Turning out no matter what! Am I the only one?


Toffee - Spotted Hotshot
Feb 27, 2015
North East, UK
I do! I turn out in wind, rain and snow. The only time I won't turn out is if the wind is going to cause an issue to fences and the main electric gate, I'd hate for him to escape, or it's lashing down so much and nobody turns out because leaving Toffee out in the field with no other horses in the lashing rain, stresses him out and he races up and down until someone gets him in.

Which brings me to the point of this topic...... not turning out for no other reason than you don't want your horse to get muddy. Now does anyone actually do this because this is a major bug bear of mine.

Correct me if I am wrong but horses are meant to be out in fields, grazing and generally being a horse right? This includes getting muddy. So unless you have a medical reason why not to turn out, a show the next day or suchlike, then why not turn out? There are horses on my yard that do not get turned out, some have been in the stable for weeks with no turnout. Why? Because their owners think it's too cold/wet/muddy. As a result, for the past god knows how long, Toffee's field has been empty. He has had it all to himself. This would be great normally but as much as Toffee likes to insist that he hates other horses, he doesn't. He likes the company. I hate him being on his own but I still turn him out as he's better in the field in my opinion and I have no legitimate reason to keep him in. It annoys me when people don't turn out incase their horse gets dirty or cold. I feel like saying "they're a horse, get a grip!" but obviously I bite my tongue.

So today, after our hack, out Toffee went. On his own. Because apparently the farrier was coming in the afternoon so of course none of the horses could be out in the morning, they were all stabled. Apart from my friend's horse who turns her horse out no matter what (like me) and would rather die than have her stabled for no good reason. But her horse is in a different field. I felt awful leaving Toffee in the field alone. He looked awfully miserable but I made myself walk away and sure enough, half an hour later, he was happily grazing away.

I'm going to get him in early-ish (3pm) when people in the other fields get their horses in so he's not the last out but honestly this really bugs me. We treat horses more like humans sometimes. I know it's good to care and I love my pony to the moon and back, I really, really do worship him but not turning out because of some mud seems completely ridiculous and really unfair on the horses.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Is anyone on a yard where turnout is restricted for whatever reason and how do you get on with it being this way? I couldn't imagine not turning him out. He's a responsive ride anyway without me adding to it and keeping him in. I'd have a coiled spring situation I think!!


Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2011
Mine are both turned out, no matter what the weather, unless as you said their is the risk of trees etc coming down. My 33 year old gets too stiff standing in the stable even though his stable is huge for the size of him as he is only just about 11hh . I strongly believe horses should be horses out running in the wind, rain and MUD :p:D
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Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
It does seem a shame for Toffee to end up alone, and I too like them out as often as possible. But, and this is a HUGE but, sometimes I can see that turning out in excessive mud makes for problems. I learnt the hard way a few years ago which resulted in the tendon issue with her leg - that has become a long term problem now. I know you cannot wrap then in cotton wool, but I can see some folk being cautious. Joe first damaged his suspensory on winter turnout on a yard we were on, the field was in an appaling state but I figured it was better than him being kept in 24/7. So, out he went but in the end he came in lame and had done himself a mischief. It is soooo difficult! Appreciate totally that horses should embrace mud etc and to a certain extent wind and rain. Only thing you can do is assess what you have available and if you think it's okay then yeah why not. I do like mine out most of the time and am lucky enough to have a coming and going free range system. Very few yards offer that - it would be almost impossible to do. Roll on summer then hopefully your fellow liveries will want to turn out! I do think it's daft keeping in cos of cosmetic mud though, in that they just don't want them getting dirty!!
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Toffee - Spotted Hotshot
Feb 27, 2015
North East, UK
@Trewsers I did t actually consider leg damage, sorry! I don't think that is the reason on our yard though sadly. I can list 4 horses that I know won't go out for human reasons only though. I feel quite sorry for them!

Toffee was fine today, came ambling over in no rush which makes it good to know that he's had an ok day. He's not that dirty so he's certainly not been tearing about.

Hurry up spring!
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Star the Fell

Well-Known Member
Jun 14, 2015
Same as you really, out in all weather unless dangerous.
I hate to see them stuck in, and if you have the choice to turn out I think you should even if just for a couple of hours.


Toffee - Spotted Hotshot
Feb 27, 2015
North East, UK
I agree! I just don't understand if there's not a genuine reason like legs getting hurt as mentioned above or suchlike, why you would want them in a stable all day. Toffee hates being in for too long. He looked miserable going out today but only for 5 minutes and then he went and found something to graze on.


Cantering cabbage!
May 18, 2009
Out for Belle too, whatever the weather, we had a couple on our yard who never went out if it was cold, windy, wet, frosty, snowy, raining or very hot! They hardly ever saw their paddocks but on fairness they really didn't seem to mind at all, I guess it's what they get used to to a degree.
The one thing that kind of bugs me is horses getting rugged to 'keep them clean' each to their own though. Rug if they need it of course but not just to save having to brush a bit mud off.


