Thursday, March 31, 2011

Riley and Harvey: turnout togetherness?

Recall that Riley lost a shoe and a fair amount of hoof in mid-March. If he loses that shoe again we may have to wait for more hoof to grow to reshoe, so he's being worked daily but not turned out -- at least not much. In the past couple of weeks Riley has been turned out twice, maybe three times, on Ace. His herd mate  E--- is a frisky, nudgy sort, which is good (they are two peas in a pod) and bad (I'd rather he not careen around in his current state).

Well, yesterday, on 2ccs of Ace, I turned Riley out with E----. E---- had been so lonely his inner nudge was in full force, and within ten minutes they were careening around, Riley looking unhappy, E---- looking like the pesky little brother. When I brought him in he had lost a shoe nail. Turnout with E---- is not happenin'. Soooo....

What about Harv?
I have secretly longed for them to go out together, for good reasons and sentimental reasons. Harv has a compatible pasturemate, but that horse (S-----) can go out alone.  Should I break them up to put Harv with Riley? My barn manager points out that Harv is not always the quiet old codger, and he and his current mate do run around at times -- but usually Harv doesn't instigate. He's just running to maintain his self-respect. Should I put my boys out together? Help me to figure it out....

  •  Okay, I'm sentimental. I want them to be friends.
  • I'm in charge. It would be nice to have total control over turnout. Because both horses are mine I could handle their turnout at "off" times if I see fit. No one would complain if I modified turnout or changed their routine.
  • Peace and quiet. Harv is likely to stand and eat, or just stand and gaze.
  • Safety. Harv does not injure other horses. He is  GREAT turnout partner, dominant but not a jerk.
  • Chemistry. Riley is a nudge, but he can be put in his place by the right herd-mate (a superb communicator such as Harv).
  • Cost savings. Harv does not play halter tag (fewer replacements) and he does not shred blankets.
  • Senimental counterpoint. Harv loves his current turnout mate and  good buddy S-----.
  • Fairness to Harv. If Riley needs to stay in (e.g., too muddy), Harv would need to stay in unless I could convince the barn manager he could go out with S----- on occasion.  Harv cannot go out by himself. Unlike Harv, Ri's current buddy E---- can go out alone.
  • A quiet thoroughbred? Harv may not run often, he has his moments of crazed nutty behavior. If E---- is more active, he is also more out of shape and he loses steam fast. Harv? He's a thoroughbred.
  • Fairness to my retired boy. Harv may be good for Riley, but Riley may not be good for Harv. He does not suffer nudges gladly. Harv would have to lay ground rules and restate them often, I fear. S---- is malleable. Riley is not.
What do you think?


    1. My two horses, both TB or TBX, were turned out together for quite some time. My 25 year old oldie Patrick and my sister's 6/7 year old youngin' Atomic. I loved it because Atom got Pat moving and playing and they were a blast to watch in turnout. They were best friends and loved each other to pieces; they'd stand and nibble each others faces for long periods of time, they'd mock-play, and they moved around just enough that was good for Pat. But, recently, after almost a year in turnout together, Pat has been coming back with bloody, ugly wounds on his neck and face. He had them in the beginning every once in a while, but now its almost every week. He stands up for himself when he wants to, but Atom is so very persistent. My new horse, Theo, that is a 3 year old PMU rescue works perfectly with Atom now. Since Theo lived in a massive herd in Canada for the first 2-3 years of his life (just got him 2 months ago), he knows exactly how to handle Atom in the best ways. (And Patrick loves his new turnout buddy, a 14/15 year old mare Snowy. Their ages are much more compatible.)

      Atom and Patrick were turned out together by accident this Monday and now Pat has a terrible large wound on his neck. (Along with a different one currently healing and healed scars on his face.) I honestly think the age difference turns out to just be too much, in my case at least. It just isn't worth it.

      Maybe an older horse, but not too much older could work. Or in my case, a younger draft cross that doesn't have too much stamina. ;0) I think you just have to "shop" around for the perfect turnout partner for each horse. Are there any other horses you could try him with?

      Two things, though, make my situation different from yours. Atom and Theo are both barefoot and Patrick only has front shoes with good solid hooves. I also live in California where the weather is completely different! Hope you figure something out!

    2. Kind of tough, but it sounds as if it's worth a try. If the barn manager agrees to a trial period....

      Would S and E then be out together? Any way Harv could go out with the two of them if Riley had to stay in?

      I think of the whole equation, Harv's being in because Riley had to be in would be the biggest negative. The rest seem sort of OK to deal with.

      My older horse was perfectly capable of putting my youngster in place, so I think Harv could cope. And, he might actually be good for Riley if some of his "goodness" rubs off.

      So my vote is: Try it.

    3. i agree if harv could go out w/ another horse that would be ideal. unless you dont expet that ri will have to stay in often in which case i think harv will live.

