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morganpony86
Jan. 3, 2011, 07:47 PM
How many of you keep horses at home and have a "regular" 9-5 job, thereby leaving the horses unattended during the day?

In the near-ish future, once my SO & I finally finish schooling and settle down, we'd like to buy property so I can keep my horses at home. But we would both have regular jobs (+ commute, depending on where we end up), and I'm curious as to whether others leave the farm unattended during the day and what precautions you may take if you do.

Ghazzu
Jan. 3, 2011, 07:59 PM
Routinely done here.

fordtraktor
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:05 PM
I work from home but often run errands, travel for work, etc. so my horses are home alone. I don't do anything special, other than try to set my farm up to be safe (which I would do anyway).

They can survive without padded stalls and without you staring at them all day! I promise! The best thing you can do is know your horses very well and observe closely at feeding times to make sure nothing is amiss and they don't look off. That sixth sense about your horses' well-being is worth its weight in gold. If you are doing that twice a day, you are going to be fine.

Also, know your neighbors and make sure they have your contact info, so that if they drive by and see loose horses or a horse in the fence or something they will call you! And leave your and the vet's info in the barn, as well as halters and leads in the unlocked aisle within plain sight in case, God forbid, someone should need them while you are gone.

JoZ
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:05 PM
Well yes and no... and your dilemma is one that I share!

I lease a barn on a big farm. The farm has many activities. On a few occasions when a horse (or llama) has gotten out of the pasture, SOMEONE called my landlord almost immediately, and he notified me. This could be another tenant/boarder, or one of the Hmong gardeners who lease fields from my landlord, or a neighboring farmer.

It's one of the things that worries me about moving to my own place or with another friend, away from this "community". I guess I will try to build that kind of community wherever I go. And that is my only suggestion! I wouldn't want to burden neighbors by making them feel responsible for my property and animals, but I sure would like to get to a point, primed by cookies or apple pie or mutual stewardship, where I felt that they were gazing protectively over what's theirs AND mine.

And then I read some of the neighbor threads here and vow I'll never move away from what I have!

Chall
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:18 PM
If I had a farm and did that, I would want IP cameras setup so I can view their paddocks / stalls remotely on the internet.

aspenlucas
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:21 PM
If I had a farm and did that, I would want IP cameras setup so I can view their paddocks / stalls remotely on the internet.

Boy my boss would love that, not! :) I'm lucky I have friends that are neighbors that watch my horses 24/7 for me. They don't get out much.

morganpony86
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:21 PM
They can survive without padded stalls and without you staring at them all day! I promise!

:lol::lol: Are you completely sure about that? ;)

Do you guys then leave them inside (stalls) or out (paddocks/pastures)?

JoZ- I share your anxiety. I posted this thread with the idea that someone would say "oh, I've installed digital cameras that I can watch online from work". It will be hard the first few months for me, I'm sure!

ArabDiva
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:22 PM
I have a 9-5 job w/ a half-hour commute and keep the horses at home. I also work 2-3 evenings a night at a second job (and I may or may not stop home for a quick farm check in between jobs.)

I am lucky that I live set quite far back off the road (our semi-private driveway is 3/4 mile). And we are in a dirt-road, rural neighborhood. This gives me some serious peace of mind. I have never had a horse escape but if one did while there was nobody home, I'm pretty sure he would just graze on our lawn (they don't like to go far from their buddies) or pay a visit to the neighbor's horses. So keep this in mind when you are looking at property.

My mother and sister are not horsepeople but they are home during the day about half the time so that's nice too. I have a horsey neighbor that lives next door and is home some of the time too so if something were amiss, she may be able to help out until I could get home. In addition, I have another horse-lady friend who lives about 2 miles down the road and is a stay-at-home mom.

I have actually dabbled with the thought of installing webcams with a view of the paddock and inside the barn, just for fun and extra peace of mind. Never do find the money for the project (which would run me roughly $300-500).

It also helps so much to have a flexible/understanding job/boss. In my office things are fairly laid-back and I know that if there was a problem I would be allowed to drop everything and go home (with the understanding that I would pick up the hours later) and/or work from home while doing things like waiting on the vet or babysitting a sick/injured horse. I have actually done that before-- my wireless network reaches to the barn so I set up camp with my laptop and go to town.

In summary, having property set back off the road and knowing my neighbors/neighborhood are the best things for my peace of mind when I'm away at work. So when you are looking at property, be mindful of this, and try to get a feel for the neighborhood before you buy. If there are horsepeople down the street maybe even drop in or call to feel them out and see what the situation is like. Your neighbors can be a great asset, or they can be a huge inconvenience if they are unfriendly!

morganpony86
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:24 PM
If I had a farm and did that, I would want IP cameras setup so I can view their paddocks / stalls remotely on the internet.

LOL! There it is! :)


I'm lucky I have friends that are neighbors that watch my horses 24/7 for me. They don't get out much.

