Switching to in during the day in the summer?

tatty_v

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I’ve potentially got a new livery joining me and she’s asked if we can switch to out at night, in during the day for the summer months. I’ve never done this before as my horse requires turnout company and up until now I’ve always been reliant on someone else’s horse for that, and they’ve always done out in the day and in at night all year round. If my Shetland companion plans works out I won’t have to acquiesce on this, but I know she’d like her boy to have turnout company so I’m considering it.

The main thoughts I have are:

  • I normally ride my boy first thing in the morning so he’s fresh, both from a good overnight sleep and not bloated from a day at grass.
  • It seems slightly unfair to me to allocate the day as his sleeping time off the grass and then go out to lessons/compete etc during it?
  • My boy is 20 and as far as I can tell loves a good long sleep on a huge straw bed overnight. I’m worried that he’ll sleep less in the day and get tired. He’s never been a lie down in the field kind of chap.
  • The main cited benefits seem to be fewer flies (not an issue here as there aren’t many and my boy wears a fly rug anyway), not as hot and you can have a lie in (irrelevant to me as I have a toddler who’s up at 7am every day anyway!)
  • My boy is a typical native and grazes pretty constantly when out. Out 8-6 and in for the rest has managed his weight well for the last 5 years. I’m worried if he gorges all night he could get fat/colic/laminitis.
  • We are a small yard of three. The horses at the neighbouring yards are all out in the day all year round.
I’m also conscious that as we are establishing a new herd, having them out in the day means I can watch their behaviours and identify any problems (horses are kept at home so I can see them from the house). In the past I’ve spotted my old livery’s gelding being bullied and cornered by a new addition and stabled him for his safety. I also spotted it when he colicked in the field. On both occasions if those things had happened overnight I would have woken up to a badly injured horse and not been able to get to him as quickly as I did with the colic. (Stables are next to house so I do also hear any problems in those to be fair).

All this is making me think that maybe I should just carry on with the routine that’s worked for me for the past 5 years (and the whole point of the addition of the shetland is to finally allow me to do my own thing!) but I would just appreciate some good old HHO wisdom. Am I over thinking this?! How many others do the out at night over the summer thing and are there benefits I’m missing?
 

milliepops

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Other than the ones that live out, I've always swapped round to overnight turnout for summer. I've often done it later than others because I like them to get some sunshine so I've been on yards that allow it from March,but I've kept mine on winter routine until the days heat up in may ,for instance .

Mine are out overnight at the moment. They sleep during the day , the TB especially is often flat out for much of the day 🤣 I think they are quite happy this way round and I prefer not to need fly rugs as they wear rugs all winter and I think it's nice for them to have a break from them.

I don't feel bad about taking them out and about during the day, actually the opposite because I'm not taking away from their turnout time.
 

be positive

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Other than the ones that live out, I've always swapped round to overnight turnout for summer. I've often done it later than others because I like them to get some sunshine so I've been on yards that allow it from March,but I've kept mine on winter routine until the days heat up in may ,for instance .

Mine are out overnight at the moment. They sleep during the day , the TB especially is often flat out for much of the day 🤣 I think they are quite happy this way round and I prefer not to need fly rugs as they wear rugs all winter and I think it's nice for them to have a break from them.

I don't feel bad about taking them out and about during the day, actually the opposite because I'm not taking away from their turnout time.
I am the same, mine do not always come in during the day but generally the ones that compete have and if there is an early start they may well have a night in so they are bathed and ready in the morning.

They are not as hot out over night so fine to ride straight from the field first thing without losing time grazing.

Mine have been out at night since the weather improved mid March and will stay out until as late as possible, the savings in time, bedding and hay over the period is significant and I think the benefits for the horses moving about for longer should not be forgotten, especially older ones that can get stiff, having said all that you need to do what works for you but in my experience there are far more positives than negatives.
 

HashRouge

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Mine are out all the time but if I was going to have them in it would probably be during the day in the summer, as they'd have longer turnout time overnight. I also think it's nice not to eat into their turnout time with riding/ clinics/ competitions etc. I know you worry about eating into his sleeping time, but horses only need about 2-3 hours a day REM sleep so he won't be spending all night lying down and would still have plenty of time for a good sleep if you rode him then left him in for the rest of the day.

That said, you have a routine that both you and the horse are happy with. I don't think you should change it just to satisfy someone else.
 

Midlifecrisis

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I like overnight turnout in the summer as ponies sleep and don’t eat all of the time , fewer flies etc but I haven’t swopped to overnight yet though as we still have time slots at the yard and I think I ll wait until Scotland S Covid19 rules are relaxed a little.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Our stables are mostly wooden and get too hot during the day to want to have horses in for any length of time, so that would be one consideration. However I wouldn't change my routine that works well for a livery, anyway
 

Myloubylou

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I have natives so I muzzle & have them out at night. They are waiting by the gate to come in, they are not bloated. They always have shaving on them so they lie down during day. It is convenient for me, quick to skip out and cheaper bedding & forage plus I like to have them in out of hot sun for most of the day. They are on this routine may to the end of Oct then switch
 

DabDab

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I always switch to overnight turnout too. I also ride at least one first thing and I find they are actually really nice to ride having just come in - they are already loose and semi warmed up, and nice and chilled out.

