How to protect your horse from turnout injuries

  • Recent research suggests a significant percentage of horses incur injuries each year in the field. H&H asks how these injuries can be avoided.

  • Ensure there is sufficient grazing for the number of horses turned out.
  • If feeding in the field, provide more piles of forage than there are horses and spread these out.
  • Limit group numbers and introduce new horses gradually, matching horses that get on.
  • Don’t bring other horses in leaving one out on its own.
  • Check the security of your fencing and keep horses off barbed wire by using electric tape.
  • If horses are used to being brought in at a certain time, try and stick to that rather than having lots of horses standing round a gateway waiting to come in.
  • Manage your horses’ feed and exercise routines correctly so that they do not have too much surplus energy to use up in the field.
  • Look after grazing – check for rabbit holes, wire and other hazards, and ensure gateways do not get too poached.
  • Consider overreach boots, or even protective leg wear, but be aware these can heat up horses’ legs and rub their skin, causing injuries of their own.
  • Turn out regularly, so your horse is less inclined to fly around in excitement at his new-found freedom.
  • Consider individual or pairs turnout, but ensure the horse is not isolated.

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