living out for winter 24/7

thinlizzy

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due to pending divorce my horse was kept in nights last year but due to divorce and finances ive decided cheaper and less work option is to turn out this year i will have to move yards ( but will save me time as a single parent and money , i just feel bad about it lovely yard , ple and horse s but you have to bring it at night during winter and money wise and going to yard twice a day i just cant even if i buddy up with another owner the yard gets cut off and you have to walk a good ten minute walk either way after driving and getting stuck,i just cant face it spendin winter and scraping money goinbg up and down getting stuck stressed and worried about getting there and back just thought its just too much just feel guilty sure if i find the right field with hay fencing, etc hell be fine last year was only year he came in but still feel guilty any one else doing this this year and have you done this in the past thanks in advance
 

tallyho!

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Sounds stressful... I'm sure he would be fine out 24/7 as lots of horses manage to survive our harsh winters somehow.
 
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teddyt

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With appropriate feeding and appropriate rugging and shelter i believe pretty much every horse can live out.
 

Randonneuse

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My pony has managed to survive the very cold winters in France all his life (ohhh I'm a bad owner!) with no rugs until I had him brought to the UK a bit more than a year ago (he still hasn't worn a rug here!)
He is now 17, in perfect health and grows a nice thick coat in the Winter :-D

I think most people over here think horses would melt in the rain and turn into ice cubes in the cold...we don't do rugs where I come from (Center of France) and most horses live 24/7 out all year around!!!

For info, he is a Haflinger x anglo arab.
 

Ellies_mum2

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I am sure he will be fine living out. Ours live out all year round, some are rugged in the Winter but most aren't. We feed ad lib hay and the ones that need it are brought in once a day for a hard feed. We have everything from yearlings to 20 year olds.
 

Wagtail

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So long as he has plenty of hay, shelter, water regularly checked and very importantly, company, he should be fine.
 

ISHmad

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Ours all live out 24/7 including during the last two severe winters. They have hay in their bellies, water, rugs and plenty of natural shelter and all do fine.
 

babymare

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hun he is a horse and if neeeded he has a decent rug he wwill be damn fine and damn blooming happy to - ok dont rush to rug if ness use rain sheet till gets cold if TB type - but as said its the feed - plenty of hay if out 24/7 but please hun he will cope and prob happier to :) i so wish for 24/7 turn out in winter lol
 

suzysparkle

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Well, my own ISH has lived out quite happily for the last few years. In winter he has a mix of a blanket / trace clip (blanket in front and trace behind). He wears a heavy combo rug and has access to a field shelter plus loads of hay. I only feed a balancer and he has always been just fine. He's never dropped weight and rarely uses the shelter. I live in North Scotland, and high up on a hill. It's not uncommon for him to be out in 3 feet of snow (so yes, over his knees) for weeks at a time in well below zero temps. He loves the snow. Personally I think they are better out as they can move about! The other Horses / Ponies also live out. A mixture including purebred Arabs and two Ponies in their 20's. All are just fine providing you keep feeding hay and providing water.
 

ColandMe

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Mine have always lived out, a Clydesdale, a Warmblood, an Irish Draught and a little cobby type. Now I just have the Clydey and little cob left :( and we are at a new place, they have their own little wood for shelter, as much haylage and feed as they need and 1 will be naked, 1 will have a rug.
 

Apercrumbie

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Invest in some decent rugs and make sure you have plenty of hay for the whole winter. If/when it snows, don't panic - just make sure he has more hay than normal and get water to him somehow. Most horses are happier when out so it'll do him and your bank balance a lot of good. And remember: a bit of rain won't kill him :p
 

Gucci_b

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I agree with the others that have posted on here. I also think horses could be happier living out, walking around than in a stable standing still looking fed up. As long as you give plenty of hay and good shelter with good rugs on (if needed) I can't see the harm, just have a stable on stand by :)
 

TJP

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I have some that live out all winter, some with rugs, some without. Hay or haylage ad lib and plenty of water and rug if required. The ones I wintered out last year all kept their weight and were, in my opinion, happier than they would have been if they had stood in. It also stops the drama of galloping, bucking horses on wet/slippy or frosty ground when they get turnout if they are stabled.
 
