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Excluding vet and farrier, what has been the most important ingredient to keeping your horse(s) sound?

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  • Excluding vet and farrier, what has been the most important ingredient to keeping your horse(s) sound?

    I am curious as to what each of you do as part of your routine to contribute to happy, healthy horses.

    Is it...
    - Regular chiro?
    - Supplements?
    - Limited jumping/high intensity work?
    - Investing in footing at home?

    Something else? Y'all know how I love these open topics for interesting discussion.
    Life and times of a mediocre amateur...
    www.another-bay.com

  • #2
    Turnout! The less time in a stall, the better.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would say consistent, correct work. A fit horse means stronger muscles and ligaments that are not over exerted when more demanding exercises are asked for. Cross-training doesn’t hurt either, like hill work.

      Comment


      • #4
        I’d say knowing my horse and BoT sheet. For whatever reason my girl gets very stiff and sore if she’s turned out too long, I know this and always make sure she has a stall she’s comfortable laying down in to sleep. I also know the second she’s just not happy and do something about it. Growing up I was always told that as an owner it was my job to know every inch of my horse. My horse also gets stiff in cold weather and the BoT sheet helps during the winter.
        She dows get regular work which I’m sure helps. Not sure if her supplements really do any good but it makes me feel good. I’ve never done chirp or anything similar but she seems happy without.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Risuena View Post
          Turnout! The less time in a stall, the better.
          Agree! I grew up in a city, and at the barn nearby we would wrap horses in eskadrons hard shells in front and back with bell boots to sit in a 30 x 20 dirt paddock. They were terrified of turn out longer than 30 minutes (and the facilities were not large enough to accommodate it).

          Having experienced the other end of the spectrum now, it is eye-opening to see how much happier horses are with regular turnout.
          Life and times of a mediocre amateur...
          www.another-bay.com

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by tatertots View Post
            I would say consistent, correct work. A fit horse means stronger muscles and ligaments that are not over exerted when more demanding exercises are asked for. Cross-training doesn’t hurt either, like hill work.
            Great point.

            Originally posted by PrincessPonies View Post
            I’d say knowing my horse and BoT sheet. For whatever reason my girl gets very stiff and sore if she’s turned out too long, I know this and always make sure she has a stall she’s comfortable laying down in to sleep. I also know the second she’s just not happy and do something about it. Growing up I was always told that as an owner it was my job to know every inch of my horse. My horse also gets stiff in cold weather and the BoT sheet helps during the winter.
            She dows get regular work which I’m sure helps. Not sure if her supplements really do any good but it makes me feel good. I’ve never done chirp or anything similar but she seems happy without.
            My old horse I knew what kind of ride we were going to have in the first 10 minutes of tacking up. I could just tell with how alert, sensitive, and curious he was on a given day. It's amazing how attuned you can become to your horse.
            Life and times of a mediocre amateur...
            www.another-bay.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Risuena View Post
              Turnout! The less time in a stall, the better.
              This. I think movement is the #1 most important thing for horses to have after decent nutrition.
              I am always amazed that a bubble wrapped horse turned out for an hour a day can suffer so many more turnout injuries than a horse turned out 24/7 in a herd. You would think it would be the opposite.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'd have to say let the horse be a horse on a regular basis. And what I mean by that is let the horse have fun and for that you need to really know what makes them happy. Maybe his happy place is having a good gallop across an open field or swimming in a lake/river or going for a trail ride or getting a bubble bath and beauty treatment. It can't be all about "work" in whatever discipline you ride. Make sure there is some of both - work and play. The horse needs to be having some fun too. Because a happy, content horse will go to the ends of the earth for his human.
                ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

