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adjusting to living outside?

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  • adjusting to living outside?

    Just moved my mare last week to a 24/7 turnout situation. I thought she would LOVE it after spending most of her life living at barns with minimal(sometimes just a half hour a day!) of turnout. She's lived at several different barns and shown and has always been laid back about moving/traveling.
    It's been 5 days and while she seems happy enough shes more nervous and just generally more...unsettled? than I've ever seen her. I'm hoping this is just a normal adjustment period and I'm just overprotective and paranoid. Any idea how long this might last?

  • #2
    What we think they would like may not be what they really like.

    Horses have to learn new environments.


    • Original Poster

      She doesn't usually like other horses, but she has some living on 2 sides of her drylot. They all seem to be getting along ok, so we are hoping to move her in with one of the groups sometime in the next week. In 2 or 3 weeks they will all start spending their days in pasture and just be in drylot at night. Do some horses just like living in stalls better?


      • #4
        yes...some horses not not prefer turnout
        "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


        • #5
          The only horses Ive known not to like turnout, are ones who usually dont get it for most of their lives, and learn to be ok without it. Id give her a month. She may even do better with other horses. You can always pull her out if she doesnt do well with a small herd.


          • #6
            I owned an OTTB once that "I" thought would like being in a group on pasture. We started with a box still with a run and an older horse next door to buddy up with for a few weeks. Then turned them out in the herd. It was a herd of 8 horses with a mix of geldings and mares. The OTTB hated it and constantly paced the fence lines. Drove the BO crazy.
            Moving on doesn't mean you forget about things. It just means you have to accept what happended and continue living.


            • #7
              She will be unsettled for awhile. We had a similar experience. The horses change their sleep pattern when they are outside 24/7 to account for the dark from my experience. The problem will be better when she has friends that can protect her when she sleeps. My guys sleep at about 11am. Take turns snoozing.
              Friesians Rule !!


              • #8
                Originally posted by friesian4me View Post
                She will be unsettled for awhile. We had a similar experience. The horses change their sleep pattern when they are outside 24/7 to account for the dark from my experience. The problem will be better when she has friends that can protect her when she sleeps. My guys sleep at about 11am. Take turns snoozing.
                My horses do the same, they like to hang out and snooze in the barn during the hottest part of the day, and spend the rest of it outside.

                It took my hot-house show horse gelding the longest to adjust, the first time I left him outside in the dark (only for an hour), he was totally freaked out by it, so I had to take my time with him, and increase his nightime turnout gradually until it became no big deal.
                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                • #9
                  That's a big change in lifestyle. Surely you can give her more than five days before declaring it a failure to adapt?

                  Every critter is different. Mine adjusted almost immediately, although my older mare who'd never lived out full time still expected to be brought in every night. She'd plant herself in her stall (left open to the sacrifice paddock) and a couple hours later would wander back out again. Eventually (it was probably a few months) she was a confirmed "outside horse". The younger mare who grew up more or less outside swaps roles with no adjustment at all--she can go from being stalled 14 hours a day to 24/7 turnout with no problems at all. And sometimes she does! Spring weather here makes for very changeable turnout conditions.
                  Click here before you buy.