Monday, October 6, 2008


I realize I might seem a little naive when it comes to blogging. I am a newbie after all. I still can't figure out the ads, and the follower thing has me flummoxed. (but thanks to those who are)

But I absolutely love the thought of talking horses to people in different countries. It just astounds me that "talking horses" is basically the same, no matter where we live, the discipline we follow, or the saddle we choose to park ourselves on. I want to hear more about the differences in what we deal with. And Lasting Light brought my thoughts on this right out. So here's my input on those debates. Then I'll drift back to Sonita.

Here at the Southern tip of Africa my favourite horsey forum recently had heated debates about the virtues of letting horses live out 24/7 vs stabling them at night, blanketing vs not blanket, riding with a bit vs bitless etc.

Stabling: I have kept horses in stalls, stalls with runs, pastures, pens with sheds, and any variation in between. Currently I have two kept close to me at a big pen and shed type facility, and three, including the love of my life, running like lunatics on 80 acres.

Stalls have a purpose. They keep a horse safe. They keep a horse clean. They keep a horse convenient to my needs.
I have used stalls to my benefit to teach a horse patience. A horse in a stall has to wait. They wait for food, water, exercise, companionship, sunshine and cleanliness. (Who remembers the big 4?)
They become patient. Or crazy. Usually a little of both.
Horses who accept stalls are easier to haul, load, show and take to the vet.
So if possible, I like all my horses to learn to live in a stall. Then I try not to ever do it to them again.

Horses are prey animals. In order to feel safe and secure they need to be in a group, in the open and able to see with those beautiful, wide set, giant eyes.

Horses in stalls can't see anything but walls, are totally alone, and can't feel the wind or smell the night air.
Stalled horses are the horses who crib, wind suck, weave, pace, chew, get get my drift.

Stalls with runs: A little better, but still more of the same.
I like the concept of horses in at night and out during the day. It's a trade off between my needs and theirs. I sleep better knowing they are as safe as I can make them. They still learn to behave in a stall. They get to run and be horses during the day.
Pastured horses get kicked, bitten, stuck in the fence, escape, let out, are far away and can be harder to catch.
When I go to visit my yellow mare I stand on the top of the hill entering into her pasture. I holler and she comes running hard (if she feels like it), her herd mates in tow. She is banged up, yet fit and content. When I see her run with the gang, her tail flagged, kicking up her heels, pounding through gulley's and up hills, I know she's in the right place. She hasn't been out with other horses since she was a year and a half. She is calmer, more physically fit (interesting since I rode the crap out of her) and obviously happy.
Yet the risk I take turning her out lays heavy in my mind. I also like to weigh how bad the bugs and predators are before I leave them out 24/7.
Blankets. I hate them. They are a pain. I get their purpose. Once again, for our convenience. If we need to keep them clipped or under lights, they have to be blanketed.
Horses with healthy winter coats never need a blanket. The winter hair stands up and traps air and heat to warm the horse. Blankets flatten hair. So a horse with a winter coat is colder in a blanket than without it. I'm serious, ask your vet.
If we turn them out with dried sweat flattening their hair they'll get cold. Which is why I'm a big fan of coolers. And curry combs.
I will blanket a horse if they are sick. Clipped. Kept under lights. Extremely thin. That's about it.
Bitless vs. bridleless
Obviously I am a bit fan, since I ride bridle horses. I love the science, timing and development that goes into a bridle horse.
My biggest concern about any horse in my care is that they have the highest chance of survival if they go out into the world tomorrow. I don't kid myself that I can guarantee they get to stay with me forever. I don't know what life has planned for me.
Each one of my horses rides in a snaffle, then a hackamore (bosal) and if they're with me long enough, they go into the two rein and then the full bridle. Every horse I ride( even Sonita) will happily tool down the road in a ring snaffle, even if they've been in the bridle for years. Not a one of them needs any kind of special equipment, riding method, or a deep understanding of their little horsey psyche in order to ride them. That's my way of ensuring they have a good shot at a great home.
So that's my input. Later gators.


