What to do with an "indoor" horse... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-09-2011, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
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What to do with an "indoor" horse...

In case you are wondering "what is an indoor horse", it is a horse that not only doesn't mind being "indoors", but in certain weather conditions, PREFERS to be indoors.

Ok, here is our story: Our 6 yr. old OTTB, Beau, is very quirky. Among his quirks is that certain weather conditions upset or irritate him and he will NOT go outside. Case in point: last night it was raining (as it has for the last week here in PA). They've been stalled MUCH more than I like due to the constant storms and flooding rains. So, knowing our boy doesn't LIKE rain, we figured that since it was only a light rain rather than a drenching downpour, we'd put a rain sheet on him and send him out. right? WRONG. We put his halter on and led him down to the pasture. He stood there for less than a minute and turned around and walked back to the barn and stood at the door. When we opened it, in he came. He refused to go out.... so we just let him do what we call a "barn walk", where he walks through the barn, nibbles at hay piles we place here and there, stick his head in epona's dutch door and pin his ears at her, and basically sniff at everything....he loves chewing on the lead ropes..... He did this for about an hour, all the while the barn door is open and he was free to go out on pasture at any time.....even when the rain subsided to a mist, he wouldn't go out......When the rain stopped, my son had to trick him.....basically, he had to draw him out using treats. He did then go out to pasture..... but when it started to rain again an hour later....back to the barn door he came. SIGH

and it's not just rain, he refuses to walk on snow. Last winter we had a dry lot that was covered in hay and he was fine with that, but when we opened up the snow covered pasture for them to run in, he wasn't having none of it. He ran out there, and promptly ran back into the hay covered dry lot....he was not foot sore/lame at that time, and his revulsion for the feel of snow on his feet is not understandable. Epona loved it and would run through the snow like a bulldozer. He refused to go out in it, and would run along the fence line seperating the pasture from the dry lot in frustration and whinny at her....

He also hates the sun/flies. can't tell if it's either or both....but in the summer he will run up to the barn door at noon or thereabouts every day and whinny to be let in. Once he is in and the fan is on, he is as happy as a clam.

so, because of this....he is in more than I would prefer. I am just not understanding WHY he is like this....I see other horses out in the rain all the time and they don't care at all. I also see horses running in the snow...

And flies are a bother to ALL horses.

As for the sun, yea he is a dark gray and he does get hotter than Epona, but still.....at our old barn there was a coal black hairy pony who stayed out in the sun most of the hot summer.....and he didn't flip out.

Any ideas on why our OTTB is so "meteorologically disabled"?
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-09-2011, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Interesting. I have one who's a weather weenie, rain in particular. All of mine get pasture, some come in at night. He's one who comes in at night (stallion). If there is so much as a sprinkle he starts carrying on to come back inside like "mom, save me!" Though if it isn't raining but has he LOVES to roll in any and every mud puddle he can find. I've since put an insulated sliding door off of the back of his stall in the barn and built a new stud lot off of it so he can bring his own whiney rear inside. Spoiled! I wish he'd just man up and enjoy it like the rest of them, it would sure shave me time I spend cleaning his stall!

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-09-2011, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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A lot of TB's have very sensitive skin. Some don't even like being brushed on their bodies while neck, legs & butt is OK. Only he knows what is bothering him & seeing as how he isn't talking & would just let him do what keeps him happy.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-09-2011, 09:58 AM
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Beau, I had a hothouse flower of an Arabian gelding like your TB, and he was happiest in his stall with hay up to his eyeballs whenever the weather was not to his liking.

Conny would scream to come in if so much as one drop of rain struck his precious hide. As for going out in the snow? No thank you, very much!

My current TB is somewhat of a delicate creature too, in that he'd rather be inside if the weather is inclement.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-09-2011, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Just wanted to add that in regards to snow avoidance, our farrier says he has the best feet he's ever seen on a TB.....so hoof issues are not likely the problem. he is also barefoot.

I assumed it was an OTTB thing, but am asking just to make sure.

We won't be forcing him to be out in the rain anymore. We did that last week, and in frustration he chewed the HECK out of the outside barn wall.....I mean, he's nibbled on it here and there before when kept in dry lot through the winter, but one day left out in the rain with a rain sheet on and he went on a destructive chewing binge. It was awful.....

SR, thank you SO much for that post. I feel better now. For a moment there I thought our horse was insane. I mean, aren't horses supposed to prefer to be outside no matter what?!
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-09-2011, 11:22 AM
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My Shire-X hates the rain, especially the horizontal variety, combined with wind. She might tolerate it in a rain-sheet but at our last barn, as soon as the rain started, she'd be pacing in her field. At this barn she's better about tolerating it in turn-out but gets pretty crabbit about being ridden in it.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-09-2011, 09:33 PM
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I'd guess that he's physically extra sensitive - as someone mentioned, TBs are often thin skinned, literally - but also perhaps he was born & raised in a stable and it's also about what he's used to/not - eg. he's nervous of that bizare white stuff that turns up occasionally, perhaps he's generally insecure when out anyway so any 'bad' weather is the 'final straw'.

Sounds like you have a barn setup that's kind of 'open plan', which is good, esp for him if he's in it so much. I'd just leave it open & strive to allow him as much under cover area as possible.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-17-2011, 03:51 PM
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I am all to familiar with this. Our app will not even for feed or carrots walk out in the snow. If the wind is blowing to much he comes out of his stall and fights tooth and necks to get back in. Same with rain. He was stalled for twenty eight days straight one time because of the snow. that was by his choice. We left the stall door open and everything for him. Nope he wasn't coming out and you can by no means make him. In order to get him to come out of the barn in the winter he has to have a heavy weight blanket and hood and the blanketnhas to have a belly band. He doesn't come out unless it is the perfect weather for him. He is no fun to mess with and try to force him to go out because he becomes extremely aggressive. However, he has severe sinus issues and grows absolutely no winter coat. So there are a lot of things that bother him. Rainy/cold days just don't bide well with him.

Shorty * N * Opie
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-17-2011, 04:02 PM
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My paint is like that too. When it's little bit of rain she prefers to be in stall. When rain is little more intense my qh also prefers to be in stall. And they are hard to kick out of stalls if they manage to get there. So you just have to live with it.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

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post #10 of 10 Old 09-17-2011, 04:06 PM
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My friend's quarab gelding is like this. He actually cut his back legs kicking at the rain last week. *facepalm* Yes, I said "kicking at the rain." He does not like it touching his glorious hide, apparently.

My monster, on the other hand, refuses to use his shelter at all when it rains. I've seen him standing in a downpour just as happy as a clam.

Do not tell me I can't...because I will show you that I can.
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