Friday, July 6, 2012

Part III: My (theoretical) barn turnout rules

In my fantasy world, the post-lottery winnings world, there will be rules for turnout. These rules shall be...
  • Owners will be advised to blanket their horse for the warmest weather anticipated. Workers will adjust accordingly.
  • Dirty blankets -- esp.  yucky leg straps -- will not be handled. They will be washed at the facility at the owner's expense if too dirty to handle by staff. Fees will be exorbitant :-)
  • No turnout in ice or deep mud. Alfalfa meal will be spread  on any ice around the pasture gates. (I hear this improves footing).
  • Warm rain, turnout unless pouring.
  • Cold rain, or cold/windy rain, turnout depends on total amounts predicted.
  • High winds (more than 40MPH), no turnout.
  • Lightning, no turnout.
  • Handler safety issues of any kind, no turnout.
  • No pull-on bell boots!
  • No leg wraps on healthy horses.
  • No wiping down horses with dryer sheets prior to blanketing (don't ask). 
Boring, but there you are! What am I missing?


  1. How about not allowing horses to be "Chased" into turnout? Been to TONS of barns where they open all the stall doors and then run the whole herd (of 30 horses!) out of the barn towards their respective paddocks, down an "alley" of hot single-strand wire fencing! INSANE! Thankfully, I found a place that leads them in and out, two at a time!

  2. All horses requiring brushing boots for turnout will be provided with two pairs to allow for washing (by the owner) and/or drying.

    All horses will be provided with two turnout rugs (or suitable combination alternative) of each weight to enable adequate drying between wears in case of very heavy rain.

    All horses will be provided with a suitable selction of turnout rugs taking into account the local climate, e.g. rain sheet, medium weight, heavy weight with neck.

  3. * Bad manners when leading-- non-optional training fees apply (but horse gets to go out)
    (I'll think of more soon)

  4. One barn I was at had a really great system for determining blanketing and turnout. It was posted clearly in the barn aisle so there were never any questions.

    Horses were turned out UNLESS:
    * there was more than a 40% chance of rain
    * thunderstorms were predicted
    * horses left deep hoof prints in the dirt (e.g. if it was muddy)

    They had some sort of formula for calculating blanketing that involved lowest temp and wind speed. They'd calculate a number from 1-10, and different horses were blanketed at different numbers (e.g. a clipped older horse might get a light blanket at 3, while a super-fuzzy pony might not get anything till an 8). They always posted what that night's "score" was so there was never any question.

  5. Yep, a nice large paddock attached to every stall so horses can be giving free choice turnout all the time.

    Group/herd turnout can be handled according to posted rules.

    I really don't like keeping horses in their stalls unless it's absolutely necessary.

  6. But I must ask - wiping down with dryer sheets before blanketing? I have never heard of it.

    1. Yes! I'm asking too. Although I did just hear in the news this is a good mosquito repellant for humans.

  7. My pet peeve regarding turnout when I boarded at public barns that no "dedicated turnout pens" was the owner who would turn out the horse and then leave for parts unknown--the dreaded "Turnout Hog," in other words. I've seen barns with multiple round pens or turnout pens so boarders can clean their stalls without "supervision" (;o) but if the facilities are "limited," the Hogs ruin it for everyone.

    I like your list, especially the pull on bell boots (I can't understand why anyone buys those, they are such a pain) and "fees will be exorbitant." Amen to that ;o)

  8. Well, my approach with the turnout hog would be the same as for folks who do laundry and leave it in the washer at shared facilities. Dump on top of washer/dryer/wherever convenient and go about your business. Horse goes in stall, my horse goes out, problem solved!

  9. After winning the lottery, I would include fencing that does not allow my horse to eat grass through the fence and rub out his mane along with a manure vacuum and personnel to work it!

  10. The answer is: Static. Dryer sheets alleviate static.

  11. Our barn rules:

    - Horses live out with access to stalls. All weather, all seasons.
    - Blankets removed or put on as needed but all blankets are turn out blankets.
    - No bell boots, no boots, preferably no shoes

    We keep it simple and the horses have been very healthy. I've been at my current barn for 10+ years and have found my horses are more, well, durable than I'd imagined.

  12. I was at a barn where they chased my horse as soon as they unclipped his lead - the reasoning - "he's so pretty when he runs." needless to say this caused many a problem - until I caught them doing this I wondered on the occasional times I led him out for turnout what the heck was his need to get away so fast? At one point he broke my finger trying to get away. Needless to say we left that barn. As for the brushing boots - he has to wear them outside, experience has taught me so, I can't stay at a barn where they won't put them on him when he goes out. I have several easy Velcro pairs that I leave on his stall door for ez access. Turnout can definitely be a make or break for horse owners and barn workers .... A hot topic indeed!

  13. You know, it's funny. My horses live out in a large paddock with a large run-in and I have far fewer injuries or issues than most people with horses that are stalled, even part-time ... hands down!! Their legs are tougher, they're hardy, they don't go bonkers at "turn-out" time and risk injuring themselves (because there IS no turn-out time when they're always out). I believe most horses that injure themselves when turned out do it within the first 10 minutes of being set free.

    My horses have been more bombproof since they face daily elements/noises/sights, they have never caught a cold, and they are very, very happy.

    I used to think a stall was an absolute necessity ... when, really, I think a stall is only a perceived necessity for us owners. Same as many other things ... like leg wraps for a healthy horse. ;)


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