Horses at GEC are turned out approximately 4 hours per day, usually between the hours of 10 or 11 am and 2 or 3 pm daily, weather and work force (numbers) permitting. Some days are so heavenly (no bugs, no excessive heat or cold) that horses are left out until dark or until their owners need them.We wil always consider the welfare of the horses and our workers when we make daily decisions about turnout.
We love having the horses outside! Turnout makes it easier to clean the stalls, keeps the stalls cleaner and the horses love being outside in good weather!
From a business point of view, it is also the cheapest way to run a boarding stable. But it's not always best. Horses have been domesticated for thousands of years and are far from being wild animals, able to cope with anything nature hands out. Keep in mind that horses in the wild live only to the age of 15, on average, falling victim to weather and geography. They are inclined to suffer from rain rot, scratches. sore ligaments and tendons, bug-related allergies and exposure to heat or cold, as well as food and water shortages.
We have seen horses with the tips of its ears missing from frostbite and horses down in the field from falling on ice or from heat exposure. Our horses are valued members of our family, so we take care of them. Okay, yes, we baby them. Why not?
Horses don't enjoy very cold temperatures so we blanket them if their owners have porvided blankets. They doen't enjoy flys so we put flysheets on horses if their owners have provided them and we use fly spray, if provided. Horses don’t enjoy excessive humidity and hot sun. They don’t enjoy rainstorms, although a light shower can be fun. Some horses enjoy mud, but it can be dangerous to ligaments and tendons. And, certainly, horses do not belong on ice. We do not turn out horses on days when threat of thunderstorms is indicated by radar and the forecast. We check radar and the forecast several times daily and use http://www.wunderground.com/US/MI/Wales.html and MyCast on our cell phones for that purpose.
We do not turn out horses during drastic changes of weather (for instance, 70 degrees on one day and 30 degrees on the next) since we have been advised by veterinarians that horses turned out on those days are more prone to episodes of colic.
Our workers will NEVER be asked to turn horses out or bring them in dangerous wind chil, on ice or during thunderstorms.
Boarders can turn their horses out on days that we do not do turnout, but they will be responsible for bringing their horses back in.
We don not turn horses out on holidays or when workers are absent due to illness or some other cause.
We prefer that our horses get outside, but sometimes it is not possible or practical. Sometimes it is not safe.