Turnout - horse seems to dislike it.

quirky

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 January 2008
Messages
9,846
Location
Purdah
I've had this horse 8 years and she has not learnt to like turnout in that time. The difference now is that I have her at home and I am not beholden to livery yard rules.
So, what does she do?
Run the fence. This can be after 10 mins or a number of hours. Once she's started, she won't stop until caught in. Bizarrely, she doesn't look particularly distressed, her ears are forward and she doesn't look panicked. As soon as you step in the field, she comes to you and leads in sweetly, no drama.

What have I done previously?
Out in a herd, out with one other, out on her own but others in sight, out in sight of the yard, out in a herd but not in sight of the yard or horses (other than those she was with). By far the most settled was the last scenario but was still prone to running for apparently no reason. The yard owner used to go and spy on her from her bedroom and bring in if necessary.
So now she's at home, I leave her to wander the yard when I'm around. She seems happy enough but doesn't go in the fields even though the gates are open. She likes to graze the verges but still will come running down to the yard to see if I'm around. If I am, she wanders off again, if not, she'll either go back in her stable or stand at the gate looking at the house. Her other odd behaviour is that she will, given the opportunity, go into her stable to poo. Last summer, she did 3 poo's in the field all summer, which isn't really indicative as to how long she spent out.

What do I do this summer?
I am loathe to put her out when I'm at work as she could potentially be fence running for hours.
The alternative is out for an hour prior to work and out again for a couple of hours when home from work.
I don't mind her being in but it just doesn't seem the right thing to do.
Do I accept that she's happy in, or do I persevere in somehow forcing her to stay out?

Anybody got any ideas I haven't thought of?
Somebody suggested tethering her but I'm not entirely comfortable with that idea.
 

FfionWinnie

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 July 2012
Messages
17,022
Location
Scotland
Personally I would leave her out with quiet company 24/7. Any other solution is just reinforcing that fence running gets her inside.

My cob loves being inside. She would never go outside if she could stay in her stable eating hay, however she has a muscle disorder which means she can't be stabled at all so has lived out 24/7 for a year now. She's perfectly happy.
 

quirky

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 January 2008
Messages
9,846
Location
Purdah
Call me soft but I can't stand and watch a horse dripping in sweat and running the fence for hour after hour.
I suspect she would become severely dehydrated which in turn could lead to colic or worse :(
 
Joined
1 April 2014
Messages
482
Just a thought, apologies if this sounds like a stupid idea, but might she like a field shelter? My mare loves coming inside as a bit of a treat, but due to space (and a stable roof getting blown off!) we don't often have the opportunity to get her in. She has a nice wooden field shelter which feels very 'indoorsy', but she can choose to go in or out as she pleases. She generally likes to be half in, half out, with a smug face on.

I appreciate it's a bit expensive just for an experiment, though.
 

ester

Not slacking-multitasking
Joined
31 December 2008
Messages
56,876
Location
Cambridge
Is there a reason you cannot leave the gates open long term? Mum's mare lives like this, but also often brings herself in to poo in her stable, and sleep ;).
When both ours lived at home we couldn't do so because it generated arguments, but if fencing the field off with electric we also had to make sure she had a shoot to the yard so she could stand by the gate, otherwise she would run the fence.
 

TGM

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 April 2003
Messages
16,016
Location
South East
Agree with the above, if she is now kept at home, is there anyway you can arrange things that she has access to the field and the stable, so she can come and go as she wishes. I'd also make a habit of always feeding her in the field, and never in the stable, just to eliminate the possibility that she is associating the stable with food.
 

Misty05

Well-Known Member
Joined
15 October 2012
Messages
361
Location
Near Huntingdon
Can you arrange things so she has access to the yard, stable and field while you are out. If that is how she is happy, go with it. Your horse can then decide for herself where she goes. Our horses all have their little quirks, if you can accommodate hers, go for it.
 

Wagtail

Horse servant
Joined
2 December 2010
Messages
14,816
Location
Lincs
Does she have company?
This. If she is happy in the yard when you're about but really wants in when in the field and won't go out when given the choice it sounds as though she is lonely. If she has company, then I have only known this with one mare here and it's only when it's windy.
 

quirky

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 January 2008
Messages
9,846
Location
Purdah
can you leave her out with access to her stable so she can put herself in when she has had enough
This is something I have thought of and would be possible but not easily done but I think it might be the way forward. A field shelter has made no difference in the past.

