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Can a dressage horse live on pasture board?

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  • #41
    yay for turnout

    Regarding keeping horses IN 20+ hours/day to conserve energy...


    I have to wonder if these horses that MUST be kept in so they have enough energy are actually missing some key element in their diets. Or if they simply need to be fed more "x" and/or less "y"...any horse who can only muster up enough energy in a 24 hour period for one good workout probably has something else going on...

    Comment


    • #42
      Originally posted by slc2
      not if they're made to work on a full belly.
      I don't believe it's wise to work any horse directly after a grain meal. But pulling him in from pasture and tacking up? NOT THE SAME THING. They are eating small amounts which is constantly being digested. Basic horse physiology here.

      I would also like to add that I belive the major reason for lack of pasture board in Europe is lack of space/money - they simply don't have the land.
      www.specialhorses.org
      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

      Comment


      • #43
        a full belly of grain or a full belly of grass, note, horses do not work well on either.

        am i saying i am against turnout? no. so don't jump down my gullet for that.

        i am saying, that since horses began working, everyone has very carefully made sure a horse is not working hard on a belly full of anything. in some ways, grass is far worse than grain because of its volume, weight (moisture) and what effect it has on the blood circulation to the gut (away from the muscles), but grain causes problems as well. a horse doesn't run a race as well, doesn't cut cattle as well, etc.

        most of you have never worked a dressage horse at the upper levels, and have never seen how fit the horse has to be or how hard it has to work, and most of you will never ever have a clue of what that means to the management of the horse or even the management of the rider.

        sure, i can take a horse out of a field and work it for 20 minutes 'stretching at a walk' (walking on long rein), 'suppling' (walking on long rein), 'turning, bending' (walking on a long rein), and doing a circle or two of slow posting trot and slow canter. sure i can. i can and did for many, many years. and if a horse is in that kind of work of course if he will stay out there and and it's not hell's kitchen, i am going to have him on the grass.

        and even though daydream believer feels that 'upper level horses can be out 24/7', i would like a report of how many elite horses are out 24/7 during their competing, showing and peak training years.

        no, i don't think it's because people are too busy or too uncaring about their horses that this isn't routinely done, and i don't think it's about the land or the concept of it or philosophy or anything else. frankly, most of the really cool elite stables i've been to HAVE turnout, and the horses DO go out in it, and they dont go out 24/7 and there's a very good reason for it. you may not agree that a horse can't work on a belly full of pasture grass, but a whole lot of other people DO.

        Comment


        • #44
          SLC2.Are you sure they cant get to the Olympics on 24/7 in any sport? The key to successful turnout is knowing about the type of grass your horse is eating & how much.I can only speak for NZ where we have alot of Mycotoxins in the types of grass grown here (Rye grass mainly) but I understand that the main studies for Mycotoxins have been done in the States so maybe you guys have them too?.Mycotoxins reek havoc on horses.Its like poison & shows up in many forms of symptoms, behaviourable (sp?) & physical.The trick is not to put your horse on lush pasture as this is not what a horse is designed to dijest.Its like just feeding them candyflosss.You get this mental picture of your horse wondering through a beautiful field without a weed in site & grass up to his ankles.Dont go there girfriends!!! (&Theo). Im wondering if this is kind of what Theo is getting at.I make sure the bulk of my horses feed is fibre & supplement with a high grade magnesium & use a toxin binder which helps counteract any negative effects too much grass offers. Ive never had a horse get colic or any other dijestive problem in my life (touches wood).I like to think little old NZ has had a small impact on the international scene with our horses over the years through a range of disciplins.Weve won the odd gold at the Olympics .While I know that alot of our riders are based overseas now & have to stable due to weather & land restrictions ,they also know the benefits of good turnout & have their horses out as much as possible.

          Comment


          • #45
            Originally posted by slc2
            and even though daydream believer feels that 'upper level horses can be out 24/7', i would like a report of how many elite horses are out 24/7 during their competing, showing and peak training years.
            I think you will find I'm hardly the only one on here that feels that way but for some reason you are calling on me by name so I'll reply. I'm not name dropping but I knew of several GP horses in competition that lived in paddocks (not large pasture)...yes 24/7...and they were plenty competitive. I knew of several advanced level eventers over the years that were turned out at least 12 hours a day also and when the weather was nice they were out all day. They did not stay in a stall the majority of the day which is what you seem to think is necessary for some reason. Since I lack your broad range of experience with upper level horses I guess what I saw and experienced was just an anomaly.

