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Turnout Guidelines
WRITTEN BY: Cheryl Sutor   [1997]

Horses On Pasture

Separate The Sexes.
Let the girls play with the girls and the boys with the boys. Mares may get "PMS" coming in and out of heat. If you must mix mares and geldings, it is best to allow only one gelding per group of mares. Some geldings may become aggressive if they think another gelding might "steal" their mares. Although I have seen many groups of mixed mares and geldings get along just fine. How well they get along depends on your individual group of horses.

No Grain.
Don't offer grain in pastures with more than one horse. Horses get aggressive and protective of thier food. If hay must be fed, keep piles well away from corners where horses might get cornered off by a bully. Always keep the piles far enough apart that one horse cannot hog two piles. Leave an extra pile of hay (if there are 4 horses, leave 5 piles) to help prevent any fighting, and to ensure that the more submissive horses get enough to eat.

No Borium or Hind Shoes.
Any horse with borium shoes should be turned out alone. Borium can do a massive amount of damage. Be careful of horses with hind shoes. If a horse has hind shoes, it is better off turning him out alone (unless he is extremely humble).

Keep stallions turned out alone. Never turn out stallions together with other stallions or geldings! Some breeders successfully keep their stallions pastured with the mares that they've been bred to (this is the normal herd structure in wild horses). However, monitoring breeding and behavior can be difficult in this situation. Don't turn your stallion out with any mare that is aggressive toward him or aggitated by him, mares WILL kick a stallion if they aren't interested in his breeding antics.

Broodmares and Foals.
Be very careful who you turnout your pregnant mares and foals with. Some horses will beat-up on a new foal. Also, you don't want pregnant broodmares fighting with other horses while they are pregnant (to reduce chances of injury to the fetus), so don't turn them out with other aggressive mares. Mares and stallions generally stay pretty content when in each-other's company, however, if your stallion and mare are not pastured together on a regular basis, it is not recommended to keep your mare and foal turned out with the stallion unless you are sure that the stallion will not harm the foal. In wild horse herds, if the foal is a male (or "colt"), the herd stallion is likely to become more aggressive towards the colt as the colt ages. The stallion will normally kick a colt out of the herd when he reaches 1-2 years of age.

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This article was published on: 1997. Last updated on: March, 28 2002.