365/24/7 Turnout

ponynutz

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16 December 2018
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190
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England
I am reading all these condemnations of owners with horses 'suffering' from being stabled apart from when they are being exercised in the winter.

I take it none of these horses live in clay soil areas, have a predisposition to mud-fever or cellulitis, are thin-skinned and HATE being out in all weathers and folks who are lucky enough to own their own land don't mind their summer grazing being reduced to weeds and a poached, muddy deathtrap when it dries out?

For those of us in certain areas, who own their own land and sensitive horses, it's not something we dismiss from a welfare point of view and I do have 'sacrificial paddocks' but experience tells me they don't want to be out longer than for a good buck and skid about before crying to come in.

I also want the magic formula for toughening up my horses to love the winter rain and gales, not get mud-fever or ruined feet, preserving my limited grazing throughout the year and volunteers for filling pot-holes and reseeding so the grazing is perfect for the better weather - oh and this transformation has to be an overnight accomplishment. You do realise a totally re-seeded field can't be grazed for 12 months, or the new plants get ripped out by the roots? You aren't actually allowed to let land become poached beyond repair if you are receiving any kind of grant to maintain land. I'm not, but there's also that. It also takes specialized equipment, money and exact timing to do the appropriate land maintenance.

I regularly see stressed-out posters told to 'find a livery that offers 365/24/7 turnout' (hahahaha) and the 'my horse has laminitis, please help' panics with YO's who won't allow restricted or individual turnouts and every other demand which can be a flipping nightmare to accommodate. It takes planning when you DO have your own place and this year has been a nightmare. We have had to get extra soil in this year and manually fill hundreds of pot-holes a couple of ours created when we tried to get them on the land earlier in the spring. These would have dried out to a pastern-snapping nightmare. And yes, this disaster has happened to a horse which belonged to me, but it was frozen underfoot.

I'm incredibly fortunate. I have a large turnout barn and my TB lives in there in the daytime and comes to his (massive) stable at night. All my stables are huge and two have equal-sized fully accessible outdoor standing. There's the trash-paddock for a daily dice with pulled and broken legs and a dedicated sand turnout for rolling, an indoor horse-walker if the weather is truly vile and to keep the oldies moving gently but in winter, my grazing is out of bounds. And yes, it concerns me daily and hugely. Thankfully none of mine are on enforced box rest.

Until I hit on some magic formula to cover all aspects of this dilemma along with everyone else faced with these necessary restrictions I'll have to risk persecution and prosecution by the winter stabling police. I might just have mine all PTS and be done with it?

Rant over.
well said! no doubt horses are happier out all year round but unfortunately this is real life, this is the UK, and unless we were all richy rich it just ain't gonna happen.
 

I'm Dun

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652
well said! no doubt horses are happier out all year round but unfortunately this is real life, this is the UK, and unless we were all richy rich it just ain't gonna happen.
Actually, it can happen it just doesnt suit most people. I've had to have mine 22miles away so they can access appropriate turnout. It was expensive and no facilities, but worth it!

I now have them much closer and have no water or electric and no surfaced school which makes it a much harder slog. But they are out 24/7 on a grass track and have access to their stables as they wish. As well as tons of natural shelter, nearly ad lib hay and long, gone to seed meadow grass. Its not a cheap way to keep them, but it makes for very happy and healthy horses. Most people wont consider it as no school etc would be a deal breaker, and if you suggest that people hay their horses all year round they recoil in horror.

Interestingly the TB never goes in his stable unless I put him there. He eats his feed in there and then wants out straight away afterward. The cob would love to be in there most of the time but as theres no hay in there he has to come out and move about. He retreats back there for a nap 4 times a day like clockwork. The native sometimes joins him, sometimes joins the TB. He couldnt care less about the stable, but chooses based on who he wants to spend time with. He would stable 24/7 or live out on a bog 24/7 so long as the hay kept coming.

I often think about taking the TB to a livery yard so I can crack on a bit more, and then I look how happy he is, and decide not to.
 

