Mine stay in if it's ice. The kind where I have to wear golf shoes to get to the barn. Otherwise, unless it's hurricane force winds or tornado warnings they go out. If it's an all day driving rain, I'll leave them out for a couple of hours.
Great idea about the shoes!
But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson
Mine are out 24/7. I may bring them in for an hour or two to give them a break, but I only have tie stalls in the barn so i don't like to leave them in overnight. We haven't had a problem with mud here yet, but the ground is covered with snow and ice for about 6 months of the year. Right now is really crummy, since we are having a bit of a warm spell and we have some water sitting on top of ice/hard packed snow. They walk around pretty carefully, though, and they are not prone to running. I don't worry too much about them. I used to worry a lot more when I boarded and the horses were sometimes left in for a few days, and then turned out. Or if the horses were in and then turned out in the indoor -- they can just get soooooooo nuts when they finally have good footing under them - that is scary for me.
I have lived in a northern climate for 30 years and have not personally known (or heard of) horses being put down due to broken legs or hips from turnout on ice.
I have, however, known a lot of horses put down due to serious colics in the winter, which I do believe is related to the amount of time they are stalled due to bad weather/bad footing.
So in my personal experience, it's safer and better for them to get that time outside.
Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**
I have known more horses that broke legs in a stall than out. My herd has never broken anything and they have been out 24/7 for 20 years.
I've seen the most turnout injuries from people who keep them in for a few days, then turn them out and they get hurt during a grand run. When my outside horses go out after they eat, they only run when the footing is good. When it is bad, they amble over to the hay in the run-in shed -- even the 2 year old and the high-energy TB. When inside horses go out, they tend to run no matter what to burn off pent-up energy.
The two exceptions for me are ice (real ice -- the inches-thick kind, not snow or a small crust of ice) and thunderstorms. I also cut down all the trees in my paddocks. I haven't known too many horses to be hit by lightning but I know a LOT of cattle killed that way.
99.99% of the time mine are outside. They are happier outside.
Ice storms (rain turning to ice to snow and what not) and extreme cold with high winds are the only reason they are in generally.
Ground ice/packed slick snow can be salted and/or sanded for traction. Snow pads added to the 2 I kneep shoes on year round if needs be. Everyone gets to grow a nice winter coat and I blanket with a medium weight turnout when temps drip below 20deg during the day.
Would rather spend my time mending blankets than cleaning stalls. They are happier outside for sure!
I save a fortune on bedding, and that being said, outside they do need a bit more feed (no complaints thus far about more hay or feed...ever), but bottom line in turnout it costs much less and they are happier in turnout.
Mud....sure it happens. But this too shall pass. For the few times the entire turnout is a muddy mess, then yes I do bring them in for a short night of R&R. That way they can bed down in dry, clean bedding. But I keep that to 6-8hrs inside when those rare times happen....cuz they are happier outside. In years where I know I am going to reseed a pasture anyhow, then I can just leave the gate open to pasture if turnout is a muddy mess. That way they are not stuck in over night cuz a little mud. Cuz they are happier outside.
Did I mention they are just happier outside?[/QUOTE]
I totally agree!
I so wish though that one of mine would find a way to not get injured/lame every winter from frolicking in his paddock. He goes out every day for 10/12 hours with snow pads and shoes with more traction but somehow still manages to slip & fall down regularly. He does sometimes canter madly around (did I mention he is an OTTB?) but he also manages to slip on the one frozen spot in the entire pasture when he is walking... I've had him 2 years and up until now have been going along with the idea: "the poor boy doesn't know how to be outside after all this time at the track, he will eventually learn" - but in hindsight, he doesn't seem to be learning much in that area at least. ahem...
Oh dear, why didn't I move to Australia or some place warm?
My horses live out as much as possible. However, there are times when I wish I had a better setup. One year, I had an awful ice problem around the water trough and due to the electrical outlet setup, there was nowhere else I could move the water trough. The area was packed snow which turned to ice. I spent hours out there with a pickaxe and sand and barn lime to increase traction.
That was the worst thing I have experienced. Snow has never been a problem, and if I were to try and keep my horses out of mud they would not have any turnout from March to May. Some horses are smarter than others, and are more careful. Also, be CERTAIN your horse is not getting bullied, or rather there is not a bully in the pasture that will run other horses over dangerous ground. If you pay board, you have the right to speak up about your horse's pasture situation.