The Benefits of Turnout for Your Horses

December 14, 2020

The Benefits of Turnout for Your Horses

You’re here because you’re a horse lover. You love to ride, bond with, and take care of your special four-legged friends as much as possible. Unlike cats or dogs, they require much more care and can be quite a commitment.

Caring for your horse is much more than just making sure they’re fed. It includes ensuring they are happy as can be, which only makes them a better companion. We have all the products you could need to care for your horses on our website, but one of the best things you can do for your horses is to give them ample turnout time. 

Turnout simply means allowing a horse to be outdoors. It may seem like a small act but makes all the difference in your horse's general health and well-being. 

Here are seven turnout benefits for horses: 

1) Maintains Hoof Health

Horse hooves are incredibly sturdy and also incredibly sensitive. There are many things you can do to help keep them as safe as possible. The first is horse turnout. 

When horses stand in a stall all day, they don’t get nearly enough exercise required to keep them active and healthy. It will negatively affect their blood circulation. Also, standing in bedding that’s soaked with urine and manure can cause thrush and white line diseases. 

Let your horses exercise outside their stalls every day, even if it’s only for a few hours a day. To further ensure hoof health, check for objects in your horse's feet before you bring them in for the night. Make sure to remove manure and check for signs of thrush before turnout the next morning. 

2) Allows For Leg Stretching

Horses are meant to roam free with the fresh air in their manes and the ability to run as fast as they can. Daily turnout gives your horse the ability to stretch their legs and exercise, which keeps them in the best shape possible.

A horse that remains in a stall day after day will get arthritis, stiff joints, and severe agitation. They can also develop stocked up legs, which can cause swelling in the legs below the knee joints and is very painful.

A horse can get frustrated being locked in the same surroundings and kick the walls, adding more injury. 

3) Prevents Boredom

We've all heard that idle hands are dangerous tools, but in a horse's case, idle legs are painful. Any horse lover knows that horses brilliant animals. 

Keeping such active thinkers in stalls for a long period of time will cause them to become bored. They will begin chewing the stall walls, cribbing, weaving, and pacing as ways to cope with their confinement. 

Horse health also includes their mental health so give them as many hours of turnout as possible. 

4) Provides Social Time 

Horses are herd animals, which means they don’t just prefer to be among other horses; they need it. In the wild, horses live in bands that can range anywhere from two to 21 horses

These animals thrive in turnout time with buddies. Keeping your horse isolated and never allowing them to interact with others is improper horse care and cruel. 

Time for your horses to socialize, even if just for a few hours, will dramatically increase their mood, decrease boredom, and keep them as happy as possible.

We understand you may not be able to keep your horses turned out 24/7 as it requires resources that may not be accessible to you. However, even just a bit of social time will make all the difference in your horse's life.  

5) Promotes Gut Health

Lack of movement can cause reduced gut function in your horse. Horses who spend most of their time roaming outdoors have a lower risk of developing colic and ulcers. It can also cause issues similar to the mobility problems humans develop when living a sedentary lifestyle. 

Another condition that can become present in your horse due to confinement is equine gastric ulcer syndrome. This condition causes lots of pain and can easily be prevented by practicing general safe horse care. 

6) Respiratory Health

Turnout can keep your horse from being overexposed to dust, mold, mites, or spores that accompany life in a stable. 

Ammonia is also quick to develop in the right environments and can cause your horse to breathe in ammonia fumes, which is life-threatening. 

Many horses have asthma and should never be kept in the barn when there are high dust levels. Chronic inflammatory airway disease is another hazardous sickness that could greatly affect your horse's life. 

7) Improved Behavior and Trainability 

Bored and depressed horses are not will be the well-behaved companions you may desire. If their basic needs for the outdoors are not being met, they will begin to act out. 

They will become less friendly over time and snap and bite visitors. They will kick stall walls and become extremely difficult to train. These horses will not follow basic orders from their owners and will make it difficult for you to groom them or place a saddle. 

Basically, the horse will be difficult to handle or even ride. A horse will become unruly if not allowed enough turnout time.

Conclusion

Having a horse is one of the greatest joys and bonds a person can experience. If you love your animal, you’ll definitely want the best for them. One of the most important things you can ever do for them is to allow them enough turnout time in the day. It allows them to stretch their legs, socialize, and live an entertained, full life. A happy horse is more likely to follow orders and be easier to train. 

Not everyone will have acres of land that’s readily available for horses to run, but even a little time spent outside a cramped stall will make all the difference in their physical and mental health. 

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