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Is it possible to get a horse used to less turnout?

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  • Is it possible to get a horse used to less turnout?

    I was looking at show barns online last night.

    There was a beautiful facility in Tucson and I decided to look up the details just being curious about show barns with more property and grass turnouts in Arizona.

    First, it said grass pastures and turnout, so I read the fine print and for an extra fee your horse can be turned out for 1 hour a day. One hour a day!!!!!

    I have my own small farm but don't have an arena big enough to jump in. My 4 year old is ready to jump, but that would mean sending him to another barn for a while where I could have a trainer and myself ride him.

    How do you get a horse that is used to 12 to 18 hours a day of turnout, used to 1 hour of turnout!

    I have taken him to a few shows, and at home I have huge covered pipe pens, so the tiny closed in tent stalls really upset him. He paces and seems pissed off the first day, then gradually accepts it, although he still isn't thrilled.

    How can I get him used to accepting short term closed in stall situations and less turnout?

    Obviously it won't be permanent, but I want to have him schooled over fences at a barn before I take him to a jumping show.

    Anyone else have this problem?

  • #2
    Well...sure...but potentially at the expense of the horse's mind, soundness and stomach. I would not want a young horse especially in a stall for 22 hours a day.

    Is there ANYTHING out there where he can be turned out, or live in a paddock environment instead of a stall? Or can you haul in for lessons at the barn that has the jump trainer?


    • #3
      Treat it like a case of stall rest?? Mild sedatives for a few days?? just so the idea sinks in and it seems more accepting to him.


      • #4
        Hey fellow Tucson person!

        I am still adjusting to horse keeping here, and there is much I disagree with, but not much I can do. Many people view turnout as putting the horse in a roundpen or ring until it quits running around.

        Some ideas:
        Do any of your runs have a way to enclose them and make an outdoor stall? I think it would be good to teach your young horse to be in a stall for the future. I do not agree with the inside 22 hours a day but 12 hours in and 12 hours out isn't bad. And if you could enclose him in a stall sized space for part of the day you would be teaching him something important IMO because not everyone can turn out 24/7.
        How much space is his turnout now?
        Does the facility you want to send him to have at least runs attached to the stall? or outdoor stalls that are bigger than a 12X12 stall?

        Which facility are you looking at? (You can PM me that if you want) I must say I can't believe how well some of the horses handle being in 24/7 even the ones with "runs" which by the way is the size of where my horse in NC lives stall that he is only in 8 hours a day...
        I definitely know some horses her that I think would be much much better horses if they could be out more.


        • #5
          I'm from Tucson, born and raised here... and still have trouble accepting the lack of turnout.

          Folks seem to believe the only reason to put a horse out is so it can graze or run, and don't realize the value of constant movement. We built our own place specifically to solve that problem!

          I think I know where you're talking about (just guessing) and it's really not an ideal situation! Whether you mean the place I used to board/where my horse is currently w/ my trainer or not, for any with that situation it's just tough to have a truly happy horse! All three of our horses, including my crippled mare, showed major topline improvement as soon as we moved and they could walk around all day.

          My TB has issues with being contained, and only the fact he is getting his butt worked when there really helps. My trainer sticks him in a round pen so he can walk around for a while before riding, and he's just happier and softer in his body when he has time to move on his own for a bit first. When we were boarded there before I turned him out every night in a big arena, and calculated that he ran approximately 15 miles/week in turnout in addition to the hours he had under saddle.

          Stints where he doesn't get turnout are great for him to help handle shows, but he'll never "get used to it" where it's the ideal situation for him.

          But on a positive note - if you're thinking of going where I believe you mean, I adore the h/j trainer there.
          If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


          • Original Poster

            I actually don't live in Tucson, I was just using that farm as an example.

            I have a trainer I will take him to that has similar pipe pens like mine and turnout, although I am sure it won't be for 18 hours a day!

            I am just thinking down the road if he does go to a show barn and also I would like to reduce his stress at horse shows when there are no turnout.

            I don't have a trailer so it would be hard to trailer in daily.


            • #7
              I think making your own "stall" even an outdoor one and confining him for periods of time would really help him learn to be in a stall. Then if someone needs to be confined for some reason you have the ability to do it!


              • #8
                We have a barn full of happy sound horses that go out for an hour a day...it can be done. No its not ideal, but it can be done.
                "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


                • #9
                  Yes it is possible. We have a lot of young horses and 99% are turned out 24/7 until they are competiting and then they come into the barn at night. But a few have gone to training for racing so have gone to live at the training track as two yr olds. We always do a lot of our own care at the start and after they work and get bathed will do hand grazing before getting put back in the stall for 22 more hours. All have done really well (when they go to the racetrack to actually run a race we keep them on gg to help stomach)When they come home they are all level headed and have never needed the let down time, of course they are really happy to go back to the 24/7 routine!
                  One 2 yr old that was a extra high energy horse, while he was in training before going to track we would bring home on sat after his work and turnout, then bring back early Mon morn. He settled into that routine with no problems. We did put some toys in his stall and he had hay in front of him all the time.


