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Night Turnout in the Winter

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  • Night Turnout in the Winter

    Okay, here is a question, what is your opinion on night turnout during the winter. Have enough blankets to keep them warm but the nights are getting down into the high teens low 20's? They can either go out during the day for about 7 hours, or all night for about 14 hours. So I do have options!

    Interested in your thoughts?

  • #2
    Mine was on winter turnout during a Michigan winter with free-choice round bale hay and appropriate blankets (mostly medium-weight, sometimes heavyweight). He was fine.

    Remember, there are hundreds of horses on 24/7 turnout who do just fine with those temps. Assuming yours are suited up for the weather, they will do fine too!
    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


    • #3
      My boy lives out 24-7 (middle TN, so we're not talking super cold) with a round bale, a trace clip and a midweight most of the time. I have a heavy but haven't used it in years. He never even acts remotely cold.
      Big Idea Eventing


      • #4
        My mare has been living out 24/7 just about her entire life and she runs around nekkid all winter. It doesn't get into the teens on a regular basis here and the last two winters have been very mild, so not really past the 30's - but she does just fine.

        I would personally pick out at night for a longer period, if it were my horse.


        • #5
          I was just convincing myself today that night turn out in winter is fine. Of my three, I have one arthritic oldster, so being up for 16 hours is not a good option for him. With only three they all have to do the same schedule. We were down to 22° last night and mine were out nekkid. I increased their feed by about 25%, and I'm happy to report that everybody seemed perfectly happy, fuzzy, and delighted to be lead out this evening.

          Wet along with cold is a whole 'nuther ball game. Stiff joints or not they come in below 40° with rain! That's just more than I can stand...


          • #6
            Originally posted by subk View Post
            I was just convincing myself today that night turn out in winter is fine. Of my three, I have one arthritic oldster, so being up for 16 hours is not a good option for him. With only three they all have to do the same schedule. We were down to 22° last night and mine were out nekkid. I increased their feed by about 25%, and I'm happy to report that everybody seemed perfectly happy, fuzzy, and delighted to be lead out this evening.

            Wet along with cold is a whole 'nuther ball game. Stiff joints or not they come in below 40° with rain! That's just more than I can stand...
            same routine happens at RunForIt Farm...mine DID have on blankets last night when it went down to 25 degrees though cause it makes ME feel better
            ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


            • #7
              mine are out at night....given total choice...I'd probably rather have them in at night and out in the day...but that is because it would be easier for me.

              BUT they are fine. They are FULLY clipped and go out with several layers of blankets. It is in the 20s at night (or colder). They have heavy blankets with hoods....and another layer or two under their heavy blankets.

              ETA: Mine are TBs and TB cross...and most not the easiest of keepers. Since they are in work and harder keepers...I blanket more heavily. I want them warm....and if they were in, they would still be blanketed.

              I've had others unclipped and not in work be just fine out nekkid as long as they have shelter from the wind/rain/snow. I did usually blanket if it was wet.
              Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Dec. 6, 2009, 09:48 PM.
              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


              • #8
                Mine live out 24-7 and I have fairy convincing evidence that they STRONGLY prefer to be out rather than in under almost any weather conditions.
                They are bib clipped and only get blanketed for cold/wet -- 30s/40s and rain. They are fine in the occasional teens and more frequent 20s we get, fine in the wind, fine in the snow.

                They get PLENTY of hay, have shelter, and are easy keepers.
                I don't even own blankets beyond rain sheets any more.
                The big man -- my lost prince

                The little brother, now my main man


                • #9
                  A healthy horse with a natural coat expends NO extra calories to stay warm down to 10 degrees F (assuming no wind or rain). Learned it in grad school

                  My TB has been out 24/7 in Kentucky for 8 years, and we regularly get the temps you mentioned. When he has a shelter, he won't even use it when there's freezing rain!!! He gets a rain sheet all winter, but that's it (no clip).


                  • #10
                    I have two that live out 24/7. When DH plows their pasture for them he piles the snow up into a wind break. They have access to a round bale and water at all times.

                    I had a trainer that felt that horses are warmer outside, eating, than inside in their stalls. Especially when they run out of hay inside, they're just STANDING in there. Makes sense to me.

                    I have 3 that are in at night and the two that are out 24/7 will come in this winter if we get freezing rain or driving winds or any other EXTREME conditions.

                    Night turnout should be fine.


                    • #11
                      No night turnout for my group.

                      It has nothing to do with weather. I have a rogue QH and a ninja mule and I simply cannot let them out under cover of darkness.

                      (The QH -- who is 31 years old -- took a fence down last night and invaded a mare's stall. She was not happy about it.)


                      • #12
                        Our guys are out overnight from 8PM to 8AM. One gelding is clipped, the other is not. The clipped guy is blanketed in his medium weight or heavy weight depending on the low temp for the night. We have been throwing a light sheet on our unclipped guy, mostly to keep him from being covered in mud

                        We like turning out overnight because our horses are calmer for whatever reason. When they are out during the day they tend to fight and run around like idiots


                        • #13
                          24 hr turnout

                          I have a few that live out 24/7. When the weather forecast is for really terrible weather, they get a big bale of alfalfa mix, and what is impressive is how much they go through when the wind is howling, and the snow sleet is flying. They appear to just stand there and eat. Mostly I add blankets when they are going to be wet and cold. I remove the blankets when the precipitation stops. They are all furry. When the weather is less impressive, we hay what seems like a rational amount twice a day.


                          • #14
                            My guy had to go on 24/7 turn out when I move dhim to his new home. And even though he's a relatively hard keeping TB with hardly any coat, he's been doing great provided he has the right clothing on at night.

                            And yes, this weekend I was feeling like a terrible mother b/c it was mid-20's here... but he seemed happy as a clam when I went to the barn yesterday and the BO assured me he's loving being outside all time.
                            I have Higher Standards... do you?
                            Apalachicola Native (Alfie), '02 TB Gelding,
                            Wild Man of Borneo (Hank), '03 Redtick coonhound,
                            Augustus McRae (Gus), '01 Bluetick coonhound


                            • #15
                              Our boys love to be out almost all of the time. They don't like to be out in the hot sun or when it is damp and windy. We leave the barn open so they can decide when they want to be in or out.


                              • #16
                                I give mine a choice. They can come in or stay out. They always come in at night.


                                • #17
                                  my wooly bear retirees are out tonight and most nights. It is supposed to be hi 20's here. They have a big run-in with hay racks, heated waterer etc. I can tell when they sleep indoors and it is not often.


                                  • #18
                                    Even here in the wet, rainy (and at this very moment FROZEN) Pacific Northwest, we do night turnout. My boarders will sometimes wonder about the timing, and will get a little anthropomorphic about it. But once they see the effects of the turnout on their horses... they love it! The horses get about 13 hours on grass or paddock. They come into their stalls and I am able to see all of them, their legs, their problems, get ridden... and they are mostly so well behaved because they are happy. They get turned out in pairs, which I think helps them be comfortable.

                                    Almost everyone wears blankets with hoods, and most are full body clipped. We layer lots and have "Best Dressed" awards at christmas time!


                                    • #19
                                      My Tb mare lives out 24-7. She is much happier and easier to ride all winter than she would be if couped up in a stall for the majority of a 24 hour period. She is a bit prissy and doesn't like to be cold. If adequately blanketed, she is happy as a clam and rarely uses the run in shed.


                                      • #20
                                        I have weanling/yearling TBs and older semi-retired ISH's and TB's that are not in real work. They all live out 24/7 unless it is bitter cold, windy, or any kind of precipitation. The older horses get a MW blanket starting about January (depending on weather that year). The babies do not get blankets.
                                        I feed lots and lots of alfalfa/orchard hay and do not up the grain unless it's a hard keeper- which is rare. Heated auto waterers outside so they always have fresh water.

                                        I'm in Delaware so temps go into the twenties/teens in Jan/Feb but it's a very mild winter compared to most.