Sossigpoker

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709
In an ideal world our horses would live in herds on plains ,not be shod or have saddles let alone riders on their backs. But this is hardly realistic.
Our grass is so rich that my cob can only have about 3 hours out per day. Or he will balloon. He is happy and relaxed, his weight is good , his behaviour under saddle and on the ground is relaxed and happy. He doesn't know if he's had 8 hours out on grass or 3 so I try not to stress.
If he was showing signs of stress then I'd had to consider our options.
I see lots of very fat horses living out , some with laminitis, others just extremely fat, but apparently this is better than not being turned out. 🙄 Well not in my book.
As long as we do our best for our horses physical and mental welfare, there's no reason to feel guilty for not doing as the next horse owner does.
Just chucking horses out because apparently that's the best for them isn't considering their physical welfare. And sadly I see a lot of this around here.
 

Winters100

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18 April 2015
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1,802
I am reading all these condemnations of owners with horses 'suffering' from being stabled apart from when they are being exercised in the winter.

I take it none of these horses live in clay soil areas, have a predisposition to mud-fever or cellulitis, are thin-skinned and HATE being out in all weathers and folks who are lucky enough to own their own land don't mind their summer grazing being reduced to weeds and a poached, muddy deathtrap when it dries out?

For those of us in certain areas, who own their own land and sensitive horses, it's not something we dismiss from a welfare point of view and I do have 'sacrificial paddocks' but experience tells me they don't want to be out longer than for a good buck and skid about before crying to come in.

I also want the magic formula for toughening up my horses to love the winter rain and gales, not get mud-fever or ruined feet, preserving my limited grazing throughout the year and volunteers for filling pot-holes and reseeding so the grazing is perfect for the better weather - oh and this transformation has to be an overnight accomplishment. You do realise a totally re-seeded field can't be grazed for 12 months, or the new plants get ripped out by the roots? You aren't actually allowed to let land become poached beyond repair if you are receiving any kind of grant to maintain land. I'm not, but there's also that. It also takes specialized equipment, money and exact timing to do the appropriate land maintenance.

I regularly see stressed-out posters told to 'find a livery that offers 365/24/7 turnout' (hahahaha) and the 'my horse has laminitis, please help' panics with YO's who won't allow restricted or individual turnouts and every other demand which can be a flipping nightmare to accommodate. It takes planning when you DO have your own place and this year has been a nightmare. We have had to get extra soil in this year and manually fill hundreds of pot-holes a couple of ours created when we tried to get them on the land earlier in the spring. These would have dried out to a pastern-snapping nightmare. And yes, this disaster has happened to a horse which belonged to me, but it was frozen underfoot.

I'm incredibly fortunate. I have a large turnout barn and my TB lives in there in the daytime and comes to his (massive) stable at night. All my stables are huge and two have equal-sized fully accessible outdoor standing. There's the trash-paddock for a daily dice with pulled and broken legs and a dedicated sand turnout for rolling, an indoor horse-walker if the weather is truly vile and to keep the oldies moving gently but in winter, my grazing is out of bounds. And yes, it concerns me daily and hugely. Thankfully none of mine are on enforced box rest.

Until I hit on some magic formula to cover all aspects of this dilemma along with everyone else faced with these necessary restrictions I'll have to risk persecution and prosecution by the winter stabling police. I might just have mine all PTS and be done with it?

Rant over.
I don't really understand your post, because clearly you are doing a lot in providing a trash paddock, sand turnout and a barn, so your horses are not standing in their boxes except when they are being worked.

I have not really seen any posts saying that 24/7/365 turnout is essential, apart from the one specific case mentioned above regarding a rescue horse who had lived out its entire life and was unhappy entering the stable.

Personally I have 24 hour turnout available, but rarely use it, as we have cold winters and hot summers with plenty of flies and mosquitos. Mine tend to be out dawn to dusk, but sometimes the reverse in winter. If it is very cold and windy I will bring them in at lunchtime.

I do however feel that horses need the opportunity to move freely to be healthy. I would personally not keep horses if they had to stay in their box apart from being ridden, lunged or on the walker. It may be acceptable for some owners, but I just would not feel good doing it. It would also be a huge stress knowing that whatever happened each horse HAD to be exercised at least twice a day, regardless of any other emergencies.

