Difference in horse practices between countries

Ditto! I live in the immediate suburbs of a major city. Land is very expensive in my area (approximately $900,000 for a 1 acre buildable lot with no existing structure). The economics just don’t work for regular stall board or pasture board. All the barns in the immediate area are training barns where you need to be in full training with the resident pro to board there, and grooming/tacking services are included. Fortunately, most provide at least half day turnout, and many have wonderful facilities including indoors, outdoors, hacking space or trails, state of the art footing, etc. Paddocks are mostly grass, although most have some all-weather paddocks for bad weather and poorly behaved horses that need smaller spaces. Walkers and lunging rings are rare, although there are some. Treadmills seem to be gaining in popularity. Prices are astronomical, as you’d expect given land values.

We also have private farms built behind people’s houses for their personal horses, and a few lesson factories which typically don’t take boarders.

If you’re willing to drive 2+ hours outside the city (or live somewhere in between so the drive isn’t quite so far), you can find plenty of more normal boarding barns with stall board and pasture board options that don’t include grooming/tacking service and a training program. And the cost for board (not factoring in those services that aren’t included) is 25%-ish the cost of board in the immediate suburbs.

Mais bien sûr!!

The mental image - I can see it. Human wearing a beret, horse wearing a striped shirt.


Don’t forget the red wine - or in my case, since this was in the champagne area…we had to bring a bottle of Champagne every time we fell off. Which happened a lot, when we were signed up for that Monday 9 AM lesson…


My mare is trained to ground tie, more or less, but I have had to be sneaky about it at every barn. I only ground tie when I can get to her easily, and there aren’t many people in the barn.

Where I am, cross ties are an English thing. My friends in the Morgan show world often cross tie using chains, which just wigs me out. Just like people hard-tying in rope halters does! I suppose having one’s horse spook and go up in the cross ties and nearly flip might do that. Her halter broke, thank G-d.

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In tropical Queensland, we pick our round bales of Rhodes (grass) hay up on the back of a Holden Rodeo ute. I can get five rounds on a tray, which lasts two weeks (four horses). I buy hay fortnightly as I store it in a small shed.

My building buddies with the trusty Rodeo, mulch rounds (similar to what we buy, but for avo farms only), and a round under a shade shelter.


I should have clarified on the truck point…we have our equivalent (we call them utes here), but yours are just so…big haha. For example I walked passed a RAM just this morning, which is an unusual sight in itself. It would be on the smaller side for one, and it was still probably 50% bigger than most of our utes, which seem to do all the farm type jobs just fine, so to me the sheer size of your trucks just seems so excessive haha. I don’t currently own one so get hay delivered.

My 20yo mare ground ties, I can’t think of the last time I actually tied her up. The youngster doesn’t…yet but its so handy to know you can plop them somewhere and they’ll stay.

It seems horse keeping practices across Australia seem to be more the same wherever you go vs the US where it differs alot depending on the area (and for reference, we’re 80% the size of the US so…not a small country!)

I’m on the Wet Coast of Canada, in a big metro area. The further you get away from the city, the more turnout. A basic suburban bungalow on a standard lot is about $1.2 million now, so you are looking at at least $5 million to get a small acreage in the exurbs. However the wet weather means you’d probably keep horses in dry lots all winter to avoid destroying your fields even if you had a field.

Then you can drive 2 hours North into the mountains and be in genuine cattle ranch country, much drier and colder winter, hotter summer.

In the metro area it’s mostly English, a broad range of price and service in stables and training. In the ranch country it’s mostly Western and much less population, so fewer vets farriers trainers etc.

I have a compact car for a daily driver but I have a wonderful Ford F250 to pull my horse trailer. If I want to go anywhere, it’s big freeways and mountain roads. The route that I take to go horse camping has its own reality show about winter rescue drivers called “Highway to Hell,” and I only drive it in the summer!

It’s very similar to the USA but in a microcosm where you get both ends within a 2 hour drive. The ranch country in summer is just glorious, we can camp on a government grazing grasslands.

We are however probably lacking a true top tier in the English disciplines. Our international competitors are almost all concentrated back East.

Most of the things you list as typical of Australia are also typical of many regions of the US. You get a very skewed view of what is “typical” in the US if your only point of reference is this forum.

I lived in rural north Florida for many years. I didn’t even have a barn, just open sheds. For most of my adult life, I just rode my horses. No lessons, no trainers, just me. (I did have riding lessons throughout my school years.) No cross-ties and no chains.