How close do you have to be with your neighbors? Is it common to have them be "pseudo-babysitters"?

ArabDiva
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:30 PM
How close do you have to be with your neighbors? Is it common to have them be "pseudo-babysitters"?

Well, in the beginning my next-door neighbor and I went through a period where we were total BFFs and did tons of stuff together. As relationships tend to go, this one fizzled and soured a little bit after a year or two. But we are still friendly and polite and share the horses in common and I know she would have mine and my animals' back when we needed it, and I would do the same for her.

I guess it depends on the community but after moving from the city to the country, I have found that country folk have a "thing" about getting to know and looking out for their neighbors. It's just a "thing you do for people", especially if you're in a farming community (as opposed to a place where people live in the boondocks just so that they can get away from civilization. There's a difference.)

IOW, you WANT to have friendly neighbors and you WANT to be in touch with them and friendly with them at least a little bit, if you're going to be away from the farm for 8+ hours a day.

shakeytails
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:30 PM
Sure we leave them unattended. I won't leave a stallion turned out without somebody home (I won't even run to the dollar store only a mile away), but I don't worry about the rest of them. Occasionally we both end up working the same days and they're alone for 13+ hours. Nothing horrible has happened yet. I figure the dog will guard the farm- she intimidates people when we're not home.

spacytracy
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:31 PM
My two are at home, and out during the day while we are at work. No problems.

Biggest thing is to make sure your fence is secure, and to get to know your neighbors.

spook1
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:45 PM
I work 12 hour shifts which are never 12....lol....anyway mine is out 24/7 with access to a nicely bedded stall. I have never had a problem...but im a freak about making sure gates are double chained. I make sure there is more than enough hay for her since she is in a dry lot.

IFG
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:57 PM
Horse is out 24/7 with access to stall. Freaked me out at first, but there has never been a problem. Paddock is on road. A neighbor across the street is retired and watches the neighborhood. She has mentioned when people stop to feed the horse, etc.

tabula rashah
Jan. 3, 2011, 09:19 PM
Horses are out 24/7 both DH and I work full time- I never even really thought about it-

coloredcowhorse
Jan. 3, 2011, 09:22 PM
I'm on 40 acres with a state highway through the middle of it and work at night doing a delivery route. My stallions and younger males plus a gelding live in a bachelor herd on the east side of the highway and the mares and foals live in the mare herd on the west side. Fences along the highway are mesh plus barb wire (not desired but not replaced yet as I've only had the place less than a year) plus hot wire on each side of the road. No close neighbors. Mustangs come to visit on occasion so I chain the gate on my side but they can run the fenceline on the boys's side.

I've had horses for 30+ years and have had maybe 4-5 escapees in that time. Never had a problem with stallions being out in either corrals or pastures. For years I worked 12 hour night shifts that were 12.5 plus more if things were hairy in the ER or ICU and the jobs were usually 30 minutes or more from home. At one time I was snowed into the hospital for 3 days...the kids were home and neighbors were across the road at that place...kids knew enough to take care of horses, llamas, goats and dogs that we had and could call me or my vet if a problem....the vet knew that if my kids called and I was away at work he should just get up to the ranch. I've also been gone several days at a time for checking on a trainer (good thing I did) and for showing a horse at some distance away (older son did his first solo delivery of a foal that time).

I always had things set up with vet, ER, local police/sheriff, neighbor and/or best horse buddy but almost never used any of those preparations. I couldn't leave my job unless it was one of the kids...horses don't count for much in the scheme of things in the middle of a code.

Daisey-Bogie
Jan. 3, 2011, 09:26 PM
I lease 6 acreas next to my property. It is a pretty busy road, tractor trailers, etc... My biggest fear, truck taking out my front fence. My front gate which I don't use, originally about 20 years ago it was used with the amish farm across the street, it is chanined on both sides, my leasor, told me a story that someone opened the gates one time and i have been afraid of it. So other than waiting for the act of GOD, i make sure my fences are up to par, electric on and secure. The Amish across the street now us, so I can only hope for the best. I am more afriad of my own self doing. Forgot to close the gate to the barn, trashed my cross tie area, feed, etc.. let themselves out and let themselves back in. Good ponies!!!

katarine
Jan. 3, 2011, 09:28 PM
Good fences, good water sources, and neighbors that know how to get a hold of you, done.

I don't like leaving anyone up/stalled when I'm gone- just b/c we so rarely stall them and I do worry about horses getting cast, BTDT a few times. So they are out, being horses. It's all good.

walkinthewalk
Jan. 3, 2011, 09:37 PM
I have always had horses and have always worked.

My horses have either always a had run-in, or come in at night and out in the morning.

I have never left a horse locked in the barn with no one on the property.

