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Turnout for new horse

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  • Turnout for new horse

    I just bought a new horse and he comes home Saturday. He is a show horse and has been kept in full time training for his entire life with very little turnout. While I bought him to show, I will also be treating him like a horse. Since he has either been stall kept or had 1/2 day turnout in a dry lot, I am thinking of a gradual change to pasture will be best.

    My pastures are not lush at all but I did seed rye this winter. The pasture he will be in is my smallest one that my other guys have grazed down. I still think a gradual introduction to the little but of grass is best.

    He did have about 5 months turnout out last winter/spring due to the trainers injury. What do y'all think is best? Also, he will not be in with my herd yet. That will also be done very slowly.

  • #2
    Good plan to go slow. Also realize that he may not readily accept all day turnout, so be prepared for an anxious horse. I've introduced a few horses to real life as a horse, and some (like the latest one) take to it instantly. Some take some convincing and may stand at the gate and pace or even run when they've had enough (of course, I have had horses who've lived their entire life being a horse that hit a threshold for how much they want to be out, too ).

    Go slow and add an hour or so every couple of days (some may go slower, but unless he's prone to issues or a pony, I don't find too much issue with going out on winter pasture a little more readily). If you can, introduce a quiet, calm buddy to him so he can have company and learn what it means to be a horse from someone with experience. Realize that if he's been solo for a long time, he may not have the best socialization skills, so pick a tolerant friend.
    Amanda

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    • #3
      I think you have a great plan.

      I hate seeing the show horses in stalls for most of their lives...glad you're going to allow him to be a real horse!
      "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
        Good plan to go slow. Also realize that he may not readily accept all day turnout, so be prepared for an anxious horse. I've introduced a few horses to real life as a horse, and some (like the latest one) take to it instantly. Some take some convincing and may stand at the gate and pace or even run when they've had enough (of course, I have had horses who've lived their entire life being a horse that hit a threshold for how much they want to be out, too ).

        Go slow and add an hour or so every couple of days (some may go slower, but unless he's prone to issues or a pony, I don't find too much issue with going out on winter pasture a little more readily). If you can, introduce a quiet, calm buddy to him so he can have company and learn what it means to be a horse from someone with experience. Realize that if he's been solo for a long time, he may not have the best socialization skills, so pick a tolerant friend.
        That's what I thought! Dang it! I wanted to liberate him this weekend! LOL!! I think we will not have issues being turned out. He goes out 1 day a week in a dry lot for 1/2 a day and is fine. I am hoping by the end of the month he will be out during days and by June be on 24/7 like the rest of my guys (unless the weather is bad) He was a stallion for 8 years and was not allowed any contact with other horses. He gets excited and seems to bond through the stall walls. I plan on turning him out with my youngest guy who likes to get along. Anymore advice will be helpful!! I want this to go as smooth as possible!

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        • #5
          I wouldn't stress, it sounds like you know what to do. He'll tell you if he thinks differently.

          Does his little paddock share a fenceline with the other horses? I like it that way so he can be introduced safely over the fence to the others. Although sometimes you have to replace a few fence boards if there is an argument.

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          • #6
            Maybe start stalling the younger horse next to the show horse for short periods in the barn. And definitely pasture them side by side in separate pastures for a few days before putting them out together. Sometimes late gelded horses do not like other geldings at all, ever. And sometimes the late gelded horse (especially if he had been doing any breeding) will still be studdish with mares, long after being gelded and sometimes forever. So be very careful on introducing to other horses and watch them carefully for a while- I had a friend who bought a late gelded horse- only 5 yrs. old- but we believe he was test bred in Europe- and a year or so after she bought him, turned him out w/ a small mare and the gelding savaged the little mare overnight out of the blue.

            Sometimes the late gelded horse has difficulty in re-socializinag with other horses of any gender due to being kept isolated their whole life. Like others have said, go very slow. And good for you for giving this guy a normal life.
            "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

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            • #7
              I think slow & gradual is the best way as well. My horse is boarded at a different barn over the winter, and last year when he came back home I was quick to put back outside (had been stalled with less turnout for the winter). Second day out and I found him out in the pasture with a huge cut from his hip to stifle that required an emergency vet call — still don't know how he did it. This coming spring when he comes home I'm going to transition him much slower. Don't want anyone getting hurt from the excitement of being outside!

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              • #8
                You have a great plan and I agree with what everyone else is saying. We used to get a lot of show horses that were used to getting 2hr or so a day of turnout. Almost all of them needed a gradual increase of turnout time as they would just panic once it got to around the 2hr mark. They would run and pace at the gate. We just increased the turnout time an hour or so a day (we would peek out at them every 1/2hr or so to make sure they were happy) and we would bring them in as soon as they started to pace. They all figured it out eventually and were able to stay out for a full day after a few months. They were also in a smallish paddock with others around them. Once they figured that out, they were introduced with a tollerant buddy.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks everyone! I will stick with slow and sure! Thankfully, I have been around this guy for 6 months so I know him pretty well. He is goofy around mares, unless he is being ridden. I only have geldings so I will be fine there. My trainer has turned him out in a very small dirt lot with one other gelding (not always the same one) and he has been fine. I plan on keeping him in the middle stall so he can get to know my other guys. Also, all the pastures share a fence (wood, so I am expecting a few boards coming loose) so he can get to know everyone. I may switch everyone to night turnout so I can monitor the situation while I am home and have him stalled when I am at work. I am being paranoid but he was expensive and has not been kept like a normal horse!

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