For those whose horses are out in rain, snow, etc.
I have been rough boarding for 8+ years and love it. My horse (an OTTB) is outside in a pasture (with shelter) for 11 hours each day. She comes into the barn for the night. She, along with others, loves being outside all day despite rain, snow, hot or cold weather, darkness, etc. While she does not mind being inside for the night (or if the weather is horrible, such as a blizzard), she doesn't like being in more than that (or she will weave). She also is best moving around all day due to an arthritic stifle from her days at the track. She is always dressed for the weather, whether that be an appropriate weight blanket, rain sheet, fly sheet, or whatever. My horse is fat, shiny, and receives the best of care.
Over the years there have been a few other boarders who prefer to have their horses inside at the slightest bit of inclement weather, which is fine. I respect their wishes. The problem is that, while folks are well meaning, I am always having to deal with comments such as "You are leaving your horse out in the rain?" or "It is getting dark" (I bring her in when I finish work around 6 PM) or "They look like they want to come in" (while they are contentedly grazing). I know that these folks mean well, but, frankly, I am getting tired of being judged for what I believe is right for my animal. I only have my horse's best interest in mind.
Is there a way to answer these comments without telling people to mind their business?
I never put my horses in. They have a large barn they can use as they choose. I find them out at times I think they should be in, but they are fine. I would tell those people that your horse knows when she needs to get out of the weather and since there is a shelter she can use, it is no big worry and she does better out, plus her health speaks for itself.. Thank them for their concern and change the subject.
"Thanks for your concern, but unless the weather is truly Severe, my horse does best outside and moving." - Smile and walk away.
Mine live out 24/7 almost year round.... I'll bring them in for stalling Only in truly severe weather (ice or bad snow storm, bitter cold with rain & wind). Other than that, they're out and they're fine!!!!
When people whine "but they want to come in!" it's usually because the horses Want The Bucket Contents
<>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.
First try: "I know that you mean well, but this is the program that works for my horse. She's happier outdoors, being a horse, and my vet will tell you that being stabled for long periods is detrimental to her mental and physical health."
If the busybody persists: "I've tried to address this politely with you, but when it comes down to it, the issue is simply none of your business. My horse is healthy and happy, and that's all that matters to me."
(ETA: Mine live out, with 24/7 access to their stalls, and only stay inside if the weather is absolutely awful (e.g., ice storm, Arctic temps).
She also is best moving around all day due to an arthritic stifle from her days at the track. She is always dressed for the weather, whether that be an appropriate weight blanket, rain sheet, fly sheet, or whatever. My horse is fat, shiny, and receives the best of care.
I only have my horse's best interest in mind.
I think the above, what you wrote says it pretty good. I used to get that a lot. I said basically what you wrote above. Just continue to do what you think works best for her and ignore the other people's comments. I would constantly have to defend myself and there was nothing I could say to convince them otherwise!
why do you bring your horse in at night at all then?
horses are better out, and they can see really well in the dark.
I think the best way to keep a horse is in a big field with a run-in shelter and two or three good buddies. Usually they never go into the run-in shelter, but it makes people feel better to offer one.
I'd just tell them (and what I do say to others) is that he's happier outside. I dress my horse for the weather (Gore-tex and a liner if need be) so no concerns of getting wet. He's outside in the fresh air, can move as he wants, drink as he wants and is not forced to stand in his own muck and filth (unless of course he chooses to stand in a pile while outside ) nor is he forced to breathe ammonia fumes...better for the lungs.
I just tell them that he is happiest outside 24/7 (which is true!!). My horse is almost 20 but fat, shiny, sound, and thriving! I'm sure that if I kept him in a stall his mild arthritis would act up. It's his first winter in a place with a real winter and so far the snow/rain/wind/cold don't seem to bother him in the least
**Friend of bar.ka**
Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
My equine soulmate
Mine live out, with 24/7 access to their stalls, and only stay inside if the weather is absolutely awful (e.g., ice storm, Arctic temps).
I tell people I built my horses the World's Fanciest Run-In, since that's how they use the 2-stall barn I lovingly had built for their comfort.
Dutch doors to pasture are open 24/7 and that's where you'll find them most of the time.
