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Poll - how much turnout does a horse need?

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    Poll - how much turnout does a horse need?

    In reading a lot of recent threads, it seems that there are some quite different views on what is an appropriate amount of turnout. Just curious to get a concensus on what everybody thinks.

    Note: Assume this is a middle aged, healthy horse with no "issues."
    24 hrs a day with adequate shelter
    12 hrs a day - in a stall at night
    6-12 hrs a day
    3-5 hrs a day
    1-3 hrs a day
    1-3 hrs a day, with work 1 hour a day also
    Makes no difference as long as horse is worked daily
    NO turnout at all
    Original Poster

    Another note: I voted for 24 hrs, but I think 12 hrs a day with stalling at night could be appropriate too for various reasons. I have a mare now who is being stalled at night because she won't lay down and sleep out in the field. To keep her from getting exhausted, she has to have her own space at night.


      24/7 would be ideal if you had a run-in or your paddock connects to a stall... however not everyone can do that. I don't have those accommodations. Personally, I like my guy to be out as much as possible, unless it is really cold/freezing rain etc.....usually he is out days during the winter(8-9 hours) and opposite during the summer. Spring and fall 24/7 because of the milder temps.


        I voted 3-5 hours aday. In good weather I would vote for at least 12.
        I feel that horses are horses, they are ment to move around and be with other horses, if possible.
        This vote just happened to come up on a cold winter morning.


          The best for any horse is 24/7. But most people can't do that. So if not 24/7 then the most you can give. I don't like to hear anything less then 8 hrs myself. Unless there is a medical issuse that prevents turn out.
          R.I.P Vanny 26 yr QH Stallion 4/11/82 - 5/8/08, Scout 28 yr Paint Cross Gelding, Glistening 11 yr Arab/Saddlebred Mare


            I checked off 6-12. The "6" being in the winter when days are shorter and the weather is bad, although usually it's 8 hours and not 6. They are stalled at night in the winter, and during the day (with fans) in the hot summer months.
            She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!


              Horses are designed to be outside grazing all the time, they are happiest outside. Of course this isn't always possible with space limitations etc, but I will tell you.. Since my old veteran gelding has been out 24/7 with a run in shed, he's the happiest he has been in his life. He runs around like a young colt sometimes. His feet have improved immensely.

              Stall kept horses suffer more problems of all kinds. Foot issues, colics, nervous habits, cribbing, weaving etc.....

              A field kept horse is always happier. It's what horses are meant to do by nature. All the other stuff we do to them is our choosing.

              At a very minimum a horse should be out at least part of the day every day.. if it's not possible to have them out 24/7
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                Actually, none of your options really works for me. I prefer a minimum of 8 hours a day, so "6-12" doesn't really cover it b/c I wouldn't board anywhere he only got 6... I ended up voting 12 hours b/c that's about optimal, for my horse.

                Avery needs a stall for the following reasons: (1) like one of yours, he will not lie down outside, and he's got +9 ringbone so he really NEEDS his lie-down time; and (2) he is anhydrotic and the blazing Southern heat really gets to him, so he needs night turnout during the summer with a stall fan on him during the day. If I could only afford to send him to Vermont every summer, I would probably TRY 24/7 turnout with a walk-in stall, but here in the heat, no way.

                This is the horse who jumped OUT of a shady paddock w/ good water and shelter one hot summer day, opened the barn door, turned the ceiling fans on, opened a stall, went in, closed the stall, and lay down for a nap! I got the memo!
                "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                  24/7 is the ideal, and it's what my own horses have. However, there are so many reasons why this doesn't work out for many people, and for some horses. As long as you can find a program that works for your individual horse, there's no need to feel guilty about it.


                    I voted 12 hours a day which is what my boarders get but my own horses are on 24/7 turnout. I believe that is preferable when you can do it.


                      This is the horse who jumped OUT of a shady paddock w/ good water and shelter one hot summer day, opened the barn door, turned the ceiling fans on, opened a stall, went in, closed the stall, and lay down for a nap! I got the memo!

                      That is to funny!!!!

                      "I'm not afraid to fall, to fall is not to fail, you fail when you don't try"


                        Originally posted by Buffyblue View Post
                        I checked off 6-12. The "6" being in the winter when days are shorter and the weather is bad, although usually it's 8 hours and not 6. They are stalled at night in the winter, and during the day (with fans) in the hot summer months.
                        My schedule also.
                        Free bar.ka and tidy rabbit.


                          I voted for 6 - 12 even tho mine live out 24/7. I haven't always had that "luxury", and most often boarded where they were in about 1/2 and out about 1/2. That seemed to work fine for most of them.

