Friday, April 6, 2012

The Age Old Question

I want your answers, my dear readers! What do you do for turnout?

Recently, I have been perplexed with people's choice of turnout for their horses and judged quite harshly for mine. I'm simply wondering what everyone in the blogging community does and why they do so, because I am curious to hear the answers!

I have seen every type of turnout there is, and the effect of each. What drives me crazy is the people who think there is one formula that works for every horse, no matter the situation, which is totally not true!

For example: My horses-past and present

Yankee:

In the fall/winter, he goes out during the day, and stays in at night. During the summer/spring, I flip it. Several reasons why he is only on half days, but still goes outside for at least 12 hours. I tried the 24/7 turnout but because he lived almost 4 years of his life 100% of the time in a stall, he found being outside too hard of a transition. Even now, if he is out all day, he paces the gate halfway through, wanting to come in. He needs to be outside, but doesn't like it all the time-which is what works for him.

In the summer, I keep him in during the day because he is a big baby and hates the sun as much as I do. Also, for cosmetic reasons, sunburn. He is quite happy hanging in his stall in front of 2 fans all day, and going out when it is cooler. In winter, I flip it, because again, he is a baby and hates being out at night when the temperature drops.

I feel extremely guilty keeping him in for more than 10 hours, so even if he is injured or he can;t go ot at night because of storms, I open his door so he can stretch his legs in a paddock. This system works for us!

Zephyr:

Tiny pony is like any other pony and gets wicked fat off just grass. So, miss hairy beast stays on a dry lot in spring, when the grass is thick, and goes out the rest of the year 24/7. In winter she gets loads of hay and in spring she gets hay as well. She doesn't need grain.

Spirit:

This guy was always outside, but always had the option of an open stall to come in if he wanted. He was literally terrified of black mats, so stalls weren't his favorite thing, even with deep bedding. Even in summer, he was quite happy hanging out outside. I wish I had photos of when miss Dolly would be in her shaded stall with a fan, while Spirit hung out right out by her door, in the sun, happy as could be. Sometimes in winter I stalled him if it was really cold or icy because he would fall in ice and had a hard time maintaining weight when it was cold, but otehrwise he was blanketed and outside in winter.

Miss Dolly:

She HATED being outside and she got extremely fat off just grass as well, so she had minimal turnout time on grass. In summer she refused to go outside during the day, even though I kept her door open. She was a big princess and had to have her fan and shade or else she would be quite grumpy. Same in winter, she preferred to just ahng out inside. Weird horse. She always had the option of going outside, since I left her door open. Funny thing is, when I shut her in, she would throw a fit. Horses, so weird.

What I don't understand is people who leave horses out 24/7 even in 110 degree heat when they obviously are miserable from heat and flies. Bring the poor horses in! When they are at the gate, begging, tormented by flies and dripping in sweat! Blows my mind that some people think horses are ALWAYS happier when they are out. Yes, horses are meant to be outside, but sometimes they need to come in. I vowed I would never keep Yankee inside more than 12 hours because horses weere meant to roam about. But when the elements are too extreme and they are suffering, obviously something needs to be done. Am I crazy or do you guys agree?

Also, I will NEVER get those crazy owners who trap their horses indoors 24/7. Not once have I seen a horse be happy in this situation. It is pointless and cruel to keep a GRAZER indoors in a box stall, only to come out for maybe 1 hour a day to be worked. Just beacuase you are "afraid" they will get hurt doesn't mean they need to be stalled all the time. There are tons of ways to mitigate risk of injury in turnout. I get it when people need to keep horses in because of injury, but that is temporary-usually. Keeping a horses stalled because you are afraid they will lose shoes is ridiculous! GAH. WHy does this drive me so crazy? Because perfectly healthy horses go sour being stalled that much and I hate seeing that.

So, what do you guys do?

POll here If you guys don't want to comment. I forgot to add an inbetween option, oops :/

24 comments:

  1. At our first barn Pippi was in most of the day and night bc A) we didn't know any better B) that what the people at the barn did. When we got the the 2nd barn she was put during the day if weather was nice, or turned out in indoor arena for like an hr depending on people. 3rd barn was in the summer so she was in during the day and out at night. I like that option best. Pippi also gets sun burned bad and when the flies are out she would get hives. 4th barn was during fall and winter up to now she is in at night and out during the day unless terrible weather. I'd like to switch again this summer but bc of location we were about kids/teens messing with her. At least during the day more people are about and we like to think she is safer. And the way it is set up she can always go in and stand in front of her fan then go back out when she wants. But I like what you do withYankee and hope to do that in the future when I have my own place or something.

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  2. Hi :)
    Alright so.... I agree with pretty much all of your post! :) At my farm (I board since we live in a development.. :-/), the barn owner turns the horses out during the night in the summer and flips it in the winter just like you do with your first horse, but for all of them. We do this because... Well, many horses, as you mentioned, can be driven absolutely CRAZY by the flies, sunburn, and it gets cold in the winter and we actually don't use blankets (unless a horse is clipped and needs them), because our horses get the winter off anyway.

    The very last thing you said about horses being in 24/7. That is a very... I'm not sure how I feel about that topic myself. I've gotten in so many arguments with people over what they do with their horses that recently, I've learned that...
    *If what a person does works for them, that just let it be, even if you don't agree with it.*
    Really, there's no point in arguing. We all have our reasons. And some people feel so strongly about the subject of what they do with their horses and why, so I've learned to just leave it alone. On this specific topic, I agree very much with what you're saying about the benefits of being turned out. It IS just simply healthier for a horse to be out at least for a bit of time every day and not just kept in a stall. However, the people with horses work hundreds of thousands of dollars (obviously I can't relate... but I may be able to imagine): If ONE simple little thing happens to that horse, that money you spent it automatically just down the drain. And many of these people who spend so much money on their horses use horses to make a living. So, if your best horse is lost, how are you supposed to make a living. So I believe their way of thinking is, there is more risk keeping a horse outside than in, and is it really worth risking THAT much? But again, I'm not quite sure how I feel about this myself. I just try to put myself in other people's shoes. :)

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    1. you make a REALLY great point! :)
      The people I am mostly talking about though are those whose horses arent worth that much and they are never or rarely competed, OR those who compete just for funsies and arent professionals with exceptional equine atheletes and are just afraid. I just feel the mental and physical health of thses horses are put at risk for reasons that arent ligitimate (like the example you gave).
      For example, Totilas was never turned out, only ridden and handwalked. Whiule I don't agree with that, i understand why they did that. I just can't comprehend the backyard riders who stall their horses 24/7.
      Thanks for the comment :D

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    2. Oh alright, yeah... In the case of having a horse just for fun and not turning them out/not having so much on the line, I definitely would not understand not turning your horse out. That just makes no sense. :P It's healthier for the horse to be out anyway. Thanks for the reply!! Come check out my blog? :) www.myponyamerica.blogspot.com

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    3. those super expensive horses are insured so in the end there's really no loss of $$. in my opinion that's not an excuse for them not to go out either. if you have that kind of $ to spend on a horse or horses there's no reason you can't have a safe, level paddock were someone can supervise a well booted horse for a few hours.... to me, lack or turnout ='s lack of education!

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    4. god, THANK YOU!
      You put into words what I couldnt.
      100% AGREE

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  3. The barn we have boarded at the past 3 years sounds like Yankee's turn-out - out all day in the fall/winter, in stalls at night and out all night in spring/summer, in stall with fan during the day. Horses are only kept in if on stall rest for an injury, and even then, if able they get turned out in the indoor arena to strech their legs.

    When we purchased my daughter's TB, Henny, he was used to 24/7 turn out. It took awhile for him to adapt, as he was a stall walker. He did in time get much more relaxed during his stall time and only paced at feeding time.

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  4. Out 24/7 at home, where the pasture and the barn are all open and they can go inside the stalls if they want to, or hang out in the shade of the trees, or go for a swim in the pond... We don't lock them in even if it's 110 degrees (as it was last summer for a long time) because 1. They would be miserable and 2. The draft horse figured out how to bust out the half door by just slamming her chest into it. They get to stand outside and sweat if they want to, or they figure out how to be more comfortable. The air flow in the barn isn't really good enough to make it any cooler in there anyway, especially since the roof is metal.

    When Don is at school with me he has a 12x24 run, and is turned out as much as possible. Lately the BO has been leaving them out 24/7, which I had mixed feelings about because if he's out 24/7, why am I paying for a nice covered run? I'd be paying $100 less if I had him on field board and out 24/7 anyway. But we'll be going home in a month so I'm not going to worry about it. He likes being out, the only thing that worries me is how hard the ground is out there.

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    1. See yours is a situation where at least you provide the horses with ample shade and whatnot and you get that they wouldn't do well locked up, even in teh heat of summer. Spirit was the same way!

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  5. You don't have an in between option on your poll. Our horses are out for a few hours at a time either in grass pasture or dry lot as is appropriate to their weight/maintenance. I'd love for it to be longer, but we're at a busy boarding barn and we don't have those options available right now. Izzy used to be out 12-14 hours a day on grass and LOVED IT. She's a tough cookie though, so she was fine.

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  6. Interesting. Well, I too, can't understand keeping a horse inside 24/7. I just can't. I have seen too many show horses that ruin themselves by biting their chests until they bleed, dump buckets out of boredom, weave, crib, you name it. I hate it..literally makes my stomach churn. That being said, 24/7 turnout lifestyle CAN be hard on some horses. I think the herd dynamics play a BIG BIG part of that, as well as set up.
    In our case, Laz seems uber happy to be out 24/7 never locked in. He has his one herd mate (which I'd prefer a couple more but not up to me) and they are buddies. No bullying and they have 3 open stalls and a run in to get out of the sun, wind/rain/snow or away from bugs, etc. I rarely find Laz standing in the stall but I do enough to warrant wanting that for him. It's totally ideal and I'm lucky as hell to have it, trust me, it's rare. Their grounds are grass,sand so makes for nice footing. I wouldn't think a 24/7 in mud/muck would be better than standing in a clean dry stall. So many things can break or make the set up or time out. With Laz he seems to have adjusted (and I did it slowly) to full turnout with 24/7 access to shelter. Like you pointed out, some turnout is ideal and some horses like their quiet alone time too. Great for hard keepers too in terms of feeding. Ugh, I could go on...but I wont! Great post.

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    1. When I first moved Yankee here, he had to be turned out only with Pronto in a separate pasture because the herd (especially one horse) hated him. After all winter with that, and switching to nights, he niw goes out with 5 geldings, minus the trouble horse.

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  7. I would over all say my horses are out 24/7 and then I use common sense. If it is too cold, or too hot, or too windy, or too rainy or any other extreme conditions they come in. The worst part of winter 20 or below at night they come in and the worst of the summer they will come in during the day. But those extreme conditions make up very little of the year. I have 5 very happy healthy horses. All of them enjoy being outside. I don't have anyone who paces or even come stand at the gate. All of them except Steady don't mind being stalled for inclimate weather. Steady my OTTB on the other hand HATES being in a stall. I guess after 8 years on a track and living in a stall he has seen the inside of a stall enough for a life time. So we keep stall time at the absolute minimum.

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    1. I wish I could keep Yankee out 24/7, but he really does hate it. youre lucky your horses don't seem to mind! I just see horses at my barn and others, wanting to come in and I just don't get why they leave them out if they are obviously not enjoying it. I'm glad this works for you though!

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  8. I think your system makes sense. Depends on the horse. At home, my horses are out 24/7 but they have access to their stalls (one for each horse) as well as plenty of trees to hang out in if they need the shade or protection from wind/rain/hail/etc. If needed they are blanketed or fly sheeted/masked. During the school year I board one horse so she gets turned out during the day and inside at night. I think it's important for her to come inside since Jetta needs all the food she can get without having to share or get pushed away from her food.

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  9. BY THE WAY! Just reached 70 followers and 26,000 hits, I LOVE you all :D

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  10. Tooie is out 24/7 no matter what. He is blanketed in the winter and has a rainsheet for the spring and fall. With that said they have a huge run in underneither the hay barn that takes them right out of the elements when they need it. I have only seen him use it once and the lady who owns the place says even in snow storms he just stands at the round bale and stuffs his face even while his buddy is hiding. He has lived out 24/7 since his last race at 5 years old and i did have him in at night for a while but he would NOT keep weight on. I dont know why but he just would not keep it on no matter how much food he was given and he stocked up to the point he could barely walk he was so stiff. No matter the weather he doesnt seem to mind I've never seen him pace and he's never stood at the gate to come in even when he was brought in at night sometimes they would complain that they couldnt catch him. He hated being inside and loves being out even alone he doesnt care (probably because he was a stud for so long). He's just a much happier horse being outside 24/7 and its cheaper for me so i dont mind! But i would definatly have him rbought in as soon as he showed any sort of discomfort but so far he hasnt. I dont think he's ever even gotten a sunburn he's also probably the only TB who doesnt give a shit about flies.

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  11. My horses are turned out 24/7. They have access to a shelter to get away from flies and heat and colder weather whenever they want to. They are also covered when the weather is colder and whenever it's going to rain. I don't like the thought of horses being cooped up in their stalls all the time - although there are definitely exceptions to that and some horses that just can't cope with being out 24/7. I am definitely not judging anyone that keeps their horses in, as it is their personal choice and I'm sure they are doing whats best for their horses.

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  12. my old man is out from sun up till sun down all year so his amount of turnout varies. He has spent the last 2 winters in a heated barn (55*) which i think helps his arthritis a lot when he's stalled as he doesn't get cold and therefore stiff. the goal is for him to be out 24/7 once he is fully retired or sooner if i get my own property. my biggest pet peeve is horses not being turned out! my horse is 45 min away when there's a barn in the city 5 min from my house but they only turn out for an hour! one hour of turn out IS NOT ACCEPTABLE for ANY horse PERIOD! even if ridden daily, IMO!!

    you have a good plan with Yankee which he seems to be thriving on. the best for any horse is, of course, 24/7 turn out but that's not always possible when you have to board. It sounds like Yankee gets out enough and doesn't act out like a horse with not enough time to be a horse. after all, the only time a horse can be a horse is when turned out.....

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    1. I agree horses should not be inside. A farm i worked at was home to two very expensive jumpers and even they were turned out all day and in at night.

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  13. Amber does pretty much the same as Yankee. Amber greatly dislikes her stall though, except the part where she eats in it. Haha.

    She likes 24/7 turnout, but she's a powder puff and hates rain, and really hates other horses, so when it rains or her pasture mates annoy her, she comes to the gate and wants to come in.

    Kind of thinking of putting her back on 24/7 though and working out something to get her off the grass part of the time.

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  14. All of my horses have always lived outside 24/7. They have always had a barn though for shelter from weather/flies/etc. To be honest the only time they ever used it was to get away from the flies though. My current group is on thirty acres 24/7 with a large barn (one of those old style cattle barns that are popular in the South). In the summer they hide from the flies during the day and in the winter I feed their hay in there so they aren't forced to eat out in the rain (and it saves a lot of hay wastage), but when they aren't eating hay they still go out in the weather during the winter to play, browse, etc. I think out 24/7 with access to adequate shelter is the best for most horses. Sadly I think the horses who do better inside is because they were raised that way. If they are raised outside from birth they will always prefer outside. That's why a lot of racehorses are the way they are. Great post!!

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