In my opinion you are taking the views expressed in this forum to extreme. I do believe that for many (not all) horses that 24/7 turnout is ideal, particularly in a moderate climate such as the UK. It is not the only way of managing horses, but if you really want to keep them with absolutely not winter turnout then I believe that you need a tremendous amount of time and commitment to keep them mentally and physically well.

I believe that with the facilities you describe no one here would be criticising your management, so I am not really sure who you believe is putting you at risk of "persecution".
 

Upthecreek

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In an ideal world our horses would live in herds on plains ,not be shod or have saddles let alone riders on their backs. But this is hardly realistic.
Our grass is so rich that my cob can only have about 3 hours out per day. Or he will balloon. He is happy and relaxed, his weight is good , his behaviour under saddle and on the ground is relaxed and happy. He doesn't know if he's had 8 hours out on grass or 3 so I try not to stress.
If he was showing signs of stress then I'd had to consider our options.
I see lots of very fat horses living out , some with laminitis, others just extremely fat, but apparently this is better than not being turned out. 🙄 Well not in my book.
As long as we do our best for our horses physical and mental welfare, there's no reason to feel guilty for not doing as the next horse owner does.
Just chucking horses out because apparently that's the best for them isn't considering their physical welfare. And sadly I see a lot of this around here.
I don’t think anyone has suggested that turning horses out 365/24/7 without considering their individual needs and welfare issues, such as managing weight, is a good idea. It was more about the ethics of keeping horses in for months in winter without access to turnout.
 
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I do believe that for many (not all) horses that 24/7 turnout is ideal, particularly in a moderate climate such as the UK. It is not the only way of managing horses, but if you really want to keep them with absolutely not winter turnout then I believe that you need a tremendous amount of time and commitment to keep them mentally and physically well.

I believe that with the facilities you describe no one here would be criticising your management, so I am not really sure who you believe is putting you at risk of "persecution".
And there you have just said you believe welfare is compromised etc. Yes it is but thousands of horses are kept like that and sometimes it's the 'that or don't have them' thing which adds to the burden when things either go wrong or alternatives become necessary.

It wasn't to any post in particular, but covers the whole range of compromised keeping from summer turnout to winter lack thereof and that even people WITH the luxury of autonomy can't always meet this. I persecute myself enough in any case over all aspects of horse ownership.
 

windand rain

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In the cases of horses stuck inside 24/7 it is often due to owners who are so entitled they think as long as they can own a horse ride it if and when they feel like it and don't much care for whether it is a suitable way to keep a herd animal that are the issue I have seen loads of post here and on facebook where horses get no turnout or exercise because it is raining for days on end and they have months or being generous weeks of duvet days. These are the people being oblivious of welfare if it doesnt fit with them then they don't care because they can afford stable livery and to buy an unfortunate horse. Equally as bad are those that turn out horses in knee deep slurry with a round bale of hay to paddle in and 30 horses per acre because they have hay it is okay. Neither is acceptable and plenty on this thread have accepted it is not a right but a priviledge to own a horse and wouldn't do so if they could not meet the horses welfare needs of daily turnout in a dryish large space.
 

teapot

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Having re-read this thread, I also think there are three wider issues:

1) Do vets, physios, farriers, crystal wavers need to start advising on treatment plans with the horse/owner set up included? OP is clearly being made to feel bad because of a set up she may have no control over.

2) I'm not sure many owners or livery yard owners truly understand or appreciate what is required to maintain grazing professionally and the associated costs.

3) Has it become too 'easy' to own a horse and therefore people will sacrifice distance travelled, number of hours of turnout/grazing/herd time, just for the sake of having a horse they can jump on for 20mins and then shove it on Insta?
 
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Having re-read this thread, I also think there are three wider issues:

1) Do vets, physios, farriers, crystal wavers need to start advising on treatment plans with the horse/owner set up included? OP is clearly being made to feel bad because of a set up she may have no control over.

2) I'm not sure many owners or livery yard owners truly understand or appreciate what is required to maintain grazing professionally and the associated costs.

3) Has it become too 'easy' to own a horse and therefore people will sacrifice distance travelled, number of hours of turnout/grazing/herd time, just for the sake of having a horse they can jump on for 20mins and then shove it on Insta?
Got it in 3.

