I got to thinking and was having a discussion with a non horsey family member. Saying you have pastures, a good size dry lot and enough stalls for all of your horses, would you keep them out on pasture for as long as possible ie. 5AM to 10PM and then just let them into the drylot at night or would you want to bring them into stalls at night. The stalls are 12x12 and do not have runs. I know there are pros and cons of both so I want to see other people opinions as I already know my own.
It depends on the weather and the health of your pasture.
If it’s sunny and the grass is holding up, I’d leave them in a field with a shelter 24/7.
I would only want to stall in very bad weather or if the horse was ill or injured.
I’d leave them on the pasture 24x7. I see no advantage to shutting them in the stalls overnight, unless you need to get them in a hurry in the morning.
It is either stalls or dry lot at night, there is not enough pasture to sustain them 24/7.
For me this would depend on two things.
Weather and availability of shelter in dry lot.
Individual nutritional needs of the horses in question. IE I have a skinny senior TB that gets as much alfalfa hay as he’ll eat in his stall. My other horse doesn’t need that much alfalfa. So without the separation of the stall time one horse isn’t going to get an ideal amount of that hay.
Drylot with a run-in. Out 24/7 for me.
I have pasture to keep mine out 24/7, plus a small dry lot space. I still bring mine in when it’s over 90 and/or bugs are ridiculous, or gobs of rain. They both love their stall fans and sleep so good in their stalls. I catch them all curled up regularly. I don’t bring them in if it’s nice out unless limiting pasture and they need a change of scenery from the dry lot.
How about pasture 24/7 with supplemental hay
That’s what I was doing. Now I have opened up more pasture, so they shouldn’t need the hay anymore.
I have stalls and a dry lot, but would rather have them out moving about so they have pasture access too. I will keep them in during dangerous weather though.
Mine are out 24/7 with pasture, a dry lot and 8’ X 40’ run in shed. Right now I also have a round bale in my dry lot area, as we are in the process of erecting a hay barn and the builder needs access through the horse’s pasture.
Unless it is extremely wet, or I am trying to keep weight off them, they are rarely just dry lotted.
I firmly believe my horses stay happier and healthier the more they are out and moving around. Plus, I never need to lounge anyone! LOL!
How about drylot during the day and pasture at night? At least during the hot days mine prefer to stand under their fans during the day and graze at night.
I have one on pasture 24x7 and one mixed between drylot and pasture with grazing time dependent on a lot of factors.
I prefer not to stall unless I have to stall. Motion is lotion!
Another thing to add in when deciding what is best for this group is taking into account the personalities of the herd. I like to separate (into stalls with attached paddocks) for part of the time because it gives the lower horses a chance to be away from the irrational leader horse. Luckily not every herd has an irrational leader, but I am lucky (ha ha ha) and have one so I think some time apart is necessary.
Otherwise mine would be totally out 24/7.
24/7 turnout in the summer when the pasture is good. Our horses are on dry lots with mud mats for the winter with grass mix round bales. My hard keeper OTTB comes in at night so he can have free choice access to alfalfa.
I think it really depends on your horses’ needs and your set up. We have some horses that absolutely won’t tolerate being stalled. We have some that prefer to sleep in their stalls. They’ll come in and almost immediately sprawl flat out and start literally snoring.
In a perfect world I’d prefer they be out 24/7/365. But. I’ve got 2 with differing feed needs. And getting them off the pasture they have for half the day (I’m on 12/12 schedule right now) allows me to have more green and less mud year round instead of only in the summer.
And then, the princess prefers her well bedded stall to sleep in, and pee in!
I agree with what a lot of others have stated. I think it depends on your horses and needs/wants.
I have 3 ponies, a yearling, hard keeper 8 year old and easy keeper 12 year old - all show ponies. I have a muzzle on the easy keeper and they all go out on a 4 acre grass pasture from 4:30-2pm and then on a dry lot from 2-7:30ish pm (muzzle off on dry lot), and no hay fed in the dry lot. They pick at the very short grass for the evening.
I do bring them into stalls at night as they get such different grain amounts and hay amounts (hay cubes for the young - alfalfa, and cubes for the hard keeper - timothy mix, and just a flake of hay for the easy keeper). Different amounts and types of grain as well.
I want my guys used to coming into a stall at night since we show. I also find myself checking them over more fully when I bring them into stalls and remove fly sheets etc. Not to say you can’t do this if they are outside 24/7, I just find it easier to do a glance as I’m leading and bringing them in.
Mine come in for breakfast and I leave them in their stalls for 2-3 hours in the morning to rest and nap and be away from each other. Then, back in their shaded dry lots until dusk when I open the pasture gate for them.
A shelter is still on my wish list, so the only time they’re stalls at night is if it’s going to storm.
This is what I do. But my horses also always have access to shelter - either stalls or a run-in. That makes a big difference in my opinion.
If no shelter available, I might stall during hot weather so they can be in front of fans for temp control and bug control.
Otherwise; not sure what the advantage of stalling is?
Lots have been mentioned in this thread. Separating horses who need different feeds or eat at different rates. Separating so horses can have some relaxation. Etc.
I have one mare who likes to not let the other horse(s) into the community shelter. Ever.
If I had to choose between stall during the day and stall overnight, I would always choose stall during the day. You can pick stalls midday so they don’t get as messy, you don’t need to do much of a night check, and the horses are convenient for riding and vet/farrier appointments. Also, depending on the time of year and your climate, they can be cool and out of the bugs during the hottest part of the day.
I also do not have enough pasture for 24/7 turnout. I also have an elderly pony and an easy keeper 21 y/o QH, neither of which need to eat grass 24/7. I do turnout during the day, since the pony doesn’t see well at night. Horses come in around 3:00 or 4:00 for the hottest part of the day, and can go under fans in their stalls. Stalls open to a dry lot and doors are left open, so my two geldings are always free to come and go. Pony is in a smaller fenced dry lot with a run in (with fan). It takes her a long time to eat so this way she can eat at her leisure.
I would do dry lot if it has shelter. (My dry lot attaches to the barn and one corner is a run-in with a fan, so not a lot different than a stall if they want it.)
If there isn’t shelter, I’d just change it up depending on weather. This time of year, I’d also do night turnout either way.
If one needs a lot more food, I may opt to leave them in stalls for a couple hours to let that one eat his alf then do dry lot. I really try not to stall unless they are injured or the weather is going to be horrible. Even today, it’s rainy but my boys are still out. They’re happier and I don’t have to clean stalls or buy a lot of bedding.