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            • #46
              Horses grazing on grass do not fill up on it, they keep eating choice bits to keep some in their tummies. Also, grass is a very high percent of water. No one pulls their water before work. We are also not talking on competition day. Who pills their hay an hour before work. A horse is just as likely to be full of hay.

              I was told many years ago, by a very good friend and mentor that the upper level horses needed to be kept up with no turnout to prevent injury, and so they would "show off for her when she rode". I politely said "hogwash"

              Horses that are turned out with quiet companions for a large portion of their day are not any more likely to be injured because they actually hugely decrease the amount of work related injuries. Riding a horse daily that is not turned out, is worked to their maximum fitness and conditioning. A horse that is turned out to pasture spends a lot of time in low level conditioning work. They then always have a large buffer zone for riding, and rarely have strains and pulls. Their heart and lungs are also MUCH healthier, so MUCH less likely to pick up illnesses.

              Horses that are turned out and stalled for a rest period (1/2 day) are VERY willing to show off - especially if ridden close to the time when they are due to go out again. Adjust the schedule, and even top level competitors can spend a lot of their time on pasture.

              I have managed an Intermediate 3-Day horse. She finished 4th against the Barcelona horses from other countries at the Atlanta Heat Trials. She was turned out 12 to 15 hours per day, in a 28 acre pasture until she actually loaded on the trailer to go to her competitions.

              Comment


              • #47
                Originally posted by slc2
                not if they're made to work on a full belly.
                By "belly" do you mean the stomach or the caecum? And full of what? Grain? Fiber? Water?

                Many studies have been done evaluating equine perfomances in many different sports, using many different nutritional and other management techniques. Have you read any of them, slc?

                Indeed, stalls can be handy in many situations--- and putting horses into them is often necessary for competitive success if only because pastures are not available on most show grounds-- but this does not alter the fact that the healthiest place for horses is out grazing, and whenever we stall them, it does subject them to numerous risks (starting with ulcers) that we need to take careful management measures (e.g. free choice hay, only small meals of concentrates, frequent exercise outside the stall) to alleviate.
                http://www.tunnelsendfarm.com

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                • #48
                  Mine is out all the time and comes in for feed and has a stall if the weather is really nasty: thunderstorms, ice storms etc. There are woods to hide in and get out of the sun. He is schooling 3rd, shown successfully through 2nd. He is 23 and the vet thinks he needs to move around as much as possible due to his age.
                  RIP Mydan Mydandy+
                  RIP Barichello

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                  • #49
                    Dressage horses better live well out on pasture, or someone forgot to send my horses the memo!!

                    I think 24/7 turn-out for ANY horse is a huge factor in their mental and physical well-being. I feel so sorry for those horses kept in 12x12 (or near) stalls a majority of the time, and only allowed an hour or so of turn-out in teeny tiny paddocks or just hand walked.
                    "Shut up and ride!" (My beloved trainer )

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      "which is what you seem to think is necessary for some reason"

                      yiou would do well to not try to read my mind or decide what i think is necessary. in fact, that is NOT what i think, nor what i have ever said in any way. in fact, i have spent every penny i have to make sure my animals are NOT in stalls 24/7, so don't accuse me of that - ever - i am going to the poorhouse to do the opposite of that. be assured, you do not know what i think on this matter.

                      and no, your grand prix horses you talk about seeing, were actually not out 24/7 on pasture, by your own description. they were in a paddock, for part of the day. there is a difference between that and 24/7 pasture.

                      re toxins in pasture, yes, we have that here. but it is a matter of managing the pasture better to avoid that - that's usually possible. sometimes during severe climate changes it's not.

                      i don't agree that categorically for all horses, animals on pasture don't eat alot, and i've seen studies that disprove what is said above that they pick and eat small amts, i d think they graze slectively, but i also think that in quite a few situations, if they are on pasture 24/7, and it is good pasture, studies show they eat quite a lot. and yes, i've read a lot of studies on nutrition and grazing in horses, for many years. many more lately, as we plan our own pastures.

                      so, in conclusion, those of you who want to keep your grand prix olympians on pasture 24/7, you are quite free to do so. i'm not going to, for reasons stated above. and in fact, there is a certain level of commonality between a human gorging at the Golden Corral Buffet and running a marathon, and a horse trying to do strenuous work requiring maximum muscular effort, with a belly full of grass and water pressing on his lungs and requiring blood for digestion.

                      no it is not grain, but it still requires blood and circulatory preference for digestion.