                          That said, I hope I don't have to give up 24/7 anytime in the future!


                            I voted 24/7 but will do a 12in/12out schedule if circumstances warrant.
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                              Who voted "Makes no difference as long as horse is worked daily"? Yeah, being stuck in a stall 24/7 and then just being brought out to be ridden or lunged once a day is the same as turn-out (in bizarro world!). It's not even worth explaining why this is so illogical and wrong.
                              Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                              Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness


                                Originally posted by Daventry View Post
                                Who voted "Makes no difference as long as horse is worked daily"? Yeah, being stuck in a stall 24/7 and then just being brought out to be ridden or lunged once a day is the same as turn-out (in bizarro world!). It's not even worth explaining why this is so illogical and wrong.
                                Well jeez, Daventry. I wasn't the one who voted "Makes no difference," but I hope you feel like a huge jerk for jumping to conclusions about someone else's horsemanship practices without even asking for the rationale of their answer. Did it even occur to you that shakeytails might have something to say that you could learn from!? Guess not.

                                For me, the answer is that ideal turnout is as much turnout as possible. 24/7 is the best, but I wouldn't personally keep my horse anywhere where he was getting less than 10-12 hours.
                                Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog


                                  24/7 is ideal for most horses. Certainly there are a few exceptions to the rule and/or a temporary medical layup keeps them in a stall.
                                  Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


                                    Originally posted by Daventry View Post
                                    Who voted "Makes no difference as long as horse is worked daily"? Yeah, being stuck in a stall 24/7 and then just being brought out to be ridden or lunged once a day is the same as turn-out (in bizarro world!). It's not even worth explaining why this is so illogical and wrong.

                                    Well, I have not voted yet, but I know many horses that spent years as school/trail horses, no turn out at all and were fine.

                                    I prefer 24/7 and that is what many of our horses have been mostly, the past 35 years, but I think I will vote that, with adequate exercise, stalled 24 hours is fine.
                                    Most top competitors in olympic disciplines, most english and western show horses, practically all racing horses, all spent years living stalled just fine.

                                    There are many ways to manage horses.
                                    Just because someone does it differently, that doesn't has to mean it is wrong.

                                    A horse can be maganed wrong in a pasture without protection or water/food as easily as by leaving it standing in a stall for a week.


                                      I voted for 6 to 12 hours a day- although I feel that the best situation is 24/7 with adequate shelter... All of my horses have large runs that are off their extra large stalls- so they can come and go as they please- during the summer we put them on the pasture 24/7...


                                        I voted for the 12 hours but having worked at boarding facilities on both the east and west coast over several years, I would be hard pressed to say that horses in box stalls with limited turnout always have more colic and hoof issues and are "unhappy". And I think there are many, many, factors which can play into what is better for each horse...
                                        My old horse that I used to turn loose on the property loved box stalls and spent almost all his time inside even with "girlfriends" and acres of grass available. Even mentally, sometimes a barn that is busy all day can be more entertaining for some horses and I have seen some that prefer the company of people to the company of other horses... Just like some people prefer the company of horses rather than other people!! In a herd environment you can see that they are a bit of a social nitwit or just can't seem to settle in no matter how many different "crowds" you try them in. So I wouldn't witch hunt those who opt or can't turn out as long as they have considered how else they can make their horses mentally and physically well.
                                        I think you can even say some horses even with no turnout are better off than some horses who are out 24/7. A conscientious owner with a box stall bound horse who comes out to ride every day and take their horse for trail rides and walks might catch on to the fact their horse is NQR and call out the vet faster than someone whose horse is out 24/7 somewhere... And barn management has a huge hand in that.
                                        And for those who say that it seems competitive horses die from colic and such more than pastured horses - I think it seems that way because these are "celebrity" horses which actually make the "news" when something like this happens. Not to say a competitive horse is in any way happier than a pasture ornament, but knowing that a lot of top horses in each discipline are coming from the Southern California area, I doubt many of them are getting much turnout but are still managing to perform at the top of their sport...

                                        Again, I definitely prefer horses to get to be horses, but it's too hard to say so simply what is ideal without taking into consideration many different variables. I brought my mare from the east coast to the west coast and in my heart I alway knew she was happier being out in a pasture so I offered her back to her breeder who lives in Maryland and paid to get her shipped back "home". But I also know that she will be looked after and super well cared for. :]

                                        Maybe we shouldn't be allowed to keep horses in this area because pasture is nearly impossible to come by, but I don't think that is going to happen. So maybe we should just make an effort to have the rest of the country send us the social nitwits (to go with our human nutters that have wound up in large amounts here!) and the box stall prince and princesses while we send you guys the horsey horses!