  1. I live in a part of California where the climate is mild and I keep my saddle horses in big corrals--100 by 100 and bigger--each horse in his own pen. The pens have sheds the horses can walk in and out of, and, as someone mentioned before, they often choose to stand out in the rain. These pens insure that the horses are not a mile away when I want to catch them, but they can still get up to a run and buck and play as much as they want to. Having one to a pen insures (as much as I can) that they don't hurt each other. If I need to confine one for some reason. I use my metal corral panels to build a small pen under the shed roof. I don't blanket them or clip them--yes, they get hairy and dirty. But I think they are happiest and healthiest living in the most natural way possible. I am knocking on wood here, but I have had very good luck with health and soundness in my horses. My retired horses live turned out in a big pasture--yes, its a risk, but at this point, its the best life I can give them. They'd be bored standing around in pens, even big pens. So that's what I do, and it works well for me. My theories about stalls are similar to yours, mugwump, and I have one thing to add. Stalls are a lot of work. I clean my big pens once or twice a year with a tractor--that's it. Much easier for the horse keeper(!)

  2. You have followers because you are interesting, do/know things we can't/don't and are a superb writer. What's not to want to follow??

    I live in Ohio. Our horses are stalled 24/7 in winter/incliment weather because the barn owner doesn't want his pastures "ruined." In the summer, they are turned out 24/7 as long as it's not too buggy or thunderstorming out. I get a little nervous, but they aren't alone. The three mares are in one pasture, the rest split between two others and I'm sure they are fairly safe. It's not our property, but if we ever do get to have our horses on our own property, I like the in at night, out during the day. I would feel better about it.

    We don't blanket our horses and they aren't out in the elements in bad weather. I am thinking about purchasing coolers for them though for this winter. This will be the first winter that my mare has been ridable and she works up a sweat walking around. Seriously. Last winter we lunged her for 15 minutes and I tried walking her. An hour later she still had steam rolling off her and she was so worked up. Thankfully the barn owner had a cooler and let me borrow it. I think I will get my own this year though and will definitely use them.

    Mugs, do you think horses can become clostraphobic? My mare was stall kept for the first two years of her life. NEVER removed. (thankfully no bad habits other than a little understandable crazyness) Not to clean the stall (which was rarely done) and not for any kind of exercise or turnout. When we got her 5 years ago, she has since been turned out regularly and moved around and handled and is now ridable and decent. The problem we have is that she is snorty and crazy in the indoor arena. When spring came and it was dry enough to ride outside, we thought she'd be crazy having so many things to look at, but it's just the opposite now. She's great and calm outdoors, but inside she spooks at nothing, refuses to go to one of the arena without dancing or spooking and has her head in the clouds. She just rides furiously inside. She's slightly better when the three end doors are open (4th leads to the stalls), but they can't be open all winter and I will eventually have to ride inside for the winter. That's where her training began as well. She is ok in her stall where she is on the corner and pretty much can see everything coming and going. It's not like the indoor arena is super small or anything. I don't know what the deal is and just wondered if you think they can be clostraphobic or if that's just another human trait I'm trying to slap on her for another underlying problem.

  3. Your set up sounds like the ranch near where I keep my horse Laura. It sounds like an awesome way to keep the horses.

    Mine was in pasture for the summer. I put him out there because he was losing his mind from being stalled during rehab for an injury.

    If I could, I would let him live in pasture 24/7. He did amazingly well.

    As it stands, I'm in So. CA and there a not a whole lot of options. Mine is stalled. His stall is 16 x 24. They are all open (pipe corrals) and the horses have a lot of contact with each other. There are 5 cribbers just on my row. It really makes me sad. And I pray mine never starts. I do ride him every day.

    Also, no blankets here, it's never really cold enough for that. I do clip his whiskers, ears, bridle path, legs. I don't clip inside his ears, I like the hair to keep out the pesky gnats around here.

    I can use just about any bit on mine. Right now we're using a o ring snaffle (since the bucking off event) and brushing up on hard stops, backing up, etc. But he will go in anything.

  4. I really agree with this.

    My appies are in the stall at night during the winter. It gets nasty in Ontario during the winter. But they are both young and fit and get plenty fuzzy in winter, so I like them to be out as much as possible.

    My old half arab needed to go in earlier in the day each of his last winters. My father takes care of them and refuses to use blankets. I think I'd consider blankets once I'm doing regular lessons during the winter, if for nothing else than keeping the horses cleaner (and easier to groom and tack) but I find them to be a hassle. And filthy. I really don't like them. Plus expense- one blanket is no good because if it gets ripped you need the backup blanket, then you might need a sleazy underneath, then you need a rain sheet for when it's just wet but not freezing cold... ack. I'm so cheap and lazy when I say I like to keep them natural!