                Comment


                • #9
                  Room to roam is top of list for me. Turnout with buddies promotes circulation and emotional contentment, both of which aid in the body's tiny, ongoing repairs, and this in turn is a great foundation for strenuous daily work.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Quit when you’re ahead. If your horse has trained well over 10 jumps, that is enough. There’s no reason to jump 40 obstacles in a single lesson. My horse is 25 and he has never asked for a day off. He has just recently retired and we are enjoying the life of trailriding. If the flat work was really good and we jumped 10 jumps, I’m done with the lesson. Also, proper warm-up. Lots shoulder in, shoulder out, and serpentines prior to starting more difficult work. Add a dash of good luck to the mix.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      An in and out paddock to allow constant movement

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        100% agree with turnout. The soundness of both my horses has improved with increased turnout. One is retired due to soundness issues but now I'm thinking of seeing if I can bring him back for light riding as he now looks pretty darn sound. There's a huge difference in how he goes now since being able to be out for 12+ hours.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Turnout or any other form or movement. Gotta keep them moving!

                          Our barn has a Horse Gym treadmill, which has been great for those days when the pastures and paddocks are too wet for turnout. It's definitely not a turnout substitution, but it helps keep them moving and fit when the weather is poor. It made a tremendous improvement in my 18 YO gelding.

                          I also put him in BOT legwraps when the weather/pressure changes. They have been helpful at keeping his legs nice and tight when the weather and footing keeps him inside.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Turnout with his buddies to let him decompress and romp around, and being in consistent work. He's noticeably happier and feels physically better when he's in a regular program. We also don't jump his legs off, and work a lot on building his strength and flexibility.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              turn-out - 24/7 of it.

                              saw a huge difference in a wide variety of the horses i have owned over the years. from fitness benefits to attitude benefits, it just really seems to be a positive thing for all of the horses i have owned.

                              wish i could say it was a fluke, but i have also done the working-student gig (where stalling is necessary) and/or working off board gig to leg them up after the winter, and when they are stalled for half the day i definitely notice a different in their personality, and also the way they move and stand.


                              AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                For those that are saying turnout - what do you do when turnout means 6"+ of mud? Is that still a benefit to soundness or is there a drop off in accordance to footing quality?

                                Not trying to be a smarty pants, genuinely curious.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post
                                  For those that are saying turnout - what do you do when turnout means 6"+ of mud? Is that still a benefit to soundness or is there a drop off in accordance to footing quality?

                                  Not trying to be a smarty pants, genuinely curious.
                                  Obviously there is a drop off whenever the footing is bad (right now ours is frozen and lumpy). In general the more they move the better, so anything that discourages that is bad. But they don't need to be racing around, walking is good too. Horses are designed to move around a lot, following the grass/ water available, just like people are designed to move around to chase them and eat them. My geldings live out in a 5 acre field and spend a lot of time grazing, which means gradually moving all the way from one end of the field to the other, then coming back to the gate area for a drink, going in the shed for a nap, going outside and play halter tag with the horses in the next field, then starting all over with grazing.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Risuena View Post
                                    Turnout! The less time in a stall, the better.
                                    ^
                                    THIS!

                                    X1 Billion

                                    My 20yo TB was getting creaky when boarded at the last place that had limited turnout.
                                    Moved him to a place with 8H/Day & he improved.
                                    Brought him home to unlimited - w/free access to a stall - and he acted like a colt.
                                    Still going strong @ 27yo when a BNT (Dressage) could not believe his age.
                                    Lost to a trailering accident, otherwise he might still be with me today... 10yrs later.

                                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Turnout. Lots of walking. Jumping on good footing. Some interval training. Good, clean water available all the time. And always having an opportunity to graze (outside either grass or hay; inside, hay).

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Highflyer View Post
                                        Horses are designed to move around a lot, following the grass/ water available, just like people are designed to move around to chase them and eat them.


                                        Right now my FatForWinter mini is looking pretty tasty...... >: 9

                                        endlessclimb My pastures are rutted pretty good now with frozen mud... that will turn to mush once the temps get above freezing.
                                        All 3 of mine are sensible - when they play (& they do play!) it's always on the flattest ground.
                                        Otherwise they circulate between pastures, come in for a nap or "graze" on whatever they are finding in the fields.

                                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                        Comment

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