Day versus night turnout: Why I prefer the former

As a lot of you may remember, my old barn did night turnout – which I despised. Thankfully, I am now at a facility where night turnout is no longer the norm. My reasons for not liking night turnout were varies, and they include:

  • Not all the fields had run-in sheds; therefore, if bad weather struck, the horses either had no shelter or they had to find shelter under trees – not ideal during a thunderstorm;
  • No one did night check;
  • The horses were, for the most part, turned out in very large groups. The probability for injury was high, and the probability for that injury being left undiscovered for 12+ hours was even higher

I was the “pain in the ass” boarder meaning I would be the one constantly checking the weather over the summer to see if it was going to storm overnight. If there was a good chance of storms, I would ask for my horses to be kept in. I don’t know if this annoyed the barn management, and I know there was one other boarder who also did this, but for some reason – night turnout just irks me. I know some of you may disagree. In fact, we have had this discussion on Twitter. I love turnout. I think it’s extremely healthy for the horse’s physical and mental health, but it can be done during the day when the horse can be supervised.

But, there can be some perks to night turnout. Even I will admit that. Just because I don’t like – or want something – doesn’t mean it can’t be beneficial. So, let’s take a look at the perks of night turnout and day turnout.

Night turnout perks (Editor’s Note: These all take into consideration that night turnout is being done solely during the summer months. If you are doing 24/7 turnout or turn your horse out at night during the colder months, there are obviously other things to take into consideration):

  • In the summer, this cuts down massively on irritation from bugs, parasites, and heat. Turning out early in the day or late in the evening and leaving out overnight allows the horses to enjoy their turnout time free from stamping, sweating, and hiding in the run-in shed (if available). They are able to get the grass and exercise they need. Studies have shown that constantly stamping because of flies is not good for horses. It can cause injuries to tendons and ligaments as well as stone bruises and lameness.
  • Some horses enjoy night turnout. I knew quite a few horses that despised being turned out during the day during the summer. They would stand by the gate protesting their punishment. No grass or hay eating. No exploring. No exercise. They just wanted to come in and be in their stall, away from all the summertime elements. Night turnout is a great way to ensure your horse enjoys what he should enjoy – being a horse.
  • Your horse is inside during the most bothersome parts of the summertime days. Intense heat; bug infestations; severe thunderstorms; etc. You can show up at the barn and know your horse is ready and waiting to be ridden (of course, weather permitting). You don’t have to trek out into the field and get him or her to tack up.
  • Your horse has something to look forward to in the evening. We all know that during the spring, most of the fall, and the winter, a horse looks forward to being brought inside and eating dinner. Now, your horse can look forward to being turned out after eating dinner.
  • Your horse will spend a lot more time outside on night turnout than he or she does on day turnout. At my old barn, night turnout began anywhere from 4 – 7 pm, and the horses weren’t brought in until around 7 or 8 am. That means a full 12 hours of grazing on fresh grass, walking around, stretching, socializing. During day turnout, this usually isn’t the case. Your horse really can be a horse.

But, as we all know, there are cons to night turnout, and those seem to be what I am stuck on the most.

Night turnout cons:

