24/7 turnout. I have a young Arab (you want to talk about running about like an idiot!?). When he is on 24/7 turnout, he rarely does the mad dash around thing. And when he DOES take off running, it isn't as hard or fast as if he's been locked in a stall for any length of time.
My horse runs like a fool, and bounces around like a ping pong ball. Doesn't matter if he was hanging around grazing like a plod all morning... he's a performer. All he needs is an audience, and he's off.....
I am afraid he will shatter an ankle. I am afraid I will be there to see it. But what are you going to do? If he's acting like a real fool, I will catch him and longe him quietly for 10 minutes until he settles down. But I can't bubble wrap him.
The more perfect our happiness,
the more nagging and wretched
do our unsolved problems seem.
~ Gordon Grand
Around my farm, we have a saying: "Horses are born to commit suicide."
Meaning that you can't prevent injury. Turnout is essential and the more you restrict it, the more likely they are to get hurt when they do go out.
Several years ago, I was in my pasture fixing a fence board and stopped to watch a mellow, healthy gelding do a lovely, balanced canter on a straight line across a safe field. Then suddenly he just stopped. 3 legged lame. He had fractured his scapula and was euthanized in that spot an hour later. I always think of this incident as it underscores to me that even with the best management, horses get hurt.
In all honesty, I don't watch. BO/BMs have told me hilarious stories about my horse flying across the field, hitting the drainage ditch which was filled to the brim with water, thinking it was solid footing, and trying to gallop across the water, only to sink, flip over, and slam into the bank on the other side. It was hilarious when she told the story, while looking at my mud-caked horse. My head would've exploded if I saw it.
The one time I stayed to witness him going ballistic in turnout, I watched him kick through wire fencing and shear off literally half his hoof (the ramifications of which I'm still dealing with, since it happened a few months ago). I forced myself to watch him, the whole time thinking "he's going to hurt himself, he's going to hurt himself", and he did, positively reinforcing the whole "turnout is BAD" mentality I have.
So, how I deal with it is A) stick my head in the sand and B) try to make it as safe of an environment as I can. When I turn out, I walk away into the barn so I don't watch the crazy. Before I brought my other two home, I cleared my place of any wire fencing and installed horse-friendly fencing, so it's ready for the crazy TB. The two old timers are "test driving" the farm for me before I bring the nuthouse home.
Said nuthouse injured himself and was on stall rest for two months earlier in the year til the vet figured out what was wrong. Turns out it wasn't anything that required stall rest. So I longed/rode him for a week to work out as much crazy as I could before turning him out. Then, the first day I turned him back out undrugged, I wrapped the bajeesus out of his legs. I took him out to the "safest" paddock in the barn, turned him around, unclipped the lead rope, and booked it out of there, phone in hand with vet on speed-dial, ready for the explosion. Let me tell you, I was prepared for that explosion. It never happened. He stood there, practically wrapped in bubble wrap, with a "Mom, you are the craziest person in the world." look on his face, and there was no explosion whatsoever. I plan to do that same routine when he comes off of stall rest for this latest injury, since it worked so well the first time. Could he still hurt himself? Sure. But it makes me feel better, which is the point.
Just accept your crazy and try to manage it as much as you can. Everyone here can tell you "he's not going to hurt himself", but the truth is, he is going to hurt himself eventually and the best you can do is just be as prepared as possible to minimize the damage. For me, that equals no wire fencing.
I post this photo every time a thread like this comes up: http://annsrats.com/horses/feronia/2...6/turnout3.jpg ... When I turned the mare out, after a few seconds of I swear revving her engine, she leaped into the air and took off straight down that steep hill at a full gallop! My heart was in my throat, but she was fine. (Soundness issues since that time have nothing to do with this episode.) She's not at that barn anymore, sadly... the turnout was fabulous.
I love watching her play in turnout. She's older and lazier now, but every once in a while she puts on a good show (especially if some OTHER HORSE is being fed and she isn't, or she thinks it's time to eat. In the ensuing histrionics she goes airborne and gets really, really noisy.)
Last edited by quietann; Nov. 26, 2012 at 10:41 PM.
My TB used to hurt himself if he didn't get turnout. So I turned him out nightly, or as close to as I could. Booted, bell boots, etc.
I calculated that he ran an average of 12 miles/week in addition to 6 days/week of riding.