    I'm learning a lot about bits and bridles. Keep telling us more, more more!

  5. ezra-If I was kept in a closet until I was six or so I might have some issues too.
    I would be sympathetic but as usual, you know me. It doesn't matter, she has to learn to cope in order to insure a good life. Luckily she has you to help her through this.
    My usual approach in these situations is to work the horse hard where they are comfortable
    (in your case outside) and then let them cool down and relax where they are the most worried. (in your case inside)
    Ignore her spooking.Don't try to ease her mind in any way. Simply offer to let her relax inside. When she does, take her out. Be patient. Accept even a few seconds of quiet, then get down, loosen her cinch and be done.
    As time goes on start to walk her around a little. Eventually work her hard outside, and then lightly inside. See wear I'm headed? Always end the ride inside, with you dismounting in the middle of the arena, loosening her cinch and leading her out.
    This has always worked for me.

  6. I gave Casey a bath this past weekend only because he was so muddy I couldn't effectively groom him. He had his warm water bath outside in the rain because the wash stall was scary and I didn't have all day to work with him. Actually, it was evening and the day had already slipped by. Young horse, first bath with me, and first bath in over a year. He did fine. Afterwards, I tied him up with a cooler on and went about my barn chores. When he was damp (not soaking), I took the cooler off and put him in his stall then went home.

    Most people I know would freak out over this. My husband, who isn't very horsey, but learning, pointed out that leaving a damp, freshly bathed horse unblanketed isn't that different than bringing in a soaked horse who spent the day out in the rain. We've done that before. Hell, we've turned out a horse in the rain because they didn't bathe and needed to get cleaner. (Yep! Saw it was pouring and drove to the barn to put said horse out!) It's not freezing here yet. I'm still sleeping with my window open at night and Casey didn't seem to come to any harm being damp.

    Now, where's the logic to not putting a wet (not sweaty) horse away? People put horses away all the time that have just come in from the rain and are wet. What's so different with a bathed horse? Why would that not be ok in relatively mild weather?

    Casey will have a blanket this winter. It's just the way I've always been taught to do things. Then again, I learned at a show barn. I never really thought about what is truly best and how the hair coat works. I don't shave my dog because I know how her hair works to protect her from heat and cold- just never applied the logic to horses. So, we'll have a blanket, but we may not use it. We'll see.

  7. Thank you for the advice. I'm trying to be understanding, but letting it be an excuse. I will start doing that today. Should I spend more time at the end she's freaked out most at, or work up to that once she starts calming down in there in general?

  8. To me, the logic behind not putting a sweaty horse away is, his body will be hot, and if it's cold outside, the horse will chill a lot faster. Consider working out and then stepping out of the gym to your car. Or, getting off your horse in the winter. I always went immediately from helmet to fleece hat once my horse was covered with a cooler.

    Also, hot horses have a tendency to want to drink a lot of water which can cause problems just as with people. Whereas if they've just had a bath, the are typically cool enough and would not drink more than normal.

    Just my two cents.

  9. We live in the heart of cowboy country in Oklahoma, and I am very much NOT the norm when I go to a barrel race. I pull up in a stock trailer, my horse is saddled when I back him out of the trailer. None of my horses wear shoes, and most of the time they don't have their bridlepaths clipped. Not because I can't, I just don't. My horses live in a little 5 acre trap, they eat grass that's up to their bellies all day. Yes, they're getting a winter coat already, and they get banged up and cut up where they fuss with each other. But, on the otherhand, they're as fit as a stalled horse that gets ridden regularly, and they have no issues what so ever. They're allowed to be what they are-horses. I love keeping this way, and they sure don't complain. I have kept horses up in stalls, for several years in my younger days. Blankets, shavings, hoods, lights, the whole nine yards. After a few years I realized that's not the key to keeping them happy. Letting them roll in the dirt, and stand out in the rain, rather than in the barn that they have free access to-that's what makes them happy. I use bits, but I can ride any of my ponies around in a halter and still get a pretty good response from them. I expect alot from my horses, lol, they kinda get the tough love approach here. As long as they're not too high maintenance, they'll be fine. If not, they get tough or they get sold. They may sound harsh, but I know for a fact that any of my horses could go live a cushy life in a fancy barn, and not miss a lick. Alternatively, they could go into a ranch hand's string, and work for the rest of their lives and be just as happy, and just as well off.

  10. ezra-ignore the part that freaks her out the most. Eventually when you can begin to use the arena just make it part of the work routine. If ignoring it doesn't work then start making her standin the scary places. But not at first! You want the arena to be the place she gets to relax.

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  12. Ok, got it. Thanks so much!! I'll let you know how it goes. (and I meant that I'm trying to NOT let it be an excuse in my above post.)

  13. Ah the blanket issue….I'm sure healthy horses don't need them after all they survive in the wild without. That said one of mine will stand out in the cold November rain instead of one of the run-in's soaked to the core ice sickles dripping off of her and shiver so violently it's hard to watch. Cold wet weather mine all get light waterproof rain sheets possibly more for my sake then there's.


  14. I live in Louisiana and we have 3 months of bitter cold - usually December, January and February which are also very rainy and wet. My horses are out 24/7 with a run-in shed. Because it is both damp and wet and because my horses are older, 22 and 18, I blanket when it is going to be 40F or lower. The oldest gets 2 blankets and a neck/hood cover when it will be 30F or lower because though he's QH, the TB is strong in this one and he doesn't grow much winter coat. The red one grows a coat like a curlee so, a lot of times just gets a rain sheet to keep him dry. If it were clear and cold, like when I lived in NM, I wouldn't worry about it, but the damp cold is bad!

    They respect fences really well - are old and wise and don't want to hurt themselves so they are easy to keep fenced.

  15. my mum's 18 year old TB shivers even in a warm rain, and he drops condition easily so he's blanketed in winter, although not with a super thick rug, even though he doesn't grow much of a coat. the two welsh cobs get very hairy, beards, woolly bellies, the lot, but since there's not much shelter in the fields, especially since our lovely big hawthorn hedge got torn out by the highways agency, they get waterproof rugs by day and stabled at night in winter. As they're all pretty much retired, keeping them happy and interested whilst still safe is definitely the priority. Plus when we got the younger cob as a 5 year old, he hadn't been turned out in a field for at least 2 years, just a sand school for a roll, then immediately bathed and stood under heat lamps. now he's the biggest mud monster of the lot.

    As for bitting, I like using a short cheek hackamore for hacking and schooling, in fact when i got my second welsh, he'd been overbitted in a fancy show gag from being broken, and was a different, less stressed and more settled ride with a hackamore and quiet hands. My older welsh will go in anything, from a headcollar or a rubber snaffle to a double bridle, but he's very light mouthed so he doesn't need much strength.

  16. About the blanket thing; i'm curious to have your take on this. I live in CA in a part where it doesn't snow, but we get rain. And when it rains, it's cold, clammy, wet, and miserable. My horses are in pasture 24/7 with a tree for shade/wind block. When it rains, my 21 y/o TB gets very, very cold and begins to shiver violently. So he has a lightweight waterproof blanket that he wears only when it rains. I've checked on him in the middle of storms when he has a blanket on, and he's not shivering at all. So, according to you, should i not blanket him, and just let him shiver it out? Please bear in mind that he is also free fed, and even then he's not creating enough body warmth.

  17. Misty's mom and all-I'm not telling ANYBODY what to do. I'm telling you what I do. I don't live in a cold, wet, rainy climate.
    The point of this was to share how we handle things......

  18. Just thought I would share what we do ... :-)

    I live in Australia. MOST horses here are kept outside 90+% of the time. It works.

    We have stables, well they are pretty open with yards attached and no gates between the stable and adjoining yard - they can be altered pretty easily to make them bigger or smaller or whatever. We have them for if we need them for injury time/when it's raining or whatever. They are also fed in there. The gates are open all the time and the horses can go in and out for cover or whatever they want.

    We have three paddocks (pastures?) that the horses can live in at any one time. One is left with no animals on it and the other two have two horses. Each of these is about 3 acres with plenty of shade trees and grass.

    Our horses ALWAYS have rugs on. In summer they have fly mesh combos, some of them have sensitive skin (love thoroughbreds) and need protection from the bugs. They also have rain sheets for when it's really rainy. Spring they have day rug combos and if it's cold they have winter combos on. It never gets under 5 degrees c here, it's not cold. ((My kids pony just LOVES to wreck rugs so this is GREAT))

    You do have the occasional fence/runnign around injury but not that often. It is good that we have the stables for these times, a lot of people don't seem to have anything.

    Overall they seem to be happy with what they've got. And we are happy to look after them this way :)

  19. Michigan here...

    Summer fly masks (w/ear covering) and fly mare reacts to bug bites with big welts, so I do what I can. This year the misquitos were awful...even strong repellant didn't help. My mini didn't need any..he still has a heavy coat (suspect Cushings, will see in the spring as he's also had an awful diet) but did get his fly mask because the flys bothered his missing eye (it tears up).

    I put a turnout sheet on in the winter if it's raining/sleeting as my mare won't come in and gets wet to the skin, and shivers. My border gelding I'll learn about..he's arthritic, older, and has no coat to speak of, while my mare is already getting fuzzy. He also seems to be a hard keeper, but I hope that will settle down once he unwinds - he's very tense right now, and has been stressed for the past 9 years or more - love what people do to horses with talent.

    I don't blanket unless it's 0 degrees, but I think he'll need it sooner. I also will blanket if it's in the teens or below and there is wind gusting through the barn (they come in after about 12 hrs outside at least..and have the option of getting inside out of the weather if they like). I doubt I"ll do anything with the mini. This will also be the first year I have more than one horse in the barn, so it may be warmer longer.

    I have 10x12 stalls with half doors, and I put in a large "window" across from their stalls made of lexan so they can look outside when in. It's also an 100 year old dairy barn so it's wide open, airy, and light. My mini's stall has an regular "wire" type gate so he can see out all the time, and his walls are low enough he can see over (I read that mini's get depressed because people put them in regular stalls and they can't see out at all).

    You really just need to observe your horses and your barn to determine what's best for them. I think that my border would be happiest outside all the time, but I don't trust him at all...he's already pushed open the fence gate (DH didn't chain it shut) and gone for a stroll...

    Oh...I also pick feet when I bring them in in the winter...I hate having them stand in stalls with iceballs in their hoofs.

  20. I'm surprised at how many people keep horses in seperate paddocks and pens for fear of injury. I've always run horses together, from smaller bands up to bigger ones of 25+ out on 30 acres without any major injuries, at least from each other. There's some scuffs and scrapes, and introducing new horses takes some time and safe care, but they've always settled things out and are fine.

    As long as they have the room to get away from each other, I find they will. A picked on horse will run out to the point the aggressor will back off and return. Someone will usually wander out to hang with the picked on horse, and together they mosey back to the herd. I can't imagine not seeing them out together, head to tail swishing flies off each others faces, grooming each other, or playing.

    Right now, we have 8 horses in a 3 acre paddock. There are smaller paddocks about 1 1/2 acres, and all 8 go into one for "mud season", otherwise we split them up in groups of 3 or 4. There's a wad of ponies and an older horse out in one of the smaller paddocks, no real issues there either.

  21. Hey mugwump I have a question.
    I work with horses and right now I have a 7 year old "proud cut" gelding, I am working with, that has an extreme pulling back problem. What I was thinking of trying was go back to the beginning and start all over, desensitizing, round penning, you know the whole works? what do you think. This horse has pretty much pull and 4ft deep post out of the ground. He has been retrained to ride twice,but not ridden in 4 year. He bucks and spooks and freaks. I don't know what else to do. I have a blog at

  22. I blanket because my horse tends to be cold-backed and the winters get damp and cold here. I've gone into the barn and it can be colder than the outdoors.

    Also, due to timing of my rides, I clip Miss M in the winter for ease in cooling out after a work. Even with a cooler that adds time to my nights.

    We tried going without a fly sheet this summer--she just got eaten up and now we're dealing with sweet itch. Not gonna do that again, for sure!

  23. Freedomrider, what'd you mean proudcut? Is your horse a rig? Because 'proudcut' is a fallacy. Your horse is a stallion, a rig, or a gelding.

    I suit what I do to where I am, the climate, what the facilities are and what I require.

    Ideally, my horses would live out 24/7 in small groups with a run in shed for shelter if they want it.

    However, that's not practical for a lot of horses in heavy work, or certain competitive disciplines. So, next best is the 50/50 option - flipping day/night depending on the season.