                  • #10
                    Not all show barns only turn out for an hour... maybe try to find a training back with a good pro AND adequate turnout.
                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                    • #11
                      The last 3 horses I have bought all were 3-4 years old and came directly from pasture where they grew up to my barn. Where I board only has turnout for a couple+ hours a day. All have been fine for the most part, but where I board the stalls are 12x12 with 14x36 paddocks. They also feed 3 times a day (which I also find important).

                      I have found that no horse I know of is really okay with 22+ hours a day in a 12x12 where they cannot interact physically with other horses, but they seem to do okay if they have a paddock and "friends".
                      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                      • Original Poster

                        So it seems as though he is just going to have to get used to it.

                        If he has a tantrum, he has a tantrum!

                        I don't plan to have him at show barn for long, so he will just have to survive with a few hours of turnout for a few weeks!

                        Time for him to put his big boy pants on.


                        • #13
                          Sounds like a situation where there are more horses than the property is suitable for. It is likely they have only a few small (dry) paddocks. In order for everyone's horse to get their turn outside, they have (very) limited time outside. This is a hard adjustment for a horse who's used to spending time outside, on a few levels (mentally & physically). Been there, done that, will never do that again. A good way to get a horse to colic, and develop undesirable boredom behaviors.


                          • Original Poster

                            Yeah, it is certainly not ideal!

                            But because my horse is just starting to jump I feel a couple weeks at the barn would be better then me trailering in once a week.

                            Once he is comfortable jumping then I can just go every couple of weeks to refresh and just take him to some shows and do the baby stuff.

                            I want him to have his turn out, but I also want him to behave at the shows and understand that sometimes he has to live in a box!

                            What's sad is my retired hunter hated turn out when I retired him. He was used to little turn out and shows all the time, so when it came to retire him, he did not want turnout for more then an hour a day or he would pace the fence.

                            Now he can go up to 12 hours, but that is it. He gives me a major evil eye if I make him stay out there longer!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                              Not all show barns only turn out for an hour... maybe try to find a training back with a good pro AND adequate turnout.
                              Not likely in Tucson.

                              Originally posted by Satin Filly View Post
                              Sounds like a situation where there are more horses than the property is suitable for. It is likely they have only a few small (dry) paddocks. In order for everyone's horse to get their turn outside, they have (very) limited time outside. This is a hard adjustment for a horse who's used to spending time outside, on a few levels (mentally & physically). Been there, done that, will never do that again. A good way to get a horse to colic, and develop undesirable boredom behaviors.
                              While it's not good for a horse - it's the culture in many places without pasture. Having enough pasture for all those horses in the desert is actually pretty irresponsible environmentally, and people don't get how good moving around all the time is for horses, so don't value turnout like folks in other parts of the country. Again - that's why I built my own place so the horses could be out all the time...
                              If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                              • #16
                                It is possible. At the last boarding barn my mare was at before I moved to the current barn, my mare only turned out by herself for 2-4 hours a day.

                                She was actually fine mentally, but I found that her hoof quality deteriorated and she had persistent thrush (I suspect simply from lack of movement) even though her stall was very clean (deeply bedded and cleaned well multiple times per day), hooves were picked often, and thrush treated.

                                She also went a little nuts when introduced back into a herd. It took her a couple of months to chill out the OMG!!! Other horses!!! reaction. But she's fine now.

                                Would he be out with others, or just by himself?
                                *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                  Well...sure...but potentially at the expense of the horse's mind, soundness and stomach. I would not want a young horse especially in a stall for 22 hours a day.
                                  This. Young horses need to be moving around, growing, stretching, eating...not standing in a stall 23 hours a day developing vices!
                                  "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                                  • #18
                                    My almost 8 year old had to adjust to 2-3 hours a day of turnout by himself for a while (as opposed to 6-7 hours out with his buddies) and he did fine. I did notice thrush, though, even though I was scrupulous about stall cleaning and hoof picking. The reason we did this was had to put back shoes on him for a show.
                                    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                                    • #19
                                      You can get the horse out of his stall without turnout. Hand-walking, a treadmill, a hot-walker, hand-grazing ... just for starters. Are any of these amenities available at the show barns you're looking at?

                                      You may also find that your horse is less upset about being in when all his barn buddies are in, too.
                                      "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by netg View Post
                                        Not likely in Tucson.
                                        OP isn't in Tucson?! She was just using it as an example.

                                        If she's thinking about sending the horse away for training, and she's got her choice of areas-- my suggestion is to pick an area where turnout is an option. In many areas, it is.
                                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"