What you’re opinion on herd turnout

Ish2020

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What you’re opinion on it I like individual turnout but my current yard only offers herd or turnout in pairs
 

Dyllymoo

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I've had 2 previous horses that didn't like other horses. We had individual turnout but horses all round (they could touch noses). J did not settle with that, and recently I moved for him to be herd turnout. he is currently only in with 1 other but I think he will go in a herd of 3 or 4 in the next few months. He absolutely loves it. Yes he has come in with bites all over his face and back (not awful just general play bites) and I'm sure his field friend has too, but he is such a happy relaxed soul now its lovely.

He also doesn't bother me in the field like he used to when I poo pick. I think he generally is happy in his new (bigger) paddock with his friend. he does occasionally come up for a quick fuss but that's it. I was a bit sad at first but actually it just shows how anxious he was previously.
 

ihatework

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My opinion, in general horses are herd creatures and prefer to be part of a group (always the odd exception), and this is the way it always used to be.

But it’s difficult to find well managed group turnout around me, pretty much everywhere is individual which I find sad. For sure there are advantages to it but I’m still 😔

All my working ones have been on individual for the last few years, with a brief exception for my 4yo who was in a herd when at the breakers. And to be fair, all my ones on individual have been settled and well adjusted.

They have all had a period off work in the year when shoes come off and they go out with some mates for a bit. Bit like equine Ibiza tour, before going back to the day job!
 

Polos Mum

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Seeing how much time mine spend grooming each other, guarding each other while some sleep and generally grazing within 3 feet of each other I would say mine would absolutely hate individual turn out.
A herd that constantly changes so dynamics are constantly unsettled and / or there's not enough food I would imagine would be a disaster from injury perspective.

If a buddy is one other that is the same all the time and has same nutritional needs then I guess that's better than nothing.

A stable herd where everyone knows their place and there's no need to resource guard is the ideal.
 

sport horse

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Nothing I hate more than horses all in little electric fenced 'pens' on their own. There is one particular lot adjacent to a motorway near here and not only are they all in their pens but no pen has water or shade. They are herd animals so apart from the odd 'kicker' that is how they should live.
 

Asha

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As long as its a settled herd and not constantly changing with new liveries then it really is a fab option. Mine are kept in a herd, sometimes over the summer i split them up depending on circumstances. I have an older mare who needs to be kept off the grass, a couple of youngsters who need more grass etc etc, All mine are happy to be turned out with whatever mix is in their field.
 

be positive

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Nothing I hate more than horses all in little electric fenced 'pens' on their own. There is one particular lot adjacent to a motorway near here and not only are they all in their pens but no pen has water or shade. They are herd animals so apart from the odd 'kicker' that is how they should live.
I think of that as a prison camp environment, it makes me so sad to see horses kept like that, I have had very few that could not be turned out with others and tended to pair up initially and then if any became too bonded a third would be added which is a better number as an owner can take theirs out with no need to worry about leaving one alone.
 

TheHairyOne

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I would never want to keep my horse on individual turn out...but then on the flip side I am lucky enough that my herd are just mine and my sisters horses. This means it is a stable herd and we manage them how we like.

Worth a few rugs and bites for pics like this of them having a mad 5 mins!

13260240_10154065258567254_6646856676620145504_n-1.jpg
 

ForeverBroke_

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Mine are in a very well managed herd. The horses are very happy and the fields / groups are well managed.

I've been on individual and paired before, and I don't like paired turn out at all, even when it was my own two horses. I found the other horse got quite clingy to its field mate and co-coordinating turn out/bring in was difficult. I'd much rather fly solo or have them in a small herd.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I would not entertain individual turnout. I always feel sorry for horses in that kind of set-up. Having said that we have had 4 horses for well over 30 yrs, all mares turned out together with no problems, until I bought the Westphalian who did not like the ID and said so vociferously, although they were not so bad that we had to separate them. ID had to be pts and I bought a young cob. Cob and Westphalian fought, so eventually had to be separated but they both were kept in a pair with another horse each. I am not sure that I would risk putting a 3rd horse in with the pair now.
 

MuddyMonster

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My preference would always be herd. Mine has lived with 50 other horses to the smallest was 4 other horses. He's currently in a group of 6 other horses.

But, I'd consider individual turn out if the yard was good in every other way, providing they could still see and touch other horses and importantly could be turned out all year round.

I almost moved earlier this year to a yard with individual turn out, before finding my current yard (where he's out 24/7 in a herd) as so many yards around me offer group turn out in the summer but then effectively limit turn out so heavily over the winter they are in from October-March 24/7.

I'd genuinely consider individual turn out if it guaranteed my horse 365 day turnout, whatever the weather for most of the day in winter.
 

equi

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A herd or pairs/threes is always preferable to me. Mine won't much care if he is alone or with another quiet horse cause he just wants peace but hes so quiet he has often been used to go in with the annoying ones because he will tolerate them but not fight back (and thus the other horse becomes quiet too cause it knows it won't get any action) but i don't think he was ever happy in these scenarios. He is now with a quiet mare who has the same attitude and both are just loving life.
 

