OK, I must ask. What is your desire here? If we all say “Oh my, that is horrible” are you going to change barns?
I doubt this barn is going to suddenly change how they do things because you do not like that your horse was out in a storm.
I can say that I went over a year with no shelter in my turn out. There were several times when I was at work, the weather turned really ugly and I came home to horses that were out in something that I might have not turned horses out in. No harm was done though.
There have been many threads where people debate if horses should be in or out during natural disaster type storms. Some people think out is actually better in crazy dangerous weather.
No, I’m not going to change barns if everyone says how horrible. I admit I’m a little of an alarmist and just thought with the severe weather we had, the horses would be kept inside. A few of the other boarders were surprised too.
My retired horse has a run-in, and stays out 24/7. Training barn has everyone on an individual turnout schedule. Grooms will go out and get a horse that starts running or pawing at the gate as needed. My big guy prefers to be out in most conditions, but they absolutely would not leave him out if the winds were strong enough to start blowing things around (even if he was in one of the few fields with a shed).
different areas have different standards, here the property owner would be subject to fines/ticketed for not providing shelter for the horse… and there are a lot of do goods who would burn the reporting site up reporting poor horse’s abuse
My concern about turnout with no shelter is more for the summer weather. IMO horses need to have the option of getting out of the sun and into the shade. I would rather they have chance to get out of the winter weather as well. They, at the very least, need a windbreak.
I boarded at a place where a shelter was “in the works” for my mare who went out 24/7 in the warmer months, but in the 18 mos. I was there, never materialized. (I should have left but the husbandry otherwise was top-notch … pasture was dragged/mucked regularly, safe fencing, clean fresh water source, etc.).
The shelter where I’m at now is worth writing home about - an actual structure plus lots of conifers that break the rain/wind/snow - but the paddock never gets dragged or mucked
Is your concern with the lack of shelter only due to the unusual weather in that one instance?
I would be “okay” with this, if not happy. My filly is out 24/7 in SoCal pasture (so sandy dirt with scrub bushes and a few trees). Summer temps are over 100F with no breeze and winter nights can drop below 30F with some frost. She’s been perfectly fine! She and the two other mares just stand together at night if it gets a bit nippy. Before she was pastured, she had a smaller partially-covered pen on the same property. The only time I ever saw her under the shelter was drinking water or when she wanted to hang out with the neighboring horse (who did use her shelter). Otherwise, she was hanging out in the middle of her pen in the pouring rain and looking like a neglected yak.
Rain doesn’t concern me, nor does wind so long as nothing is flying “at” the horses. Assuming something is moving 60 mph I’m not sure being in a shelter would help unless the shelter itself is particularly sturdy (which is not my experience with most shelters out here). The part where I’d be okay vs. happy revolves around the coop roof; if there were lots of things flying around then I’d probably want my horse in, though if it was sudden I’m not sure how safe it be to lead them in.
That being said, every horse is different! Your horse may HATE what my horse is fine with and that’s fine. My filly is fine being outside in gross weather without issue. You said yours seemed upset by it.
My horse is out 24/7 but has a sturdy run-in shelter that he shares with his neighbor. I have barn and house-sat here for many years and I know that my horse and his former pasture run-in neighbor would gallop to the run in at the first drops of rain. My horse doesn’t do precipitation (neither did my previous 2 horses) and he’s aggravated when it rains when I ride.
When we have inclement really inclement weather (such as a hurricane), they’ll come in for safety. Big wind can break branches and can just be miserable for a horse being rained on. Projectiles can hit horses. Will branches or fallen trees fall on the fenceline taking down the hotwire or sections of fence? Is anyone going to go out in the middle of it all and check on the horses?
No, I would not put any of them out in inclement weather without shelter. Nor would I want them out in inclement weather without a shelter. Some horses don’t care. Some do Staff can easily pick stalls around horses. I’ve cleaned plenty of stalls with horses in them.
I don’t know all the details of the severe weather you experienced, but there is a school of thought that horses are safer in an actual hurricane out in the field than in the barn, depending on barn construction. Worst case in the field, they get loose, Worst case in the barn, they get crushed under debris. Of course it’s an individual decision, but worth talking to the barn manager about- it might have had a good reason.
Honestly? It would depend on the horse for me, and you know your horse. Some shiver at the first drop of rain and others don’t even notice. Fifties and rainy/windy doesn’t sound that cold to me. Does your horse have a full winter coat, and were they blanketed? It sounds like they were more than ready to come in from what you said above, though.
I prefer to give the horse a choice if at all possible and make sure they have access to shelter at all times, as well as hay (preferably in a slow feeder net). I have a chubby, fluffy mare who’s fairly impervious to weather and is rarely blanketed unless it’s below zero. She has access to a shelter/pasture during the day and a stall/large paddock at night—previously pasture boarded for years. She rarely seeks shelter during foul weather unless it’s unseasonably cold/wet while she’s still growing her winter coat or an absolute blizzard. Once she’s grown in her winter coat, she wouldn’t even blink at fifties and rain/wind (and would still be dry under her wet top coat).
Up here in Canada the same storm dropped about 230 mm or almost ten inches in 48 hours of nonstop roof pounding rain. There was little wind during the rain, and temperatures about 10 C or 50 F. We had significant flooding and many road washouts. No one was quite prepared for this.
If you subtract the state of emergency results was being in turnout for 5 or 8 hours worse than being in turnout for the typical PNW fall rainstorm? Which tends to last about 5 to 10 hours then have a break, not 48 hours. We’ve had a very wet fall. Horse could be standing in a rainstorm of almost equal velocity on any one of half the days here this year.
No, I am also concerned due to the very warm summers and no shade either. During the several days of over 100 degrees this past summer I had him kept inside. The barn manager was hosing everyone down to try and keep them cool.
Not really, no, but it is very common where I live, for horses that have stalls to not have shelters in turn out. I assume your barn at least blankets the horses for turn out? If properly blanketed, then I would probably rather my horse be out than inside his stall for the day. It can be tricky with a small facility, and they might have misjudged how bad the weather would get and by the time it got bad, the morning chores were done and the barn person left.
You could offer to build a wind break/shade wall for your horse though. the wooden slat wind breaks like they do for cattle seem fairly effective without being expensive or taking up turn out space.