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Another reason for turnout

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  • Another reason for turnout

    I have a retired OTTB. He's been off the track for 2 years, and had excellent care while racing. Then he stayed with a friend with a nice boarding facility, but was a bit too much for her to handle.

    So I took him over last fall, boarding him at a nearby boarding barn, with adequate care, but really inconsistent turnout and scheduling. He's "had the works" including thorough check over by a lameness vet, treated with Gastrogard for possible ulcers, and lots of return to work.

    I was shocked when he had his teeth floated in November. The vet, a dental specialist, said they were in really bad shape. I knew that they were a bit overdue, but was surprised by the report.

    After several issues, the last but not least being inadequate turnout, on May 1st I moved him to a barn a bit farther away, but with much better maintenance, and 24/7 turnout with run-ins. Not only has his attitude (loves to buck!) improved, and he's listening more, and interested more, but he just had his teeth done again today, and they "are like night and day since last appt. - really benefitted from turnout and grazing."

    I used to be a little uncomfortable with the idea of his not necessarily being in a nice, cozy stall, but boy, what a difference in so many ways. Just thought this report interesting, and wanted to share it.

    (The one drawback? Had him all nicely groomed this morning, then waited for the vet's call that he was on his way. When I returned to the farm, my guy was covered with mud! )
    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

  • #2
    The whole construct of "bedding a horse down" in a nice, cozy stall at night is SOOOOO anthropomorphic. Given half a chance to adapt, 99% of horses relish their lives outside, even if they still appreciate a few hours inside now and then.

    Mine all live out and much prefer it all around, although I do make it a point to get or keep horses "used to" being in stalls from time to time in case they have to go somewhere and be confined.

    It's certainly possible for horses kept in stalls to be happy and well cared for, but "better out than in" applies to almost all equines.
    Click here before you buy.

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    • #3
      My guy is MUCH happier outside! Almost too happy - his previous owners managed to teach him that running away = staying out. But that was fixed with some clicker training and patience.

      Now he only comes in on the days where the temp gets above 100 (no shelter outside, but there is shade most of the day) and the really wet/thundery days. He's significantly happier, and overall looks better too!

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      • #4
        I used to board my horse at a private farm where she had a nice sized pasture out the back of her stall. During the day she got to go out with her buddies and then she'd be in her own paddock at night. The only time she came in the stall was during a torrential downpour or if it was really hot out and she wanted to stand in front of the fan. Other than that she was outside.

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        • #5
          LOL, I must own a bunch of wimps. I have 9 horses on about 9 acres of pasture with a round bale. As soon as they see me heading down to the barn with their square bales they are in the aisle waiting for me. All I have to do is open their doors and they go in the stalls. The 3 horses in the other pasture with the goats are waiting at their gate. Sophie makes a dash for her stall while the other 2 hand out in the aisle.

          Depending on the heat they are in from about 10 AM to 7 PM, reversed in the winter
          I wasn't always a Smurf
          Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
          "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
          The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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          • #6
            All of ours are out 24/7 except when they're dry lotted and have access to stalls. Any horse that lives here needs to be okay with living out all the time! We adjust accordingly in very hot or inclement weather.
            Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
            White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

            Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
              The whole construct of "bedding a horse down" in a nice, cozy stall at night is SOOOOO anthropomorphic. Given half a chance to adapt, 99% of horses relish their lives outside, even if they still appreciate a few hours inside now and then.

              It's certainly possible for horses kept in stalls to be happy and well cared for, but "better out than in" applies to almost all equines.
              Completely agree with this. I board retirees who are out 24/7 with run-ins and only stall in blizzards/ice storm type weather. I would say half the people calling me looking for boarding are thrilled that the horses are out 24/7 and the other half think my barn is some kind of substandard care because they don't go in at night!
              https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
              Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/
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              • #8
                My old guy falls into that "wimpy 1%", I guess. I've had him nearly 20 years and he's been on stall board for the majority of that. Then I retired him and he spent 3 years on pasture board but with access to a barn where he spent the majority of his day in warmer weather. Then he spent a year on a farm where he was either in a pasture with a run-in that wasn't large enough for all the horses so sometimes he got a spot and sometimes he didn't, or he was in a pasture with no shelter other than trees. He lost weight there, probably as much from fretting about not being in a barn as anything. He's now at a farm where he is technically on field board. The horses have access to a cozy covered area next to the barn but the doors into the barn are closed. Most days during the summer - really any time there is ANY sort of bug flying around - he stands in the blazing sun at the barn door with his big ole head pushed against the crack, dreaming of the Nirvana inside, until the BO takes pity on him and lets him in. Then he heads straight for "his" stall and hangs his head out the window into the covered area he had free access to all along. Silly pony.
                Congressman: God will take care of climate change
                God: Bitch, I sent you scientists