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Hi Lizzy,

Our Melody is 7/8ths TB and 1/8 Irish Draught. She used to be stabled at night since we bought her as an 18 month old. She is now 15 and the last 2 winters she has been out 24/7 since we lost our other horse Poppy. She has a field shelter, plenty of rugs of different weights so we can ensure she is warm enough, is fed and watered twice a day and in summer her grazing is strip grazed so she doesn't over-eat. She is fitter than she ever was when stabled, and she recently had an ovary removed and the vet said she recovered well cos she was fit from being constantly on the move before the op. It' not normal for a horse to stand still in a stable really as they are grazers and should be constantly on the move as they would be in the wild. So long as your horse has access to hay, water, shelter and someone feeds him, he should be fine. Could you do someone a favour by feeding their horse in the morning and then they could feed yours in the evening perhaps ???? Good luck - hope it works for you too..........
 

w1bbler

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Bought a horse last August that was stabled pretty much 24/7 - couple of hours turn out each day in a menage.
He is now out 24/7 & seems much happier / calmer - did make sure he had plenty of warm rugs, but he has adapted quickly & even managed to put weight on over winter!! despite the sub zero temps.
Your horse should be fine & like others have said, possibly happier as he can spend more of his day just being a horse with others.
 

chestnutmarelover

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Mine always came in at night in winter but last year, due to a car accident i'd had so couldn't muck out etc, they wintered out with 2 others in a 15 acre field. My mare had always suffered bad mud fever & hated the rain but she did fantastically, not a single spot of mud fever, kept her weight on & stayed alot fitter than I thought she would. Had shoes removed as well so her feet were in good condition with no nail holes :) Will definately be repeating again this year if same grazing available. You save sooooo much money not buying bedding etc
 

henryhorn

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We have thirty plus living out here 24/7 and they cope fine.
You need to ensure they have access to haylage or hay 24/7 fed out of the wind.
Keep several spare rugs and it it's really cold be prepared to add a thin rug under the outer one. We alternate rugs with necks with those with half necks if possible or they get thinning of their manes where the neck rubs a little with movement.
Ideally a shelter is best but even TB's cope perfectly well provided their main body is kept dry. You also need to be prepared for snow making getting there difficult, if you feed large round bales although you will get some wastage at least you know your horse can survive deep snow if you can't get to it.
I would search for a field with good drainage, plenty of shelter such as trees/hedges if you can't find one with a field shelter, and stop worrying, horses were evolved to live outside, it's us that turn them into softies !
 

Lil Ferg

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With appropriate feeding and appropriate rugging and shelter i believe pretty much every horse can live out.
Agree with this, horses are meant to outside. I know it's not possible for everyone to be able to do this for their horse (not enough land, muddy fields etc) but it's better for them as long as they have plenty of forage, shelter and a rug if necessary.
 

domane

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My 14yo TB (ex-P2P) lived out for the first winter last year (boy, did I pick one for his first!! :D) and he positively THRIVED because of it. Previous winters of coming in ovenight had him dropping weight despite massive overnight haynets but last year in just a full-neck MW he did brilliantly and kept his weight on. Don't panic or worry, horses can surprise you :)
 

thinlizzy

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hes five , apart from last winter hes wintered out all his life , hes barefoot anyway so saved money there just weve been on a yard for over a year and its well .... nice but cant affor d winter there and they sadly dont do winter turnout 24/7 first year i had him he was out i just rugged up at xmas when it hit freezing temps and fed once a day , and instead of mucking out every day etc i had more time with my horse to ride, talk and mess on with so im going to look for the right place when kids go back to school i just have to remember, its the difference of keeping him or selling him i have another one which is out on loan and im afraid if that one gets handed back in winter i will have to se4ll both of them quick im just going to think positive and start looking
 

ladydoone

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Me and my friend rent a field between us. I have a cob she has a sports horse. We have 12 shetlands and 2 sections a's between us as well.

All these horses live out 24/7 and have done for the past 3 years. Good rugs and plenty of feed/hay. :)
 

Victoria25

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Don’t stress out over it - they will be fine :D

My arab is out 24/7 obviously rugged up to the eyeballs in winter/colder times but she HATES HATES HATES being in and the only time she is happy being in is summer! :rolleyes:

She does get ‘locked’ in when its snowy during the night but even then she bangs demanding to be let out! :)
 

posie_honey

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Ours all live out 24/7 including during the last two severe winters. They have hay in their bellies, water, rugs and plenty of natural shelter and all do fine.
exactly this - and one of the herd is prob close to 40 and copes just fine
in fact - she's prob far better out walking about than cooped up standing still half the time
 

ischa

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Mine live out a I have 3 very young friesians 2yrs
And 1. 3 yr
All live out fine with rugs , feed and hay
Also my friends fine tb lived out for a while same things rug , food etc in snowy winters and coped fine
 

Rose Folly

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He'll be fine. Ours live out 24/7 and have done for the last 19 years.

