I do this every year. I struggle with when to put my horses here in VA back on daytime turnout. Honestly, right now, with highs in the low 70s and night temps in the mid-40s to mid-50s, I’m sort of tempted to leave them out most of the time.
Is there a temperature cutoff you use - either highs during the day or evening lows?
Just curious as I ponder horse management over my morning coffee.
I just pick a day that works well for me, once we are past the days of sweltering heat and bugs.
I think my plan is next week. I have the farrier this week, and it is nice having them all in already when the farrier comes.
I like to do the change on a weekend, and what I typically do is just leave them out so they spend 24 hours turned out and then bring them in that evening. (Since everything here is an easy keeper, I only do tiny grain meal 1x per day so I can do this.)
Yep, that’s what I do too, or rather, I’ll bring them in, feed, and turn them right back out so they’re out for 24 hours. I’m thinking maybe next weekend as we’re getting to much cooler nights and after mid-week, we’re only going to be around 70 during the day, which seems pretty nice to me!
For now, I’m just leaving them outside a lot longer in the morning (bringing in around 9 instead of 6:30 or 7) and turning out early if I can.
I’m contemplating staying on overnight turnout year round. I’m in FL so it’s not like horses need to be in a barn over night to shelter from the cold. I’m set up so horses have free access to run in shelter in the barn when turned out so if they want to get out of the rain they can. Side note: my horses think rain melts horses. If it starts to rain while they are out they come blazing back to the barn so fast it’s funny.
With my work schedule, over night turnout has my horses in the stalls for fewer hours than day turnout. I guess I’m going to stick with that if I can.
Currently, I’m bringing them in, feeding them and turning them right back out. It’s dry. It’s not hot. And they need to graze down my warm season grass so I can plant ryegrass. I’m late planting but it is what it is.
My biggest dilemma is what blankets to buy. Cause obviously that’s critical here in FL. But do I want high necks or detachable hoods??? I need to decide. Winter is coming!
We do 24/7 turnout when highs are under 80 and lows are over 50. When we get the odd hot day, they come in during the day. When lows drop under 50, they’ll come in at night. There’s no cut and dry ‘now they’re on day turnout’ transition - eventually the temps level out and they’re out every day and in every night.
I plan on switching back to day turnout this weekend (my horses are technically on 24/7 turnout, but they’re locked in the lot with the run-in half the time). I like the highs to be mostly in the 70s before putting them back out during the day. I find the flies aren’t as bad once we’ve gotten some cool nights in the 40s-50s.
Going on a trail ride Saturday AM, so I’ll turn them out all afternoon and bring them in the lot that evening and leave them in overnight. I mostly just pick a weekend day that seems like it’ll be easiest.
If it weren’t for my very easy keeper who can’t handle 24/7 grass (even with a muzzle) I’d keep them out all the time in the spring and fall when the ground and weather are generally nice.
Here in the PNW, if I had property I would do 24 hour turnout year round if the pastures could handle it (the resiliency of pasture varies a lot around here depending on drainage and soil) and a dry lot with stalls access if they needed off the pasture. They could live in rainsheets or turnout blankets November through March. As it is, I am in a suburban barn with small individual runouts.
I have never really understood the whole day time/night time turnout thing. Typical night time turn out hours give them roughly 16 hours out and 8 hours stalled. Then you switch to day time turnout and they have only 8 hours out, and 16 hours stalled.
Other than human convenience to make the horses live around our 8 hour workday, why not just do 12 hours in and 12 hours out year round, and j flip them when you are worried about cold or heat exposure?
As soon as I got my own place and was in control, I just went to 24 hours out, with 2 stall feedings per day to give me a chance in winter to do or undo the blankets appropriate for the weather. This coupled with 24 hour access to shelter used as the horses decide. Disclaimer - I am in the south and have no snow and year-round good grass forage, which makes me wonder even more about the whole stall for 8 to 16 hour a day thing.
I like day turnout. I can bring them in more easily for adverse weather (thunderstorms). Also, it’s easier to keep them in for morning farrier visits. Mine have stall/paddock combos, though, which simplifies things. They always have more room to move around. They get their meds in the morning, so that makes it simpler, too. With the weather changing, I worry about water intake. If I don’t see as many piles in the paddock as I expect, I turn them out sooner.
At my place they actually have more turn out time while on day turn out.
Night turn out is close to 12 and 12.
