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Should horses be out in all weathers?

22 replies

WinkyWinkola · 22/02/2010 16:29

I'm not a horse person but when I drive my dcs to school, there is this one horse in a field we pass.

He's out, rain, snow or shine. No shelter apparent in the field and with a coat on.

Is this ok?

OP posts:
ASecretLemonadeDrinker · 22/02/2010 16:32

Depends on breed but generally I'd say it's OK. Is there hedging and /or trees? The horse may be brought in at night, but alot of my horses have lived out 24/7 without even a rug due to their breed and 'use'. Does he look wooly and stocky or more gangly?

elastamum · 22/02/2010 16:33

horses are fine to be out in most weathers as long as there is something for them to eat. Ours are out every day with their rugs on and ponies are much hdealthier out not stabled. i would be more concerned that he is alone as horse are herd animals and are much happier in company

frogetyfrog · 22/02/2010 16:39

I got reported to the RSPCA because our ponies were outside in winter and muddy. The inspector was very apologetic but said that they had to investigate. The thing is that one was a welsh mountain pony and as woolly as they come (and extremely muddy as a consequence) and the other a Fell. He went away happy after a cup of tea and a biscuit!! Both ponies happy to be out without rugs and in all weathers. We rug our larger native cross but to be honest he hasnt developed much of a coat because of it, and I sometimes wonder if there is a false economy in that he now is totally reliant on warmth from the rug rather than his own coat. When he gets taken out I feel sorry for him during tacking up as I am sure he must feel a little chilly.

WinkyWinkola · 22/02/2010 21:06

He's a quite a tall horse, slim and elegant. He's always near where cars drive past on the school drive so I always think he feels a bit lonely. But I'm just a soppy unknowledgeable animal lover so he's obviously fine. He does get fed as I've seen the owner/someone giving him nosh. I'm glad to hear he's ok.

OP posts:
MiffyWhinge · 23/02/2010 11:10

if you surveyed a 1000 horses and ponies and asked them whether they'd rather be in a nice cosy stable or out in all weathers I bet the vast majority would opt for a field , rugged up or not, even if they do just end up hanging around the gate after a couple of hours

it's a human instinct to wrap them up and make a lovely bed for them but all mine ever do is clamour to escape

we have a pony that lives out 24/7, although in theory he is supposed to come in during the day and enjoy being in a stable and air his rugs, he just climbs out over the door

the horse you see might be a stallion, that could explain why he is alone

MiffyWhinge · 23/02/2010 11:10

(horses, perversely, are more likely to use a field shelter to get out of the sun than the wind, rain or snow - in my limited experience)

Alicetheinvisible · 23/02/2010 11:28

Our TB lived out over the winter when he first came out of racing. He had 2 NZ rugs on and a field shelter, but would not stand in there when it rained. Possibly because he is simple, but most likely because of the noise of the rain on the roof.

Mayandbump23 · 24/02/2010 19:32

My horse lives out 24/7 and loves it, he is much happier than when he used to be stabled at night/bad weather. He has a field shelter but never ever uses it, even when it rains, prefers to stand outside and graze but then he is a greedy boy... :-)

LittlePushka · 28/02/2010 00:05

LOL at Miffy's survey idea! I agree with posters above - they are after all horses not poodles! I also have two native crossbreds and a (simple!)TB . The TB gets like a hat rack in the winter, no matter how much i feed him but he DETESTS being in his stable...always has his head out peering into his fields and always trots off on being "released" and has a good old stomp and roll.

I would say that as long as said horse has enough to eat then it would be fine living out. I have a number of natural shelter belts in my fields and the horses often just stand there in the rain. It is wind and snow mine tend to shelter from

the horse you see will miss company - they are herd animals and are very sociable in fields together, so hence the reason perhaps why it comes over for a nosey when there is any action!

Pixel · 28/02/2010 14:35

Nothing wrong with poodles!

They are brave little dogs if you let them be dogs. When I was small we had one who was brought up with alsatians and spent most of his time jumping in the pond at our local park. He was usually brought home at arms length on the end of the lead, covered in green slime!

Agree with the rest of it though. We stay where we are because our horses can live out all the time which they much prefer. Saying that, they are obviously the exceptions to the rule because they love their shelters. I think they have barely left them all winter .

LittlePushka · 28/02/2010 20:32

Pushka apologises for accidental anti-poodle faux pas!

Pixel · 28/02/2010 22:23

Lol, you are forgiven

LittlePushka · 28/02/2010 23:13

Thank you! Pushka loves dogs as well as horses!

luckyblackcat · 01/03/2010 09:42

I was interested to see this, as my 2 ponies (Shetland X Welsh) hate their field shelter with a passion - they eat their tea in it and then leg it.

It has a gate, the idea being that in really bad weather/spring grass I would shut them in stable fashion - they just attack it and injure themselves (or each other).

I believe that, like many aforementioned, they are simple independent.

However, they are constantly soaked and I was concerned about them getting rain scald. So I put their waterproof turnout rugs on at the weekend, my grey mare loved hers but the gelding went bananas - lashing out with both barrels at the normally dominant mare and chasing her. I caught him a few hours later and removed his rug in case that was the trigger, but to no avail - it seems he cannot recognise, and therefore attacks, his half sister, with whom he has lived for all of his 17 yrs, whilst she is wearing a black rug.

Do I win the stupidest pony award?

macadoodledoo · 01/03/2010 18:42

Luckyblackcat - you do win the award!

I've turned my Irish Draught out 24/7 this Winter for the first time because he was diagnosed with COPD last Summer. I've read up and learnt loads and now am a huge convert of turnout in all weathers - physically and mentally healthier for them. I've also ditched the bedding when he is in the stable - the vet said that owners end up 'humanising' them, because they'll lie down in a muddy wet field without a care - so why do we feel the need to bed them on something, which in his case causes health problems - rubber mats are so quick to clean up too!

I've just moved to a new yard after moving house - it took a while for me to find one which would allow night time turn out in the Winter. I'm shocked at how coddled most of the horses are - one wasn't turned out this morning because it was a bit cold...a bit cold on a lovely sunny day!!!! & some don't get turned out because they'll get muddy - I'm stunned. Bloody horses not show-gerbils (staying away from a Poodle ref!). Most of the horses on the new yard are coughing and have got vices from being stabled too much, & not having enough exercise or to stimulate them.

So - long post to get stuff of my chest (new yard, trying to fit in, don't feel able to say anything) - but in response to the original question. Horse is probably OK! Keep an eye if you're going past and if you notice a big drop in weight, or an untended injury or something else of big concern maybe ask someone horsey for further advice. Nice that you've noticed and worried enough to ask though - good on you!

MiffyWhinge · 01/03/2010 19:58

sorry but am laughing out loud at luckyblackcat's pony not recognising own sister under a rug

LittlePushka · 01/03/2010 20:34

Agree with luckblackcat...it is great that WinkyWinkloa takes trouble to enquire as to well being. I'm all for that.

My otherwise loving Welshie runs away when I approach with a rug (bit like my DS2 when I come neaqr with a pair of socks...!

LOL too at horse in disguise! My 16hh mare is up for the Houdini award - twice now she has "taken " ger rug off in her stable. I kid you not she wriggles out of it and is is in a heap in the corner, still fastened up.

How can I not do those piggin' T bar fastners with the daft rubber rings,...but my mare with her great soup-plate-hooves can undo then and re-do them no problem...?[

Alicetheinvisible · 03/03/2010 11:20

LittlePushka - legstraps

LittlePushka · 03/03/2010 21:28

Oh Alice ! - I always do the legstraps,...she stll gets it off completely!

Alicetheinvisible · 04/03/2010 09:25

naughty pony. My TB can get rugs off if no fillet string or leg straps, my mare is much more sensible, and would rather be kept warm!

Mermaid2 · 28/04/2010 20:27

My 5 year gelding lives out 24/7 and loves it. He is with other ponies and to watch them interact is so fantastic. Obviously it doesn't suit everyone but for me it works. He was out in the dreadful winter but it was harder for us than for him. They do adapt.

skihorse · 30/04/2010 07:29

Arf @ "out in all weathers" - gutted I missed this post before - madness!

My warmblood spent 2 winters at home with me outside in a sub-alpine climate often with a foot of snow on the ground. Very happy with her lot too.

You only have to visit other countries (e.g., Norway, Finland, Sweden, Canada, Russia) in the winter to realise that horses um... don't melt in the rain/snow - in fact I've seen horses in canada with 6" of snow piled up on their backs - without rugs! The snow actually acts as an insulator.

Currently my girl is stabled at night and she and I both hate it. I just can't find anywhere around here which has 24/7 turnout and running water.

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