365/24/7 Turnout

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You're doing much better than most people!

I have my own land, two small unshod ponies, and I am absolutely at a loss as to how to cope with this "summer". Ponies need restricted grazing, but it's been raining here since April, we're on clay and the track I was developing is on a slope, and it's totally unusable (the ponies still have access, but they won't use it) . I've paid a fortune for some mudcontrol mats, which have been a total lifesaver, but even so this leaves us with only about 20mx2m of hardstanding along the fence. The poor ponies would probably be better off in an actual stable.

I think your indoor barn, and outdoor space attached to indoor stables sounds fantastic.
 

paddy555

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Nearly 50 years ago I had a mare that would not stay in the field once darkness fell. She would start pacing the fence as the light started to fade and then jump out. More than once she also jumped INTO her stable when no one came to her rescue.

It mattered not if her companions were still out in the field. During the day you could take all the others away and she would hardly looked up from eating.

about 10 years ago I took in a semi feral mare. She would have been around 24. I took her because she was in a terrible state, thin, vey hungry even though there was endless grazing. She had spent her life living out on the common producing a foal each year. So for the past 20 years or so she had had total freedom except being drifted in, her foal removed and let out again. She was living in a herd. Absolutely everything a feral pony could want out 24/7.
What made her easy to handle was that she had been a orphan. Her mother had died when she was born and my mare had been bottle raised, handled, obviously stabled etc before being put out for a lifetime on the common.

She came home, was put on on ground that included a bog, very similar to her previous living conditions with others one of which was her earlier, now grown up foal. As close to what she had come from which was less than a quarter of a mile away as possible.
She was perfectly happy to go out. Then at 3.30 every day she would pack her bags and be standing by the gate to come in. This happened summer and winter. By 4pm she was getting agitated and by 4.30 she was furious if she couldn't come in. She came in for the night with the restriction of a stable. She had hay and feed.
Her choice. If life as a feral out 24/7 had so much to recommend it I am not sure why she very vigorously demanded a stable.

stabling 24/7 is not on in my view and things like yarding and allowing interaction to groom and socialise is vital but I'm not sure if all horses want to stand out at night in winter and during the daytime on some hot, fly ridden summer days.
 

oldie48

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I like my horses to have daily turnout and would normally turnout over night in warm weather. However, I have found different horses have different preferences, perhaps because of the way they have been kept in the past. what has surprised me is how settled Rose is on box rest. Admittedly she has a huge stable with a big walkout area, the yard is not too busy but there is always something for her to look at however, I'm still amazed that she is so chilled. she gets taken up to the indoor arena to get cold hosed and she's really well behaved but she's always been happy to be stabled. Years ago I had a sec D x tb on box rest and he was a complete nightmare with the result that I never managed to get him sound following a suspensory ligament injury. There is something to be said for getting any horse used to being stabled just in case it sustains an injury.
 

Upthecreek

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I think it’s about balance. Mine really appreciate coming in during summer for some respite from the heat and flies. They will nibble at their hay nets, but spend most of the day napping. Equally if the weather is wet and windy they are happy to come in, dry off and rest. In summer they get turned out around 6 in the evening and come in at 9 in the morning. In winter it varies depending on the weather; sometimes in at night/out during the day, sometimes the other way around. If the weather is horrendous we might be limited to 2-3 hours turnout a day for a week or two. Most horses massively benefit from turnout with other horses and their behaviour changes when they don’t have the opportunity to interact with their own kind.
 
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There are alternatives to box rest. I've had to do it with my old TB. Tendon injury on a horse that just shakes and won't eat or drink inside... how long before dehydration or colic would have killed her? I couldn't just tough it out and hope she gave in. The vet agreed and so she had a small area that was electric fenced off outside.
 
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You're doing much better than most people!

I have my own land, two small unshod ponies, and I am absolutely at a loss as to how to cope with this "summer". Ponies need restricted grazing, but it's been raining here since April, we're on clay and the track I was developing is on a slope, and it's totally unusable (the ponies still have access, but they won't use it) . I've paid a fortune for some mudcontrol mats, which have been a total lifesaver, but even so this leaves us with only about 20mx2m of hardstanding along the fence. The poor ponies would probably be better off in an actual stable.

