L. Williams of Viva Carlos
fame asks: What is one unpopular horsey opinion you have?
My unpopular point of view? Horses are creatures best suited to living outdoors. I firmly believe that horses are happiest and healthiest when they live as they evolved to: grazing constantly over a relatively large area.
Obviously there are exceptions to this: a previously foundered horse does not need to be on green grass all day. Clipped horses need blankets in the winter. Horses that don’t regulate their body temperatures well may need to be stalled with a fan during the summer. But I am an advocate of letting horses live as horses: outside, on a pasture, in some kind of herd, all the time.
Moe and Gina have lived their entire lives with me in this fashion. Currently, they are turned out 24/7 (except to eat, and unless they’re injured) on a 20 acre pasture with 6 other horses. They do not get stalled if it’s raining. They do not get stalled if it’s cold. They both grow big, furry, fluffy coats and only get blanketed in very extreme cold and wind. (For example, last winter, they were blanketed when the wind chill was below zero.)
I butted heads with my boss at the therapeutic riding center over this constantly: she wanted the horses blanketed constantly, brought it when rain was forecasted, taken off pastures when it was hot for fear they wouldn’t drink any water. At my current barn, I encountered a woman who’d left her horse in all day last Thursday because it was raining. She said he didn’t want to get wet. He looked to me like he wanted to be let out.