I have been fortunate that I've never had an incident to where 24/7 stall rest was mandatory. I have always managed to have an outdoor "sick bay" area with shelter if I needed to keep a sick or injured horse separated.

katyb
Jan. 3, 2011, 10:48 PM
It has never occured to me to worry about leaving them home "alone". Mine are out 24/7 with a run-in, roundbale, and a pond. They really don't need babysitting. It's not like I'm watching them constantly when I'm here. I think they are relatively intelligent animals with good sense.

TimeBandit
Jan. 3, 2011, 11:07 PM
Usually either me or my son is always home. On the very rare occasion we are both away from the farm, we do have the entire farm fenced with double fence rows and gates that are chained & padlocked. We have every corner and the gates posted with "No Trespassing" signs.
Plus I have 3 very good friends who are police officers that are always going by the farm. If they see anyone strange here, they will stop and check them out.

akor
Jan. 3, 2011, 11:14 PM
Interesting that this is a concern. I thought this thread would be about leaving them overnight or something.

I don't see how it's that different being gone during the day versus sleeping at night - horses can do just about anything at any time.

What about ranches out west? Horses roam for a long time just making do for themselves.

Again, I can't imagine this being a concern. I guess one does just get used to what is "normal" for the area.

I've been to boarding barns where not many people are around much more than before 9 and after 5 as well...

So, to answer the question, my horses are not under 24/7 survelliance.

Go Fish
Jan. 3, 2011, 11:29 PM
Sheesh...I grew up on a ranch and the horses on summer pasture would go several days without being looked at. That included mares and foals. They survived somehow.

turningpointequine
Jan. 3, 2011, 11:40 PM
Stallions, mares and foals . . .if weather is bad they stay in, if weather is good they are out . . .regardless of whether I am home or not.

I love my guys but would go insane if my life revolved around watching them 24/7.

I've had two escapee's over the past 20 years. My mothers horse when she forgot to shut the gate properly and a pony who took the gate off the hinges. My mother was home to catch her own horse. As far as the pony a stranger driving by stopped at my neighbors to tell them a horse was loose. The neighbor called me at work and I came right home. By the time I got home neighbor and stranger had already caught the pony, put him back in the pasture and fixed the gate. I live in the country and for the most part people around here are wonderful. :)

TrueColours
Jan. 3, 2011, 11:41 PM
Mine are out from morning til night and then when the weather gets better, they get kicked back out again for the night (as long as the mosquito's arent bad).

That includes the 2 stallions as well who just hang out, happy as clams that they are with "their girls".

Sometimes Im in the house. Sometimes I have deliveries to do and am gone for 2-6 hours at a stretch. Sometimes Im in the barn and can keep an eye on them

Lets see - what HAS happened while I wasnt watching them the entire time ...

The mares managed to get a bottom board down on their paddock and they stood in a row trying to figure out how to shimmy underneath! :lol:

GG got a top board down on his paddock and leaned over and ate grass on the other side

My worst one though was my new stallion Winner had just arrived 2-3 days before and I had an "Oh $#!T" moment when I turned the corner and saw him wedged solid underneath the bottom rail of the fence. I guess he had rolled closed to the fence and then somehow got wedged under there as he tried to get up. I have NO idea how long he'd been there for, but I was home alone so had to figure this one out quickly. I grabbed a hammer from the barn and figured my best bet was to whack the bottom board off to give him room to roll and get up. Or I had to get the tractor and try and drag him out from under there. Luckily he stayed calm while I was whacking away a foot or so away, I popped the board off 2 posts and he lurched and up he came

I guess Ive made peace with the fact that even if I go up and do a load of laundry or make dinner, in that hour or so Im away from the barn, they can get in no end of trouble. Or not. And I cant live down there 24/7, so I have accepted that some stuff just may happen, I try and make it as safe as possible for them and deal with problems as they occur

appaloosalady
Jan. 3, 2011, 11:46 PM
The one precaution I have to offer is to make sure that all of your horses aren't in the same pasture if at all possible. All of mine are in groups of 2 or more in several different pastures/paddocks. If I have an escape it is limited and the horses that get out are much more interested in visiting their buddies than they are in wandering around and off of the property.

mg
Jan. 4, 2011, 01:01 AM
I have two who are out 24/7 with access to their stalls. They are left with full water buckets, a full stock tank, and a suitable amount of hay at 8am. They are there alone until I return around 6pm. Never had an issue! (knocking on wood furiously now...)

poltroon
Jan. 4, 2011, 01:12 AM
The main thing is a reliable water source, either a giant tub that they cannot knock over or automatic waterers.

And, I would post your contact info in some conspicuous place, like your hay barn, in case someone notices a problem.

inca
Jan. 4, 2011, 01:15 AM
As another poster said, how is leaving them while you work any different than while you are sleeping? And I assume you DO plan on sleeping!

I work 35 miles away so the 3 days a week I work, they are "on their own" for 9-10 hours. They survive just fine. I have an electric front gate since we do live on a road that is busy enough that it would be very bad if they got out on. property is perimeter fenced so any escapee will just be wandering our 40 acres. (And yes, I have had an escapee before.)

