Turning a horse round from minimal turnout to living out

Twiglet

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I've made the decision to turn my poorly horse away for a bit, to see how he gets on with living out, and whether it helps his condition.

I've never had a horse live out before, and would be pretty comfortable with it for him if it weren't for him being sick, so everything is quite kid gloves (aside from the illness, he's a big tough Irish horse, who's doesn't tend to feel the cold).

I'm aware that there is no right or wrong for this routine, and please don't tell me he shouldn't be turned away - this is a decision I haven't taken lightly and has been strongly advised by his team of vets, so it is going to take place in the next few weeks.

Currently he's out for three hours a day, in a small herd, unrugged when out. When he's stabled he's in a fleece during the day and a full neck mediumweight turnout overnight.

He's currently fed grass nuts, fibre cubes, alfa a, soya oil and show mix, split between 7-10 feeds a day. He's on no forage other than grass (he is unable to eat hay, haylege, or hay bricks, and won't eat readigrass).

He will be going to live out in a big field, in a herd of 3-5 other horses, with lots of natural shelter, and a field shelter. Initially he'll be segregated with one other horse, until he becomes accustomed to it.

He can have two feeds a day, which I'm intending to be just alfa, show mix and oil (with his medication). The grass nuts and fibre cubes until this point have been forage replacers, which won't be necesary when he's able to graze.

At this stage he is able to graze, and this will be monitored going forward.

I'm intending on sending him to the new home with one full neck MW rug, one lightweight no neck rug, and a fly sheet. I would hope at this time of year that would be enough??

Before he moves (two weeks time), I'll endeavour to increase his turnout, but is tricky at the yard I'm at, so won't be possible for him to be out for hours and hours at a time.

Is there anything else I can do to ease the transition? His back shoes are coming off, and I'll be reducing the frequency of the feeds he's having in the meantime.

Thanks for any advice.
 

Foxy O

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When I did this with my last horse, the first time he was out over night I made sure his companion was seasoned to living out so she was a calming influence on him. I also went out every couple of horse that night to check he was alright, I made sure he couldn't see me when I did this as I didn't want him thinking I was bringing him in. He was fine with it and absolutely loved it.

The weather is warming up now, so with the rugs you are sending him in he should be fine.
 

Cazza525

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In two weeks time the weather would have improved again! I am a little old fashioned, I know, but horses easily adapt to just being horses! Just throw him out! He'll be fine! Remove shoes! Let him interact over the fence if you wish with this one other, but i've always just added them to a group in a large field. They soon sort it out. Best thing you can do is stay out the way while they establish the herd. You wont do your horse any favours by fussing, in the nicest possible way. Xx
 

Twiglet

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No advice but will be keeping an eye on this as i may well be in a similar position with mine soon.

Good luck. I'm not sure I'll sleep for worrying for the first few weeks, but think have found what sounds like the ideal set up for him, so have all my fingers crossed that it'll work out.
 

Twiglet

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In two weeks time the weather would have improved again! I am a little old fashioned, I know, but horses easily adapt to just being horses! Just throw him out! He'll be fine! Remove shoes! Let him interact over the fence if you wish with this one other, but i've always just added them to a group in a large field. They soon sort it out. Best thing you can do is stay out the way while they establish the herd. You wont do your horse any favours by fussing, in the nicest possible way. Xx

Ha, that's what I wanted to hear :)

If he was healthy and his normal self, I'd have no worries, but he's had a horrific few months, he's quite underweight and he has trouble eating, so I'm going to be micro-managing this one.
 

McCauley

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Is he stay pretty local to you Twiglet? If so,..for your own peace of mind when the time comes, you can always find yourself a 'look out' post somewhere (where he can't see you!) for the first few days and satisfy your own mind that he'd doing ok...

I've been there and the first few days (for the human) are the worst until you know he's gonna be just fine!

Hope things work out for you both,...i'm sure with us now coming into Spring/Summer time, it's a great time for him to be going out 24/7.


Keep us posted Twiglet.

xx
 

Twiglet

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When I did this with my last horse, the first time he was out over night I made sure his companion was seasoned to living out so she was a calming influence on him. I also went out every couple of horse that night to check he was alright, I made sure he couldn't see me when I did this as I didn't want him thinking I was bringing him in. He was fine with it and absolutely loved it.

The weather is warming up now, so with the rugs you are sending him in he should be fine.

His companions live out all the time and are a very chilled little herd, so hopefully he'll be reassured by that!
 

Twiglet

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Is he stay pretty local to you Twiglet? If so,..for your own peace of mind when the time comes, you can always find yourself a 'look out' post somewhere (where he can't see you!) for the first few days and satisfy your own mind that he'd doing ok...

