Question for those who stable during the day during summer
My horses have no shelter in their turnout, not even sufficient tree shade. I want to bring them in for the day and leave them out over night but I'm wondering, at what temperature should they stay in?
What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm
Where I am, the horses tell me when they are ready to stay in during the day and go out at night, and it's not the temperatures, but the flies that determine it. When the green heads start biting, they want to be in during the day.
For mine, it's more the bugs than the temp that irks them. But I have run outs and there they are- sun, rain, snow - out and about. A bug or a no see um - forget it. But I'd never try to leave them out without a way to get out of the elements. For me, as soon as it's warm enough for me to be in a t shirt- they would be in.
I'd suggest getting a fly sheet rather than stalling them for the day. This will help keep them bug free and content. I use Saratoga Horseworks's Fly Sheet. These are really light-weight for summertime use and help to reflect the sun's rays to actually keep the horse cooler (particularly my black mare). They also put in an "invisible gusset" in the shoulders which helps prevent shoulder rubbing!
Since you have absolutely no shelter/trees/relief, I think I would look into the cheapest 3 sided run in I could build! By the time you spend all summer long inside, the extra hay and bedding could equal what you would pay to make a shelter of some sort. But, if that's not feasible, I would just plan on nighttime turnout all summer until the daytime temps stay below 80...I have no problem with horses out in the wind,rain,snow and cold temps- but they need somewhere to escape the heat, sun and bugs.
Right now the horses are turned out at night and brought in during the day, because of the bugs. Even with fly sheets / masks on, they just hate to be out with the bugs, plus they are sweating beneath the sheets, however "light" they claim to be.
So, out at night with flysheets/masks on, and in during the day. It's also cooler in the barn, and each stall has an attached paddock, so the horses can still go out if they want to (they don't!).
Well, we go by both sun ultraviolet rays and heat and humidity.
Right now, it's so hot and humid that it's nighttime turnout. When a horse comes in sticky and sweaty at 8am, it's too hot to be out during the day where no shade and no run in shed. It's mid to high 80s here, high humidity, and UV rays that could toast a horse.
We switched last week to nighttime turnout. Last year we switched in early May due to heat and humidity. This year we actually had a long and very wet spring for a change.
A question I'd like to bring up, because I've never seen it addressed anywhere and I know lots of people who turn out at night in the summer due to bugs:
Are there any ramifications to the horse not having normal sun exposure and/or diurnal rhythm during the summer when that exposure is max? I'm thinking Vitamin D and other benefits here, same as people get, including serotonin etc. I ask because I know leaving bright lights on them late in stalls over the winter can bring on estrus, shedding, etc. so I'm wondering if there can be temperament or condition deficits with LACK of light in summer.
Not an issue for me, my guys have free-choice run-ins, but it made me wonder.
Turning out at 5 or 6pm, and bringing in at 8am or later gives a horse plenty of sun exposure. Just not the intense burning rays from 11am to 2pm, well that used to be the range. Now it's more like 11am to 4pm for maximum damaging sun exposure due to atmospheric changes. The ozone layer is no longer as protective as it was decades ago.
Lady Eboshi I guess it depends on how dark your barn is. My barn gets lots of indirect sunlight plus my stalls have Dutch doors that open under an overhang so the horses get fresh air and light without direct sun or rain coming in. They shed at the same time neighbor horses that are out 24/7 and, according to the neighbors' stallion, my girls start cycling about the same time as their mares.
Are there any ramifications to the horse not having normal sun exposure and/or diurnal rhythm during the summer when that exposure is max? I'm thinking Vitamin D and other benefits here, same as people get, including serotonin etc.
Not sure about serotonin but horses don't need as much vitamin D as humans, so deficiency isn't a concern. And unless your horse is shut up in a windowless barn with all the doors closed, they're likely getting something. My horse was recently in an inner aisle stall of a concrete barn which he only left once a month for surgery recheck appointments due to an injury for several months and suffered no ill effects (other than crazy for being locked in a stall that long) even though he literally never saw direct sunlight. He's now healed and in a field all day in the sun and I see no difference (other than he's less crazy )
But aren't serotonin levels influenced by any light? That's why they say not to turn on lights if you get up in the middle of the night to get a drink or something because it'll whack your circadian rhythms. But I could be making that up.
Ours are on night turnout, have been for about a month. They get brought in about 8-9A, and go out about 7p for non-working horses, 9P or when we get done for the working horses. I do night turnout mostly for the terrible insects we have, the flies give them no rest.
We turn out in groups, so shelters are not a good idea, one always hog the space, while others are stuck out in the weather. We don't have sheds or shelters, though a couple paddocks have trees, so sunshine is hot during the day. Mosquitos seem to be the "lesser" in biting problems, they don't run with mosquitos, though at times they do show having been bitten a lot. Fly or shade blankets don't protect from mosquitos, so no one wears blankets. I figure blankets are just something to get hung up in, hurt themselves, when horses are kept in groups like ours.
I might bring horses in if the weather predicts freezing rain, cold rain all night, in the early spring time. Last night temp got down to 39F, and three are body clipped! Wouldn't leave them out if it was raining in that cold.
Ours seem to get enough sunshine in their turnout, shed regularly, mares cycle regularly on the time they have in the sun. Ours are actually getting more time outside, than they are spending stalled, with night turnouts. Just went to letting them graze all night, after spending 6-7 weeks of split grazing times and dry lot times, each day. So MUCH easier now. I can save the hay I have left, they are full and don't want/need the extra hay feeding.