I pay extra every month to have my horse turned out, but they do not turn out in bad weather or on Thursdays or Sundays. My horse gets grumpy if he is not turned out everyday so I was thinking that he might be happiest being turned out year round. My questions:
1. is it practical and/or necessary to blanket in the winter months or is it better to let their coat grow in?
2.will a horse who has always been stall kept be able to adapt to the environment?
3. since he has never really been out in bad weather (to my knowledge), would he possibly freak out over rain or storms?
4. How do I catch him when I want to bring him in. He will stand to let me catch him, but doesn't come when called and this is a very large pasture.
5. They have a spring fed lake for the horses to drink from. Will this increase his chances of getting worms or other parasites?
Sorry for all the questions but I am trying to make my horses life better and I don't want to make a mistake and have this backfire on me.
I've pasture boarded all my horses, even when I worked for boarding stables and received a discount. So these are my answers for what it's worth.
1. Horses need a blanket if they are clipped. They may need a blanket if you are working them hard enough that they sweat excessively. This controls the winter coat and makes them cool off and dry quicker. You'll also need a blanket if your horse isn't allowed to acclimate as the weather changes. Blankets are also good if you are going to start showing early in the year. They help the horse lose their winter coat quicker. Otherwise, you don't need a blanket imo. I tried them a few times but didn't feel they were worth the cost. Also, mine didn't fit quite right, even though they were custom made, and rubbed hair off the shoulders. :/
2. Your horse should adapt quickly outside. You might want to keep him in a paddock next to the pasture so he can get used to the different environment and other horses.
3. Storms may scare him but he'll take his cue from his pasture friends.
4. You can train him to come when you catch him like someone stated above. I always used carrots, apples, treats, etc. It's better not to go out there with a bucket of grain though or the other horses will do whatever they can to get at it. A few treats in your pocket will work. As he gets used to the idea you can alternate days that you use treats so he doesn't rely on them to get caught. Also, put your lead rope around his neck first, then give him the treat. I had a horse who would snag the treats and then slip away before I could grab her. lol
5. A spring fed lake should be fine. He might even prefer it. The water tends to be fresh and cool. One of the places I boarded at had a spring-fed lake but this one was marshy around the edges. Some of the horses didn't like that. It can also increase the chances of thrush or scratches (this seems to be a regional term -- I hope you know the fungus that I mean). That's not usually a problem.
You might also want to think about bug repellent and eye masks for pasture boarding. They are helpful in some areas.