Turning Horses out Alone?


Well-Known Member
Sep 14, 2009
This is something Tobes hates with a passion. So, I organise my whole life - often rugging several horses of other peoples in the morning, so that Tobes may go out with a friend!!!

It does make it quite hard work, bearing in mind I work full time and to turn him out, muck out, prepare everything for his bringing in, and bath for work, I end up getting up 5.45 - which is fine, but I would like to ease him into going out alone if at all poss.

Tobes will graze with me in hand up the old track pretty much all day, all alone. He will come out of his field, see his mates galloping around all over and happily stand and graze with me, but he will not be out alone. He is a bit quirky about staying out too late as well, and is certainly not a horse to be the last in - I am so so fortunate that lovely lady livery who lost her quirky Arab 18 months ago, gets Tobes in - she likes quirky and he doesn't phase her happily.

So tomorrow, I have a bit of time before an appointment and as I am away this weekend and in our new little field we are poo picking weekly, I thought I would do my bit tomorrow. Friday morning I also have a bit of time.

I was wondering if anyone had any experience of horses being happy with them in the field. As I say, Tobes is as happy as larry with me on the end of the lead rope and grazing him up the old track with no-one else around - is he likely to be happy free range with me poo picking? As he can be fairly volatile and very accident prone, thought I would get a bit of experience before I try!!!


Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2013
Malaika is abit like tobes but she will stay very settled in the field if I am in it with her,I started by using the small playground paddock as we do a lot of groundwork up there and then into the bigger middle field,I used to poo pick or sit with a book and a cuppa then pop down to the stable for a few minutes where I could see her but she couldn't see me,I now can confidently turn her out safely for a couple hours before other horses go out but she will not stay out if all the others come in before her.


Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2006
I think I would give it a go. Worst case if he doesn't settle you can take him back to the stable :) little and often :)

Major would NEVER stay out alone when he lived in Cardiff, now he isn't bothered at all, in fact all winter he has been turned out solo (albeit in a paddock between my mares and my friends mares)...he seems to relish the extra time to eat his feed and hay net in peace! He was never ever very good at being left behind, but I was able to settle him fairly quickly with a Haynet whenever I brought the girls up.

I imagine it would be very hard to break the anxiety of a horse being left behind though, especially if used to a routine. But I would imagine turning out solo may be achievable!
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Well-Known Member
Sep 14, 2009
Hmm, between the two of your answers we might get there.

I COULD purchase a 40p net of haylage (which he would sell his soul and me for which I don't allow him because it makes him grumpy and hyper) and poo pick with him eating that.

Sounds like a good plan - perhaps I will wait though until I have more time and do it that way.


Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2013
I don't think a couple days giving him the haylage should harm and could be a good bribe ;) I definitely think its possible to achieve a horse to been turned out first on their own with a little patience.bit yes I don't think I'd ever manage the fret of been left alone with malaika but I don't need to worry about that but its definitely nice to be able to put her out solo.

Flipo's Mum

Heavy owner of a Heavy
Aug 17, 2009
Perthshire, Scotland
Good luck Sally. Keep your wits about you! Flipo is fine on his own when he knows his fieldmate is just out for a hack. The day my mate took her horse on a wee trip away in the trailer, I was in the field poo picking. Flipo was like my shadow, he would be a few metres away grazing happily one minute, and then I'd turn and he'd be standing right behind me the next, I hadn't even heard him creep up on me!
Sounds like a good start to me, it might take time but I'm sure you can get him over his fear of being alone, poor toot. Let us know how you get on.


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
I must be a very cruel mummy because all I can say to this is:

(a) Ziggy doesn't mind being on his own (though he would rather be with a mate);

(b) Mattie hates being on his own, but all he does is prance, whinny and trot up and down the fence line, so I let him get on with it until his friend returns.

So - sorry... cruel mummy...


Learning all the time
Jul 18, 2005
North west
I am the same as Jane - it's tough monkeys.

Rascal doesn't like being alone - he runs a 5m circle repetitively but after a bit will settle.

Silver will call to him once but then walks off and would live out alone without any anxiety


With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
I am the same as Jane and PFB.

My boys are turn out together in the morning and brought in together at night but I have to be able to ride them separately.

Ginger could not care but Chanter is not a happy horse but has got use to it as I take Ginger to comps with out Chanter.

I started by giving Chanter his tea in the field while I removed Ginger and left lots of hay for him. Then I stopped the feeding and now just scatter pony nuggests over the grass so he was to busy looking for those to care.

When he has finished he does scream a little if he sees us and can prance around. But to be honest I don't mind that as he is moving around which is good for his hocks.


Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2006
I started by giving Chanter his tea in the field while I removed Ginger and left lots of hay for him. Then I stopped the feeding and now just scatter pony nuggests over the grass so he was to busy looking for those to care.

i do that tactic too when i leave Rosie behind in the summer if both Major and Moet are going to fun rides (i dont want her having hay in the summer as she gets plenty of calories from the grass). I throw a few handful of pony nuts/treats everywhere and she is soooo focused on finding them she really doesnt care about us, by the time she has finished finding them we are long gone and however mean it is i dont think twice about her when we are away and when we return she is usually grazing or waiting patiently at the gate!


Active Member
Aug 22, 2007
Another cruel mummy here too!

If they do suffer with separation anxiety then practising little and often usually helps, Inca suffered with it really badly but has got ten times better through practise for short periods and just being ignored, she's always settled and now doesn't bat an eyelid.


Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
I think Storm would be okay with just me in the field - she managed okay when Joe died for a few days. Not sure how things would be now though as she's got attached to Chloe and used to being with her all the time in the field. I think it's a good idea though what you're doing. It does make life hard work I should imagine on a yard when you have to turn other people's out for company!


Cob lover
Jul 31, 2005
As you know, I look after little Welsh A, Treacle, and she has spent quite a lot of time on her own so she used to get quite upset when we first took the boys out for short periods, last year. Then when Joey arrived there were more regular comings and goings and she settled. Jack was fine left with Treacle as there was plenty of grass, he'd call once or twice but not seem overly bothered. However, because the three of them have spent 24/7 together for the past couple of months they are all now back to square one and taking one out and over to the school results in the other two standing, staring and calling constantly :banghead:


Active Member
Dec 30, 2006
Littles needs more grass than Joy so I have a section of fence with the lower strand missing in summer so he can get to the longer grass whilst she's restricted. Neither are bothered.

Also, I leave Littles in the field in summer (in winter he comes in with a haynet) when I take Joy out to ride. He's not fussed.

I wouldn't keep either of them separate permanently unless it was needed for their benefit.
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