I think your indoor barn, and outdoor space attached to indoor stables sounds fantastic.
Yes, sometimes the seasons and everything else seem out to get us.

My facilities have been a work in progress over 30 years and having a couple of ponies about the place, whilst still causing a headache now and again, is completely different to horses on the same acreage. Mudcontrol mats are brilliant, we have some of those, too.
 

milliepops

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I've got horses at both ends of the spectrum, I've got some that live out, and some that get turned out for 2 hours a day in the winter and stay in if it's icy. it can all work, it all depends on the individual and the circumstances, facilities and land you have.

My older live-outers wouldn't cope with the 2 hour situation. and the TB who enjoys his stable would struggle to cope in an "out in all weathers" thing. so they aren't interchangable. If I was able to have them all at home with facilities built to my spec I'd do something in the middle for most of them. But in general I find they adapt quite well provided you put yourself out a bit.
 
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I think it’s about balance. Mine really appreciate coming in during summer for some respite from the heat and flies. They will nibble at their hay nets, but spend most of the day napping. Equally if the weather is wet and windy they are happy to come in, dry off and rest. In summer they get turned out around 6 in the evening and come in at 9 in the morning. In winter it varies depending on the weather; sometimes in at night/out during the day, sometimes the other way around. If the weather is horrendous we might be limited to 2-3 hours turnout a day for a week or two. Most horses massively benefit from turnout with other horses and their behaviour changes when they don’t have the opportunity to interact with their own kind.
Indeed it is, but huge yards who are often diversifying farms, are sometimes the only option and yet there are people saying find a yard with this. Well, it's not always so easy. Is what I was trying to say. I feel bad about no turnout for mine and I am relatively blessed.
 
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I've got horses at both ends of the spectrum, I've got some that live out, and some that get turned out for 2 hours a day in the winter and stay in if it's icy. it can all work, it all depends on the individual and the circumstances, facilities and land you have.

My older live-outers wouldn't cope with the 2 hour situation. and the TB who enjoys his stable would struggle to cope in an "out in all weathers" thing. so they aren't interchangable. If I was able to have them all at home with facilities built to my spec I'd do something in the middle for most of them. But in general I find they adapt quite well provided you put yourself out a bit.
And have facilities or permission to do so.
 
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about 10 years ago I took in a semi feral mare. She would have been around 24. I took her because she was in a terrible state, thin, vey hungry even though there was endless grazing. She had spent her life living out on the common producing a foal each year. So for the past 20 years or so she had had total freedom except being drifted in, her foal removed and let out again. She was living in a herd. Absolutely everything a feral pony could want out 24/7.
What made her easy to handle was that she had been a orphan. Her mother had died when she was born and my mare had been bottle raised, handled, obviously stabled etc before being put out for a lifetime on the common.

She came home, was put on on ground that included a bog, very similar to her previous living conditions with others one of which was her earlier, now grown up foal. As close to what she had come from which was less than a quarter of a mile away as possible.
She was perfectly happy to go out. Then at 3.30 every day she would pack her bags and be standing by the gate to come in. This happened summer and winter. By 4pm she was getting agitated and by 4.30 she was furious if she couldn't come in. She came in for the night with the restriction of a stable. She had hay and feed.
Her choice. If life as a feral out 24/7 had so much to recommend it I am not sure why she very vigorously demanded a stable.

stabling 24/7 is not on in my view and things like yarding and allowing interaction to groom and socialise is vital but I'm not sure if all horses want to stand out at night in winter and during the daytime on some hot, fly ridden summer days.
But if you don't have the option for anything else what do you do? My initial post is regarding folks doing their level best and still being advised it's either not good enough or to move to all these place who afford it.
 

LadyGascoyne

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Mine are mostly turned out. They could technically be out 24/7/365 but in reality, Mimosa shouts if she’s tired of being rained on and in spring I do bring in off the grass for a few hours a day.

I think it’s like all things, strive for a balance and accept that there isn’t a one-size-fits all.

I think that it is generally evidenced that 24/7/365 turnout on varied pasture with mixed grasses and herbs is beneficial but it’s not dissimilar to humans.

The reality is that there is a whole spectrum between living off McDonalds in a flat and watching tv 24/7, and starting an organic smallholding in rural New Zealand, eating only homegrown fruits and veggies and freshly caught fish.