Day turn out is closer to 17 out and 7 in.
I think cold and heat (bugs) exposure is why most people do flip them seasonally. It has nothing to do with the workday convenience in my case. I want my horses to have access to fans and such during the crazy hot times of the summer.
I have in and out because though my horses get along, it is not a totally harmonious herd and I think the low horse needs/deserves time where they can relax without worry of being picked on.
My version of in does not mean closed in a stall either. In is a stall with an attached paddock.
Out is group turn out in pasture or sacrifice area with a run in shelter (that the low horse is not allowed in, ever, even if no one else wants to use it).
I am not in the south and we have winter here. With snow and ice and all that.
I think the set-up that works best for the owner(s) and horse(s) should be decided on that situation. There is no one right answer.
The OP here was just asking how people switch over. Not so much a lecture on how 100% turn out is a must.
Mine live out. I do bring them in their stalls during feeding times. Since they are easy keepers, they are in the sacrifice paddock part of the day with small hole hay nets to keep forage in front of them an then out on pasture the part. Right now they are out on pasture during the day and in the sacrifice paddock at night. I have one who has a difficult time with scratches and cellulitis and keeping them off the wet dewy grass at night has helped during the summer months, along with some added copper/zinc to her diet her legs are so much better this year. I’m fortunate that I work from home so I can keep an eye on them and can bring them in during the day is if the bugs get too bad. The sacrifice paddock has a run in shed and is attached to the pasture so they always have shelter if they want it.
Usually in the winter months I flip and leave them in the sacrifice paddock during the day and out on pasture at night. Mostly because its a lot easier to take advantage of the daylight and I can get a ride in during my lunch break in the winter if they are in the paddock. I don’t really have a set date when I make the switch, I just try to keep an eye on the weather and the light situation when I ride.
I don’t know where you get that from. When I had one horse who DID need to be stalled overnight in the winter (she needed to be “under lights”- long story) she was in for 10 - 11 hours and out for 13 - 14 hours.
There is no way I could have done an 8-hour- daytime schedule even if I wanted to, as I was working an 8+hour workday with a 3 hour round trip commute.
And for those of you who helpfully told me that your horses live out 24 hours a day year round, that’s great…for you…and wasn’t the question. For a lot of reasons that I don’t think I need to justify here, my horses don’t and won’t live out all the time.
Night turnout for the summer and day turnout for the winter works for me AND my horses.
We switch in mid November usually, sometimes as late as Thanksgiving if it’s a mild year. We have mostly retired horses and layups so it’s definitely just to make the owners happy since they all have run in sheds and most wear blankets. When we had young horses in training they went out at night year round.
I still have mine out 24/7 in the summer except for feedings and will also ponder the same thing. For me there have been a few times I haven’t turned them back out at night, such as when the weather is bad and they just huddle in the shelter. That is my barometer for stopping night turnout. If the weather sucks enough that they don’t want to be on the grass then I’ll start keeping them in. I know I’ve made the right choice when I come back down after horse dinner for night turnout and they’re laying down already in their stalls.
If the weather is bad during the day they still go out since they have shelter (I feel like bad weather is easier with light) but they mostly just stand in the shelter and play fight and poop.
I’m in MD and my general rule of thumb when I was a BM was lows in the 30s. The target date was after Thanksgiving if at all possible. Eventually I ended up leaving my lesson horses on year-round night turnout, which was better for everyone, but my boarders would have mutinied.
My gelding used to think that also. Going from barn to unattached indoor during a rain storm was always fast and exciting. But that was when he was in an all gelding herd.
The last 9 years of his life, he was in with 1 gelding and 3 mares. The 3 mares were out 24 hours. He had to come in at night in order to have enough time to eat enough food to keep his weight up. (VERY slow eater as he aged and found everything else more interesting than eating. TB, what can I say).
I don’t know how many times I chased that silly horse in the pouring rain to bring him in from those (sorry, his) mares. Not to mention the hours spent with the subsequent towel drying and walking in the barn aisle with a cooler until he was dry.
I have to admit though that thinking of his later life silliness brings a smile to my face every time.
Wow, that is low! Did you used to blanket at night? I think our barn (also MD) generally switches over to day turnout before needing to blanket. Although I have pulled my mare in in the morning from night turnout to find her shivering in the fall, so she is not one likely to go naked for very long into the season, anyway.