BUT. because your horse is out doesn't mean less visits. You, or someone, must still see to him twice a day. I say this from the heart because I have liveries at my home. I went out late one night in the spring, to find the old TB unable to move. He had broken his femur, and was subsequently put to sleep. Now I'd gone to do a last check at midnight, and I'm not suggesting that's realistic for everybody. But his owner is a once a day lady (by arrangement and with my blessing). Just imagine if someone isn't there to do at least a 12-hour check. He could have been standing there until 3.30pm the net day, the time she normally comes.

The only advantage that I can see of stabling over 24/7 turnout is that there are likely to be more visits (or more people around if it's a yard).

But so far as your horse is concerned, so long as he has company, good rugs, good hay/haylage, ice-free wter at all times and ideally somewhere to shelter, he'll do fine.
 

Wagtail

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He'll be fine. Ours live out 24/7 and have done for the last 19 years.

BUT. because your horse is out doesn't mean less visits. You, or someone, must still see to him twice a day. I say this from the heart because I have liveries at my home. I went out late one night in the spring, to find the old TB unable to move. He had broken his femur, and was subsequently put to sleep. Now I'd gone to do a last check at midnight, and I'm not suggesting that's realistic for everybody. But his owner is a once a day lady (by arrangement and with my blessing). Just imagine if someone isn't there to do at least a 12-hour check. He could have been standing there until 3.30pm the net day, the time she normally comes.

The only advantage that I can see of stabling over 24/7 turnout is that there are likely to be more visits (or more people around if it's a yard).

But so far as your horse is concerned, so long as he has company, good rugs, good hay/haylage, ice-free wter at all times and ideally somewhere to shelter, he'll do fine.
Excellent points. I was thinking the same regarding the visits. You still have to check at least twice a day. :)
 

posie_honey

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agree with checked twice a day too - even more in winter if the water is frozen (this winter we had weeks where the temp did not come above -1 - the stream froze and the deer used our water so it was dissappearing v quickly! so we were checking on field a good 3 if not 4 times a day)

luckily i share my field with 2 other people - i go up twice a day - another one goes up at least once a day - and the third goes up about every 2 days - so there's 3 or 4 visits a day at least :)
 

scarymare

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As others have said he'll be fine. Mine lived out last 2 winters and one day it went down to -23 and never got above -10 at lunchtime. Lost alot of plants but no horses! Trick is to feed, feed, feed. Mine had adlib haylage and were going through 3 big bales a week (for 7). Also because one was a foal and one a yearling these weren't rugged (too dangerous) and neither was the broodmare. They do however have shelter. This year's foal was very late and is very fine so suspect her and her colicky mum will have to be in but really, out of choice would always winter out.
 

Luci07

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Agree with the checks twice a day - our grass liveries get looked at twice and I glance over them when walking my dogs round the fields too before I ride my horses

Just to stand up in defense of those who seem to think that stabling is not a great option for horses - some just won't live out and unfortunately I speak from experience. I have an older mare (22) who is very definate about how long she is out. I am not being a bunny hugger as have had others who have been turned away and did well on it. Believe me, if I could turn my mare away I would, as it is I am paying part livery for her as well!.

When my other horse came back to unexpectedly and I chose to have him out, I deliberately let him get fatter in August (he was a TB x prob WB). I did invest in very good quality heavy rugs (Fal) for the very coldest but put off rugging him till he had a good coat on. Did have to give him a very low trace clip as managed to grow so much coat it was impossible to work him! He was checked twice a day, ad lib hay and 1 hard feed and came out after a pretty nasty winter looking very very well. My yard even used to have a 27 year old TB who would winter out and he did very well too. We don't have shelters for the grass liveries but natural hedges but only seen 1 horse who didn't winter out well. Now I know him better he is a naturally stressy type who doesn't like being out a lot but everything else has done brilliantly. Yard also places a lot of emphasis on moving rugs twice a day to avoid any rubbing and to check what is going on underneath - a horse can drop a lot of weight very very quickly if something is not right.
 

Ella19

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I have it really good mine is out on full grass livery which means,she is checked and fed for me. I still go up but if I can't I don't have to stress! She's normally fully clipped and out 24/7. I agree that good forage and rugs are essential, having moved last winter to a yard that provides good forage indie needed half the rugs than previously and came out of winter fat!
 
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