Mine sleep for large parts of the day indoors, and seem to be happier snoozing in their cool stables away from the flies than trying to hide away from the heat in the field. They certainly have plenty of energy to zoom about in the field when they are put back out in the evening.

But it's your yard and it's up to you. Routine is important psychologically for you as well as for the horse, so don't feel pushed to do something you're not comfortable with.
 

tatty_v

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Thank you everyone. It makes me feel better to hear how many people do this with no ill effects. I think rationally I knew that, it’s just there’s been so much unexpected change at the moment (losing my horse’s companion, getting a temporary companion, arranging to get a Shetland, thinking about a new livery etc) that I just feel a bit all over the place and my routine is the one thing that is giving me consistency! I’ll mull it over as we don’t need to make an immediate decision. If the Shetland and my boy get on just fine then I might just stick to them and no one else, I’ve got the facilities to do that and at least I’d be my own master!
 

Gloi

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I prefer out at night in the summer then they are out of the sun and flies in the heat of the day.
 

Honey08

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Mine go out at night in summer too. We have wooden stables too, but have skylights covered up in summer and chains instead of doors, which seems to be ok 90% of the time. We’ve got a misting system about to be installed this year for really hot days.
I don’t swop over until the horse flies come out, so usually mid June. I often go to work in the middle of the night, and the horses are often asleep in the field at 3am. I like that there are less sugars in the grass overnight. I also like that they’re around on the yard if you want to bath them or anything. One of mine likes to lie down for an hour immediately after his breakfast, so I wouldn’t ride straight away, but I like that my riding time doesn’t cut into their “horse time” in the field.
 

Pinkvboots

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Mine are out most of the time but come in for a few hours especially in the heat, I often bring in then let them munch hay for half hour then ride doesn't do them any harm, they then have a sleep and a bit more hay then back out.
 

millitiger

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Always swapped mine over like this and always worked well- they definitely appreciate being in out of the flies and heat
mine lie down a LOT when in, regardless of day or night.
I don’t find it makes any difference to energy levels ridden and I always ride first thing in the morning at home, they also have the same energy at events.
 

skint1

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I don't think you should feel like you have to do it if it doesn't suit you, but I am another one who switches round to in during day in the summer. My boy has laminitis and the farmer is not a fan of strip grazing or pens anymore so it was the only way I could ensure his quality of life. Other liveries began to follow suit and now there's 6 or 7 horses regularly in during the day through the summer. My new horse seem to adapt well to this routine, she's not a laminitis risk but it gets her away from the heat and flies for a while. We tend to bring in between 7:30-9:30 and turn out 4:30-6:00. I'm not riding at the moment but it seems to work fine for my friends who do
 

tatty_v

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Just a bit of an update on this and a question for those that do turnout overnight.

My horse has handled the change well and I’ve almost got used to it (hands up who doesn’t cope well with change - me! 🤣) however, he’s completely ballooned in weight and I’m not happy about it. For those that do turnout overnight, how do you manage weight?

My horse is a classic native and I think even though we’ve been on this routine for a couple of months now, he’s still stuffing himself silly overnight. I can’t do a track system or starvation paddock as he jumps out over 5ft electrified fencing with ease, plus his mini companion can wriggle through anything. So I am thinking that to control weight I’m going to have to go back to limited daytime turnout and soaked hay overnight after all.

It seems a shame when he’s adapted so well in other ways but his weight is really upsetting me and I’m petrified he’s going to come down with laminitis 😬
 

Nudibranch

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Can you reverse it and do limited night time turnout? Ie turn out last thing and bring in early? Without limiting access via starvation paddock/track or upping the exercise, your only other option would be a grazing muzzle. I'm not a fan and one of mine absolutely refuses to graze in one so they're not always an option!
For fatties I find swapping some or all the hay for plain chaff works well. (Mine will eat Topchop Zero quite happily.)
 

Lindylouanne

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Mine are out overnight in muzzles. DP wears his every night and B every few nights. In during the day they have a small breakfast and are then left to chill for an hour before getting a soaked net and a bowl of Honeychop Lite and Healthy no nibble on. Both are very good doers, DP has EMS and B had laminitis last year but this year he looks very slim and while there’s no hope for DP, he will always be round he is fit and no sign of laminitis and his insulin is under control so it is doable. You just have to be strict and control what goes into them.
 

alibali

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Mine go out around 11pm and are back in at 9ish. They snooze until lunchtime then get a net of soaked hay. Neither are in work at the moment. My Arab is spot on weight wise and the fat pony who lives on fresh air is only slightly plumper than I'd like
 

tatty_v

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I’ve been debating turning out later and bringing in earlier, but that means going to bed later for me and getting up earlier 😆 I don’t mind an early morning if I’m in bed fairly promptly! Grazing muzzle sadly a no-go - did it once and he jumped every fence in the field in a circuit in fury 🤣

I’m coming to the conclusion that he was happy with 8hrs daytime turnout and importantly it kept his weight under control. He was also perkier to ride in the mornings (in the stable he’s a big sleeper overnight). I only changed to accommodate my new livery and now I have two ponies (so no separation anxiety issues), I think I’ll just have to do what’s right by them and their waistlines 😬

The irony is I managed to lose 1.5 stones over lockdown as I’d gone a bit soft round the middle and felt guilty about it, so now pony and I have swapped 😆
 
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