Define - Roughing off

Claireg9

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Someone i know is keeping a horse down a yard at the moment, It is only young and was recently cut, but the owner thinks it will benefit from roughing off!
What would you class as roughing off?
And is there a fine line between roughing off and neglect?
Some people have complained that the horses feet need trimming and the horse has bites all over him from flies, there is also minor cuts bumps and scraps from playfull behaviour. Due to recent hot weather flies are getting in them and are all over the horses face.
The horse is never checked over and is never seen, but water is kept topped up by other horse owners in the field.
The owner says if she keeps brining it in to groom, fly spray etc etc it is not roughing off and will not receive the benefits of roughing off a youngster.
Opinions please.. i can see arguments from both sides.
 

miamibear

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I have no experience with youngsters but my opinion on it is if i was starting a youngster i would want to handle and continue to handle it from being a foal. Surely horses learn from day 1 and dont stop learning and surely it would be easier than leaving it untouched in a field then having to start again?

At the very least for the horses care i would have expected them to care for its needs, i.e making sure its not in pain, discomfort and trimmed every so often.

Looking forward to explinations on this one!
 

Rambo

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Hmmm ! That sounds like neglect to me....Horses benefit from human interaction, and a good groom every day and a check over wouldn't go amiss at least. Feet should definitely be kept trimmed too
 

baybeejay01

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Surely roughing off is bringing a horse down gradually from being in hard, fit condition to a softer, less fit state and able to live out for longer periods? Not bringing him in and handling him is, therefore not roughing off - it is sheer laziness and possibly neglect (not checking him etc.)
 

Maesfen

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That sounds like a very lazy groom's way of roughing off!

When talking of roughing off, you are usually talking about older horses that have done a season's hard work whether it be hunting, racing, polo, jumping, showing, whatever; you are not talking about a youngster. A youngster might be in need of 'turning away' to give it more time to mature, recover from gelding even, but not roughing off. I might be old fashioned in that I strongly believe all older horses should be turned away and roughed off for at least one whole month a year or more if at all possible; it enables them to let their hair down, recharge their batteries and be able to be a real horse for a change as opposed to being kept like a battery hen, in all day (or only turned out for very short periods at a time) fed and worked. Yes, it's physical needs are being met but what about its mental needs, people forget horses need playtime too.

The correct definition from experience of roughing off is to stop all grooming to allow grease to build up in the coat, worm, remove shoes and trim, slowly take rugs off, one at a time over a period of a week at the very least between each rug; cut feed down to a bare handful but increase hay/haylage; increase turnout daily, using a rug if necessary but keeping it as light as possible until you can eventually leave horse out for 24 hours. For the first week of 24 hr turnout I would lightly rug at night, pick a nice fair day and leave rug off altogether. You have to play this by ear for a few days, if horse is cold put it back on but they usually are pleased to be rid of them themselves. Once horse is turned out 24/7 it should have twice daily checks; if you think it is losing condition then feed it but if your grass is good enough you shouldn't have to; feet should still be trimmed every 6 weeks or so. Turning away is the same except you don't have all the rigmarole with rugs, just increased turnout, feed if necessary, and checked daily as above.

Afraid to say, your girl sounds like a slut of a groom to me. There is no excuse for neglect even if a horse is turned away for a few months.
 

pixie

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I thought that horses are usually roughed off sometimes after they are backed, often if for some reason they can't be ridden for a while. Before backing they really need consistant handling every day. Personally I wouldn't rough off at any stage in its early training, even after backing. However even if they are roughed off they still need to be checked on, preferably on a daily basis, in case they injure themselves.
 

chestnut cob

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Totally agree. Mine was roughed off for 2 months this year because I worked away and I will now be giving him a holiday every year for a month. He came back a totally different horse, chilled out but more inclined to work, and generally a nicer horse. He really seemed to grow up in those 2 months, odd as it might sound.

I had his shoes taken off, saw him most weekends but didn't do anything really with him. I did bring him up for a quick groom occasionally but TBH I just wanted to leave him to it. (mine is 10 BTW)

Having read the other posts, I've ETS: I didn't have his feet trimmed but did check them. And he had human interaction as the YO checked him every day (I was working 200 miles away!!). Mine was definitley not neglected.
 

SpruceRI

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I normally rough my mare off for a while in the winter to give her a break after competing all year: Have her shoes taken off, put her out to winter grass (with hay and hard feed of course), check her over twice a day as normal but don't fuss over her with too much grooming etc. Maximum time is 2 months off, so she gets shod again after about 6 weeks. she grows a lovely coat, gets all plump and relaxed and goes soppy! When I bring her back into work we do it slow, and she comes back with a real sparkle in her eye and raring to go.
 
L

lilym

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my yearling is "roughed off" but she still comes in to have feet picked out and be handled, or she would be a complete shite!! basically she has been let down from showing, which is essential to her physical and mental wellbeing, she is out 24/7 and recieveing only a handful of hard feed and a vit/min supplement, she has turned into a hairy, monster!! my uncle used to have polo ponies roughed off onto his land, these were chucked out unshod and unrugged (the field has huge thick high hedges) and within weeks they grew manes and fantastic winter coats and thrived on the grass and supplementry hay all winter, they were rounded up every 8 weeks for foot trim and wormer.
 

Claireg9

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Sounds like you all agree with what i would class as roughing off... The feet trimmed part maybe an overexaggeration by someone else on the yard as its only been out in the field for a month and she has no idea when the horse last had feet trimmed they may look rough but with no shoes on and such hard ground this could be an explernation!
The fly bites and cuts bothered me most but i guess some of you answered this through saying you wouldnt groom them really if they were left to rough off, so her biggest wrong doing is probably no one checking the horsey over, as he always has food and water. nice to hear all your opinions on this though, as i said i can see points from both sides and some take roughing off to a bigger extreme than others.. i.e. in Ireland they often chuck them in a field for 6 months and dont check them once, its not how id look after my horse but still each to there own so long as the horse is not suffering. I will try to encourage her to get either her self or one of her friends to check him at least once a day though, seems only fair to the poor chap.
Thanks guys x
 
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