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
Mine live out all year whatever the weather. Ziggy never wears a rug, they make him way too hot, so often in winter I work him in hand or long rein him rather than riding because he is a mud monster. My problem, not his!


With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
Pretty much all weather in fact they went out mud Feb and have stayed out ever since.

Funny even in storm Doris they were even out and were still there in the morning.

In fact I have an important day out Tomorrow with ginger he needs to be spotless guess what he is still out in his field tonight.
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Flipo's Mum

Heavy owner of a Heavy
Aug 17, 2009
Perthshire, Scotland
We're 24/7/365 turnout. My horse is the only one of around 20 horses that lives out all year and wears no rug and thrives.
Sadly though, he's been on boxrest this winter for an injury and everyone is at me that he loves his stable now and will want to come in next winter. No. The reason I can now open the gate and he Saunters down to his stable is because he knows there are carrots in there and other food. Otherwise he'd be out quite happy.


Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2010
mine are out all weather, all year, Ive 4 stables sitting empty most of the time and I detest mucking them out lol. They have access to shelters. The only time I stable is if we’ve just foaled and the weather is foul or before a show.


Gracie's mum
Jul 31, 2005
Jack goes out no matter what but I think Gracie would live in if she could! Never had one that likes it's stable so much!!!!
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Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
I'm in the out no matter what camp, mine stayed out through storm doris too, I think if things go bad they will get themselves out of trouble which mine did when my stable roof went.

I'm so firmly in the out camp that it effected my choice when buying, too much white might incline me to stable before shows, as it is I can just grab them from the field and go :p

If you are unlucky enough to be on clay and the mud is knee deep in the gateway and there is a real risk of leg damage, I can understand wanting to keep them away from that, my first choice would be to leave them out 24/7 so they don't have reason to come to the gate :D

My friends don't permit winter turnout from clock change to clock change on their yard, they have a couple of small hardstanding pens you can put horses in for 20 mins while you muck out, an outdoor school and an indoor, both of which you can turn out in as long as no one wants to ride. They do it because they are farmers and dont want fields 'trashed', if cows and sheep can be in the barns all winter why can't horses? Madness, it always suprised me they had so many liveries, its a fab place otherwise but I couldn't do that to my horses.


Nov 10, 2014
In stormy weather I prefer Kia in. More because we have a lot of old trees in and around his field and also his field borders on quite a busy country road that people like to drive like it's Le Mans in all weathers, so one day someone will go through the fence due to the bad weather and driving like a [email protected]

He doesn't enjoy howling wind and rain, he just stands In the field with his butt to it not eating, at his age I'd rather he was in a stable eating hay :)
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Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2009
I'm on a yard with restricted winter turnout. Horses that need turnout the most are turned out morning to night - based on age, temperament and physical needs. Those that don't get turned out have to take it in turns in one of the paddocks or in the indoor school. Personally I don't think my horses suffer for it.. If Raf is turned out he stands in the mud at the hay feeder or hangs round the gate looking miserable. He may as well stand in his stable eating hay, or having a lay down and/or a snooze, or watching whatever is going on in the indoor arena. Jack is more of an outdoor type, but his main motivations are still food and company.

Apart from before a comp etc no horse is ever not turned out because it might get muddy. The reason they don't get turned out in mud on our yard is to preserve the fields or prevent injury - YO is very safety conscious and constantly worries about tendon injuries or slip accidents. In summer it's different, when they have plenty of grass to eat they have something to keep them occupied and mooching about.

I know there is a lot to be said for 'horses being horses' and I used to be firmly in that camp myself, but Raf has changed my mind and actually horses have been domesticated for thousands of years and have had to adapt to fit in with our human wants, as have dogs etc. Prized Arabians used to live with their masters in their tents, I think Raf would be quite happy with that, although he's the wrong sex to have been a chosen one!

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
Mine are out 24/7 as they have no stable. If the horses were knee deep in mud then yes they should be off the field as the field will take longer to repair. If its going to cause strains walking through the mud. However for the field to be in that state gets me. If the field is that bad then there clearly isn't enough grazing for the number of horses on the ground. I have seen this time and time again, livery yards that have too many horses on them or people who mis-manage there pasture. I find this very cruel.
I wouldn't feel guilty about my horse being out in the field on his own as long as he's settled grazing and not charging around, it's so much cheaper and easier for them to eat grass than pumping them with hard feed and hay.


Toffee - Spotted Hotshot
Feb 27, 2015
North East, UK
horses getting rugged to 'keep them clean' each to their own though. Rug if they need it of course but not just to save having to brush a bit mud off.

Mud is so easy to get off if you just let it dry. Get a decent rubber curry comb and you can rub the majority of it off. The places I find hard are faces and tails lol

mine are out all weather, all year, Ive 4 stables sitting empty most of the time and I detest mucking them out lol.

We don't have full turnout all year so in winter they need bringing in but I keep him out until the last possible minute lol

too much white might incline me to stable before shows,

I don't have this problem thank god as Toffee can get quite mucky when he puts his mind to it lol I just don't compete in any way so it doesn't bother me really.

I couldn't do that to my horses.

I couldn't. Toffee needs his turnout time.
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