Opinions on keeping horses out on pasture 24/7? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 34 Old 05-10-2011, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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Talking Opinions on keeping horses out on pasture 24/7?

I have the oppertuinity to put up some fence and use a very large field for grazing my 6 horses very cheap.

My big question is, what are people's oppinions on keeping horses outside 24/7 durring the warmer months? I live in NY so they potentally could graze until October..

The thing is there is no barn/run in or anything on the property. We would have the field, access to water and electricity and that's about it. There is also a tree line that could be incorparated in the paddocks for shade/shelter...

I plan on moving them home durring the winter, have a 6 stall barn at home, just no grazing, all dry lots.

2 of my mares (Appaloosas 8 and 18 y/o) were outside all year round 24/7 for 5 years before I got them.

1 of my geldings (TB 20 y/o) currently not home, is outside already 24/7 with access to a runin. He weaves his head badly when stalled.

2 of my mares (breeding stock paints 5 and 7 y/o) have been outside with access to a runin about 2 years (have not had them home)

And last but not least 1 of my geldings (belginXQH 16 years) has been in the same situation as the paint mares, access to a run in although he prefers to be out most of the time.

All these guys are light duty trail horses other then one paint and one appy who are not yet broke. So no fancy showhorses here if that matters...

So what are everyones thoughts on keeping horses out 24/7 durring nice weather? What would you do in my situation? This is super nice pasture, the owners had horses (8 of them they claim) on it 3 years ago and didnt feed any hay or grain when the weather was nice so I could potentaily feed my horse for free...
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post #2 of 34 Old 05-10-2011, 08:49 AM
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I think it is healthier for the horses to be out all the time, even in the winter. They do need some type of shelter though. As long as they would be able to get into and use the trees for shelter, they should be fine. If the trees are just a windbreak along the fence line, I would find a way to get a run-in shelter for them

Everyone should be allowed at least one bad habit, and that's NOT owning a horse!

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post #3 of 34 Old 05-10-2011, 09:02 AM
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It seems like all your horses really prefer to be outside as it is. I would try to have a shelter though for those summer storms that blow in. I would think as long as you still handle them daily you shouldn't run into the problem of hard to handle horses and shouldn't see any difference in personality except for maybe happier, calmer horses :) You are very lucky!! I wish I had that opportunity.
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post #4 of 34 Old 05-10-2011, 09:09 AM
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As long as they have the ability to get into shade and have a wind block I think it is a great idea.

If the tree line can not be incorporated in a manner that will provide shade and cover from the weather (as we all know, weather in NY can be strange at times) then maybe you can look into getting a transportable shelter.
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post #5 of 34 Old 05-10-2011, 09:20 AM
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Mine are out 24/7 with nothing but trees for shelter and they do just fine. :)

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post #6 of 34 Old 05-10-2011, 09:37 AM
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Our mares are out 24x7 all year and would probably go nuts if they had to stay inside. Being out and moving around is no doubt healthier for their feet, lungs, digestion, and minds....horses are not fragile.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #7 of 34 Old 05-10-2011, 09:55 AM
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We keep all of our horses out year round 24/7 (unless it gets really cold here in Canada in the winter we'll bring themin for a night) but they're often ha[[ier, healthier and easier to work with when they're outside 24/7. The only think I would say is that if you are keeping them out in the summer, make sure none of them have skin that will burn easily, I would just build a cheap lean-to that they can grab some shade under if there are no trees around, or throw a sheet on them if they're easier to burn. Something they can get shade with and out of the windy on those windy stormy nights.

Otherwise, it sounds like you'll have some happy horses!
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post #8 of 34 Old 05-10-2011, 10:14 AM
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If the lot you are using is small, you might plan on supplementing with hay once the grass is eaten down. 6 horses will eat a few acres down pretty fast. In our area, a grass pasture can support 1 horse per 2 acres fairly well without overgrazing. Once a pasture is overgrazed, in future years it will start to be nothing but weeds.
Whenever my 4 are out in the pasture that has no shelter except a few trees, they are fine. Its not unusual for them to completely shun a shelter even in the worst storm.
Also don't be surprised if the horses eat the bark off the trees and possibly kill them (the trees not the horse). Mine will eat the bark off of just about any hardwood.


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post #9 of 34 Old 05-10-2011, 10:24 AM
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My horse( and the other horses at the farm where I board) is out 24/7 and rarely comes in the barn. In fact the only time he's ever been in the barn was when he injured his leg a couple of winters ago.


"A women's place is on her horse."
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post #10 of 34 Old 05-10-2011, 10:46 AM
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Your horses will probably be fine. I have Arabians & Saddlebreds & they would run themselves to death during high bug times if left out.
I also worry about lightening strikes.
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