Horses dealing with lack of turnout in LA (and boarding)

Hey everyone! I know there’s lots of posts about boarding in LA but it’s so particular to where you live and work I haven’t found anything super helpful to my situation.

Living in Long Beach, around the Bluff heights area I think it is called, and working in Santa Ana. I’m moving soon but not looking to bring my horse out for a few months.

Looking for a hunter barn, have yet to decide if I wanna go with a big name trainer and start showing again or something much simpler, so i’m open to both right now!

Also, how has the lack of turnout affected your horses?? I’m from Georgia where they’re used to getting 12 hours a day in big grassy fields and I’m concerned he won’t adjust well there.

Any help or advice is really appreciated!

It is an adjustment to West Coast horsekeeping, that’s for sure! When looking at barns ask yourself how important turnout is to your horse’s well being (it’s a different answer for every horse, really).

We are north of LA, probably way too far for you to travel from Long Beach but our barn turns out (in herds, which is kind of unheard of around here) for the majority of the day. Horses are out for at least 4-5 hours daily which is an anomaly for a show barn in my experience. If turnout is very crucial to your horse’s well being then start looking for barns accordingly. I’m not super familiar with South Bay trainer’s turnout schedules so someone else more local may want to chime in.

Some of our horses actually do not like turnout, even in a group and go our for shorter amounts of time. Some would be happy to be out 24/7 even though our stalls are oversize. Best of luck to you! The right place for your horse is out there (just don’t expect grass pastures!)

I use to live in CA and had a horse for part of the time I was there. Yes, turnout is a major change for many places in the country. Some horses adjust well and others don’t, depending on what they are used to.

In my area of northern cal, there were some places that had 24/7 turnout or at least 1/2 day. Others only had 2-4 hours in small dry lots. If you look hard enough you may be able to find something suitable. It is a lot easier if you have a trailer and can trailer out for lessons rather than having to be stuck with no turnout, or get great turnout at a barn where there isn’t a trainer you like.

I made a similar move, from northern Indiana where all day turnout is the norm to SoCal about 6 years ago. I brought my horse with me after getting settled in CA and was really concerned about how different the turnout situation was. I ended up deciding on a barn that did half day turnout, which was a LOT for the area I was looking in. He adjusted beautifully, but I know it also really depends on the horse.

My Virginia bred and raised 10 year old pony mare made the move from living out 24/7 in Virginia to a 1.5 acre boarding barn in LA with no turnout… and all I can say is that she is going great. I thought she would be absolutely miserable, but they do adjust.

No advice on barns, but keep in mind there are two aspects to “amount” of turnout: time and space
I moved my young horse across the country with me in January. He went from being a quiet adult ammy 3’ hunter to bucking through his changes, taking off whenever he saw a pole in his path, spooking at anything and everything. He was out 24/7 but the paddock was tiny (20’x50’). I was finally able to move him from 24/7 in the small paddock to 8-10hrs out in a 5 acre field. Within a day I had my quiet horse back.
I’m willing to bet he would be the same even if it was only 2 hrs of turnout in the big field. Some horses just need some space to let off steam.

Do consider “mare motel” set-ups. The board is often less than a box stall, but they are usually larger (sometimes 2-3 times the size of a box stall) and they can see and interact with other horses more. In most of California, there’s really no need for a true box stall. The good mare motel barns stay cooler with breezes and encourage horses to move around more than a traditional stall.

Your best shot in that geographic vicinity for 24/7 in a sort-of large paddock would probably be a backyard in Palos Verdes (fairly close to Long Beach) or possibly in some areas closer to Santa Ana (Orange Park Acres??).

There are also some boarding stables, including some with resident trainers, in Palos Verdes. There are also barns in or near Long Beach: Lisa Wall is in Long Beach itself, Sandie Mercer is at Lakewood Equestrian Center, and Carolyn Biava is in Cerritos.

When owners bring their horses from the east coast to the west coast turnout is one of the major concerns. But many horses are bought from the east coast by west coast buyers and most appear to adjust just fine. It isn’t just turnout but horse care is different. When your horse is turned out, you don’t need to ride daily but a horse that is stabled needs daily exercise.

All the show barns I know only do minimal turnout (some go out all night, some go out for a few hours a day). Paddocks are generally small, from round pen size to small arenas.

A lot of show barns have equisizers or hot walkers, I think those reallly help for the horses that don’t have any turnout (or very limited turnout). Horses need to move around, wether thats in an equisier or a paddock.

I definitely agree with as much turnout as possible (too much CA sun can bleach coats though). Very few horses do not do well in turnouts, but generally are fine next to other horses.

I moved my horse from UK and I was worried about turnout but I’m more north and I have been able to find him 24/7 turnout on irrigated grass pastures.
Failing that I would choose some sort of turnout on a dry lot or a stall that had a run or a paddock. I would not be happy if my horse had to stay in a 12x12 24/7. Saying that it can be done. I studied at a large equine college in England that had no turnout in the winter. My horse was kept in a 12x12 stall for 6 months of the year. It was hard work! I rode him twice a day even if just for 20 mins. I put him on the horse walker every morning and I would give him half an hour in the round pen. Plus he had hay to eat constantly. You have to make sure they have as many opportunities as possible to move around and they have to be able to ‘graze’ on hay or grass pellets because being in 24/7 can cause ulcers. I would use a good digestive supplement and keep the work you do consistent each day :). So whatever barn you choose, choose one that’s not funny about the amount of hay your horse needs and choose one that has a walker they can put your horse on each day!

I bought my current horse from VA where she was getting 12/ hours out per day. She honestly hasn’t been interested in staying out that long here. She started at 4 hours a day but circumstances have changed and she’s down the somewhere between 1-3. If its 1, it’s usually her choice. She asked to come in today at 2 hours. While she might be a little quieter with more turnout, shes pretty easy to deal with as is, so we let her decide how long she wants to be out.

Thanks everyone! Seems like for the most part horses adjusted well. I guess it’s just something I will have to try for myself.