P.S. I am not powerless over my situation, but the added stress of meeting the airily advised conditions won't help if you have no say in anything and YO's can't or won't compromise.

Thank you for deciphering my post intent!
 

Winters100

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And there you have just said you believe welfare is compromised etc. Yes it is but thousands of horses are kept like that and sometimes it's the 'that or don't have them' thing which adds to the burden when things either go wrong or alternatives become necessary.

It wasn't to any post in particular, but covers the whole range of compromised keeping from summer turnout to winter lack thereof and that even people WITH the luxury of autonomy can't always meet this. I persecute myself enough in any case over all aspects of horse ownership.
I think you are misunderstanding me.

Yes, there is a bare minimum, below which we should not keep horses. Where this stands is different for each person, and also depends upon the type of horse, and many other factors, such as the amount of time an owner has to spend on the horse. Compromises however, such as you describe, with turnout limited, access to sand paddock and large barn etc can work very well, and are a necessary part of keeping animals. None of our horses have perfect lives, we all know that, but I do believe that we are obliged to put their wellbeing above our own enjoyment and convenience. As an example a super new yard has opened about 2 minutes from my house. Lovely boxes, 3 outdoor arenas and a huge indoor arena, I can drive there in no time or walk through the forest in about 10 minutes. I would LOVE to move there, but the turnout is in tiny paddocks with no shade, so it just won't do.

I actually do not believe the 'but animals in the wild....' argument is valid for everything. I have dogs and horses, and it is true that they do not live their lives as they would in the wild, but let's not forget that animals in the wild are not castrated, so numbers are controlled by many things that we guard against (sickness, predators, starvation etc). They would also in many cases not be as comfortable in the wild as they are as domesticated animals.

I do however believe that we have to be able to provide certain minimum conditions, because actually your comment about having them PTS is valid, although obviously not in your case. Many months ago there was a post from a lady who had 2 or 3 old horses which were stabled 24/7 for the whole winter. She had time and financial issues and was only able to take them out to handwalk for a short time each day (I think no more that 20 minutes). I can say that in all honesty, if faced with no possibility for improving their lives, I would PTS in this case. It would break my heart, and I felt very sorry for the lady, but we do not have the right to keep animals at all costs. We may love them, but they don't care about that, what they do care about is having a reasonable life.

Edited to add that I am not sure that I am making my point very well, what I am basically saying is that no one would criticise you for making the compromises that you have made, which clearly have the wellbeing of the animals in mind. What I do find hard to see is horses kept as 'toys' for the owner, and not allowed any freedoms just because it is more convenient.
 

oldie48

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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.
yes, I tried that but he fence walked constantly and turned the area into a mud bath as it was wet weather and we are on heavy clay. In desperation I gave him to my farrier who had a big barn where he could have more room to move around but he still never settled and was sadly pts.
 

PurBee

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Unless you have 5 acres per horse on fairly good ground, the northen hemisphere climate generally isnt good enough for 365 24/7 turnout. Winter months are the worst arent they?

So we all compromise and your set-up brighteyes sounds like a good one.

I wish i knew what i know now - back when i bought land. That’s the cruicial part - good, loamy/sandy soil types, well draining land.…slight slope.

My compromise was to develop a corral area and continue to make it larger and larger. So when the land is really sodden, a risk for ligament injury due to slippage or deep poaching , there’s always an area they can move, trot around on thats suitable 365.
Its great because if for some reason the fields cant be opened up due to work im doing out there, they have other exercise areas.
Their barn/sleeping bed area is open 24/7 and opens to the corral area….so they are never shut in a box…they really love that. Even the box-trained mare despises being boxed after experiencing an open-shelter arrangement.

Being on livery many of these options for owners are not in place/set-up. Many find it frustrating, understandably.


Horses are so heavy and eat so much. There’s not much land that will accomodate happily such a demanding beast…unless, as i said, there’s at least 5 acres+ per horse.

I’ve roughly figured out in a fairly good climate, that 5-10 acres per horse would be the least maintenance horse-keeping experience in terms of plenty of forage 365 - plenty of exercise for them, and enough space therefore for their weight not to ruin the grass by being on it 365.
It’s crazy high acerage per horse i do realise…..but its realistic to not have horses shut in barns for the winter and to cut-down on many weeks per year of land maintenance work, that 1-2acres per horse situations demand.

I aiming to export us all to the med…better climate, and better suited for longer season agricultural work i want to do aswell. Bit of a drastic solution but better than struggling year in, year out in an unsuitable climate.
 

ponynutz

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16 December 2018
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Actually, it can happen it just doesnt suit most people. I've had to have mine 22miles away so they can access appropriate turnout. It was expensive and no facilities, but worth it!

I now have them much closer and have no water or electric and no surfaced school which makes it a much harder slog. But they are out 24/7 on a grass track and have access to their stables as they wish. As well as tons of natural shelter, nearly ad lib hay and long, gone to seed meadow grass. Its not a cheap way to keep them, but it makes for very happy and healthy horses. Most people wont consider it as no school etc would be a deal breaker, and if you suggest that people hay their horses all year round they recoil in horror.

Interestingly the TB never goes in his stable unless I put him there. He eats his feed in there and then wants out straight away afterward. The cob would love to be in there most of the time but as theres no hay in there he has to come out and move about. He retreats back there for a nap 4 times a day like clockwork. The native sometimes joins him, sometimes joins the TB. He couldnt care less about the stable, but chooses based on who he wants to spend time with. He would stable 24/7 or live out on a bog 24/7 so long as the hay kept coming.

I often think about taking the TB to a livery yard so I can crack on a bit more, and then I look how happy he is, and decide not to.
No, no I totally agree - I think you've misunderstood me slightly. We have little turnout and live on very marshy and often wet in winter land but we've provided a sand paddock for winter in which they're turned out all day. Ours are only stabled at night, or maybe in the morning if we're waiting for vet, farrier, riding lesson etc. I totally agree that in order to be a good horse owner you must understand the welfare of the animal - and that includes constant turnout, not stabling 24/7, it's as much a necessity in my head as providing water.

However, I think some people jump to conclusions and berate people for (for example) turning out in sand paddocks not fields in the winter, whereas I think they should realise that not everyone has the facilities to provide 24/7 grass turnout and some horses have medical needs which require them to spend longer in the stable especially in the winter time. There's a sense of perfectionism throughout every vein of the equestrian world and unfortunately money, weather, and travel act as barriers to that perfect horse care.

I think it's the same argument for cats that live indoors incidentally - better for their safety given the busy roads, but cats are outdoor animals.
 

scats

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I like mine in at night in the winter, but with a decent days turnout. There will be the very odd day (usually once or twice through the whole winter) where it’s too icy to safely get them out and they stay in, but that’s rare.
In summer, our grass is far too good to have mine out 24/7. Both are muzzled overnight and in during the day with soaked hay.

Even if I had the best land in the world, I would still stable for part of the time. I can do a thorough check of them, dry legs etc and it also means they aren’t bothered if something happened and they had to have a bit of box rest.
I think livery yards need to provide alternative turnout if grass paddocks aren’t suitable in the depths of winter. Even a rubber paddock where horses can have a couple of hours to mooch, play with their mates and have a roll, would at least provide them with a chance to get out of their stable that isn’t just when they are being ridden.
 

spotty_pony

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None of mine actually like being out 24/7. In the winter they go out in the day and in at night but as winter progresses it's more like 4 hours turnout and they want the come back in. In the summer; they are out at night but in from anywhere between 8/9am until 3/5pm and seem happy with that.
 

JoannaC

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Mine are free range with free access to the barn and stables and I was really surprised at how much time they choose to be in even when they have plenty of grass so I don't think anyone needs to feel guilty about their horses spending time in their stable as long as they get daily turnout.
 