By their choice, not mine.
First year I had them home, I rushed home from a dinner w/friends like a nitwit because it had started to rain...hard...
Brought them in, threw hay in front of them, and watched as they took a few mouthfuls, then wandered right back out into the pouring rain.
In the 8 years I've horses at home I think I've closed those dutch doors a total of 5 times besides getting them in for vet or farrier visits.
This includes horrible Midwest Winter storms.
Unless snow is blowing directly into the stalls, and even then, they remain open and horses seem to prefer Out to In.
I'd rather shovel snow out of stalls than struggle with unblocking snowed-in doors to let them out.
No blankets either, unless they get soaked to the skin. Then blankets go on & come off once they are dry underneath.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015
Mine are out 24/7 with free access to stalls that they generally only use for either a bathroom or to get away from the flies. I will lock them up on stormy nights, mostly because there are a lot of trees in their pasture and I don't want them running around slipping in the mud at night or being hit by flying debris. And having lost one to a broken pelvis, I'm paranoid about slippery footing, they are kept in for icy conditions.
But I do think they're happier and healthier being able to choose whether or not they want to be in or out, since 99% of the time, they choose to be out. Sheets or mid-weight blankets only if its cold and wet, or I want them to stay clean.
Mine have access too a run-in shed, and I only feel bad when it's really hot and muggy and buggy, and when we get -30 windchills or wet snow blowing into the shed. But they seem to be fine in the cold stuff. The bugs are the bigger problem. And the only animals at my place that care about it being dark out are the chickens.
My Arab is out as much as possible. Right now he's on pasture board with no option of a stall. They have a run in and he wears a blanket or sheet appropriate for the weather. So far he's only needed his sheet a couple of nights. His buddy, my friends horse doesn't even wear a blanket in the dead of winter.
Leave them out unless there's some reason to be in.
My TB mare lives out 24/7. She is much happier than she was living part day in/part out. She is 17 this year and most people don't believe it because she is in such good condition. I would just tell them "My program works well for my horse and I."
Well, when we moved down to Mississippi, I learned that - uh- shelter is not viewed at a horse requirement. We let a neighbor use the back pasture before we got our own horses; and I will confess that it did pain me to see them huddled w/ their backs into the wind during torrential tropical storms. The horses lived and seemed perfectly healthy. Our barn stays open, and the horses and sheep wander in and out at their leisure; and it is interesting to observe their routines. They do like to come into the barn and settle down into the bedding to lie down and sleep for a good part of the night. I suspect that if we did not live in the buggiest place on earth (surrounded by swamps) w/ fire ants, biting gnats, and mosquitoes; they would LOVE to just sleep outside. Inside the barn they have fans and a fly spray system; so I think their routine is based on bugs and avoiding the extreme heat during the day in summer. I did worry about lightning strikes; because animals do get struck by lightning on pasture, but I noticed that mine will NOT stand under a tree during lightning; and when the thunder is close they will come under the barn. The gelding doesn't like the sound of rain on the tin roof, but he'll follow the mare in.
My biggest concern is that we will probably board after our next move, and most likely headed to Rhode Island. I found a great boarding facility w/ great location and amenities; but the turnout is in comparatively small paddocks w/o shelters and they are only turned out during daylight. Does anybody know why people wouldn't let horses stay outside at night in a smallish safe paddock during the summer? We just may have to rent another place where we can keep them at home because I would like them to have 24/7 turnout access, but also have a nice shelter.
Anyway, your set up sounds ideal to me; and I am guessing your horse doesn't have the behavioural and health problems his confined friends get.
Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing
You're in New England. Don't you know the age old answer up here is 'Yep'?
"You are leaving your horse out in the rain?" "Yep" (and nod your head once).
"It is getting dark." "Yep" (head nod).
"They look like they want to come in." This one doesn't qualify for a Yep. Instead it gets, "They look fine to me" (emphasis on the word 'fine', head nod)."
Repeat this enough times, and they'll eventually get the message and leave you alone. If you have to use the word No at any time in these exchanges, shake your head back and forth only once. Or just say Nope. If it is winter and you are speaking this way and wearing a red and black checkered wool stockman's hat, they'll know you're a local.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein