“Hi Stacy, I am enjoying your blog. I am currently using many of your ideas with my two year old filly. I want to know if you prefer to stall your two year olds or leave them turned out ?” Thanks, Laurie
I love turning my horses out as much as possible. With my own personal two year olds sometimes I have gone out to the pasture, caught them, brought them in, rode them and then turn them back out. At other times I have kept them in stalls, especially if it was muddy or icy. For client owned horses I have almost always kept them in stalls.
At some point I do like the horses to learn how to be comfortable in a stall, which may or may not be during the saddle training process. Most horses that are sent to trainers learn both at the same time because most trainers don’t turn groups of horses out together due to the increased risk of injury. Many owners prefer their horses to be stalled when they are at the trainers especially if it is only for a short time.
For some horses learning to enjoy the stall is easier when they are escaping some kind of weather; bugs, snow, etc. In the past I did this training during the winter when the snow and ice was also a motivating factor in keeping the horses in. It worked well for me to bring the horses in and they seemed to appreciate it. In the summer some horses are thankful to escape the bitting flies.
Stalling may be necessary in the future even if it is not right now. Injury, travel, training or change of ownership are some of the reasons why a horse may eventually be stalled. Often the stall training is another form of weaning as many horses are more unsure of themselves when they are alone, especially if they are insecure.
At the barn we stayed at in Texas they had a wonderful option of a stall with an attached run. This way the horse had the option of being in the stall or going outside to hang out with friends or taking a nap in the sun. The human also had the option of swinging the back wall of the stall shut and keeping the horse in the stall only.