  • If you are at a barn that does not do night check, your horse is outside, unsupervised, most likely in a group, for 12+ hours a night. A lot of things can happen and go wrong in that time. If that doesn’t make you uncomfortable – I don’t know what will. In fact, my horse’s severe kick injury occurred on night turnout, and I just happened to be lucky that the barn staff was still there doing turnout when he got kicked. Otherwise, she would have left for the night, and his kick wound wouldn’t have been discovered until the morning when it was way worse.
  • Some disagree on this, but I do not feel comfortable with a horse being turned out in a big field during a severe thunderstorm, especially if a run-in shed is not available. There have been stories of whole fields of horses being killed due to one lightning strike. If your horses are out during the night, odds are they aren’t coming in if a severe thunderstorm hits. I’ve actually been at barns where I’ve driven up at night during severe thunderstorms only to find my pony outside in it, and even worse, he was unable to get in the run-in shed because the older alpha was keeping him outside of it. Obviously, the odds of getting hit by lightning are very slim. But, those things do happen. In fact, if you have mortality insurance on your horse, a loss due to a natural disaster such as lightning is not covered. That is definitely something you should consider.
  • There are other ways to avoid the nasty part of the summer that you are trying to avoid by engaging in night turnout. Buy your horse a fly sheet; invest in some good, effective fly spray; invest in a feed-through bug supplement (I highly recommend SmartBug-Off Ultra. Editor’s Note: That is me & my pony recommending SmartBug-Off Ultra on the website. I am not sponsored, endorsed, or paid by SmartPak to promote their product, but I have experience amazing success with it, especially with my fly-sensitive pony who used to get a bloody sheath all the time from having flies bite it all the time); invest in Fly Predators. All of these things can cut down on the discomfort your horse can experience due to parasites outside. Of course, it is impossible to get rid of all flies and pests at a barn. I mean, you’re at a barn. Barns are synonymous with flies. But, you can take steps to prevent issues and make it more comfortable for your horse to be on day turnout.
  • Your horse cannot be monitored on night turnout, unless someone is being paid a ton of money to stay up all night and do a constant check on how the horses are acting and whether they are okay. A horse can get sick, injured, etc. I just am not comfortable with this risk. While I understand it is rare, it can happen, and I know I’ve stated this many times, but I feel it’s important to emphasize.
  • You don’t know how often a horse has gone to the bathroom, whether it ate overnight, how much water it drank, etc. On day turnout, or while a horse is in its stall, you can look at its water in-take, its food in-take, and how much it has gone to the bathroom. During night turnout, this becomes more difficult – unless you really are the horse whisperer. In which case, more power to you. But, given that food and water in-take are very important to a horse’s health and manure output is very telling of a horse’s well-being, sacrificing being able to monitor these vital signs is a red flag to me.

Day turnout to me is the best option. You are able to monitor your horse for any sicknesses or injuries. There are options to control for issues such as parasites, heat, etc. Of course, some horses despise being turned out during the day during the summer. Other individuals may have found a system that works for them when it comes to night turnout. And, if you have, that is amazing! I will say that I would probably be a lot more comfortable with night turnout if I was at a facility where someone was on the property 24/7. At least I know that if a really severe storm hit or if a horse got severely injured, someone would be there to pick up the pieces if need be.

 

So what do you prefer? Day or night turnout, and why? Let me know in the comments below!

Product Review: Hayward Sportswear

Guest writer Christa Myers has reviewed a line of riding apparel called Hayward Sportswear. Below she outlines some of their most popular items.

Christ showing in the EuroJacket. Photo Courtesy of Christa Myers.

Christa showing in the EuroRibbon Jacket. Photo Courtesy of Christa Myers.

After years of admiring Hayward Sportswear’s jackets, I bought my first jacket and show shirt last year. Before I even showed in it, I wore it around the house and adored it! While the price appeals to more “higher-end” customers, I was able to afford them on a part-time, Subway salary. Hayward Sportswear is a Canadian Company with modern equestrian products, and they have come to be a huge hit in all rings.

The different colors that the RuoRibbon Jackets come in.

The different colors that the RuoRibbon Jackets come in.

Rhonda Thuna, the owner of Hayward stated their best seller is the EuroRibbon Jacket with a starting price of $600. These jackets are lightweight, breathable, and are made of stretch material. My personal favorite thing about my jacket is that it’s machine washable! After a show, I can come home and throw all of my show apparel in the wash and take a long shower! There is no need to travel into the city and bring your jacket to a dry cleaner. This way I am able to have a clean, sweat-free jacket every show. These jackets are basically the skittles of the equestrian world. They come in any color and pattern imaginable! You can match your Hayward Jacket to your Ogilvy saddle pads and De La Couer bonnets, which is what I’m doing.. just need the bonnet now!

Pictured is a custom order jacket with single piping. Bring your show colours into the ring while remaining classy.

Pictured is a custom order jacket with single piping. Bring your show colours into the ring while remaining classy.

The Snap Collar Show Shirt, priced at $160, is the second product I have. Rhonda and I looked through the pattern books to find the perfect purple for me, and I absolutely LOVE my show shirt. The shirt can be made of 100% cotton or a stretch cotton that allows the shirts to be super light and breathable. They are must have during summer heat! I love the patterns the shirts come in. They allow one to keep a classic look while having some colors. I personally love love doing this because it’s fun to not look like everyone else in the ring.