We have to understand the ideal and interpret that against the context of the constraints of our real lives.
 

milliepops

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And have facilities or permission to do so.
not sure what you mean, that's kind of the point of what I was saying, you have to work with what you have got sometimes. i can't put any facilities in for my ones that live out as it's a rented field, that's why i wouldn't keep my ROR TB there. and I can't turn out any more at the place I livery 2, because I have a teeny paddock and it turns into a swamp, so I can't keep an old horse there.

it means I've currently got more horses than I intended this summer... because I can't swap them around how I'd like, but everyone is quite content :)
 

SatansLittleHelper

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Not everyone HAS to have 24/7 turnout but horses being stabled for more than half of the day is a welfare issue in my personal opinion.
Alot of people just fetch in overnight etc and I don't see an issue with that but so many people seem to believe it's acceptable to leave horse in a box for the majority of the day. This doesn't sit right with me and I feel its incredibly selfish to keep horses in these conditions.
Not all horses that live out 24/7 live in mud pits etc.
For the horses' welfare, turnout is not a luxury, it's a necessity.
 
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It is very idealistic isn't it - and there's so much that isn't ideal about horse-keeping in the UK. In my limited experience I do think 24/7 is good for *most* horses, *if* the land allows. But thse are huge caveats! Most of us are just choosing the best option out of the selection available, none of which are ideal.

I've come to the conclusion that the primary responsibility of a livery yard owner is to their land. Horse owners come and go but as you say, once a field is trashed the land owner / manager is the one picking up the pieces. Just my thoughts (because I have been thinking about this a bit recently)
This exactly.
 
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So yours aren't stabled full time in small stables when not exercised for months, and you don't think its fine to do that, and your rant is nonsensical?

The only person I've seen recommended to find somewhere with 24/7/365 turnout was someone with an older rescue horse that had never been stabled and was reacting badly to even going in one in summer, so not sure where the jump from "people say don't stable full-time for months without trying to provide alternative options" to "people say don't ever stable" came from?
No, it's in response to all those on various threads where owners at highly regulated yards have needs either recommended by their vet and making the horse owner feel even more unhappy by prescribing the ideal, when the ideal isn't possible. From those finding themselves with BOGOFs to laminitis and needing 'specialist' facilities they can't find and are in a crisis anyway.

Even when you have as much freedom (theoretically) to give your horses 'the ideal' as seen by most, it's not always possible and I feel bad NOT being at total liberty to do so. Imagine being a livery client and not having that option.
 

SEL

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I have moved yards to make sure I get winter turn out (unless it's torrential all day in which case I'd bring in early). I wouldn't keep horses if they couldn't get turn out - it's something I feel strongly about.

24:7 365 would be brilliant but it's clay around here so unrealistic at most yards. My lot get it in the summer and adapt pretty quickly to the change in routine. That's 2 horses and 1 pony but my old warmblood would happily stay out in the worst of weather providing he had hay.
 

Lammy

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No, it's in response to all those on various threads where owners at highly regulated yards have needs either recommended by their vet and making the horse owner feel even more unhappy by prescribing the ideal, when the ideal isn't possible. From those finding themselves with BOGOFs to laminitis and needing 'specialist' facilities they can't find and are in a crisis anyway.

Even when you have as much freedom (theoretically) to give your horses 'the ideal' as seen by most, it's not always possible and I feel bad NOT being at total liberty to do so. Imagine being a livery client and not having that option.
Sorry but if the vet has advised a certain management style for a horse due to a medical condition then surely their welfare has to be top of the list?

I get having the right amount of turnout and facilities is a balancing act but the horses needs ultimately come first in my view. I’m lucky where we are over winter we only have to bring it at night from Nov-March and horses can be out for as long as they like for the day. This is perfect for my young horse who has just been treated for hock arthritis. I have a good school to use and good hacking but also good turnout. If that were to change and my options were grass livery with no school or a fancy yard say with an indoor arena but very limited winter turnout then I would have to put the horse first and pick the grass livery and forgo the school.

There are always options and as the human in the equation we sometimes have to pick the one that’s right for the horse over what would be more convenient for us.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I have moved yards to make sure I get winter turn out (unless it's torrential all day in which case I'd bring in early). I wouldn't keep horses if they couldn't get turn out - it's something I feel strongly about.