SusieT

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Your post highlights the issue- people trying to keep animals because they want to keep them, but on not enough land i.e. without the proper facilities for that animal. i.e. without space to rotate grazing, without shelter, without space to enable land to not be horse sick. That is not the animals choice. That is the human wanting something and compromising the animals welfare ie keeping it in a location convenient to the human (i.e. within travel distance to work/home whatever).
Mud fever, lack of shelter provided isn't proof that living out is incorrect, just proof that the facilites are inadequate. You have to decide if there is too much welfare compromise - which for many stabled horses who develop vices, ulcers, respiratory disease - there definitely is. Humans are simply unwilling to put the animal first.
 

laura_nash

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I’ve roughly figured out in a fairly good climate, that 5-10 acres per horse would be the least maintenance horse-keeping experience in terms of plenty of forage 365 - plenty of exercise for them, and enough space therefore for their weight not to ruin the grass by being on it 365.
It’s crazy high acerage per horse i do realise…..but its realistic to not have horses shut in barns for the winter and to cut-down on many weeks per year of land maintenance work, that 1-2acres per horse situations demand.
I actually have close to this these days (8 acres for a cob and a pony) and it doesn't quite work like that for me sadly. Miles better than being at livery of course, which was getting increasingly difficult despite great YO's as my cob has breathing difficulties when stabled even with special bedding etc, but there is masses too much grass in spring and autumn and still plenty of land management issues especially in winter (though admittedly the land and climate in West Ireland isn't ideal). We seem to be finally reaching a working solution with a small herd of rare breed cows to help eat the grass and a yard area with shelter to use during the worst wet weather. Of course it does mean yarding the cows for a bit in winter too so although I avoid poo picking and daily mucking out things get a bit intense for a couple of months there.
 

maisie06

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I am reading all these condemnations of owners with horses 'suffering' from being stabled apart from when they are being exercised in the winter.

I take it none of these horses live in clay soil areas, have a predisposition to mud-fever or cellulitis, are thin-skinned and HATE being out in all weathers and folks who are lucky enough to own their own land don't mind their summer grazing being reduced to weeds and a poached, muddy deathtrap when it dries out?

For those of us in certain areas, who own their own land and sensitive horses, it's not something we dismiss from a welfare point of view and I do have 'sacrificial paddocks' but experience tells me they don't want to be out longer than for a good buck and skid about before crying to come in.

I also want the magic formula for toughening up my horses to love the winter rain and gales, not get mud-fever or ruined feet, preserving my limited grazing throughout the year and volunteers for filling pot-holes and reseeding so the grazing is perfect for the better weather - oh and this transformation has to be an overnight accomplishment. You do realise a totally re-seeded field can't be grazed for 12 months, or the new plants get ripped out by the roots? You aren't actually allowed to let land become poached beyond repair if you are receiving any kind of grant to maintain land. I'm not, but there's also that. It also takes specialized equipment, money and exact timing to do the appropriate land maintenance.

I regularly see stressed-out posters told to 'find a livery that offers 365/24/7 turnout' (hahahaha) and the 'my horse has laminitis, please help' panics with YO's who won't allow restricted or individual turnouts and every other demand which can be a flipping nightmare to accommodate. It takes planning when you DO have your own place and this year has been a nightmare. We have had to get extra soil in this year and manually fill hundreds of pot-holes a couple of ours created when we tried to get them on the land earlier in the spring. These would have dried out to a pastern-snapping nightmare. And yes, this disaster has happened to a horse which belonged to me, but it was frozen underfoot.

I'm incredibly fortunate. I have a large turnout barn and my TB lives in there in the daytime and comes to his (massive) stable at night. All my stables are huge and two have equal-sized fully accessible outdoor standing. There's the trash-paddock for a daily dice with pulled and broken legs and a dedicated sand turnout for rolling, an indoor horse-walker if the weather is truly vile and to keep the oldies moving gently but in winter, my grazing is out of bounds. And yes, it concerns me daily and hugely. Thankfully none of mine are on enforced box rest.

Until I hit on some magic formula to cover all aspects of this dilemma along with everyone else faced with these necessary restrictions I'll have to risk persecution and prosecution by the winter stabling police. I might just have mine all PTS and be done with it?

Rant over.
I think people should do the best they can for the horse in front of them....My old welsh D refused to stay out on awful winter days, he'd charge around and scream to come in, so I left him in! The mare on the other hand HATED being in a stable, never even used the shelter in her field, it did trash the ground a bit, but hey ho she was happy.