Snap Collar Show Shirt

Snap Collar Show Shirt

Two products I am dying to buy are the easy wrap and crystal stock ties. One reason I want to buy these is because I cannot for the life of me tie a stock tie – no matter how many YouTube videos I watch. Plus the Crystal Stock Tie was worn by Jessica Phoenix, who is my favourite event rider ever, at Rolex this past year. So if I wear one, my dressage score has to come out as good as hers, right?

The Czech Crystal Stock Tie is available in both Satin white and assorted patterned white cotton.

The Czech Crystal Stock Tie is available in both Satin white and assorted patterned white cotton.

But I believe these stock ties should be a staple in every equestrian’s show box. They are made of 100% cotton and have a velcro back, which means no more fumbling with those darn buttons. The Easy Stock Tie sells for $50 and the Crystal Stock Tie sells for $90.

Easy Wrap Stock Tie

Easy Wrap Stock Tie

Coming Soon

Hayward will be releasing a EuroRibbon Jacket with a half collar ribbon with the option of single piping. As well as new jacket colours in navy, beige, light grey, and brown for custom orders! Keep an eye out for these awesome new options.

There are also many riders who have worn Hayward, such as:

Riders who have worn Hayward Sportswear:*
  • Belinda Trussel
  • Hugh Graham
  • Will Coleman III
  • Sarah Johnstone
  • Kendal Lehari
  • Andrea Bresee
  • Jessica Phoenix
  • Diana Burnett

*= Please note that these riders are not sponsored by Hayward and simply chose to wear their clothing.

If anyone is looking for this season’s show outfit, Hayward Sportswear is the place to buy from. They are the epitome of fashionable and functional. They can be found on social media at:

 

What to buy when purchasing your first horse

I get a lot of question in my Ask.fm from people wanting to know what they should get when they are leasing or buying their first horse. Thankfully, guest writer Katie Stone has put together a handy list of things she learned she needed when she bought her lease horse.

First, I want to congratulate you on your first horse! I recently bought my lease of 7 months and was left with only a light turnout sheet and a few of his favorite treats. I spent the first week of owning him rushing around to different tack stores and ordering a few things from SmartPak. With needing the products ASAP, and not having a huge budget for everything, I had to quickly decide what I needed and what could wait. Note: You might need to adjust the products you buy depending on the weather where you/your horse lives. Example: You might not need heavy turnout blankets if you live in Florida

Thankfully at the end of January it was not too cold yet, so I could make do with the turnout sheet that was left for him and the stable blanket that I had previously purchased. But knowing the temperature was going to drop, I needed to keep him warm and toasty. I ordered the Rockin’ SP turnout sheet in heavy weight and a matching neck rug. My reason for choosing this brand was the cut of the blanket. My horse Furivanti (aka ‘Furi’) has a Quarter Horse build; therefore, he needed the extra room that this brand/line of blankets offered for his broad shoulders and bigger rear. This was my first priority due to the weather in the Midwest.

Within days of the purchase, he broke the only halter I had bought him while in turnout. The previous day I had purchased a breakaway halter and a few cheaper halters for “just in case.” I was lucky that I had one with me that day, but it definitely showed me that I should always have an extra one on hand. I also thought it was necessary to purchase a lead line with a chain. Furi is not the best with taking medicine/wormers, and he can be difficult to handle with the weather changes. It is just a personal preference that I have found to be very helpful.

Also within the first week of the purchase, I found a nice size cut down his leg. Although it was superficial (thank goodness) I knew I needed to wash it out with saline and use a spray on bandaid, but I didn’t have any of that yet. Thankfully my barn manager allowed me to borrow some. Later that week, I picked up saline wash, Betadine, antibacterial ointment, gauze, vet wrap (I recommend PowerFlex, it is very stretchy and they tend to stick well with/without gauze! Plus, the camo looked so cute on Furi.), and Alu Shield Aerosol Bandage.  Along with these products I purchased Dr. Kellon’s Guide to First Aid for Horsesfrom my local tack store to keep in my locker for quick reference. (Editor’s Note: I have this book, and it is amazing.)