24:7 365 would be brilliant but it's clay around here so unrealistic at most yards. My lot get it in the summer and adapt pretty quickly to the change in routine. That's 2 horses and 1 pony but my old warmblood would happily stay out in the worst of weather providing he had hay.

I think the problem is that some people feel that it is their right to keep a horse, just because they can afford one. That is not the case, the horse's welfare *has* to come first. You chose your yard in order to be able to provide daily turnout but some people prioritise an indoor school etc for their own convenience, rather than putting the horse's needs first.
 

coblets

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In an ideal world, a horses would be able to move between its stable and paddock and so there wouldn't be a need for these discussions of "do they prefer being in or out".

People are of course restricted by their situation but, at the same time, I personally don't think that makes no turnout acceptable in winter. Even just 4/5 hours out in an arena with other horses could do. But they need that ability to move how they want to move, and they need to interact with their herd in a way they can't do in a stable. When you think of the 3Fs - all three of them are very difficult to achieve if a horse spends most of its day in as small a space as a stable.

And yes there are issues with very muddy winter turnout like mud fever etc, but there is far more potential for illness and injury with a horse stuck inside for 22 hours a day: breathing problems, colic, ulcers, not to mention damage to their mental health.

One of the reasons I've put off buying a horse is that I wasn't able to find a livery with more than an hour of turnout in the winter. (And often liveries that promise that will withdraw the offer in the last minute). Frankly, if I owned a horse and there was no option for winter turnout, I'd rather put it on retirement livery with 24/7 even if that livery was hours away from me.
 

teapot

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My old yard was 24/7/365 but the land was maintained beautifully, right down to the tracks and gateways (one of the biggest bills/outgoings was field maintenance, not just costs but staff hours) and was on chalk. We still had standing water and mud in the worst winters BUT the fields were big enough it never became a problem.

We rarely if ever had the usual winter skin conditions, we lost the same amount of shoes in mid winter as we did mid summer, and rarely had injuries/scuffs/kicks. Nothing was ever left out on its own either. Did it suit every horse on site? I don't know.
 
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laura_nash

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But if you don't have the option for anything else what do you do? My initial post is regarding folks doing their level best and still being advised it's either not good enough or to move to all these place who afford it.
Well, in the first place your being advised by people on a forum who probably don't know you or the horse in person, so if your happy in your own mind that the current setup works for your horse then you don't do anything.

Presumably though if people on a forum are advising its because you asked, because you or (more likely) your horse aren't happy / healthy. So then its up to you as the human to change it. Really not having the option for anything else, even in the medium-to-long term, isn't very likely is it? I can't imagine many scenarios where that would be the case (beyond some horrific coercive control / modern day slavery type scenario). Sometimes things can't be changed very quickly of course and you just have to make do as best you can with what is possible to achieve for now, but in the final analysis owning a horse is a privilege and not a right.

I, personally, would not own a horse if I lived somewhere where all the yards had no turnout in winter (this includes yards, turnout barns, tracks etc - I don't think turnout has to be a field) and couldn't/wouldn't move, and I couldn't afford my own land, and I couldn't spend hours each day exercising the horse and I couldn't afford to pay someone to spend hours each day exercising it. I think most of us would agree its wrong to have a horse if you can't afford to either pay vets bills or pay for insurance to cover them, or if you don't have the necessary knowledge and can't afford to pay someone to do the care for you, so I don't see why this would be an extreme view.

- Edited to make it clearer I meant all the scenarios at the same time (not that I wouldn't have a horse if I didn't have my own land and hours to exercise it!).
 

Upthecreek

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I think the problem is that some people feel that it is their right to keep a horse, just because they can afford one. That is not the case, the horse's welfare *has* to come first. You chose your yard in order to be able to provide daily turnout but some people prioritise an indoor school etc for their own convenience, rather than putting the horse's needs first.
That’s what I was trying to say! If I lived somewhere that didn’t have suitable facilities nearby to keep horses I wouldn’t own horses. In my opinion it’s very selfish to keep a horse if you cannot provide what is necessary to ensure it’s basic needs are met. A horse kept in a stable for months on end with no turnout falls into this category. Neither would I keep a dog as a pet if I was leaving it alone for 10 hours a day whilst I was at work. Part of the responsibility of keeping animals (or deciding not to keep animals) is putting their needs and welfare above your own wants.
 