AShetlandBitMeOnce

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I wouldn't have mine on individual, I think it's miserable for them and this is displayed in the behaviour of many horses on this set up. Obviously there are exceptions for kickers/injured horses etc.

Jacob has been out with 5 others, but he is out with one other at the moment who has the same needs in terms of grass etc. And neither horse is bothered about being left out alone, so we don't have to coordinate turnout etc either. It's super handy and they get on like a house on fire.
 

Winters100

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When I first had my mare she was in a group with several others, including 2 youngsters. Poor girl was miserable, and particularly bothered by the youngsters. We then went to individual for a while, and I thought she was happy just being able to touch others over the fence. When a nice pony without back shoes came to the yard and I was asked if he could join her it was an eye opener for me. I realised that, although she had not been totally miserable on her own, she really needed a companion in with her to be truly happy. She went from being desperate to be next to me whenever I was in the paddock to not caring at all what I was doing (unless she thought it might involve carrots). I now have a second one and they are all in together, sure we get ripped rugs from time to time, but it is really worth it to see how content they are.
 

eggs

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I have kept horses for over 45 years and back when I started individual turnout was unheard of. I have always kept mine in herd turnout although now I am lucky in that mine are kept at home in a very stable herd and nearly all of them have been here since foals.

Even when I was on livery they were always in herd turnout. I wasn't on large yards but if new horses are properly introduced there was never a problem.

I understand that some owners are worried about the risk of injury but I do find it very sad to see horses on individual turnout in beautifully fenced small pens - usually with no shade.
 

BeckyFlowers

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I feel a bit sorry for mine at the mo as he is currently in a pen on his own (a fenced-off bit of the main paddock with others in) and he is next door to two who are also in a pen. He is laminitic-prone so has to be on restricted grazing. It's only been like this for this spring/summer, as before there have been other fatties who he has been turned out with and we strip grazed and poo picked, but for a few reasons (nothing to do with me) that's not happened this year. Over winter he will live out with others, but at the mo he's in his pen. He's coping with it really well to give him credit, and I would prefer that he wasn't in a pen on his own, but I have to do the best for his overall health. If he seemed distressed then I would have to find another way. He can groom the ponies over the fenceline, and he can touch the others in the main paddock so he's not completely isolated. I wouldn't choose for him to be on individual turnout, but for this summer that's how it will be, unless another fattie comes along.
 

Lindylouanne

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Both mine were in a mixed herd. DP ended up with a strike wound which cost a fortune in Vets bills and B was hounded out of the field and I found him on the drive after he had no choice but to jump a barbed wire fence ripping his leg and pulling a shoe in the process. Both caused by the same horse. I moved them back to the original farm I was at and they are now in a small herd of 4 and totally settled. They know they are my pair and although they interact with the other two they have no issues about being separated from them.
 

Surbie

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I dislike individual turnout, I think it's miserable. That said, I know of 2 mares that have to be separate because they will fight any horse put in with them.

Mine is in a pair. He isn't clingy with the other gelding, he gets to have zoomies when he wants and he seems perfectly happy. I loved him being part of a small herd in an enormous field, but that's not available where I am now, but many other good things are - not least 365 turnout which is fantastic.
 

Littlebear

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I have one youngster in a mixed herd of other youngsters, they all know their place, they have a great time together and all works perfect.
I have another that has been paired in the past which causes issues sometimes with attachments. Individual takes away their companionship, opportunities to bond, groom, play etc etc so not ideal although i have had 2 mares in my lifetime who actively wanted to be alone, they just didnt like other horses near them at all.
Different strokes for different folks.
 

Auslander

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I have two small herds - 3 boys in one, and 5 girls in the other - plus 2 troublesome ones. One of them is ancient, and has to be turned out alone for his own safety, as hes very fragile, and the other has no social skills, and starts trying to organise everyone else if he goes out with the herd - so he gets turned out next to the boys, who take it in turn to keep him company. He's fine with one other, but can't deal with more than one.
I am really careful about introductions - particularly into the mares herd, as they are mostly horrid! I've got them split at the moment, as a new mare arrived recently. They are still at the feather spitting stage at the moment, so I'm biding my time!
I much prefer having them in groups, and would far rather have none on individual/special turnout arrangements - but I'm also quite keen not to have any trouble!
 

Otherwise

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I'm a big fan of turnout with company, I really hate individual turnout in small electric pens unless it's an alternative to box rest. I turned my psg horse out with two others, got quite a few raised eyebrows about that but he settled much better with company and was happy to stay out all day and be a horse. I've had serious field injuries, I had to put one down when he broke a leg, but that wouldn't stop me from doing what's best for the horse.
 

mariew

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23 February 2009
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Herd, but easier said than done if you don't have your own land, if horses come and go on a regular basis it can cause ruckus and injuries, same if there isn't enough space, and land is often at a premium! Same if you don't have a good bringing in routine as it can get hairy at the gates. So sometimes individual is unavoidable. Sadly the trend seems to be towards individual turnout.
 
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