How do horses that have always lived out, cope with being stabled?

Equi

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It depends on the horse yes but a lot also depends on the stables. My old lad was a bit of a prat during the first few weeks of winter stables until he got hungry enough to know that’s where the food was. In summer he was dangerous to attempt to stable. At the new yard I stressed for days before moving thinking if he gets on like he normally does I’ll not be able to stay but he walked in like a dream and instantly handled the routine and could be left alone, brought in at any time and just loved his stable. The only difference was that the stables at the old yard were normal old outside blocks where the only time he could see anyone was over the door and the new stables were American barn style and he could always see/touch everyone near him.

New lad wasn’t used to being stabled much but I still saw him in the stable totally alone and he was fine and when he came home he was totally fine with the new routine. Again I think the fact my stables allow so much interaction with the other horses helps.
 

Cortez

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Really, in my case it's a non-negotiable; my horses are working horses. I cannot have a horse that doesn't settle being stabled. In all the years and 100's of horses I've had there hasn't been one that didn't, and only one that wasn't content, he just tolerated it. I have met people with horses that were unhappy in, but usually that was down to a failure of the owner to acclimate their horses, or to manage their turn out, feed and exercise appropriately.
 

Caol Ila

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My horse had not lived in a stable. There were stables at his old yard, but the owner just used them for tacking up, etc,, so he'd been inside them, but not for longer than an hour or so at a time.

When I got him to my yard, they were on their overnight turnout routine. That was a good transition period, as he was only stabled for a few hours each day. Didn't seem to be a problem for him. He got tricky for the yard staff to catch, but it was unlikely to be the stable because myself, OH, and other liveries didn't have any trouble. And he was going there no matter who caught him. In December, they changed to their winter routine, which is out from 0900-1500, and in all night. I will admit that I was a little worried -- would he become difficult for me and OH to catch? Would he stress in the stable? Wiould he become tricky to ride? He was absolutely fine. No bother.
 

palo1

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I think if you take on a horse that you can't guarantee it's living conditions for the rest of it's natural life (not sure who can do that tbh) then any owner who has a stable available probably should try to acclimatise their horse to being stabled and almost any horse can do that given time and the right approach. It is pretty important for any horse to be able to cope, to give them the best chance of healing an injury or illness with a period of box rest, for example or as you are discovering, to find a suitable new home. Our horses are not routinely stabled but every single one of them is acclimatised to that environment - it may not be your choice of management on a daily basis or long term but it is part of modern life for a horse so best to build in that expectation and 'training' if at all possible. It can be a real deal-breaker for some veterinary situations and for some people when buying a horse.
 

Miss_Millie

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I went to see her today and she was a good hand smaller than advertised, so that was a deal-breaker from the start. She was a lovely little mare, in much need of some TLC. If I was minted I would have brought her home in a heartbeat, she was a real sweetheart. I think she would have been fine stabled but she was definitely too small for me sadly.
 

Miss_Millie

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I’d say ‘better luck next time’ but it sounds so callous. Sympathy like from me instead. Horse buying is a nightmare.
Thank you! It's hard isn't it, there weren't any photos of her ridden so I just took their word for it on the height. She was a lovely little mare, if I had all the money in the world I would have taken her just to show her some love, she had great potential but was much too small for me.
 

Caol Ila

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Ugh, that sucks. I looked at an unbacked rising 5 Highland, advertised as 14hh. It was 14hh like I'm a 6'10 basketball player. When you're looking at a horse, trying to visualize yourself riding it, and it just seems tiny, you have to walk away.
 

J&S

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Ha! Miss_Millie! Nothing has changed! When I was looking for my first horse purchase as an adult, 40 years ago, The majority I went to see were not the advertised age, height or even the colour described!
I hope you find the right one for you soon.
 

bonnysmum

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Up to tummies in mud is an unacceptable way to keep any horse, but my experience is the direct opposite of yours. Most horses prefer to be out, especially oldies that struggle with arthritis, and it is most certainly not easier for owners to 'throw them out 24/7'
I think studies have been done giving horses free access to stables 24/7. The times they chose to use them were almost the polar opposite of human expectations!

My Welshie loathes being stabled, even for a few minutes. She just about tolerates it for long enough to get her tea in the winter. God knows how she'd react if she was shut in all night. She does have open access whenever she decides she wants it though.
 

bonnysmum

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Well, i got them in the barn, with hay, both fine, went to shut 1 door, and she shot out of there at lightning speed! She knew i was going to close them in, and very boldly said “no way!”
The other one was fine with the door closing but sauntered out after her, wondering what was wrong with her….she’s the leader.
I didn’t bother forcing the issue as it was dark, the night of the storm and didnt want them having stabling associations with stress, i’d assumed there would be no stabling issue too due to her history, so let them be free and turned off the electric fencing, while the storm surged. I was up most the night checking on them, they were fine, sometimes under trees, sometimes in the stable sheltering. Large branches came down into the yard. Stuff blown everywhere. They were very chilled-out considering the manic weather. That surprised me. I realised they prefer to fully see whats going on than just hear the crazy wind throwing stuff about from the confines of the stable, not knowing what was happening all around outside.
In fact, 100% this!
 

bouncing_ball

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I think studies have been done giving horses free access to stables 24/7. The times they chose to use them were almost the polar opposite of human expectations!

My Welshie loathes being stabled, even for a few minutes. She just about tolerates it for long enough to get her tea in the winter. God knows how she'd react if she was shut in all night. She does have open access whenever she decides she wants it though.
I think all horses are different. I’m on a large yard, most horses go out in groups of six to decent fields with little mud.

Some love going out whatever the weather, others prefer to be in if it’s cold or wet. All have DIFFERENT preferences.
 
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