Orangehorse

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Surely, there is one thing that we all know - every horse is an individual. I don't think that TBs should really be out in the worst of weather at night in winter, but there is always the exception that prefers being out. But that might simply be a reaction to the facilities available. If the paddock where you are turned out offers no shelter from the prevailing wind, and no much grass to eat and the stable with hay and food is available, then which would any horse prefer!
 

SEL

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Surely, there is one thing that we all know - every horse is an individual. I don't think that TBs should really be out in the worst of weather at night in winter, but there is always the exception that prefers being out. But that might simply be a reaction to the facilities available. If the paddock where you are turned out offers no shelter from the prevailing wind, and no much grass to eat and the stable with hay and food is available, then which would any horse prefer!
Even my little native pony would be marching straight to her stable if there was nothing to eat and the weather was vile!

At an old yard on chalk we had large fields that drained well and could leave out 365 if we wanted to. Plenty of TBs and warmbloods stayed out there all the way through the worst winters - but although the gateways were boggy and a couple of the lower lying fields weren't great you could walk across the rest without the risk of leaving your wellies behind. Not a chance on our local clay :rolleyes:
 
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Out, unrugged in snow with only natural shelter in my TB's case. Did have to rug her as she got older after a change of yard (grazing was more exposed but did have man made shelter and natural shelter). I wouldn't even stable her to wait for the vet or farrier, she was so much happier just tied up outside the stable.

I do accept that she was outside the 'norm' but it was interesting how other people wanted to retrain her to accept being stabled and would come to me with the daftest suggestions. I can remember having to just let it wash over me as there's only so many times that you can say 'she doesn't need to be stabled' and have it ignored.
 

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Out, unrugged in snow with only natural shelter in my TB's case. Did have to rug her as she got older after a change of yard (grazing was more exposed but did have man made shelter and natural shelter). I wouldn't even stable her to wait for the vet or farrier, she was so much happier just tied up outside the stable.

I do accept that she was outside the 'norm' but it was interesting how other people wanted to retrain her to accept being stabled and would come to me with the daftest suggestions. I can remember having to just let it wash over me as there's only so many times that you can say 'she doesn't need to be stabled' and have it ignored.
I try to accommodate their needs to the best of my ability. If I didn't, or gave them up because I couldn't, there's no guarantee they'd fare any better.

I'm glad I'm not prisoner to a yard's policies.
 

Megan V1

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I think every situation is different and what suits your horse and your set up is the best you can do. I know many horses who would hate to be turned out 24/7 and love the routine of coming into a stable. Mine do live out 24/7 with access to their stables, they chose to stay out except in the heat when they prefer to be in away from the flies. As long as the horses are happy, healthy and well cared for there is no right or wrong answer. I have seen very large horses, 16.2hh kept in a 12 x 12 stable for up to 20 hours a day, they are unable to lie down as don't have the room and that is heartbreaking especially when the owner firmly believes they are doing the right thing. I do think the train of thought heading towards more turnout will help horses being kept like this.
 

ycbm

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The study is a good start, but I would want to see a study of the long term levels of stress hormones from stabling, not just the first 3 days of a 5 day test, before I could conclude that individual stabling (with appropriate exercise and/or turnout) was stressful to horses in general. I suspect that the stress levels are very likely to drop as the horse gets used to the new regime and 3 days is not long enough to detect that.
.
 
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I think every situation is different and what suits your horse and your set up is the best you can do. I know many horses who would hate to be turned out 24/7 and love the routine of coming into a stable. Mine do live out 24/7 with access to their stables, they chose to stay out except in the heat when they prefer to be in away from the flies. As long as the horses are happy, healthy and well cared for there is no right or wrong answer. I have seen very large horses, 16.2hh kept in a 12 x 12 stable for up to 20 hours a day, they are unable to lie down as don't have the room and that is heartbreaking especially when the owner firmly believes they are doing the right thing. I do think the train of thought heading towards more turnout will help horses being kept like this.
Absolutely agree this is the ideal - access to shelter and good going underfoot outside. No arguments here.
 
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