There has been a lot of talk about this on social media recently since international show jumper Dani Goldstein Waldman stated that she does not turn her horses out and it’s fair to say it caused a storm of opinions online. I have been thinking about this a lot, so here is my view on the matter.
For me it isn’t a question
Let’s begin by giving my point of view. I currently own a 5 year old mare Gracie who lives out 24/7. When I had my own horses in the UK I stabled them at night in the winter and they 24/7 lived out all summer. Since then I have part loaned 3 horses in the U.K and one in France that all either lived out or were stabled at night. So I think it’s fair to say I am very pro turnout! I wouldn’t keep my horses at a yard that didn’t turn out.
But of course there are pros and cons to everything…
Reasons you should turn your horses out
- For their mental well being
- Exercise. If you have a stable kept horse, they need a lot of exercise!
- It’s more natural for them as herd animals to roam outside.
- Medical reasons. Less chance of coughs, stiffness etc.
Reasons for not turning your horse out.
- Convenience of keeping them clean
- No land/ Not enough space
- To prevent injury
- To recover from an injury i.e box rest.
- Bad weather
Let’s have a conversation about this
Ok so I would like to add every horse is different and different horses require individual care. Some may suit living in, some cannot tolerate it at all. I think the thing that shocked me was that Dani’s horses do not get any turnout at all. Ever. she ‘doesn’t believe in it’. Ok so we have to think of it from her point of view for a moment. She is an olympic level rider with olympic level horses, they aren’t horses like Gracie. They are very expensive and they make money from their sport. I get that.
However to me it is so old fashioned. When I was a teenager in the U.K. It was fairly normal for yards to not allow turnout during winter. Lots of yards did that. But that is in the U.K where it is cold and rains constantly during the winter. The horses would just stand in boggy mud all day long in the rain. Now, despite that I think most places at least offer limited turnout during winter as we now understand the mentality of horses a lot better than we did twenty years ago. Most like getting outside for a while even in the rain! We understand that they need a bit of freedom and time to be horses. Horsemanship has moved on!
I follow a lot of professional riders on instagram and I am not aware of any other top riders that keep their horses stabled constantly. I watched an amazing video with Carl Hester (olympic dressage rider that coaches Charlotte Dujardin) last year, where he did a yard tour and his horses live out as much as possible! Including Valegro!!
It’s never ok to troll
I would like to bring up the fact that although many people disagree with Dani’s approach to turnout its not ok to troll her about it! The thread unfolded on instagram last weekend and it got personal quick. I had people pop on my thread saying that if you still follow Dani that I should unfriend them. Which I did! There were personal insults being thrown at her left right and centre and that is not ok. I feel trolling people online is far worse than olympic competition horses being stabled!
I believe horses should be turned out and wanted to write a blog on a topic that is being widely discussed in the equestrian world at the moment. Not personally attack her or anyone else that doesn’t turn out their horse.
This topic did blow my mind a little to honest as it is something so basic. As years pass & I have been around horses now for 20 years (yikes!) you see trends form. As people do research into veterinary care and horsemanship our care of our animals evolves. Different people in different countries may do things differently because of the weather, their surroundings etc. I know that in the U.K top level competition horses are turned out but perhaps that isn’t the case in other countries?
However for me, I need to know that the horses welfare is a priority. I love that my horse is out in a field every day being a horse and galloping around whenever she wants. I suppose that means that I won’t be able to do high level competition on her as I am not willing for her lifestyle to be compromised for that.
Lastly I was thinking that although I disagree with not turning horses out. People have different ways of managing their horses it should not be an excuse to start a witch-hunt. I am not an olympic show jumper so I cannot fully understand her thinking on this, however I am very happy in my management of my own horse who happily lives out. I think it’s totally ok to question why people do things differently & start a discussion about it. As the horses should always come first.
Dani was always ‘the girl with feathers in her hair’ and she has certainly rustled some with this!!
What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments!