inclement weather. If it's really bad she may squeeze in with them, but usually she stays out. She has a couple of heavy weight blankets that she can wear. She is perfectly happy staying outside.