Guilty as charged on the big truck, though. :laughing:


We have three trucks and are shopping for a fourth… we like trucks here lol

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A Ram or 250 Ford is considered uncommon here. You still see them, and recently Rams have started to become a lot more common, but big trucks and duallys are just not as commonplace here. I live in Landcruiser country. Real cowboys (stockies, cockies, or ringers) here drive V8 Tojos. Rams and Fords are for pampered showies. Holdens are for poor “city folk” people like me.

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I was on the “Wet Coast” of British Columbia for many years. Stalls with paddocks with drainage still flooded, horses staying in their stalls by choice because of the daily pouring rain and inescapable mud outside. Got tired of cleaning stalls, paying for feed, paying for bedding, paying for manure disposal, and fighting to get paid by horse owners while we worked 7 days a week looking after their horses for them when they went to Hawaii. Sold out, moved 5 hours north and east in 2008. The locals here describe this area as "the only narrow habitable band of the Province, strategically located between the desert, and the rain belt further north, and nobody mentions the swamp of the Lower Mainland, because that is considered definately uninhabitable. Even worse now with crime, crowding and pollution. When I go back there now by necessity, it makes me cringe with horror. As I head home, the relaxation comes with a sigh as I get north of Hope on the empty highway up the Fraser Canyon.

We moved here onto 160 acres with NO facilities, bare land only, some perimeter fencing. The silence of nature, the milky way shining bright at night. The artesian well, which tapped into the spring high on the mountainside above us and pours 70 gallons a minute 24 hours a day, was the first positive attribute of the move. Horses were turned loose, in pastures. We spent the first year building, and living in a camper. We built a hay barn (we have hay fields), with a large stall, and a large run in shed on either side. In winter, because we get no rain in winter only snow, and now and again, my horses now graze the second cut off our hay fields, shelter under trees, and drink out of the creek. When that is done in January, they move into the high winter pasture and get fed hay, have access to the shed (which they don’t use). They live together, in a herd. In spring, summer and fall, I have a few in the paddocks near the arena, and ride, and horse show a bit (h/j) when we don’t have Covid around. It’s a bit of a drive to get to the shows, but my Ram 350 runs cheap on farm diesel. This truck hauls our hay trailer to stack our round bales in the barn, and delivers 4 round bales at a time on the flatdeck. I bought it new in 1997, one of my better decisions. I have a large, old 30 foot Featherlite gooseneck trailer with a bedroll up front, and 3 box stalls. My “in training” horses get night turn out in summer months, keeping the grass down around the arena, and get field turn out at haying time, close to the arena, where they get to drink and bathe in the creek- a favourate treat. I ride alone, but bring a coach in here to the boonies for clinics a few times in summer months, for me, and for local riders who are interested in participating. Those horses I don’t ride are retired, pets, cripples who just hang out, and keep our pasture trimmed. If I didn’t have them, we would have to get cows to keep the grass under control in summer, so they have a purpose. We don’t want cows unless necessary. They rotate between several fields in summer, all of which have access to the creek, or auto waterer. They are currently sleeping in a thick spruce grove, deep with natural litter like sawdust, together in a communal horse nest. With access to TM salt block, this has kept everyone healthy and happy, other than attrition. Our hay is stunning quality, we make it ourselves. We sell the excess hay. So it is a pretty big change from how things used to be, for both us, and our horses. Which is good.

The major change I see in the horses is their feet, so very much healthier that they were. I no longer shoe anything, don’t need to. With ring riding and light recreational trail riding, they simply don’t need shoes any more. Thick walls, thick soles, good growth, and often natural wear on hard ground that only needs a few touch ups with a rasp to keep good. TB and TB X horses… you know, those ones that people say have crappy feet. That’s the difference that living in “horse country” makes for horses. Makes a difference for the humans as well. I spend my non horse related spare time doing artwork, clearing the land and making burn piles, and brush hogging pastures and gardening in summer instead of shoveling shit. Highly recommend.


Grew up in Morgan barns with chains as crossties.

I have the same issue re tying w. rope halters. Any animal tied without a way to release from a collar/halter/whatever goes against anything I have been taught. I don’t even like web halters.

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Yeah, so in France, this is more the norm lol

Or this

No BIG pick up trucks for sure but I love those box vans. My sister had one, and it was great to keep an eye on the horses on the way.


Not all boarding stables are fancy. A lot of horse owners have to board as they do not live somewhere where they could keep horses at home – especially true when you keep in mind that the people earning good salaries live closer to cities. Boarding ranges from “backyard” situations – basically what you describe, with the property owner boarding a horse or two for other people – to “horse palace” fancy.