I've been there and the first few days (for the human) are the worst until you know he's gonna be just fine!

Hope things work out for you both,...i'm sure with us now coming into Spring/Summer time, it's a great time for him to be going out 24/7.


Keep us posted Twiglet.

xx

Local to the yard he's at now, yes, not local to me unfortunately! But the field owners are going to check him twice a day and I'll get down there as often as I can. I have a feeling he'll find it very easy to ignore me very quickly :p
 

Gorgeous George

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Oh dear I am sorry you are having troubles as well, I can't offer any advice, but I too will be following this thread with interest as I may need some of the advice in the near future.

Take Care
 

julie111

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He will be absolutely fine and will love you for it. As long as he has a friend and some shelter there should be no problems at all!
 

Merrymoles

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We have left hours out 24/7 for the last few days. I have a little tough Irish horse and, although the other liveries think I'm rotten, decided to leave him unrugged. Previously he'd had a lightweight most of the time, although I removed it for a couple of days before they went out.
The result has been that he has actually felt warmer when I have checked than a similar type but rugged up horse in the next field. I think it is easy to under-estimate how well their coats perform when allowed to loft.
I hope a bit of Dr Green and time out helps your boy to get well soon!
 

Annagain

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Just chuck him out. If you're reducing the frequency of feeds gradually and increasing the amount in each feed, and increasing the turnout he gets as much as poss already, by the time he comes to go out he'll be half adapted and the final step won't be too bad. It may be worth rugging him overnight for the first week or so until it warms up or he acclimatises (more for your peace of mind than anything else!) but other than that, he'll adapt.

Mine is out 24/7 in summer and in overnight in the winter. By early April he's ready to stay out and isn't hanging round the gate at tea time so it's the best time of year to do it. Hope he gets well soon.
 

MagicMelon

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Hmm how I did it with a new horse who had been permanently stabled with only 20 min turnout very occassionally prior to me getting him, was to build a pen in the field (bit bigger than a stable) out of that 6ft high steel council-type fencing. I tried just chucking him into a paddock to see what he did and he basically went nuts and galloped straight through a wire fence hence the high fenced pen. I put him in it for short periods at first like 20 mins a day then slowly increased his time out in it until it wasn't exciting anymore. Then I electric taped off a small area of paddock and slowly increased the size of it. It took 6 months but then he was living out very happily 24/7 and has been since. Not great for you though as you dont have the time to do this!! I'd see if the new place can fence off a small area and increase its size over time, might stop him injuring himself tearing around.
 

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I did this 18 months ago with my horse. I just took his back shoes off and winged him out. He loved it. At first I used to do drive by's to check on him but I need not have worried. He'd always been somewhat pampered and I hate to admit over rugged. He thrived living out. Was always warm and condition wise looks better than ever.

I still fed him twice a day but hardly anything compared to what he had when stabled. Not once did he stand by the gate wanting to come in.

Good luck!
 
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Just bung him out! Honestly the horse wont care! So long as you don't appear in sight at usual coming in/feed times then he really won't care, especially is the rest of the herd don't care either - he will stay with them rather than worry about being in.
 

twiggy2

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Just bung him out! Honestly the horse wont care! So long as you don't appear in sight at usual coming in/feed times then he really won't care, especially is the rest of the herd don't care either - he will stay with them rather than worry about being in.

this, at this time of year if you rug him it needs to come off each morning and go on again each night so means relying on someone to do it before the day heats up and the night gets cold, if you leave him un-rugged he will be able to use his coat to do those things as and when needed for himself.

the temperature has risen sharply recently an that is great timing for you take advantage of it an take rugs off now
 

stencilface

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Sounds like you have a good plan in place. Good idea with the segregation, with our bunch we segregate healthy horses for at least a month into our herd as they're all meanies!! Good luck with it, I'm sure he will be fine :)
 

*sprinkles*

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Don't worry too much just go for it. I'm all for people turning their horses away - if it's for a medical reason or a holiday- regularly. It's what they were designed for, constant movement, constant eating and it's incredibly beneficial. He'll probably surprise you and love it. It's a calming, natural lifestyle. Don't fret for him as long as he had enough room and a steady companion.
 

flirtygerty

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I had to do this to my woosy, poor doer TB, who opted to spend his time in the stable area, cue a house move, with no stables, but natural cover, I lost so much sleep for nothing, he loves it and by having ad lib hay, hasn't even dropped weight, didn't even need his HW rug, despite being 20 yrs old, I knew the others would be fine, but this lad I worry about, go for it
 
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