This picture shows the mare's field. The mare in the centre is called ‘India’ (Dee is on the left) and I thought it would be nice to post a picture of India as sadly she has now left the yard. She is owned by the lady who loaned Red for a few weeks, but J. has now taken her to another livery yard where she can live out day and night. India is a friendly, sweet mare and Dee seems fond of her – even though she bosses her around. Dee seems to like young horses and greys. I'm not sure how you would describe India’s markings, but they are most attractive.
I have mixed feelings about 24 hour turnout, after seeing my two horses through a winter under such a regime. I think if you have your own land so that you can easily have access to the horses twice a day to bring them in for feeding, and if they have proper field shelters, it is probably an ideal way for them to live. At the yard where my horses were living out day and night however, they were fed hay in the field twice a day and this seemed to be a very hit and miss affair – the dominant horses made sure they got enough and continually moved the more subservient horses on. Also the horses were always given hay in the same place and would congregate when they knew a hay feed was due, sometimes becoming a little agitated, so inevitably that part of the field became excessively churned up and muddy. Consequently Dee and Red were spending a long time every day standing in mud. Even though I fed them extra hard feed over the winter, and part of the livery charge included regular hard feeds, they both lost a lot of condition.
Now they are at Wyndham where the horses come in for the night through the winter, and I'm glad that this year they will not be out in all weather through the cold of the night once winter really starts to bite. They are always waiting at the gate, ready to come in; they have a warm stable and a comfortable bed; they have easy access to water; and their have their own net of haylage that they do not have to guard or compete for. They will have turnout rugs and stable rugs changed daily when it gets colder, but will be able to go further into the winter before they actually need to be rugged. I certainly am not rugging Dee yet, whereas I would feel I should rug her if she was out all night.
So farewell India. I hope the regime at your new yard offers the advantages of 24 hour turnout and avoids the disadvantages. I've been thinking about her a lot over the last few evenings, while it has been so cold after dark, and pouring with rain – it must be a bit of a shock for her suddenly being out in it all. I hope we shall meet J. and India riding in Coed y Wenallt occasionally.