In the winter, they are out during the day (weather permitting) and in at night. In the summer, they are in during the day and out at night. Usually they have access to their stalls while out.

I just make sure they have plenty of hay and water and they manage to entertain themselves and get along without me.

Besides, I can't see my barn from my house and I don't spend my days at home down at the barn staring at them. More things have probably happened while I was at home than while I was at work. (Like the morning I went to feed breakfast to discover the fence between the mare and foal and another mare was down and they were all in together. Or the afternoon 2 yahoos leaned on a gate enough to pop it open and were wandering around the farm for several hours.)

dbaygirl
Jan. 4, 2011, 02:36 AM
:lol::lol: Are you completely sure about that? ;)

Do you guys then leave them inside (stalls) or out (paddocks/pastures)?

JoZ- I share your anxiety. I posted this thread with the idea that someone would say "oh, I've installed digital cameras that I can watch online from work". It will be hard the first few months for me, I'm sure!

Not to worry! I've been doing this for YEARS as the ponies multiply and clone themselves. Okay, so I have four horses now, stopped breeding a few years ago. I have a stallion, a 2 yr old stud colt, a 3 yr old filly and my old broodmare. They are alone allll day long, used to be from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm at night, now the shorter commute...takes it down to 8:00 to 5:00...just great. Time to do chores in the daylight.

Sooo...they all have run-in shelters and gravel paddocks. The fences are electrical rope. Never had any problems over the years, just one day "someone" has undone the gate chain, leaving it ajar and luckily no one wanted to leave the comforts of home that day. I was so thankful.

I do stock them up with plenty of hay in the morning which means there is wastage but better too much than too little.

I do have neighbours that are farmers so they would know what to do if something happened. It can be done. I would not ever lock them up all day in a stall. It's unhealthy both physically and mentally.

Jan
www.equineezine.com

Pookah
Jan. 4, 2011, 08:47 AM
It's perhaps not ideal as yes, there is a possibility that something could be wrong and you wouldn't know about it for hours. But for most of us, it's just a reality of life--and as we all know, you could wrap these d*mn things in bubble wrap and put them in a padded stall, and they would still find a way to get hurt :). And I am always kind of amused by people thinking that it is so much safer for someone to be on the farm but sleeping at night--you are very unlikely to hear, for example, a colicking horse out in the field, from your bedroom. I wouldn't overly stress about it--but I would make sure that you have good, safe pastures and fencing, good relationships with your neighbors, etc--all of which would benefit you if you were home all day. One thing you do need to keep in mind is that if something does happen, you won't have the luxury of a barn manager to walk a colicky horse, or do meds 4x/day, etc, so you will want to either find someone that you can pay/trade out these types of care duties, or a job that will allow you that flexibility when needed.

deltawave
Jan. 4, 2011, 09:01 AM
9 to 5! :lol: I want a job like that. ;)

7 to 7, usually, and they get fed on the way to work (check water, make sure no blood is pumping out on the ground and everyone's on four legs) and sometimes fed on the way back home (same thing) when the day/week is VERY busy. Barn chores are done daily but sometimes quickly if the other aspects of life are squawking louder. Days off and half-days off are for major barn chores, grooming, riding, etc.

I knew when I built this place what my hours were like, so I built accordingly: 24/7 turnout, shelter, automatic waterer, sacrifice paddock. That way nobody has to bring in, put out, water, etc. Maybe open a gate or throw some hay; that is within the capabilities of my husband and son if I'm delayed or the weather takes an unexpected violent turn.

I have nearby people I can call on for help, and although I usually can't leave work at a moment's notice unless it's an absolute disaster, I'm not very far away if the need should arise.

I don't picture horses as needing constant supervision, provided they're normal behavior-wise and in a safe environment.

Guilherme
Jan. 4, 2011, 10:25 AM
How many of you keep horses at home and have a "regular" 9-5 job, thereby leaving the horses unattended during the day?

In the near-ish future, once my SO & I finally finish schooling and settle down, we'd like to buy property so I can keep my horses at home. But we would both have regular jobs (+ commute, depending on where we end up), and I'm curious as to whether others leave the farm unattended during the day and what precautions you may take if you do.

Regularly and frequently.

Just remember your Robert Frost: Good fences make good neighbors. :lol:

G.

morganpony86
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:25 AM
Thanks for all your replies!


Sheesh...I grew up on a ranch and the horses on summer pasture would go several days without being looked at. That included mares and foals. They survived somehow.

I don't think I'm worried so much as how they'll get in trouble in nature as opposed to man-made troubles. E.g. getting loose on highways, across neighbor's yards, people breaking in and stealing them/accidentally leaving the gate open while hauling out my saddles.

But mostly the getting loose part.



I knew when I built this place what my hours were like, so I built accordingly: 24/7 turnout, shelter, automatic waterer, sacrifice paddock. That way nobody has to bring in, put out, water, etc. Maybe open a gate or throw some hay; that is within the capabilities of my husband and son if I'm delayed or the weather takes an unexpected violent turn.

