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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, looking for a bit of advice. I've recently had the opportunity come up to take a horse from my local yard on a sort of training 'holiday' with me for about a month.



At the moment he is stabled 24/7 with access to a pretty sparse paddock. I know this is far less than ideal for him, which is why I'd like him to have the opportunity to have some proper turnout time whilst he's with me. The yard he'll be staying at is owned by a friend of mine who has many horses on different turnout rotas so is very flexible and able to work with me to accommodate him. I've got two main questions:


1: How should I acclimatize him best to his routine? He hasn't been fed a grass based diet for at least 5 years, so how slowly or quickly should I introduce him to field time? He's not overweight and hasn't had any laminitic tendencies all the time I've known him, but is it a bad idea to stick him out in a field all day the first day he arrives? All of the horses are in at night.



2: Do you think it's unfair to let him have a taste of the 'good life' for a month or so, knowing that he'll be returning to being mostly stabled in a little while? He is definitely coming to stay with me as he needs some work doing and it's helping his owner out while she has some maintenence work done at her yard, but I do have the option to keep him stabled and just hand graze/ride in the fields. I just want to do what's best for him and to avoid him being stressed when he returns home.



Thanks for any advice you may be able to give.
 

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Do you have paddock turnout available? Since it's only a short term arrangement, I wouldn't change anything too drastically. Paddock turnout with some friends then stalled at night would be a good compromise, imo. I don't think you will have him long enough to transition him to grass to be worth it if he hasn't had any for a long time. Hand grazing would be a nice treat.


I'd be concerned about two things: he doesn't adjust to turnout in a short timespan, and when he goes back he develops new issues from being in after having been outside.
 

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You could be seeing the Autumn flush’ of grass right now and that might cause some digestive upsets if you don’t introduce him to grazing without some restrictions.
I’d settle for just part of the day and stabled for the rest of the time and increase the turnout slowly if he seems OK. I wouldn’t give him 24/7 turnout if he’s going back to 24/7 stable in the near future
I’d only turn him out with horses that you know aren’t going to challenge his presence. It isn’t worth the risk for a temporary arrangement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the good advice. Definitely will go slow and make sure I'm around a lot to keep him occupied. The yard provides individual as well as group turnout so that shouldn't be an issue, I'll see if she can maybe section off one of the paddocks - so he's got a smaller space just for a couple of hours here and there. Slightly worried catching him will be tricky!
 

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celestejasper13;197076781 1: How should I acclimatize him best to his routine? He hasn't been fed a grass based diet for at least 5 years said:
Unless he is on a very strange diet, it has indeed been grass based, just dry. As major diff between fresh grass & hay is water content, it's not an issue.

I'm well aware that people generally do believe it's an issue & horses must be 'weaned on'. It's just not the case though, as it is for something like feeding grain. The reason that too much grass can be a problem is if it's too rich/sweet. Then it's a prob regardless of how slowly it's introduced.

Even if I had options, unless there was a burning reason not to, I'd just turn him out. Had many horses over the decades from all sorts of situations, including 24/7 lockup and they've been invariably fine.

Only thing with a cooped up horse is socialisation - if he's been starved of any contact with other horses he may be beside himself & a bit 'rude' so I'd just be careful who he was turned out with, until you establish how his 'social graces' are.


2: Do you think it's unfair to let him have a taste of the 'good life' for a month or so, knowing that he'll be returning to being mostly stabled in
Not at all. If you were forced to live a solitary life under house arrest, would you think it was unfair if someone took you out on the town & to visit friends for the weekend?? It's very sad that horses are kept in solitary confinement in cages 24/7. Perhaps you could use this to tell his owner how good it was for him, how much he loved being able to be a horse... get her to THINK about how she's keeping him.
 
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