I don’t know if this will work, no idea how to quote. Anyways, yes the Boston boarding is a struggler and a half! I’ve been looking for a boarding place out there for college but it’s ridiculously hard to find stalls open at any place that provides big turnout for more than a couple hours.

NancyM., Sounds lovely!

For reference, I’m located in MA, USA. At the barns I’ve boarded at, the horses stay in at night & go out during the day, I briefly boarded at a barn that turned out at night and they came in during the day during the summer. There are a few places around here that exclusively do turnout 24/7 but they either have no availability at all or they live in tiny little dirt paddocks. Unfortunately, there’s just not that much land but thankfully I’ve always managed to find places that turn out all day in good size paddocks.

I currently board at my trainer’s barn but I don’t do training rides. It is common around here though. Many boarding barns here use crossties, whether it’s in the stall, in an aisle, or in a grooming bay. However I have sometimes just groomed/tacked up in the stall with my horse loose while eating hay. Some are also fine with you groundtying which I’ve done quite a bit. At the place I currently board, some crosstie & some don’t.

I have a 2 horse bumper pull, no tack room and it’s seen as tiny! However I only have 1 horse so no need for anything bigger.

Also adding other things I’ve seen at barns in other countries:

Chile - This particular barn had all horses living outside and they didn’t tie at all. When tacking up, they would just cut a big piece of cantaloupe and give it to the horse which kept them occupied while getting ready. I must admit I’ve used this trick with apples with horses nervous being tied as it kept them calm & consistency, it built a positive association & then they were fine being tied.

Ireland: Pretty large eventing stable. Horses went out & came in at night. The stalls were enormous & bedded really thick with big banks.

South Africa: A spread out facility & the horses were all out together both day & night.


I think alot of the differences are urban vs. rural and cold climate vs. warm, but, definitely there has been a change in horsekeeping culture over the past few decades. I think, when land was less expensive and people didn’t work and commute so many hours, and parents and kids were both made of more resilient stuff, having a horse could look different. I have been enjoying reading “The Summer Pony” and “The Winter Pony,” which I bought as Secret Santa gifts for a 7-yo lesson kid at the barn, but the books came too late for Christmas and now I am reading them (I am 57). I get a huge kick out of how our heroine (the human one, not the pony), who is an advanced beginner rider, has no saddle, only wears a helmet when she jumps, doesn’t take lessons, Dad built a stall for the pony in the garage, and kid just goes out riding by herself on a completely unknown pony and, even more amazing in today’s world, actually finds a friend her own age to ride with.

I’m so glad I had something of that sort of childhood with horses, though not quite as casual (always helmets, usually a saddle, and you couldn’t just ride off into the blue but there were designated horse trails). In hindsight… now that I think of it, my parents must have worked hard to find a horse-friendly community when I was a kid! Gosh!! I gotta go… I gotta go call my mom and thank her. “Mommmmm…”


I think the window of opportunity for girls at least riding freely was relatively narrow in the mid 20th century.

I too loved all the British pony books where children spent all day on the downs having adventures, and I was able to ride all day around our suburbs and mountains as a teen in the 1970s.

But looking back, the pony books were all written referencing the 1930s to the 1950s, and like all good kids’ books they create more autonomy and freedom and adventure for the characters than was likely in real life.

I would say in my part of the world, teen girls didn’t really start being physically active in large numbers in any sport or activity until probably the 1960s. By the end of the 1980s, land costs and the increase in organized sports had started eating into children’s autonomy in all activity. I think once mothers were mostly working full time, and once teens started getting mall jobs in the 1980s, unstructured outdoor activities started to evaporate.

Right now the only real unstructured kid driven activities I can think of are mountain biking and skate boarding, both of which are predominantly done by boys. In my youth, there was a couple of decades where girls with horses could be that self directed.

It’s significant that when I was a teen, virtually no adult women were riding. That tells me the previous generation hadn’t grown up riding.

Obviously there has always been a small group of adult riders and competitors especially at elite levels. I’m thinking more of basic recreational riding.

Now of course there are many many adult women in their 40s, 50s, 60s still riding.


Title IX was in 1972 which made a BIG difference in girls’ sports.

I am not so sure about that. I knew plenty of teen and pre-teen girl who had LOTS of unstructured horse/riding time in the 1980s and 1990s. ETA that this was in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC.

When I was a teenager (in the1960 and1970s) I knew LOTS of adult women who rode. In fact, among the other teenagers I rode with, MANY of their mothers rode (though more hunting than showing). And several of my father’s female work colleagues rode. ETA this was in suburban New York.

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