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by slc2
                        Go to Golden Corral. Put some of everything on your plate. STAY at Golden Corral for 23 hours, continue eating, and then go run the Boston Marathon, and tell me where you finish.
                        You might want to freshen up on your equine anatomy and physiology. Horses are grazing animals, and as such they are designed to move around and eat all day long. This has nothing to do with the Boston Marathon and everything to do with BASIC animal husbandry. Horses who stay inside and who are fed one or two large meals daily will not be as healthy as those who eat throughout the day. I don't know what school of horsemanship you graduated from, but you must be thinking of a different animal when you say that horses should not be eating all day!

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by slc2
                          =most of you have never worked a dressage horse at the upper levels, and have never seen how fit the horse has to be or how hard it has to work, and most of you will never ever have a clue of what that means to the management of the horse or even the management of the rider.
                          Oy vey, are you trying to tell me that YOU of all people have worked a dressage horse at the upper levels? Let's see some pictures!

                          I'm curious though. Just what about dressage "requires" that the horse be managed poorly? Horses that are out for longer are healthier. Why is this bad for a dressage horse?

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by slc2
                            so, in conclusion, those of you who want to keep your grand prix olympians on pasture 24/7, you are quite free to do so. i'm not going to, for reasons stated above. and in fact, there is a certain level of commonality between a human gorging at the Golden Corral Buffet and running a marathon, and a horse trying to do strenuous work requiring maximum muscular effort, with a belly full of grass and water pressing on his lungs and requiring blood for digestion.
                            Nope, that is not true at all. The equine digestive system is vastly different from that of humans. For a horse to be healthy, he NEEDS to be outside eating and moving. This is a fact. You must be mixing horses up with some other species...

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              Depends on so much

                              Frankly, the biggest determining factor for you will be the weather.

                              If you have aspirations of just getting to third level and there is no time frame in which you want that done and the horse doesn't need to stay blemish free and you (or someone) will bring the horse in to get fed appropriately (which, in the case of a very hard or very easy keeper, is better multiple times per day) and you CAN bring the horse in somewhere when a blizzard hits or the flies are atrocious...sure go for it.

                              Where I live the weather goes to minus 35 Celsius in winter and up to plus 33 in the summer. A horse living out will do just fine if he has a shelter and a nice woolly coat. However, if your riding consists of anything more than a brief jaunt that does not result in a perspiring horse, living out is not going to work.

                              My horses in work go out for about 6 hours during the winter and wear a heavy blanket for turnout. They do not get very hairy but they will still get wet at which point they have to stay in until they are dry. A lot of arenas in my area are heated so the horses are frequently clipped or they perspire too heavily when working. Again, this will result in limited turnout.

                              In the summer, some horses will be in constant motion due to flies and will lose condition quickly unless they have a chance to get in out of the flies. Fly sheets and sprays only work to a point.

                              If you are prepared to essentially give your horse the winter off, or just trial ride or hack a bit for fun it would not be a problem. As spring comes and your horse sheds out you can get going again seriously. I did this for a few years with my old eventer/jumper who knew his job and just needed conditioning and tuning up in the spring beginning with road work.

                              However, you don't really make progress very quickly this way, it could work for an older horse who basically knows his job.

                              So for the pasture board situation, really, so much will depend on your weather, the temperament of that particular horse and how he maintains his body weight, whether nutritional needs can be addressed and environmental factors.

                              So as usual, the answer is IT DEPENDS.

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by trailblazer
                                Nope, that is not true at all. The equine digestive system is vastly different from that of humans. For a horse to be healthy, he NEEDS to be outside eating and moving. This is a fact. You must be mixing horses up with some other species...
                                I loff you.

                                and Mozart - you are correct. I forgot about places where the weather can go to such extremes for long perods of time.
                                www.specialhorses.org
                                a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  The mere mention that a top equine athlete HAS to be kept from 24/7 turnout is RIDICULOUS.

                                  I have competed at upper levels. The last Grand Prix horse I worked with was out 24/7, except in severe weather. PERIOD. He was far more expressive in his work after being allowed out to be a horse. He had a joie de vie that came through in his work.

                                  BOTTOM LINE
                                  HORSES WERE MADE TO LIVE OUTSIDE. (as Mozart said above)
                                  Wild horses are some of the hardiest, healthiest horses you will find.

                                  Although I understand the need for owners to keep their horses inside. I also appreciate that horses are different, one may thrive out when another may not.

