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Turnout- make anyone else SOOOO nervous?

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  • Turnout- make anyone else SOOOO nervous?

    In the wake of Cabana Boy's recent demise (RIP ) I was thinking about all the terrible life-ending injuries that have happened to top horses during turnout. Obviously, you can't NOT turn horses out, but I will admit I am pyschotic when it comes to booting/ limiting activity. All of you that turn (esp. expensive performance) horses out for hours on end, or even overnight how do you ensure they don't get hurt?
    When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks the closet for George Morris. -mpsbarnmanager

  • #2
    By turning them out for hours on end. Being out as much as possible decreases the chances of them running like idiots and doing something stupid. If they're out enough to not have extra energy, have a big space, be familiar with the footing and if it's good or bad, and know where the fences are.


    • #3
      Turning them out more. Pretty much what PP said. I watch to make sure they aren't with another animal that is gonna freak out, or fight. I don't turn them out on Fourth Of July, watch footing (ice in winter, etc). But really.. they can injure themselves anywhere, so just cross your fingers, pray, etc. and do it.

      Kinda like having kids, and letting them ride there bike themselves.. Yeah, bad stuff could happen, but ya gotta let them do it anyway.


      • #4
        Absolutely, just think about Chase Boggio's horse Graphic, broken while being turned out earlier this year, truly heartbreaking, had to be put to sleep.
        I am so crazy when I turn out my show horses,but I do it with a watchful eye, and if I see anything they come in. BUT I own my own farm and can watch them, many do not have that advantage!


        • #5
          "pasture accident" must be taken with a grain of salt. Ever notice any time a HIGH DOLLAR horse gets injured and is put down it's a "pasture accident"? It's no coincidence. Remember that is insurance involved with these big money horses. I know more than one big money horse that was injured NOT in pasture but had a "pasture accident" on the paper work. NO Im not accusing anyone but the fact it's become a generic term. Modern wambloods are bred to be freaking GIANTS and the fact no horse nature ever designed was meant to stand 17 hands tall and 1600 pounds. It's just the risk take is creating horses that are freaks of nature. NO amount of 'boots" and bubble wrap is going to stop a horse from shattering a leg while TROTTING AROUND his TINY paddock. Most of these big horses do NOT get injured as a result of anything that would usually hurt a horse, it's usually taking a wrong step and then SNAP! Most can rip a tendon and shatter a fetlock standing in a stall just as easily as WALKING around a pasture. We need to breed better more REALISTIC (not EXTREME) horse instead of focusing on " a better boot" and the worlds most restrictive turnout. IMO


          • #6
            The more they have turnout the less likely they are to run and hurt themselves, but all of my horses go out ALL night in summer and all day in the winter. They go out regardless of weather unless we have ice, but snow, rain etc they are out. They are horses and are meant to live outside. A lot of the horses that are not being shown are out 24/7


            • #7
              It depends on the horse. Some are not suited to going out overnight, and I've seen it lead to injury for those types, injury that possibly could have been prevented. Conversely, the ones that are very suited to be out an extended time unsupervised, those are the ones that tend to get too fat under those same circumstances .
              My own I don't turn out unsupervised, and still sometimes things happen that you can't prevent. The most you can do is be aware of the surrounding activity, check the paddocks for hazards, and be vigilant about preventing situations before they happen. If there is going to be a huge amount of activity on the property, the horse should come in before it takes off running, not after when you finally catch it. If they're in for any extended period, such as the snow days we had over the past winter, I definitely sedate in decreasing doses when they start going back out. But no, you are not the only one that worries, especially when the ground conditions aren't optimal. There is only so much you can do, and the rest is luck.


              • #8
                Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                By turning them out for hours on end. Being out as much as possible decreases the chances of them running like idiots and doing something stupid. If they're out enough to not have extra energy, have a big space, be familiar with the footing and if it's good or bad, and know where the fences are.
                This, for sure! After my horse has been inside for a few days (rain, stall rest, what have you) and he finally gets to go out, he is WILD, and it scares me. But he is honestly much happier turned out, and after the initial 5-10 minutes of playing, he settles down and just hangs out.

                Turnout in the AM is when most incidents happen at our barn. After being cooped up for 12-16 hours, the horses are more than happy to be back outside. I've seen everything from cuts to pulled shoes to a broken leg happen in the first few minutes of morning turnout. So guess what my BM decided to do with the crazies that were prone to hurting themselves after first getting out? Turn them out for longer, and it actually seems to be helping.

                Of course bad things are going to happen on the occasional turnout. But the alternate, in my opinion, a bored and restless horse that still has energy to get out -potentially while undersaddle with a vulnerable rider- is well worth the risk of the one in a million chance of a horse getting seriously injured.


                • #9
                  Horses that are turned out colic less, have stronger bones, better feet, stronger tendons, are altogether a lot more robust. If you go from no turnout to all day turnout, you will start out with some more nicks and dents, but once the horse adjusts, it works out great. I have a horse that was worth a total packet at one point (A/O jumper, but brave, bold, total trooper), always got turned out, rolled in mud, had fun with his buds. He got the odd scrapes and cuts, but pre-turnout (first place I boarded him had limited turnout) he had way worse injuries, severe colic several times, etc. So personally would not EVER keep a horse anywhere that did not have at least 12 hrs turnout per day, I don't care how high level the horse is at competition.


                  • #10
                    Limiting activity . No way! Granted, my horses aren't worth much (one isn't worth anything), but they're priceless to me. They're outside all the time. I'm not going to bubble wrap them in the hope they'll never have a booboo. The important thing is that they get to be horses, and that they're happy. They might be "safer" locked in stalls, but that's not a life for a horse. If you care so much about your money, leave it in your savings account.
                    Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                    Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                    VW sucks.