We just don't have the land in the UK to keep horses properly, that's another reason I gave up riding and keeping horses, here in the SE all the land is going for building anyway, just heard of another 12 horse yard being sold for development, so on a personal level I wouldn't keep a horse here as I couldn't provide a decent environment of a good amount of turnout.

I love the systems they have in NZ, but they probably aren't on heavy clay and flooded for 9 months of the year!
 

PurBee

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I actually have close to this these days (8 acres for a cob and a pony) and it doesn't quite work like that for me sadly. Miles better than being at livery of course, which was getting increasingly difficult despite great YO's as my cob has breathing difficulties when stabled even with special bedding etc, but there is masses too much grass in spring and autumn and still plenty of land management issues especially in winter (though admittedly the land and climate in West Ireland isn't ideal). We seem to be finally reaching a working solution with a small herd of rare breed cows to help eat the grass and a yard area with shelter to use during the worst wet weather. Of course it does mean yarding the cows for a bit in winter too so although I avoid poo picking and daily mucking out things get a bit intense for a couple of months there.
Im west ireland too - lush grass flushes a real problem due to high rainfall levels - hence i mention a decent climate - thats key - keeps the grass growth rate steady and not flushing like mad, and winter land isnt a nightmare to deal with.
I’ve got 2 on 7 acres here, wouldnt matter if it was 27 acres, still would be a maintenance hassle, due to rainfall levels over 2m p/a so would still be boggy and slippy in winter...heck even summer can be like that 😆
Certainly helps to cross graze in northern hemisphere wetter/cooler climates due to grass flushes. I thought about dexter cows but taking on more grazing heavy-ish animals on my soil/land type would push my luck and probably add more stress.
 
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yes, I tried that but he fence walked constantly and turned the area into a mud bath as it was wet weather and we are on heavy clay. In desperation I gave him to my farrier who had a big barn where he could have more room to move around but he still never settled and was sadly pts.
I'm so very sorry to read that it didn't work out for your horse despite your best efforts.

Maybe I was luckier than I realised with mine, simply because her injury occurred during dry weather.
 

mariew

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23 February 2009
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365
I guess if you take the angle of no-one who can't provide 12 hours turnout 365 days /year shouldn't own a horse, you would probably end up with large chunks of the country being horse less, especially in heavy clay areas or places where land is scarce/expensive. And in fact probably large chunks of winter snow covered areas (Scandinavia, USA, Canada etc)

I've known plenty of horses who have wanted to come in at before dark in the winter and it would get quite hairy if you brought in after. My own never did that we'll out 24/7, she ended up too tired and didn't really enjoy it.
 

Lady Jane

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1 September 2019
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Horses at home, land on clay , share your pain. No mud fever/cellilitis etc but horses don't want to stay out all day in wet muddy fields. If I had a large turn out barn they would probably live in it 24x7 in the winter - great idea! Mine get 4-5 hours in the winter depending on weather/mud - and for horses in work I'm OK with this. I'm jealous of people on sand or chalk, its easier to give more hay in the summer, you can't dry your fields in the winter
 

I'm Dun

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I guess if you take the angle of no-one who can't provide 12 hours turnout 365 days /year shouldn't own a horse, you would probably end up with large chunks of the country being horse less, especially in heavy clay areas or places where land is scarce/expensive. And in fact probably large chunks of winter snow covered areas (Scandinavia, USA, Canada etc)

I've known plenty of horses who have wanted to come in at before dark in the winter and it would get quite hairy if you brought in after. My own never did that we'll out 24/7, she ended up too tired and didn't really enjoy it.
Thats only if people dont look for alternatives. Horses dont need acres of lush pasture. Its not good for them. Mine are on a track, 3 of them 14.1hh, 14.3hh and 16.1hh I only have 2.75 acres. 1 acre is my schooling/jumping area and horses dont have access to this, and 1.5 acres is meadow grass grown as standing hay. The rest is the track and stables. Part of my track is surfaced and I have a big gravel area, and another area being done before winter.

They have access to the track and strip grazed into the foggage as much as possible. When its horrendous they have access to the surfaced bit of the track and a third of an acre that is surfaced and the strip of foggage.

There has been minimal costs involved. If I wanted to run it as a business then I could surface the whole track ad have no issues when its wet.

