As most of you know (those reading this), North Texas Equestrian Center is a full facility barn that offers stable boarding. Stable boarding means that your horses live in a 12×12, 12×14, 14×14 etc. space, and that’s their home. Some stables have run-ins in the back, so the horse can go outside as well. Our horses at NTEC don’t have run-ins and instead, get turned out. What’s getting turned out mean? It means that your horse is moved to a pasture or strip of land that allows them the freedom to run, play and get all their energy out. Some horses get turned out more often than others depending on age, health, allergies, and a few other stipulations. In today’s blog, we’re going to go over a few reasons about why turning your horse out can better benefit their health, mood and overall wellness.

RELATIONSHIPS

Horses are herd animals and still carry those strong instincts when they’re stalled. With the walls and paneling, horses obviously can’t see each other, which makes it difficult for them to build bonds with the other horses. You should never let a horse live alone or deprived of other horses’ interactions, horses need to interact with their own kind. Turning your horse out while other horses are being turned out, let’s them create these relationships and will help their mental health tremendously.

DIGESTIVE HEALTH

One of the biggest things to be wary of (in my opinion), is your horses digestive health. We all know how sensitive some horses guts can be and how easily some can colic. Because of this, it’s important to stay on top of your horse’s digestive health. Besides making sure they’re eating the right things, pooping regularly, and drinking enough water, being turned out can have a positive impact on their digestive health. Have you ever been told to drink a glass of water when you wake up because it’ll get your digestive system moving? It’s the same concept! The lack of movement from a horse being stalled too long can actually cause impaction colic! Because the horse isn’t moving around consistently, their gut isn’t moving and working as it should, which can harm the horse. Letting the horse get turned out activates their gut to start working and processing food like it should.

BEHAVIOR

Horse are some seriously smart animals, but when they have nothing to do for long periods of time they get bored, and when they get bored they start looking for ways to entertain themselves. This might cause them to paw at the ground, kick at the stall, chewing the stall or stall railings, biting at people and maybe even trying to bite you! Along with that, if your horse isn’t being turned out or living outside, it has all this extra energy it needs to burn off. If you try to ride them while they have this excess energy they could spook more easily, try to buck and rear, and not listen to what you’re trying to tell them while you’re in the saddle. All these things can have negative effects on your horses mental and physical health.

LEG HEALTH

Horse are designed to be in constant motion. They have 5 hearts, with four of them being in each hoof. When a horse is stalled for too long, their legs can swell up (stocking up) because there’s not enough blood flow happening. If this happens, you should turn your horse out to allow the legs to breath and move, and the swelling should go down on its own. As well, if your horse is bored or has some nasty habits like kicking and pawing, it could get its leg caught in a hay net (if you have them), or seriously injured by kicking stall walls. As well, if horses paw regularly, they can cause uneven wear and tear on their hooves.

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