                Michelle Wolf

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                • #9
                  Notice I said "given a chance to adapt". Almost no horse is happy if it's crowded out of a shelter or there is no shelter.

                  The two times mine really want to be inside are when the bugs are fierce or the snow is really blowing sideways.
                  Click here before you buy.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                    Notice I said "given a chance to adapt". Almost no horse is happy if it's crowded out of a shelter or there is no shelter.
                    YES!!

                    No one is saying horses should be tossed in a field w/o access to shelter!
                    https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
                    Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/
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                    • #11
                      I bought a ten year old several years ago that didn't like going out to pasture with the other horses AND was guarding the barn from the other horses, especially at feeding time.

                      We tried much for almost a year and finally sold him to a home where he had a stall and run all to himself and he was thriving again, no more Mr Grumpy.

                      One new horse this spring started out the same, to the point he was making himself sick.
                      Wiser now, we didn't keep trying this time, but sold him to a small barn where he is fine, back to his own happy self.
                      Why not humor them if one is that much against 24/7 turnout?

                      Some horses, the rare one thankfully, just don't pasture happily.

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                      • #12
                        A friend recently moved her horse to a field board situation. Finances forced her hand and she'd been fretting for weeks before the move about how much her uberfancy Swedish Warmblood was going to suffer without his cozy "house". I couldn't help letting a little chuckle escape when she called to gush over how HAPPY he is and how much more focused he is in the ring.
                        I don't think any of us would be surprised to find that lions prefer the African Savannah or that bats like to hang upside down. But somehow we've convinced ourselves that horses like generously bedded insanely small enclosures much of the time. I guess it's easier to believe that than to accept that we choose to "lock them up" regardless how it affects them mentally and physically because it's easier on us and keeps them looking pretty year round.
                        Horses that live out have healthier GI tracts, healthier feet, less incidence of COPD, much healthier joints (they're absolutely MADE for near constant walking), just to mention a few of the benefits of 24/7 turn out. One of the worst things we do to our horses is work them, then cool them out and put them back in a stall. Working lubricates the joints, removes inflammatory impurities, increases synovial fluid production and circulation.....and then standing them in the stall allows for stagnation of joint fluid within synovial membranes, leading to increased pressure in all joints, but most notably the coffin joints and fetlocks. In the fetlocks, wind puffs are a visible sign of increased pressure and in the feet, lameness is common - you know, that intermittent, bilateral or alternating mild front limb lameness that they work out of (as fluid is redistributed and pressure within the joints normalizes). Vets often call it coffin joint bursitis. We give them pentoxiphylline or meclofenamate (Arquel) or isoxuprine, or Tildren and often inject the coffin joints and/or fetlocks, but most of the time we can avoid these sorts of problems altogether, either by allowing the horse to live out or at least turning out after work.

                        If everyone kept their horses outside, rarely enclosing and limiting movement in a barn, our vets might have to take a second job!
                        "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                        http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Have to agree. My guy's board with turnout in his past couple of barns was not ideal. He's also a fly wuss, and often not in "the right spot" with others. But now on 24/7 with a run-in - and with a great BO, it's so nice to see what else falls into place.

                          By the way, I've had more combinations and permutations for full board with turn-out over the years. One barn the only turnout allowed is daytime all year. The other was "whatever time that horse was allotted to, was the same all year". So half the barn was days - it was always days. Those who were relegated to nights - it was always nights - even out here in the boonies in several feet of snow and ice in the dead of winter.