Very good idea.


I have nearby people I can call on for help, and although I usually can't leave work at a moment's notice unless it's an absolute disaster, I'm not very far away if the need should arise.

At this point, if I kept my horses at home, I would have about a 1.5-2 hour commute that relies on public transportation. So what are back-up plans for those disaster situations? Excellent neighbors again? Or do you make sure you don't have that long of a commute?

morganpony86
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:29 AM
I don't see how it's that different being gone during the day versus sleeping at night - horses can do just about anything at any time.


I definitely see a difference. If I'm home, if there is a problem, I'm right there and am more likely to know there's a problem. Whereas at work, I'm a commute away. My oldest crashed through the fence at my boarding barn in the middle of the night last summer and the BO was woken up by the stuck pony (he was stuck in an alleyway between fencelines) and his BFF having conniptions, screaming "you're gonna get in trooooouble!!!"

RAyers
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:39 AM
I definitely see a difference. If I'm home, if there is a problem, I'm right there and am more likely to know there's a problem. Whereas at work, I'm a commute away. My oldest crashed through the fence at my boarding barn in the middle of the night last summer and the BO was woken up by the stuck pony (he was stuck in an alleyway between fencelines) and his BFF having conniptions, screaming "you're gonna get in trooooouble!!!"



Don't be so sure about that. I was on one side of my barn and a horse on the other ripped open his chest and never made a sound. There was no blood on the ground or the house walls. The only reason I found it was I had the vet coming out to look at the same horse for another reason.

My stalls are less than 10 feet from my bedrooom and there are many times when I don't hear things happening, e.g. when two horses took out 20 feet of 3 board fencing at midnight. I found it when I went out to do my normal night check. Who knows how long it had been down?

Yes, I do catch plenty of issues but no more than I would going out the barn once a day.

I have 5 horses at home (they are on 12 acres) and am gone up to 13 hours. I just make sure I see 20 legs on the ground when I feed.

Reed

Pookah
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:43 AM
I would befriend/hire a nearby student, farmsitter, vet tech, etc--because there is going to be a day when the horse needs eye meds 4x/day, or a neighbor calls you about a problem, etc. Just be prepared to pay for the times that you need help and can't be there (whether that is buying gift certificate to dinner for the neighbors that found your colicking horse, or paying a farm sitter). Better to be prepared for the worst and never have a problem.

I also second designing the property to be as easy for horse care as possible, and personally after doing it both ways I wouldn't even consider building pastures without automatic waterers. Make sure that you are designing a place that will take little enough time for care that you don't end up consuming all of your riding time on barn chores.

rugbygirl
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:49 AM
Invest the time and effort it takes to be a good neighbor. That's probably the single best thing you can do for your horses if you are away a lot. Many people consider horses to be a bit of a nuisance, so the more effort they know you put into keeping them clean and safe, the more respect they tend to have for you (and by extension your horses.) Stuff has happened while we were gone, stuff has happened while we were there, but fencing in good repair, regular feeding times and an always-full water trough seems to keep them in line.

We have wonderful neighbors, and are careful to not abuse their good natures! We don't ask them to feed when we are away all the time, and make sure to thank them for the nice things they do for us and we try to reciprocate. They have kids who love our horses, and because we have a relationship, it was easy to communicate that the horses can have carrots, apples, but no sugar please. We were also able to communicate that the horses are young and therefore we'd appreciate having no one in the fence when we aren't home. We also clear out the paddocks of manure and try to keep the horse area looking decent (although we do struggle with mud in the Spring and late Fall...dirt paddocks, not sure what else to do...the horses have dry spots.)

Our neighbors call us when they see something amiss (like the "little brown horse attacked the big horse, but there was no blood.") :)

So far, so good...but good neighbors are no happy accident. You need to invest the time!

fivehorses
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:50 AM
I use to have two horses that had access to the barn, and a huge 25 acre pasture...and worked and sometimes did not get home till 7pm.

Now, I have 10 horses, and the mgt is much more intense. I have had to divide pastures, etc.

Also, some of the horses are older, or young, and well, they can be trouble.

Yesterday, I had quite the scare.
My helper let the horses out, and I was busy doing other things outside. Anyhow, I went out to the front paddock just to make sure she had put the hay where it wasn't muddy, etc, and there was my old gelding down.

He had gone to roll, and I have temp fencing up so they don't go on a hill and slip on the ice(I do this every fall, take down in spring), and there he was on the other side, with his head and back on the down hill side.
I ran over, and yelled to him, and he looked at me and said, no, sorry I am just too tired now. Well, I called the helper to bring rope, and kept my youngster from jumping on his feet and biting his feed(he does that and probably what inititated the problem).

I undid his blanket, since it seemed to be pressing on his chest and restricting him, and started to yell at him to get up. He managed to turn himself around so his legs were downhill, and got up.

