winter daily turnout

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winter daily turnout

This is a discussion on winter daily turnout within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • What time of year do you switch to daytime turnout for horses
  • Horse turnout recommended daily

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    12-09-2010, 12:15 PM
winter daily turnout

There is on ongoing debate on another forum about turn out in winter.
If the field is icy and hard or getting to the field is dangerous my guys stay in as they are severe shape throwers in the field they go crazy! I am far to neurotic about tendons etc after an old mare got it and was out of action ever since she never cae right.
Also I don't like destroying my fields in the winter as all the grass is then ruined for summer.
I generally ride out for an hour and then when im mucking out and doing yard work I let each one out for 15mins or so to stretch there legs.
Some have called this the lazy option but if I want to keep them in full work I think 2months inside(depending on ground conditions etc) with at least one hours ridong and a leg stretch isnt to bad.
Do you agree or so you think full turnout is best do you even get a say in it if your horses are in livery?
Alot of liveries here don't let there horses out at all in winter as crossing the yard is to trecherous and a liability issue if someone was to slip and fall.
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    12-09-2010, 12:24 PM
Mine are out full time year round. They have a sacrifice paddock and are not in the pasture during the winter because I don't want them destroying the grass out there. I do ride them during the winter too, but how much/where depends on the ice situation as I don't have an indoor.

If it's possible I would convert a small portion of your pasture into a sacrifice paddock so they can get a little more turnout. It is much better for them to be turned out as much as possible even during the winter.
    12-09-2010, 01:06 PM
Green Broke
^^ same here...the barn where I board turns them out in a "mud lot" (sacrifice paddock) every day in the winter. About the only way they wouldn't be going out was if there was an ice storm that resulted in a frozen (sharp) top to the deep snow and it was hazardous to walk on. Other than those rare occurances, they go out all winter long :)
    12-09-2010, 01:14 PM
I turn my horse out as much as possible. Their bodies aren't made to be in stalls. Their digestive systems, feet and minds fare better when they have time to be outside and be horses. My horse is in for a few hours everyday in the winter, unless it is raining. There is no real shelter in his pasture so he comes in when it's raining. To cold outside to be soaking wet.
    12-09-2010, 02:07 PM
My guys are out 24/7 year round, we have a nice large run in barn that they can go in whenever they want, we just lock them out for a few minutes to clean it, fill water and feed grain then they usually go right back out after they eat, we have 2 new horses this year, one is from a TB breeding farm in Virgina so I don't know how she will see about the snow, and the other one we have no history on...i wish we had a sacrifice paddock, we have a 1/2 acre pasture but it has no shelter so we only use that when the weather is nice
    12-09-2010, 02:21 PM
Green Broke
The lesson barn I ride at turns the horses out during the day, and keeps them in at night during the winter. They use the exact same paddocks they do in the summer, and the grass still grows just the same. Of course, in the spring, the BO blocks half of each paddock with a 2 strand fence to help grow the grass. But we also feed hay year round.

The only time the horses don't get let out during the winter if it is really cold (-10 or -15 C or lower...??) or if it is freezing rain/really wet snow falling.
    12-09-2010, 02:47 PM
To get to my paddocks ( where I would turn them out is down the road a little) I honestly don't think my heart could handle a jogging anglo arab on ice roads twice a day id prob have a mental break down haha!
Also we have a huge dairy farm where all grass is money. Idealy o would LOVE to keep them out every day sadly our country is not equipped for the snow or ice our roads are yet to be ploughed and gritted (snow came two weeks ago) and our horses are in the saem style shoe year round we have no extra grip I guess you could say.

Around here most horses are indoor from sept/oct and stay in full time till feb then its 12hours in and 12 out usually before everything goes out 24-7.

If your horse is out all winter do you not find they are harder to keep fit? Do they loose condition? Do you not loose riding time as if its dark and there out you can't get them in and ready?
    12-09-2010, 02:47 PM
O and ddo you get much mud fever?
    12-09-2010, 03:09 PM
I do lose some riding time due to the cold and dark. Instead of riding each horse 4-6 times a week I'm down to riding about 2-3 times a week total during the shortest days of the year (basically most of December and part of January). In the winter I generally end up riding bareback for the warmth, so I save on time that way. Lately our highs have been in the mid teens (farenheight) so it's can be really hard to stay warm. I also focus on slower gaits and fine tuning responses, so that when the footing/weather is decent again we are good to go. I still end up dealing with some barn sourness in the spring, but there isn't a whole lot I can do about that.

My horses do lose some fitness, but they still get a pretty decent amount of exercise walking/running around through the deep snow. I spread my hay out into about 7 piles (per horse) so they spend a lot of time walking around. I don't compete though so it's not a huge deal to me that they lose some fitness.

I haven't had a lot of mud fever in any of my horses.
    12-09-2010, 03:18 PM
I ride mine about 6days with one day off where they get out for an hour maybe. I am doing loads of fitness on them and the snow helps teacha nice collected trot and canter as they really have to step under and up to get through it!!

It hasnt gone above freezing here unfortunately. I know if I put my guys out id be riddled with mud fever! Your lucky that you get away wiht out it.

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