Thats just one way, others have barns or all weather turnout pens.
 

meleeka

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14 September 2001
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I can’t imagine any horse choosing to be shut in a stable 24/7. If anyone thinks they would, try leaving the door open and see what happens.

I think compromise is fine. I don’t think anyone thinks that stabling for part of the time is wrong, I hope not anyway as it suits the majority of horses in work and on yards.

Most of mine are natives so I’d find it impossible to keep them on a normal yard. They just don’t need the grass and I’d probably have to stable them for the majority of the time during the summer months, which I wouldn’t be prepared to do.
 

MuddyMonster

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22 September 2015
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Generally, I think most people just do what they can with what they have.

Having a native with metabolic stuff and on 365/24/7 turnout is hard to balance.

He seems geniunely happy with his routine and he lived semi-wild in his early life, so has all his 'wild pony instinct' intact.
 
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PurBee

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23 November 2019
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Horses at home, land on clay , share your pain. No mud fever/cellilitis etc but horses don't want to stay out all day in wet muddy fields. If I had a large turn out barn they would probably live in it 24x7 in the winter - great idea! Mine get 4-5 hours in the winter depending on weather/mud - and for horses in work I'm OK with this. I'm jealous of people on sand or chalk, its easier to give more hay in the summer, you can't dry your fields in the winter
Mine have free choice to go out graze, stay in barn, loaf under trees on hardstanding…all different options, different food/shelter/footing options - i agree, in winter they have a poodle around in the fields and they return themselves after a while. I can understand horses in winter in a square paddock of mud with no grass wanting to come in early, but even when there’s other interesting things to graze for, routes to go, they can be lazy and want to just be in and fed by us!

….if we’re supplying lovely mixed forage hay and in winter especially they arent interested much in picking around the fields/hedges for bits - they’ll come in and yell at me for food! They really can be cheeky lazy!
 

lynz88

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4 July 2012
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137
None of mine actually like being out 24/7. In the winter they go out in the day and in at night but as winter progresses it's more like 4 hours turnout and they want the come back in. In the summer; they are out at night but in from anywhere between 8/9am until 3/5pm and seem happy with that.
Mine doesn't like the winter here and would rather be in during the winter than out. That said, he also didn't like the bitterly cold winters back home but would still happily go outside. I suspect that it is the difference between -20 and snow and -2 and rain/mud. Come spring, summer, and fall though, he would MUCH prefer to be outside for the longest amount of time possible - so much so that he throws a bit of a fit if he isn't brought outside in the morning. As much as I would like him outside 24/7 which would probably be better for his arthritis, it's not possible - he can do it in the summer (though I prefer him to be inside at night just in case) but he loses weight in the winter and just looks miserable. He also won't sleep outside in the winter months. Frankly, as long as he's happy then I'm happy....whatever the routine may be that suits him.
 

Tarragon

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31 January 2018
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I have just read the whole thread.
I have a feeling that underlying this all is an understandable reaction to the very small group of horse owners to whom the mantra "out 24/7/365" overrides everything. They can be a very vocal group, in a evangelical sort of way, and can be very dismissive of anyone who stables their horses for whatever reason. Similar equally vocal small groups are evangelical about other aspects of horse ownership, such as being bitless, keeping horses barefoot or never using a whip etc. etc.
As most of the posts above testify, there are many different ways of keeping healthy and happy horses which isn't 24/7/365, barefoot and bitless!
I had a barefoot trimmer who, on his first visit, said that I should look at ways to only use rainwater for the ponies drinking water and the best sort of grazing would be long coarse grass. I stood there, looking over the close cropped green turf of the working sheep farm they livery on, and thought - well, that is not going to happen! So, despite the fact that the ponies lived out 24/7 on good grazing land, were a good weight, were healthy and had good strong feet, I was made to feel I wasn't doing enough ...
 

windand rain

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25 November 2012
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Don't think it shows as being evangelical on this thread at all its well known that horses living out are healthier but most people on this thread have qualified their beliefs by saying when possible and are not anti stabling just anti horses being shut in for days weeks and months with no turnout inappropriate exercise and no herd interaction even if only over a fence or wall. It is a huge welfare issue if anything this thread has shown people trying to justify cruelty
 
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