I think I want to pasture board my horse
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.
1. Blankets depend on people. If you clip your horse during the winter, you will have to blanket, if not, it's pretty much up to you unless it's really really nasty or your horse has medical issues.
2. Horses are horses, which are outdoor animals first, he will adapt and probably love it.
3. Possibly, but probably not unless he is the only horse out there. Even then he will probably just run up and be as close to the other horses as possible.
4. Train him to come on cue. The easiest way is to feed him his grain (if he's on any) or some treats every time you go out to the pasture, and make a regular schedule. Most horses will be there waiting for you if they know you bring them food at the same time every day. Associate him coming with your cue (yelling, whistle, arm wave, whatever makes you happy).
5. It will only be a worm issue if the horses aren't dewormed and the water and pasture are contaminated already anyway. If he's already turned out on the same area part time, it's not going to change anything.
thinking of pasture board
Welcome to my world. I am also facing the same decision. My mare loves being out eating grass ALL the time. She does not have that where she is now. I can say this she gets about 6 hrs. turn out at night on sparce grass on about 1/3 acre then is in a very hot stall the rest of her day no window. I can tell you this your pasture will need some type of run in shelter & if he/she is prone to skin conditions watch for "rain rot" it can be hard to get rid of. Also other horses in the pasture can be mean for no reason. Be prepared for cuts, bumps, lacerations & possible other injuries. Hooves can be hard to maintain also when a horse is out to pasture all the time & they do still need de-worming regularly. On the up side horses are naturally suppose to be out all the time. I do believe most are happier. My mare was probably left outside most her life (she's a rescue we have no history on her) & she has so many scars some that are really bad it looks like she was injured in some way daily. I am looking for individual turn out in pasture about 16 hrs/day. So good luck to you & keep us posted. TB Lover
Unless you know your horse will use the shelter then a run in shelter is just an added expense. I've put them out when an owner insisted but never had a horse use one. Not saying they won't just none of the horses i have had experience with would. Bumps and bruises yes you can expect that depending on where they are in the pecking order. if you know your horse is at the bottom of the totem pole then finding a pasture situation that limits the number of horses and allows for less dominant horses to be together helps. Blanketing depends on what you do with the horse and whether they are clipped or not. I've seen serious issues here with people that leave blankets because they don't have time to take them off first thing. If your horse has rain rot there are things you can do to minimize it or keep it from happening. Never share brushes will help keep you from contracting it if there is a horse that has it pastured with yours. I've had a barn at times and again - never used it unless there was an injured horse that needed intensive care. Horses do well outside. that said if you have a horse that sun burns then consider keeping them in during the day and turning out at night or a black horse that you don't want fading for show purposes again keep in during the worst of the day and turn out at night. Still need some exposure to sun for their well being but limit it wpould be my advice.
Thanks for your responses so far. my horse is a dark chestnut so sunburn isn't an issue, I also don't body clip him so i guess he would go au naturale. I cannot be there everyday to feed him or blanket/unblanket. That is impossible with my work schedule.
We pasture board our mare, she gets stir crazy confined to a stall. We're in North Texas so we hit the 100's in summer (the horses have a lean to for shade and plenty of water....refreshed twice per day. In the winter, I pay $50 to have Acey blanketed when the temperature drops towards freezing.
As long as the fences are maintained, we have not had any problems with injury. Acey is turned out with just one buddy, and they make sure the horses get along.
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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.
If you are going to make the switch now is the time to do it as the daylight hours shorten. You will notice your horse taking on a velvet appearance in the cooler evening. This is the winter coat coming in. The winter coat is stimulated by waning daylight. He should have a shelter of some sort as cold winter wind is the horse's worst enemy if there is no windbreak. He'll be fine with rain. Most horses will leave a run in to stand in the rain. If you offer him grain when you come to take him out he'll soon look forward to your bringing more. I holler Cmon and they come at the gallop. The benefits of his breathing fresh air, and plenty of movement, instead of standing in a stall breathing ammonia laden air, far exceeds the risk of his picking up worms. Have a fecal done periodically and deworm according to the recommendation. Before you change from the barn, get a metal pail and use a stick to bang on it a few times when you take his grain. He will learn that sound and what it means and out in the open it carries a long way.
I can't have my horse outside year round because he gets completely body clipped in winter, but in the summer he is kicked out! I like to walk the fence to check for sticky outy things, and he is fairly good about coming to me (re the treat thing - it works). But in storms he doesn't like standing in his shelter so he gets soaked. But he lives haha.
My horse makes the transition from stalled life to outside pony life pretty easily but he is a very self confident horse and doesn't get anxious (unless you don't feed him lol).
Good luck! There are so many benefits to keeping horses outside.
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Honestly.....I think your horse will thank you if you put him out in the pasture. I see no reason a horse has to be kept in a stall 24/7 unless injured, body clipped in the winter like stated above, at a show or a mare with a foal (there might be a few other reasons too) but I do not understand why roaming animal needs to be cooped up. I believe that mentally its isnt good for a horse to be kept in a 12 by 12 box. I think your horse will adapt just fine. Keep an eye on him the first couple of days and I think it should work out. As for rain storms, he hears the rain on the barn already. He should be fine in a lean too, or some sort of shelter
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