Turning the Horse Out to Grass

Most horses benefit from a rest period out on the grass at least once a year. This depends upon the type of work in which they are employed and the intensity of that work.

A horse that has been hunted for three days a fortnight from November to March will almost certainly be turned out to grass from April until September when he is brought in to be prepared for the next season. Show jumpers, polo ponies, horse trial horses and show horses are nearly all rested on the grass between seasons. There are a few horses who do not do well when they are turned out for a rest, but these are the exception rather than the rule. These may benefit from living in and being turned out for part of the day.

  • The period for which the horse is rested must be decided upon
  • In the second week Replace half the remaining concentrates in the diet with hay.
  • Hack out daily for three-quarters of an hour. Turn him out in a New Zealand rug for two or three hours per day.
  • Leave the top door of the stable open at night and remove one rug.
  • No grooming, quartering only.
  • Rasp teeth if necessary.
  • Check that tetanus antitoxin injection and influenza immunization are up to date.
  • Third week Cease exercise, turn him out to grass during lich
  • day, and bring him in at night.
  • Give a small feed and a hay net each evening.
  • In the third week Cease grooming except for picking out the feet
  • morning and evening.
  • Remove the shoes.
  • Take off all the rugs at night except in severe weather.
  • At the end of this week turn him out into the field permanently, unless delayed by really bad weather.

See more: Traveling with a Horse

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