    I really, really believe in turnout for keeping horses sane and happy. I know I'm lucky, that I've never had to do so, (other than injury) but I never want to have keep horses in 24/7 as regular form of life for them. I think if that was my only option? I'd move. Or sell them. I believe it that strongly.

    As for blanketing - mugs is right - if you're just talking cold, then as long as they have the calories they need, then blankets are not needed. People often underestimate how many calories they do need when it's really cold though.

    However, if you are doing things like riding / grooming / bathing your horse, then sorry, but you DO need to provide them with shelter / rugs when it's wet and cold. All these activities strip the oils from their coats, and remove the waterproofing. That gone, they will get chilled, and then they will lose weight and they they will get sick.

    Oregonsunshine - that's why if it's cold, I don't hold with turning out a wet/sweaty horse after it's been worked. If it's warm, then NP.

  24. Cryptorchid = funny word for retained testicle! With gelding procedures what they are in modern times "proud cut" really doesn't happen. Proud cut in my understanding is an old timer's word meaning not all the testicular tissue was removed during the gelding process. I have seen many gelding procedures not likely this could happen in a horse with both testis that have descended. I think that phrase is also coined when talking about a stud-ish acting gelding.

  25. If I had my way, and the room, I would probably do the pen/shed arrangement Laura Crum has for my really expensive horses. They could socialize over the pipe rail that separated them, and I'd be OK. Because I can't tell you how nervous it makes me to have my yellow horse running loose. It is a fact(fate) of life that the value of any given horse directly correlates with the extent of the injury they're going to sustain.
    freedomrider- I'd get the proud cut label out of my head. If he was a stud I'd expect him to act like a gelding, so there is no difference in my mind. I'm not going to quibble about definitions, I know what you mean, and he doesn't get to be that way. I'm not sure what round penning and desensitizing has to do with sucking back. If I had a horse with this issue I would tie him up and he would stay that way until he got over himself.(See my Captain story) I know the risks. I also know how dangerous a horse like you describe can be.
    While he was spending his life tied I would be working intensely on his ground manners. I would have mares in heat, or just other horses, tied as close to him as I could without getting anybody killed. I would ignore his behavior when I wasn't near, but would make it very clear that when I was around he was required to stand quiet, focus on me, and behave like a 30 year old dude horse while I was anywhere near him.
    Same for when I lead him.
    Same for when I'm on him.
    Be very careful.
    fd- What the hell is a rig?

  26. Rig is yet another term for retained testicle....

  27. Mugs - A rig is the UK word for cryptorchid: a horse that has apparently been gelded, but has one, or two retained testicles.

    You know - I agree with you, that you should be able to do anything with a stallion that you could with a gelding, but I personally wouldn't trust a stallion in quite the same way - and I say this when I used to have a morning post-ride cuddle routine with my 18hh Dutch WB breeding stallion. I'd sit on the shavings bank and he'd lie down and put his head in my lap while I drank my coffee.

    They are generally just that bit sharper, and more likely to take advantage than a gelding. I was brought up with the old adage: "You tell a gelding, ask a mare, discuss it with a stallion." I don't believe in that; mine all do as a say, period. However, I do automatically take more care with a stallion, especially unfamiliar ones.

    ezra - I believe horses can be claustrophobic, or a least afraid of enclosed spaces. But as yours is stallable, I would say that the issue with the indoor is more a training issue - or maybe herdboundness - is she like that with other hoses in the indoor with her?
    I've had a horse come to us as claustophobic before - snow weight had caved in the roof on his (closed upper door) box stall. They didn't find him till morning, still trapped under the wreckage. You could get him into the stall - shaking and sweating all the way, but if you shut the top door, he'd go berserk. That's the only genuine case I've come across - all the others were naughtiness / pilot error.

  28. I love your blog, it is so interesting and you have so much knowledge.

    My horses are let outside every morning by 6am, they get their stalls cleaned and come back in around dinner time for their feeding and they stay inside at night. I just feel safer with them inside at night. My one is a weaver from his previous life of living at a training facility but has gotten a TON better with his new set up and seems quite content and happy. He only weaves occationally and usually it is because he wants FOOD! He is kind of a big piggy.