                                  I also don't see the logic behind horses in a stall keeping muscle etc better than horses on field. Horses in a stall are standing wasting muscle, horses outside (as said above) are moving, grazing, stretching - SLEEPING FLAT OUT if they desire (Umm.. can you say, stress off the joints?).

                                  You simply cannot say that an upper level horse, in order to be competitive MUST be kept in - it's a generalization and it's not true in every case, Because it certainly wasn't in mine.

                                  Also... It's unwise to believe everyone on this board is a neophyte. I think you'll find we are blessed with MANY talented and knowledgable members.
                                  True North Dressage
                                  Select Cheval Canadiens for dressage and eventing
                                  www.TrueNorthDressage.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by Sabovee
                                    The mere mention that a top equine athlete HAS to be kept from 24/7 turnout is RIDICULOUS.

                                    I have competed at upper levels. The last Grand Prix horse I worked with was out 24/7, except in severe weather. PERIOD. He was far more expressive in his work after being allowed out to be a horse. He had a joie de vie that came through in his work.

                                    BOTTOM LINE
                                    HORSES WERE MADE TO LIVE OUTSIDE. (as Mozart said above)
                                    Wild horses are some of the hardiest, healthiest horses you will find.

                                    Although I understand the need for owners to keep their horses inside. I also appreciate that horses are different, one may thrive out when another may not.

                                    I also don't see the logic behind horses in a stall keeping muscle etc better than horses on field. Horses in a stall are standing wasting muscle, horses outside (as said above) are moving, grazing, stretching - SLEEPING FLAT OUT if they desire (Umm.. can you say, stress off the joints?).

                                    You simply cannot say that an upper level horse, in order to be competitive MUST be kept in - it's a generalization and it's not true in every case, Because it certainly wasn't in mine.

                                    Horses were not ment to do dressage, and certainly not in a indoor arena. Why do we shave our horses ??. Why did they found out all this exotic nutricion, food-supplements and all other stuff.

                                    The answer is not blowing in the wind, but very simple THINK.

                                    And I can't do anything with these kind of answers, because did you ever try to keep your horse stabled 20/7 ???

                                    Let someone who is running a stable with top-dressage horses react to this topic directly with name and location, not all this hear say answers.

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Just speaking as a biologist and one whose specialty is animal behavior -

                                      horses evolved that way for a reason. There is no question that it is healthier for them to be outside - vagaries of weather etc aside.
                                      www.specialhorses.org
                                      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center
                                        No one pulls their water before work. We are also not talking on competition day. Who pills their hay an hour before work. A horse is just as likely to be full of hay.
                                        I'm sorry, you can't generalize this to everyone. My Fabulous First Level horse is out 24/7 rain, snow, wind.... And on competition day, his hay is taken away an hour before we warm up, and no water 30min prior to warm up. (I know, there's always one - "but *i* do it that way" *lol*) And even on regular days, it takes about 30min to get horse ready.... that's ample time for grass/water to settle imo.

                                        I won't even lie and say i'm close to the top levels of dressage, or even PSG (altho that is my 10 year goal) But i'd like to think that even once you're in the top levels of ANY equine discipline that 'conserving energy' for a great ride takes the backseat to keeping a horse a horse. A horse's life is not serve "Grand Prix Dressage" it is to be happy and to be a horse.

                                        Maybe this is where turnout ends and ego begins.

                                        Who knew 'turnout' was such a heated topic
                                        Carol and Princess Dewi

                                        **~Doccer'sDressage~**

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          Originally posted by Two Simple
                                          Also - do you realize that the horse's stomach only comprises about 10-15% of his total digestive tract? The horse's digestive system is meant to process a constant flow of forage throughout the day. This is why horses defecatate every few hours. It is ridiculous to say that you can't work a horse that has been grazing all day because his stomach is full of grass/water.

                                          I can see the wild horse lounging on the sofa telling the mountain lion "Give me a couple hours. I've been grazing all day and I just can't run from you right now. My belly's full." *puffs on cig, sips martini*

                                          If pursued by an assailant, a wild horse can gallop at top speed as necessary to try to save his own life. Even though he's been grazing all day.
                                          Good point, but one cannot always equate the grass eaten by a wild horse with that grown on farms. Many places seed and fertilize their turnouts, resulting in lush pastures of only a few grass species. The grasses eaten by wild horses are more sparse, and more dry. They take a bite, take a few steps to get to the next clump of grass, take another bite, etc. In that sense, if a horse is ankle deep in thick bermuda/fescue/orchard/timothy/whatever; I can see why a horse on lush pasture could have a belly full of grass, much like they can have a belly full of breakfast.

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