He still hurt himself in his 12x24 pen out of boredom and also hurt himself in turnout. It was not fun....
So we built a place where he has 24/7 access to an acre off his stall and can run all he wants. He has still hurt himself, but there's far less of the super crazy running. I have also learned not to go in his pen with him if I want to encourage his running at all, or think he may want to run, because if I go in he has about a 75% chance of doing something stupid to hurt himself. He has a tendency to stare at me as he runs and forget things like stopping before he runs into gates (leaving the gate a mulched mess, and his leg luckily not as bad) or slowing before turns or even after he starts sliding, thus shredding muscles in his shoulder and dislocating his SI area. In general, though, having him in a large pen at all times with company has greatly reduced the super scary playing - so I say the answer to fear of them running too hard is giving them the chance to run ALL the time. On top of that, more turnout has led to better toplines in all our horses, including the crippled one who has never been ridden.
My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.
Originally Posted by katarine
If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed
How do you deal with fear of letting your horse run around? A few years ago my horse was galloping around in his turnout and he fell. I saw the whole thing, and I think it really put a fair amount of fear in me. I have control issues...like I hate to not have it.....and I can remember the day he was running that I knew he was in one of those mindsets where he was not paying any attention to safety but I couldn't calm him down and sure enough he wiped out...ended up with pretty nice injury.
He is a TB and he is known to have moments where he just loses his mind. More on the ground and lunging than when I am on his back. He is really pretty good under saddle. I KNOW I need to let him run as much as possible to keep him from having those moments where he does lose his mind.....but I have such trouble not feeling like I am going to throw up the min he starts to get excited either on the lunge or in the turnout. I am not afraid of my own safety really....my fear is def more that he is going to hurt himself.
So any advice on how to get myself over this fear. I am the one handling him on a regular basis since he is in my backyard. I force myself to turn him out and lunge him in my ring.....but really, really want to get to a place where I don't get butterflies in my stomach every single time I go to do it...or every time he runs around. He has only been in my backyard for two months....but I have owned him a long time. This fear has only popped up in the last two or three years...after those couple of scary incidents.
He is a tough one because he can be calm calm calm calm and then BAM he just has a nutty burst and he is like a different horse.
When I lunge it is in a small enclosed space with good footing and I wrap his legs and use a bridle so I know it is as safe as can be....but my brain just can't get past that jumpy nervous feeling.......I want these things to be fun....not stressful.....I wish I could have that attitude when I am lunging him that we are playing together....not that I am waiting for him to try and kill himself
You'll make yourself and your horse miserable if you try to stop him from being a horse. For instance, they don't even need to be galloping around to fall down. My warmblood spooked when I was throwing bedding around in his run-in, turned to run away in terror, slipped, and went flat on his side hard enough to go "ooof". To keep him from having accidents I would have to keep him tied up all the time or make him so fat he couldn't move. Neither is a good option to his well-being so I let him do his own thing.
I am very happy to report that I left my horse out with his pony ALL day yesterday aaaaaaaaaand..........they are currently turned out together GASP in the dark
I really think I just needed to hear all the reminders that the more he is out the less likely he will kill himself. I just hope he doesn't start getting bored in his ring....because it is all I have
Good for you! I was thinking about this thread and realizing how much I hate letting the horses out after they've been forced to stay inside after bad weather. Those forst 10 minutes really do raise my blood pressure and I realized you probably feel like that every time. Glad to see you're working through it. You're horse will be so much happier for it!
I know how you feel as my horse loves to go for a hoon when he is turned out, which is 14 hours a day. He recently came in with an injury after playing especially hard which may turn out to be a riding career ender :-(
My 3 draft crosses are out 24/7 but get frisky when it snows especially.
One mare loves to fall & slide in the snow, sometimes in the mud...on purpose....regularly...downhill is preferred. She gets to galloping then slides or falls on a quick turn and goes ass first downhill about 30 feet.
She's done this since she was a weanling...loves it. Gets up quickly, bucks, farts, kicks out, and tears off. In a play session she'll throw or fall down at least 3-4 times. There has to be at least 2 inches on the ground. I've seen this for 6 yrs. now. I sit in the den, watch out the window, drink hot chocolate and laugh like hell. Nutty horse!!
"She's not being bad; she's just being a horse"......it's what makes her so....special! It's happiness, exuberant, vibrant life! Enjoy it, remember it, treasure it.