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Horse that doesn't like turnout

8 replies

fuctifino · 28/08/2015 09:04

I have owned this horse for 7 years and her behaviour hasn't deteriorated in this time, she is pretty constant.
Basically, she decides she doesn't want to stay out by fence walking. Very calmly up and down, this increases to a trot if left but she never canters.
I have tried all permutations of turnout over the years. Alone, with one other, in a herd, in view of the yard, away from the yard. I did try overnight turnout in the beginning but I couldn't rest myself knowing she could be pacing for hours.
She is currently on a yard where her turnout is closely managed. That is, as soon as she starts, she is brought in, I have taken this stance after she injured herself when left (the first time she had done herself an injury).
Her only saving grace is that she is as happy as Larry in her stable. Absolutely not bothered if she's in on an empty yard, be it day or night.
I am on a small yard at the moment and if I let her wander round the yard (if no other horses around), she will merrily pick on the grass for as long as you let her. This week, the longest she has managed out is 2 hours, the shortest 5 mins.
We are buying a 'lifestyle' business that happens to have land with it, so it makes sense to have the horse at home. I will hopefully be getting a companion popfrom the local charity, I will not be keeping her as a lone horse.

So, how on earth am I going to convince her that it's good to be out? She is 10, is she too long in the tooth to change?
It absolutely doesn't bother me that she's in but it really isn't how I would choose to keep a horse. I'd like her to enjoy being out.

So, anybody been in the same boat? Did you cure or accept that was how your horse was happy?
A wiley old horseman suggested tethering but I'm worried she'll do herself a damage.

OP posts:
fuctifino · 28/08/2015 09:06

Pony - not pop Confused

OP posts:
Thebluehouse · 28/08/2015 21:35

If you are getting your own place I would suggest getting a field shelter, bedded down with a good straw bed for your mare and companion, then she can choose her own turnout.

Pixel · 28/08/2015 22:38

I was going to ask what she was like if there was a field shelter available. Great minds Grin.
She might just stay in it all the time but there's a good chance she will start to wander about if she knows she can go back in whenever she wants (presumably this is why she likes pottering around the yard), especially if she has a companion who is popping in and out.

fuctifino · 28/08/2015 23:00

A field shelter is about the only thing I haven't tried and hadn't even considered, not being in a position to try it.
I guess it's worth a try as it's not mega money to waste if it doesn't get used.

OP posts:
Thebluehouse · 29/08/2015 20:32

Its certainly worth a try, and if your mare refuses to go in, you can put a door on it and use it for storage, and there can never be enough sheds..

Busyworkingmum71 · 30/08/2015 08:14

There has been some research done on stress in horses, and the findings are that the least stressed horses are those that are able to choose when they are "in" and when they go "out". If you can manage your own yard so that she can come in and go out when she wants she may be happier. I wouldn't worry about her not wanting to be out. Something could have happened before you had her that's made her this way, it's unlikely now after so much time that you will change an established pattern of behaviour.

lavendersun · 30/08/2015 08:18

I have got a field shelter with two 8ft wide openings with doors on them. I have got rubber mats and thick shavings beds, treat them like a stable by bringing them in during the day or night depending on the time of year but fasten the doors open when I don't want to keep them in.

Works really really well. They are often in snoozing, sometimes flat out, during the day Grin - we call it loafing, inherent laziness!

honeyroar · 30/08/2015 13:10

We have our own yard with a hardcore turnout area directly off the yard (used for winter and mud rash prevention) and a field that leads directly off that. The horses wander on and off as they please. That's the beauty of having them at home, it can be all set up to suit your own horses needs..

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