I think if I hadn't gotten to him, no, he would not have survived....he was cast, but outside. He had probably been like that for 45 minutes. He had already given up, so I was very lucky to have gone to check on them before I came in to have my coffee and go to work.

It really freaked me out. Sooooo, I would be very thoughtful about where you turn them out, the age, etc.
If your horses roll first thing, as most of mine do...watch them to be sure they get up.

I lived pretty stress free with just two horses. Even with 5. But, now with 10, it just seems to be a very huge mgt priority and they need to be checked on. 10x more chance for injury/calamity! Also, I am dealing with an aged horse, who just doesn't seem to get that rolling next to a fence post isn't the best idea. I don't know why he is doing that more often now that he is older?!! or rolling on a hill with your head and back on the downhill side!!?

That was an unusual and traumatic incident, but horses seem to find trouble.

otoh, no one can doctor/observe wierd behavior like you can.
Sometimes, I'd like to ship them all off and board them(if I could afford to) and just go over once a day and pat them, and ride, etc. My life would be less restricted.

But, having horses at home is a lifestyle too. I don't think I'd trade it for anything!
Just plan it well, have outside flood lights, plenty of electricity in the barn, outside auto waterers(inside too if you can), good fencing(I prefer no climb), but in new england that is difficult here with my terrain and if there is a pet sitter in the area, consider having them come during mid day.
Also, make things easy for a non horse person to access the field/barn, etc without being in with the horses to do feeding, checking water, etc.
have fun. my incident was highly unusual and a one time thing in 20 years of horses at my home.

eponacelt
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:52 AM
I'm pretty sure that mine are perfectly capable of hurting themselves when I'm staring right at them...in fact, I think they like it, the masochists!

To the OP - I totally freaked when we bought our place and I was face with going to work for the first time after bringing the horses home.

Then I reminded myself...even when I boarded, there was not someone on the property, staring at my horses 24/7. The BO would leave, run errands, etc. Or be on a totally different part of the farm.

So take a deep breath - and it will be OK!

I will say that one of the things that gives me great comfort with my set up is that we're double gated. All of the fields and the barn are enclosed by another fence which has a gate. So, if the gate to a pasture is left open, the horses will get no further than the barnyard. This was a mandatory fixture when we bought the place to me, and has saved my bacon (mostly when bringing horses in for dinner) on a few occasions.

katarine
Jan. 4, 2011, 12:10 PM
You cannot control the universe. You just manage what you CAN manage.

If you want a tree lined pasture - install flex-fence since boards just shatter. Damn what if a car runs off the road? Double fence. Ok. There goes the budget.

If you freak about dogs in the field cutting through...then you need a fence that keeps them out, like woven wire. OK so that's a different fence. darn.

If you worry about them pawing and getting hung - you install offset hot wire to keep 'em off whatever fence you install. uh oh, is solar reliable enough? what if the power goes out??

Water? Hudson Valves to keep the tank fill. What if the water goes out? or the valve fails??? EEEEEEEEEEee

Do you see where I'm going with this? LOL. Just do what you can, as you aren't really in charge of what happens next.

If you EVER intend to leave the property to go to dinner and a movie, that's 4hrs, minimum, away from home. Plus the drive and stopping to pick up a Rx on the way. FIVE hours away! Eeek. Whatever shall I do?

Go. Breathe. Live. It's going to be ok.

jump4me
Jan. 4, 2011, 12:45 PM
Mine live out 24/7 with their stall doors open to come and go. The only time they are "monitored" at all during the day is possibly on weekends, if my parents are around. I feed in AM, and they are left alone until I come in the afternoon (if riding) or evening/night, to feed. Then left alone again overnight. So they are basically left to their own devices for about 18-22 hours a day most of the time. They do just fine, and honestly, I think I'd rather NOT see what they do the rest of the time, when I'm not there :lol:

deltawave
Jan. 4, 2011, 12:50 PM
At this stage of my life/career, I have the option of living somewhere where I do NOT have a 1-2 hour commute. I realize that's not a luxury everyone enjoys, but it was part of the thought process for me. Back when we lived in suburbia, I would not have even contemplated having my horses at home, even if we'd had the property and finances. I know that sounds odd--my commute when we lived in suburbia was 45 minutes. Hateful. Now we live out in the sticks and my commute is 10 minutes! Go figure. But we do not live in a big, happening town. That's A-OK with me!

Having the farm was a long-term goal, carefully planned for, and simply NOT something I did the moment I was barely able. I did it when I was *ready*. Hence the name of the place: Finally Farm. :)

Definitely good fences make good neighbors. Being a good neighbor also makes good neighbors. :) None of our neighbors are even remotely horsey, but they have brought it to my attention very quickly the two times I've had loose foals racing up the driveway! :lol: (actually I was already in hot pursuit both times, but the neighbors sure came in handy herding the silly things)

Do I worry about theft? I guess I did at first--we locked up EVERYTHING. Now, not so much. It's all insured, we're fairly remote, we have a dog, my husband is actually home quite a lot, and if someone really wants to steal my ancient saddles, well, go right ahead. The horses? They will load themselves in any trailer for anyone. (well, maybe not the Appy) Nothing is going to prevent a determined horse thief, but I"m not sure who would want mine, really. They're microchipped. It's not something I lose sleep over, to be honest.