                    • #11
                      Being in the TB industry is what has helped me relax. Multi million dollar mares and the majority of stallions, even those worth 30+ million, go out 24/7 or all night (stalllions). I started to feel silly being so paranoid with my show horse. Now he is out most of the time (retired, but even so I was neurotic with him) and so much happier and healthier. I think it's worth the risk. Make sure your fences are good and I find a good, quiet companion helps a lot.


                      • #12
                        Horses can injure themselves anywhere... yeah, they can break a leg in the pasture, but they can get cast inside and die just as easily, if not moreso. Or while under saddle, they can put a foot wrong and it can snap.

                        Horses... get injured easily. I don't think turnout has a whole lot to do with it. Your horse - and you, in the long run! - will be infinitely happier with turnout.


                        • #13
                          Like everyone else said- more turnout typically results in less, if any, accidents. The eight or so horses I've ever had here at my farm have rarely hurt themselves and they are mostly turned out 24/7, if weather allows, with access to plenty of shelter (stalls, overhang). We don't have wire or board fencing, just the PVC piping and electric tape, but still. The worst I've had is small bites and a thrown shoe here and there when it's super muddy. I don't do rated shows, just local with one of my guys, so I don't need them in pristine condition, but they've always been fine. I coat any cuts with ointment, the hair grows back, and you wouldn't even know the difference.

                          I can understand keeping them inside when they need to be clean without cuts or something, but for injury purposes, mine are better of outside.


                          • #14
                            Last month, we lost our beloved 24 year old horse in a paddock accident- He broke his leg and had to be put down. He went in his usual large paddock with the same 4 horses he always went out with (who got along famously) and in the paddock next to the road where coincidentally, anyone coming into or off the farm would see them. You would never had known he was 24- he looked 16 and was leading the HOTY for his under saddle division - so he was in work and not wild. Just a freak accident.

                            I truly believe in turn out with calm, mild mannered small groups for as long as they are able to stay out. My guy would not tolerate being out overnight and when they saw he was getting antsy around noon they moved turnout times to early morning (6 am - noon) to avoid the bugs and the hottest part of the day. He would come in to stand in front of his fan, have his lunch, have his nap, then be ridden.

                            The grooms and owner are very careful if any of them run- they come right in and they are super careful about adding new ones to turnout.
                            No amount of booting would have saved him considering where the break was. It was just an accident- Just like someon can break an ankle walking off a curb.
                            RIP Triple Take (aka Indiana )


                            • #15
                              My horse is much more likely to hurt himself in his stall than in turnout. He HATES being inside. During the summer, he's out 24/7 in my trainer's backyard. His turnout is small (tiny compared to most, but that's the trade-off of living on Long Island), but he can walk, trot, and canter a few strides if he wants to, and it's enough for him.

                              Over the winter when we go indoors, he is turned out in a significantly larger space, but only during the day. This combined with a larger stall and a regular work schedule is enough to keep him happy/healthy.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by RougeEmpire View Post
                                "pasture accident" must be taken with a grain of salt. Ever notice any time a HIGH DOLLAR horse gets injured and is put down it's a "pasture accident"? It's no coincidence. Remember that is insurance involved with these big money horses. I know more than one big money horse that was injured NOT in pasture but had a "pasture accident" on the paper work.

                                So did you report these horses you know about for insurance fraud?


                                • #17
                                  I believe that horses are better off out as much as possible. Mine live outside 24/7 in pens with two other horses. Both of mine were miserable when stalled for injuries. I think it goes a long way toward keeping them sound.
                                  A proud friend of bar.ka.


                                  • #18
                                    It's not like supervising really helps. Sure, you can get to an injury faster, but you're hardly going to be able to prevent it.

                                    Mine are out 24/7, in to eat. They're horses and they're ones that are well-adapted to this particular lifestyle. I saw more crazy running around when I was at a show barn where they were in 22/7 and out for an hour or two than I generally do at our farm, unless we're turning them out in a different field or something.

                                    I'm pretty much with amastrike. Regardless of their value, ours are priceless to me, but they're definitely happiest being out. Of course, there are some horses that don't do as well out, and one should work with that accordingly. I definitely wouldn't bother to limit my guy's activity unless he was really unhappy in turnout.
                                    They're small hearts.


                                    • #19
                                      A few years ago we had soem REALLY NASTY ice. Several horses broke their legs.

                                      There were three baisc approaches to turnout.

                                      1- Some people kept to their regular turnout schedule, regardless of the ice (I fell in that category)

                                      2- Some people kept there horses in for a week, but then let them out for short periods when the ice was starting to melt, but hadn't gone away completely.

                                      3- Some people kept their horses in until the ice was ALL gone (close to a month IIRC).

                                      Most, if not all, of the serious injuries were in case 2.

                                      Turning out a horse that hasn't been out in a while is when the horse is most likely to act like an idiot.
                                      Last edited by Janet; Sep. 27, 2010, 09:48 PM.

                                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                      • #20
                                        My horse sleep walked head first into the wall of his 12x12. Big gash...

                                        I've seen tons of cellulitus in horses that live in 12x12 stalls...

                                        My horse slashed the inside of her back leg in her 36x36 corral...

                                        My horse cut her shoulder open climbing into and out of her water trough...

                                        I heard of a horse that got a life ending leg stress fracture in his 12x12 stall while on an un-associated layup...

                                        It doesn't matter what you do - they'll find a way to hurt themselves. I wish we had more turnout in Southern California. I think overall it's better for them physically and mentally for them to get out as much as possible.

                                        It would be interesting to see what percentage of injuries, serious and non-serious happen in which type of setting...