    4. I wouldn't hesitate to put him out with Harvey. Definitely try it.

      I am, however, horrified that anyone would drug their horse to put it out in the paddock. The idea of that is completely objectionable to me.

      Have you thought of some sort of hoof boot to protect his feet if you are that worried about it? I'm sure there are types that can go over the top of shoes.

      There's got to be an alternative to drugging your horse.

    5. Hi Louise,

      When Riley was confined to a stall for months I drugged him for handwalking -- for his safety and mine. Where I board, and in my region, it's not uncommon for people to drug rehab horses for turnout and handwalking. I don't like doing it but the risks from drugging are minimal compared to the risks from running.

      Personally, given the kind of careening around he does (think racing speed) I think a boot would be dangerous. It would have to fit perfectly and if it didn't -- well,iIdeally it would come off clean but if it just came loose, or partway off, it would be a disaster.

    6. Can Riley be turned out by himself?

    7. This may not be a popular answer, but I say lose the shoes and find a good performance trimmer. If the hoof is having trouble holding the shoe, then there is room for improvement in hoof health.

    8. I'm a day late on this one (which is okay, 'cause I have that dollar short thing going on...ha). Really the only way to know for sure is just to try turning them out together and see how it goes. Maybe turning them out in a different paddock than they are used to would be helpful (shifting the focus to the new environment instead of the "new" pasturepal).
      Since temps are probably still pretty cool up there, it might be best to wait until it's a little warmer. I don't know about yours, but our horses are much less apt to race around and cut up when it's warm. Okay, that was my two cents :o)

    9. Val, I think probably that suggestion is a good one to make generally, but...

      -Riley is nearly 17 hands
      -His feet are flat and have been since babyhood
      -As a three year old, shoeless, radiographs showed signs of concussive damage to the coffin bone (shoes were recommended then)
      -And then of course there is the injury that kept him in a stall 9 months.

      He's been doing well with shoes till now, and barefoot is a risk I don't want to take. I admit that I'm waiting for some fantastic advance in horse boots that will make the perfect compromise.

    10. I'm saddened to read that such a practice is commonplace in your part of the world. We are lucky here to have mild winters so our horses can live in the paddock with company and develop normal social and psychological behaviours.

    11. My two cents: NOTHING wrong with some "Vitamin A" to turn out.... just takes the edge off, I wouldn't go out foxhunting with it on board, but LOTS of people do. have a similar situation with my two TBs, one has lousy feet and wants to rip off shoes all the time, even though he is in bell boots 24/7/365 (gasp!)is now turned out with his younger brother who is a classic PIA. The show horse ends up with torn blankets and holes in his neck from his brother, but they generally have fun out together. At least if blankets get destroyed etc it's your own guy who did it...... Good luck, and better living through chemistry!

    12. I think it's totally legit to at least propose the idea of Riley & Harv being pasture-mates most days... and on the days that Riley can't go out, Harv can go out with another horse. At my barn we are constantly moving horses around.... and we have borders whose horses go out sometimes, stay in sometimes. We've just learned to be flexible and everybody stays happy... including the horses! You never know.... Harv may even like the new more-interesting routine.

    13. I don't know what this means "-As a three year old, shoeless, radiographs showed signs of concussive damage to the coffin bone (shoes were recommended then)", but wouldn't shoes make that worse? Shoes prevent the hoof from expanding or maybe you're talking about frog and sole making contact with the ground causing the concussive damage? I'm confused, sorry.

      On another note have you looked into the new glue on shoes? I don't know how well they stay on, but it would prevent nail damage if you could make them work. I would think if he did lose a glue on that it wouldn't take chunks of the hoof with it like nails can. Might be something worth researching. I haven't because I haven't needed them so I don't know much about them. Good luck on the turnout. I'm too tired to really give an opinion on that part of it. Sorry!

    14. Hi achieve,

      Riley had a "ski tip" on his coffin bone at age three; he had at least two abscesses a year; and the traumatic hoof injury was either one big concussion (stepped on rock?) or repeated concussion/bruising that cumulated to a big problem. Shoe lift the sole further from the ground (he has flat feet). Yes, I'm told that shoes increase concussion but I'm guessing that it's more indirect? The edges of the foot absorb more, the sole is less impacated? Glue-ons, as they told me at New Bolton, are to "pull your butt out of the fire" but not to use all the time. They can cause the hoof literally to rot underneath, and when Riley had his rehab glueons the hoof wall was pretty bad. When he went to real shoes they had a tough time shoeing him until the hoof that had absorbed the glue grew out. Does that help? I'm not an expert but Riley was barefoot for the first 3 years of his life (4 actually) and once he got over 16.2 it didn't do him any favors...

    15. Ahh okay that makes a lot of sense. Thank you for taking the time to explain it all to me. :)


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