Worrying over them is normal, and a lot of it fades with time. What is more important (IMO) is having a workable and realistic plan so you can actually take care of the animals and the property and not feel enslaved. It's a combination of actually WANTING that lifestyle (I did, still do) and making it realistically workable (which is why I was 40 before it happened for me). :)

Good luck!

danceronice
Jan. 4, 2011, 01:40 PM
You cannot control the universe. You just manage what you CAN manage.

If you want a tree lined pasture - install flex-fence since boards just shatter. Damn what if a car runs off the road? Double fence. Ok. There goes the budget.

If you freak about dogs in the field cutting through...then you need a fence that keeps them out, like woven wire. OK so that's a different fence. darn.

If you worry about them pawing and getting hung - you install offset hot wire to keep 'em off whatever fence you install. uh oh, is solar reliable enough? what if the power goes out??

Water? Hudson Valves to keep the tank fill. What if the water goes out? or the valve fails??? EEEEEEEEEEee

Do you see where I'm going with this? LOL. Just do what you can, as you aren't really in charge of what happens next.

If you EVER intend to leave the property to go to dinner and a movie, that's 4hrs, minimum, away from home. Plus the drive and stopping to pick up a Rx on the way. FIVE hours away! Eeek. Whatever shall I do?

Go. Breathe. Live. It's going to be ok.

LOL, this. When we had my old horse at my parents, if we were gone for the day, we were gone for the day! The road gate was padlocked, he was out with water, the electric fence was on, and it was assumed he could take care of himself. Freak accidents COULD happen, sure, but they could happen if you were home. I don't assume my BO is watching my horse every instant he's outside--why would I be checking every ten minutes or afraid to leave the property?

jazzrider
Jan. 4, 2011, 01:57 PM
The one precaution I have to offer is to make sure that all of your horses aren't in the same pasture if at all possible. All of mine are in groups of 2 or more in several different pastures/paddocks. If I have an escape it is limited and the horses that get out are much more interested in visiting their buddies than they are in wandering around and off of the property.

See, now I found the opposite. I work PT and consult here and there while hubby works FT, so it's normal for us to be gone all day. I have four pastures, and in the first year we were here I found my horses were much more likely to get into trouble trying to get to eachother and playing on the fence line than if I just let them be all together (once the initial rabble was over). So now they're all together (five of them) and I've had no issues in over six years. That is, unless the round bales are gone in the middle of winter -- then they will seek out trouble and mischief to make me pay for their suffering and starvation. If all else fails, they'll torture my primary riding horse. :no: So they've trained me well. I monitor the bales and have the hay guy scheduled to come out the minute the last strand is eaten. :lol:

cyndi
Jan. 4, 2011, 01:59 PM
I have had my horses at home (in one place or another) for close to 30 years. I have a long commute and am gone 6 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F and have had so just about the entire time.

Have had no mishaps while I was gone. Amazingly enough, the only life-threatening colic I ever had was on a Friday night (into Saturday a.m.) that did require surgery. And fortunately, the time hubby left TWO gates open so my horses could get out - was also in the evening.

Good fences, two sources of water, with automatic float valve and run-in shed are essential. Also giving the neighbors your work # in case they see anything awry.

Once, for about 8 months, I had a horse with a tendon injury and had to leave one stall-bound during the day - I worried about that, but she was a sensible horse, and I situated her in a stall in the barn with a view of the pasture and she was fine.

cowgirljenn
Jan. 4, 2011, 02:14 PM
I am a professional worrier. I have great worrying skills. BUT this was not one thing I worried about. :) I guess I missed it, right? :)

I do work from home, but often I don't see the horses from the time I feed in the morning until late in the day when I go out to feed again or ride. I might look out and check on them, but if I get really busy and focused I don't. And we leave to go out to eat, go see friends, go do stuff, and we go away for weekends (farm sitter comes in to feed).

We can only control so much - and I don't want to give up stuff I enjoy (eating out, movies, vacations) to baby sit the ponies... :)

PRS
Jan. 4, 2011, 02:32 PM
I have lots of horse friends....None of whom board their horses. Everyone I know keeps their horses at home and most of them have jobs. It never occured to me that I should stay home and watch my horses all day :winkgrin:. My pastures and fencing are as safe as I can make them. All of my horses have been together for years and get along very well. My husband and I both work regular jobs so are gone for a significant part of every day. I am in a position where I can go home at lunch time and do most days just to check on things and allow the dogs a quick romp and a poop. I promise that most horses do just fine as long as you have made the effort to make sure any horses turned out together get along and the enclosures and run-ins are safe. Before I got horses and built my barn I listened and learned from others on what works. I also learned what not to do or things to avoid by listening to others' stories of pasture or barn accidents and built my barn accordingly.