    Blankets I use them only when I have to. I have them just in case but prefer not to use them, they can be dangerous outside if ripped and hanging off to one side. I am also a bit person. My one horse will ride in a hackamore as well or a sidepull, the other I wouldn't even try I don't think, maybe in an indoor arena to be safe first.

  29. I got a question for ya! How do you do your progression of bits? I noice that you said snaffle, boasal, bit ect. but im really intrested in the bosal-snaffle thing. Ive never really used them, and was looking for some background on them. Like how are the cues different (to bump or not to bump) when do you decide a horse is ready for it/ready for somthing else? Ive used a side pull if that helps....

    Ive progressed horses with bits but ive skiped the bosal because my lack of knowledge but Im going to congress in a week and I'd like to pick up a good one if I knew what one is! any tips/tools that you could pass on? Thanks!

  30. fd, yeah, we tried riding alone and with other horses in there. She still runs laps around everyone, even our other 23ish year old mare who cares about nothing and is calm as heck. She had 5 geldings running full fledge across their pasture right at her with only a little thin wire fence between them and she didn't even blink. My mare on the other hand, we were at the other end of the arena, like way far away, and she was prancing around, head in the sky, just waiting. She calmed down right away, but that's how she is and indoor she just goes goes goes. So I'm working on the relaxing inside after a good outside workout. Yesterday went ok, but took her awhile to calm down just stand for a second. She kept balking, even on a loose rein at a walk and kept prancing with her head in the air, ears straight up and forward. Just wouldn't calm down. Finally when she did drop her head and slow a little(after about 15-20 minutes) I stopped her and hopped off and loosened the cinch like mugs said. Gave her a pat and off we went to eat. Hopefully it will take less and less time.

    Her old stall, where was never let out of, was on the end where no one walked much and the walls were solid slats. She could see through the cracks, but not much. Her stall now has the wire grating so she can see EVERYTHING that's going on and she's on a corner where almost everyone walks by so she's got lots to see and occupy her. I don't know if she just doesn't like the big space with walls because she doesn't know what might be on the other side or what. I don't think she's herdbound as when I take her away to ride outside by myself, she's ok. Doesn't call out or look for other horses, just plods along minding her own business.

  31. Hey mugs, another question. How would you go about re-training a confirmed bolter?

  32. Mugs, this is how I found your blog: Someone on my favourite forum referred to Fugly Horse of the Day, from where I went to Very Large Colt, which has a link to you!

    I would never put my horse in a stall/stable that is completely enclosed. I think that is cruel. In our current setup at night he is in a stable with a tubular metal gate, two rows of stables facing each other so the horses can see and hear each other.

    My problem with 24/7 group turnout if my horse has to be fed concentrates, is that he is a glutton and a bully. If he has access to other horses' food he will chase them away and eat it.

    Actually this personality trait raises another question I've been wondering about. Why would my horse be really friendly with people, extremely tolerant of my 6 year old daughter, yet aggressive towards other horses except for his special buddies?

  33. Ezra- Perfect! Keep at it, it will work.
    justaplainsam- I'll get my bitting segment done I swear.....
    sydney-bolters are the worst as far as I'm concerned. That will take an entire post....I'll get there.
    Lasting Light- What's your favorute forum?

  34. Just a response to the comment about why keep horses in separate pens. I do this because I get tired of them dinging themselves up and though I haven't experienced any severe injuries from keeping horses together in big pens or paddocks (which I have done, many times over the years) I do know of horses that were very severely injured that way. And its hard to make sure each horse gets an appropriate amount to eat when they're kept together. So, currently I keep the saddle horses each in their own pen. And mugwump is so right. Its always the ones you value that get hurt (that's why I keep em separate).

  35. lasting light-you're horse is aggressive to other horse because he is dominant over them. He also knows he's a horse. Which means he doesn't translate his behavior towards people. He knows he is expected to respect all people. That's the way it should be. Always.Sounds like you have a good horse.

  36. Yea--that phrase came from the owner. Anyways this horse cam be toatlly fine one minute and the nexted trying to rip the post out of the ground. The round penning and desensitizing would be to teach him the forward movement and that not every think wants to eat him. He is an extremly disrespectful horse, he will walk all over you to get back to his buddies. This is the only time I have everworked with this horse, so I am just looking for input. I was going to try tieing him to a tree with about 5 or 6 lead rope and leave him there while I work.