Although you might already own grooming supplies, you will probably need to add a few things.  You will need a grooming tote containing brushes, a few hoofpicks, curry combs (I personally like my curry mitt because it is flexible enough to use on legs, and you can use it come bath time in the spring!), a shedding blade, and a sweat scraper.  A few other things you can keep in your tote may be those little, purple horse shavers for whiskers, a bottle of thrush buster for easy access, and a rag. I also keep some Absorbine natural hoof oil on hand. I have found that the Absorbine brand works best on Furi. I own the liquid with brush applicator and the spray on. Personally I like the brush applicator better. Furi is barefoot, therefore, keeping his hooves strong is very important, and I am a supporter of anything natural.

If you don’t already know your new horse, be sure to ask his or her previous owners about any supplements or special diets he or is on. You want to make sure to keep whatever you can consistent for your horse while he or she is adjusting to his or her new home and/or new routine.

You will will most likely need a saddle, girth, bridle, bit, saddle pad/half pad, and protective boots/wraps or polos to ride your horse. This can vary depending on your discipline. With a new/first horse you want to make sure that everything you may have previously purchased and the new things you purchase fit your new horse properly. Be sure to ask your trainer or another professional if you have any questions or concerns on the fit of your riding gear.  Luckily since I was leasing before I purchased Furi, I had accumulated these things throughout that time so I was prepared when I did purchase him.

These are some of the places I found these products and their prices mentioned in this article. The products you need may vary depending on your horses needs and your budget. It is important to prioritize your horses needs when on a budget. The first few months of owning your first horse will be the most expensive because you are acquiring the necessities (which is a lot), but it is also so exciting because you finally get to purchase the leather horse bracelet with his or her name. You also can customize and add your last name to blankets, halters, bridles, etc. Enjoy every second of it and remember when you had just started in lessons and already had your dream horse picked out.

 

 

 

Dealing with the resident ‘one-upper’ at the barn

At one of my old barns, there was a boarder who had to get everything I got. One day I showed up with my brand new SmartPak Pipers. I loved them. They were the emerald and navy ones, and I thought they were gorgeous. Not even two days later, the same girl showed up with them. This same boarder was also constantly competing with me for attention from our barn manager and (I’m not joking about this next one) from my own pony.

Unfortunately, there is always going to be competition at a barn, and there is always going to be that one person who has to try and one-up everything you do. Guest writer Terise Cole has some tips on how to deal with the barn one-upper.

We have all been there. You walk into the barn excited about a new find and one of the other riders cuts you off with their own more exciting news. Whether it is about a new saddle, a championship ribbon, or an extra lesson during the week, a “one-upper” is someone who is compelled to be better or have better things than the rest of the riders. As equestrians, we are naturally competitive but what do you do when your own barnmate won’t stop trying to trump you?

Kill them with kindness. This is a phrase I have been hearing for ages and it is pretty easy to follow. Instead of getting envious of someone, simply be happy for them and share in their excitement. Starting an argument or going to their level by one-upping them back will only make the situation worse. Don’t be afraid to show that person that you are just as enthusiastic about their news and then share yours. That way you both can be excited for each other.

Everyone has different opportunities and receives different things, so be proud of everything that you have and don’t compare yourself to them. There is no point. It will only lead to jealousy or anger, not happiness. Instead, simply try to change the subject. Talking about something else will distract from the excitement and ward off any resentful feelings you may be getting.

If this is really upsetting you, just be honest with the person and let them know. More likely than not, they will understand and realize what they have been doing. You must keep in mind that they aren’t doing it to be mean. They are probably just as excited as you and don’t realize that they are overriding your news. If they are bragging on purpose, then that is your sign to stay away.

It is easy to get angry and jealous when someone is trying to one-up you, but it is important to keep those feelings at bay. Fighting with a one-upper is only going to fuel their fire to be even more better than you. Telling them how you feel and agreeing to be happy for each other are some of the best ways to handle this type of situation. Next time you are caught up in a one-up battle, don’t stoop to their level and stay strong.

Have you ever dealt with someone like this? Leave your tips in the comments below.