this is the norm in a lot of places, it was even worse years ago horses were stabled a lot longer. If mine was not out every day he would be climbing over the door, all the horses full and diy go out between 7am and 9:30 and come in about 4pm no matter what the weather.
I'm not out to make anyone feel bad by this post. The yard I am talking about has enough well drained grazing to have the horses out for a decent period of time every day. That is what they do most days, probably from about 9 am - 3 or 4 pm anyway. So why do they choose the odd day to keep the horses in for so long? Could it be for the convenience of the people involved? It was a lovely sunny day, the only difference was a light powdering of snow over the fields. Of course horses that regularly get very limited turnout hare around when they do get out for a couple of hours. Imagine how exciting it must be for them. Their adrenalin will increase, which has been clinically proved, and as a result they will lose some of their normal safety mechanisms. Of course they get injuries. Apart from the fact that they aren't behaving normally racing about like that, they have been stood about for so long that their muscles and ligaments will be stiff and cold, so more liable to injury. Is a fully clipped horse warmer and healthier out and able to move around, albeit well rugged? Or stood indoors doing nothing? In the fresh air or in a dusty enclosed environment? Is a horse likely to be less spooky to ride if it's been able to move about freely for most of the time, or if it's been stood in a 14 x 14 box (being generous) for 20 out of every 24 hours? I understand that people have to make compromises sometimes to keep horses, because of the limitations of the facilities available to them. But I will never be convinced that it is more beneficial (for them) to confine a healthy horse for many hours every day. If you think that works for your horse then fine, as in all things, people are free to disagree.
I'm afraid I've got something else to say on the subject of the tough type of horses who can cope with this living out sort of thing. Some of you know that nearly 2 years ago I took on a little horse called Fin. He was rugged, stabled, fed copious amounts of food and bales of hay and his owner told me how hard it was to keep weight on him. He had a transition year last year when he needed a bit of rugging, but he lived out 24/7 on ad-lib hay, a bit of chaff and a mug of balancer every day... and in February the vet told me all of my horses were looking "a bit too well". Including Fin. At the moment he is out 24/7 unrugged (which I admit I didn't think he'd be ready for), on the same diet and is a pork chop. Interesting I think. He's not a one-off case either. I had the same experience with a TB I took from the Blue Cross. And the Blue Cross also have the same experience all the time when they take horses that have been constantly stabled and get them out in the field. The hard to keep horses strangely turn into good-doers. I think this would be worth some study, if any students fancy a thesis
This is one of my favourite soapbox subjects. I cannot understand why so many horses are kept cooped up all winter. For example, there is a yard near me where the horses are in 24/7 for 6 months of the year. If they are lucky, they are turned out in a small sand arena, one at a time, for an hour a day. This yard is on a FARM which has acres and acres of fields lying empty - heaven forbid that any of the precious ground is trampled on and muddied up!!! I think some form of licensing should be in place to say that no one is allowed to build stables unless they have x acres of land available for each stable. It really bugs me when I read adverts for houses which say things like, stabling for ten horses and paddocks extending (!) to 3 acres.
Farmers are often the real culprits here - they insist on treating horses in the same way as cattle and sheep and seeing land as something that is only for feeding horses. Horses need land to roam about on. I have the use of a 2 acre field and some envious other horse owners locally think I am selfish because I won't entertain the thought of having any other horse in it. It is only just big enough, with careful management, to provide turnout and grazing for one horse and a miniature all year round, with them coming in at night.
Mine go out every day in all weathers, even if it is only for three or four hours. They have no shelter there so if it is really pouring and windy, they are happy to come in but as I have turned the garden into a woodchip paddock, they are not boxed up but can wander around outside with plenty of hay. When they do go into the field in the mornings, they canter up to the top, have a buck and a roll and then get down to some serious grazing. They don't career wildly all over the place.
I know many people have to make the best of the yards that are available to them but I do think YO's should have to consider decent daily turnout as a top priority.
well my boy goes into a cream puff if I keep him in.I'm met by a grumpy horse and trashed stable in the morning hence he lives out 99.9% of the time.He was kept in for worming recently and I have teeth marks to prove it!!!!!!
Nattering to my friend's vet yesterday, and another DG'er - and they both said the same thing. It's worse for horses to be too hot than too cold. The vet said a lot of the horses he sees that have difficulty keeping weight on are too hot for at least some of the day.
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