Sounds unlikely from your original post. You said she's not even distressed when you go and get her. Sounds like she has you well trained!
She may not be distressed but even the fittest horse trogging up and down in 20℃ heat is going to sweat.
I don't know about having me well trained, it's livery yard owners/staff she has been giving the run around, not me!!

Agree with the above, if she is now kept at home, is there anyway you can arrange things that she has access to the field and the stable, so she can come and go as she wishes. I'd also make a habit of always feeding her in the field, and never in the stable, just to eliminate the possibility that she is associating the stable with food.
She doesn't get feed, so don't think it's a feed thing with her stable. I think some creative fencing to the field will be in order come the dryer weather :)

Does she have company?
Yes, it makes little difference when she is out though.
 

Goldenstar

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 March 2011
Messages
40,528
I had one mare who did not do turnout .
When she arrived she would go out roll graze for ten minutes then want back in .
If you did not bring her in she stuck her leg through the gate or fence until you brought her in .
Over time we got her up to around three hours out but she never learnt to be happy in the field for longer.
We had just to go with what she liked the leg through fence thing was going to be terminal at so we worked round what she liked .
She had apparently been like that since she was backed .
OP we did what you are thinking about turnout first thing then back in we worked her during the day and turned out late afternoon for as long as she wanted .
Company made not a jot of difference she was always out in a small group.
 

WandaMare

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 August 2009
Messages
3,556
One of my ponies was the same. He always preferred to be in but a after a short spell of box rest he wouldn't settle back in the field at all. I ended up fencing off part of my yard and making him his own little paddock in front of his stable so that he could come and go as he pleased. He loved it and never bothered about other horses coming in and out past him. Our yard is next to a business so people always stopped and fussed him during the day so he didn't get bored . He had bad sweet itch before I got him and I think his skin felt much better when he had access to a stable when he needed it.
 

Adopter

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 November 2012
Messages
3,040
Location
Staffordshire Moorlands
When we first moved here we made the stable yard attached to the paddock, my idea was naughty ponies would be contained if they escaped from the children. It has been so successful, the older mares always seem to want to spend their time round the boxes and yard, one mare never left the yard all winter, even though she had access to six acres as well as the yard.

My sister added a runway to the back of her stables giving up part of her garden, and again the mares seemed to spend most of their time in the boxes although they had access to her fields 24/7.

I think some just like to be in away from the weather, but with the freedom to choose it is very different to being shut in.

Hope you are enjoying having her at home, it has given us so much pleasure.
 
Joined
6 July 2010
Messages
28,736
A friend's horse was similar. He would lead to the field then stand after a roll and want back in. As a very talented show jumper, he didn't give her a choice and would beat her back to the stable. She would supervise a short turnout for his roll then go back indoors. He was worked a lot, which probably helped, but he just hated being out.
 

MagicMelon

Well-Known Member
Joined
6 November 2004
Messages
15,289
Location
North East Scotland
Personally I would leave her out with quiet company 24/7. Any other solution is just reinforcing that fence running gets her inside.
I would also leave out 24/7 with a quiet companion (and a shelter) but I'd probably split the field up into smaller paddocks so she can't get up so much speed cantering up and down the fence, might just break her habit a little if she cant go as far / fast. Might be worth putting shavings or something down in one corner of the field or in the shelter so she can poo on there, maybe this is why she gets funny in the field if she doesn't feel she can poo?! Strange horse you've got there ;)
 

shadowboy

Well-Known Member
Joined
30 May 2006
Messages
4,755
There was a horse on a yard I used to be at who had been shipped over from Dubai. He'd been at a yard of 150 and they only ever had hand grazing 2 X a day by staff (and a stint in a horse walker other than ridden excercise) he really wouldn't stay out. He would roll, graze for 5-10 minutes then try and kill himself to get out the field. It was almost as though he was agoraphobic. The girl has had him now 5 years and the best she's managed is 2 hours before he's started charging at the fence. Like yours he leads in like a lamb. Her way to get around it was an open sided barn bedded down with straw and a 20m 'turnout' in front - horse now very happy and grooms others over the fence.
 

Dubsie

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 January 2009
Messages
4,756
Location
The Edge of Suburbia, Berkshire.
I wonder if it's when she needs a poo that she starts up? Open access to stables and field sounds to be your best option I reckon.
Could be, there's a mare hangs on to her wee when out, prefers to only wee in the stable, we have one won't poo within 10ft of the field shelter, and then only in a line along the fenceline. Very neat and tidy, and easy to poo pick behind him. There's also a horse really avoids weeing in his stable if at all possible. If the yard has to be in he hangs on till he's walked out then does his wee.
 
Top