                          Have to say for full board with turnouts, the most logical, is the one a dear friend and BO had for all their horses, based on her husband's and in-laws previous operation as a dairy farm. Daytime in the winter, and night-time in the summer. Horses were always the most happy, secure, and comfortable. They were easily acclimated to the change over in only a couple days.

                          So 24/7 with a run-in, they can almost make it that way naturally. My guy is sleeping in while those flies are buzzing around in the summer, and will be out during the day in the winter to get what sun is available.
                          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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Worrying about horses in cold weather is another anthropomorphism. Naturally those without fuzzy coats and those we choose to body clip need extra help, but horses in general are better adapted to handle cold climates than hot. Just because I need a parka and my toes are ice cubes doesn't mean my horse is half frozen, too!
                            "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                            http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                              Notice I said "given a chance to adapt". Almost no horse is happy if it's crowded out of a shelter or there is no shelter.

                              The two times mine really want to be inside are when the bugs are fierce or the snow is really blowing sideways.
                              Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                              YES!!

                              No one is saying horses should be tossed in a field w/o access to shelter!

                              He wasn't "tossed out" - there was adequate shelter until more horses were added than the pasture could support. Then he was moved by the BO to the shelter-less field so he would have grass to eat since he can't eat hay. It was at that point I started desperately looking for another place for him. Unfortunately, good boarding options for a senior horse with special needs are not always easy to find (I posted about that and his weight loss on this forum) . I lucked out and he's in a near perfect situation now, knock wood.
                              Congressman: God will take care of climate change
                              God: Bitch, I sent you scientists

                              Michelle Wolf

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My horses are wimps. Sure when the weather is ideal they love to stay outside. But on cold rainy day (boy do I want a few of those right now!) they are waiting to come in when I get to the barn. On hot days they are in their shelters at around 8 am and make a dash for the barn when I call them in. They love their outside time, but they love their inside time too.
                                come what may

                                Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                  The whole construct of "bedding a horse down" in a nice, cozy stall at night is SOOOOO anthropomorphic. Given half a chance to adapt, 99% of horses relish their lives outside, even if they still appreciate a few hours inside now and then.

                                  Mine all live out and much prefer it all around, although I do make it a point to get or keep horses "used to" being in stalls from time to time in case they have to go somewhere and be confined.

                                  It's certainly possible for horses kept in stalls to be happy and well cared for, but "better out than in" applies to almost all equines.
                                  I second the above 100%. When you spend 7 days a week around the clock watching the choices horses make when they HAVE the choice, 99% of the time they want to be out. They will actually LEAVE the barn and go stand in low-lying areas of the fields in thunderstorms! Dens are for predators--like us!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My TB mare has lived on pasture board for the last10 years or so. It made such a change in her mental attitude. She has become the "been there done that" horse, instead of the spooky "up" horse that needed to be lunged before I could ride her. She is a princess, so she likes her fly mask and sheet, but she is often out grazing in the pasture during the day with short "nap" breaks in the shed.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by JackieBlue View Post
                                      Worrying about horses in cold weather is another anthropomorphism. Naturally those without fuzzy coats and those we choose to body clip need extra help, but horses in general are better adapted to handle cold climates than hot. Just because I need a parka and my toes are ice cubes doesn't mean my horse is half frozen, too!
                                      Depends on the type of cold. Horses can be fine on a sunny windless day in the teens but absolutely miserable and shivering when it's 40 degrees, windy and raining
                                      I wasn't always a Smurf
                                      Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                                      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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                                      • #20
                                        My OTTB has been thriving living outside 24/7 in a big field with a run-in and 2 pasture mates. Unfortunately, he has also had 2 big injuries there in the last three months I've owned him. One, vet thinks was a fall - splayed out and significantly bruised rib cage. Then reinjured an old track injury to a tendon in his fetlock. He is not happy about being back in a stall and in a small rehab turn out situation. Has started cribbing again and that had disappeared. Also, was super quiet on field board, but is now starting to behave like a "race horse" again. Only problem with field board is that he is a super fly wimp - I had to buy him a flysheet, mask and 4 leg wraps so he was comfortable... what a baby!

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