Kate66
Jan. 4, 2011, 02:58 PM
We even go away on vacation!

Horses out 24/7 with good water supply and someone comes over once a day to feed them. In the other 23.5 hours a day it's possible that something could happen to them. We have 4' horsemesh fencing around the perimeter and then horseguard hot tape crossfencing inside.

I don't worry about them at all, ever.

millerra
Jan. 4, 2011, 03:00 PM
When we first moved our horses home, every time I drove home I expected to find a dead or catastrophically injured horse.

Now, after 10 yrs I don't worry SO much (just a little) but its a fact of life of having horses at home. Work is necessary to pay for them :) as we are not independently wealthy.

However, living in a rural area, people driving by are even apt to be helpful. 3 different people stopped by one day to tell us our cow was out. Umh. We don't have cows. So, we shoo'd the offending cow towards home and called the neighbor that his cow was out. Cow was rounded up and safely arrived back home.

Good fences and helpful neighbors are a very good thing! I also do keep my horse "herd" in 3 different "mini groups" so if 2 do get out (and they have :o), they tend to stay home instead of heading for the hills as one big herd...

Trevelyan96
Jan. 4, 2011, 03:12 PM
I have my 2 at home and work full time with an hour commute. They get 24/7 turnout mostly, with access to their stalls. I leave around 9 AM, DH gets home between 4-5 PM most days, and DD works part time, so she's around, but my guess is she probably doesn't bother to check them unless she has a reason to go out to the barn like chores or to ride.

Neighbors all know how to reach us, emergency phone numbers for family, vet, and farrier are also written on a board in the tack room. My next door neighbors are like family and know how to throw feed and hay if for some reason we can't make it home in a reasonable time for feeding.

I also keep lead ropes hanging right by the outside doors to their stalls, halters on on their stalls, and I never lock them in when we're not home unless I have one one stall rest, which has only happened twice in 11 years.

katarine
Jan. 4, 2011, 03:16 PM
Yeah umm, well, by the way...do not EVER hang a metal pipe gate incorrectly thinking you'll remember later that you need to fix it.

We left for St Lucia on a Friday AM.

Friday PM my horsesitter got to my place to find a gate down and horses GONE GONE GONE. And it was dark dark dark. Seems Mr Kat had slapped a gate up in a hurry, leaving both 'pins' pointing up, so he could bush hog, instead of turning the top pin to face down, thus securing the gate from simply being lifted off the pins. Years later he met me and my horses so that gate had more than a decorative purpose. Said gate held said horses from October 1999 to February whateverdayweleft, 2000. Asshats. I mean horses.

They were finally found SUNDAY, a few miles from home, having blazed quite the trail in their wake. Asshats. I mean horses.

Yeah, um, hang your gates correctly.

And yes, I still go on vacation LOL But now I may have scared five years off the OP's life ;)

morganpony86
Jan. 4, 2011, 03:30 PM
I don't worry about them at all, ever.

Oh. How I wish I was you. I wish I was you SO BAD. I worry about them all. the. time. And I still board them! ;)



But now I may have scared five years off the OP's life ;)

No. Just scared me from ever having gates on my property. ;) Because hanging a gate upside-down is *definitely* something I would do.

These posts are great- keep 'em coming! It's actually making me feel a lot better about bringing them home in the future. I do also have the potential opportunity to move all 3 "home" while I'm finishing my schooling for the next year or two (rent-free on my dad's weekend hobby farm), but what was holding me back was leaving them unattended. That, and the 2 hour commute both ways to work every day. :eek:

Janet
Jan. 4, 2011, 03:48 PM
Do you guys then leave them inside (stalls) or out (paddocks/pastures)?
Yes, I have been leaving them at home while I commute to work for at least 20 years.

I think I have had more "problems" that happened at night while I was in bed than happened while I was at work.

Usually they have free access in and out. But sometimes I have one that is shut in the stall for one reason or another.

Pennywell Bay
Jan. 4, 2011, 03:53 PM
Yes, I have been leaving them at home while I commute to work for at least 20 years.

I think I have had more "problems" that happened at night while I was in bed than happened while I was at work.

Usually they have free access in and out. But sometimes I have one that is shut in the stall for one reason or another.


^^^^^^^^^^ YEs,


Mine are out alone while I work. 7-4. They have a round bale, good fences, water and gates at the driveway. Only issue I had was them loose on my lawn but not anywhere else.

Lieslot
Jan. 4, 2011, 03:58 PM
They do just fine, and honestly, I think I'd rather NOT see what they do the rest of the time, when I'm not there


Indeed, you'd rather not see it. I have to re-train myself to stop looking out of my kitchen window.
Mine play ROUGH, they rear up to each other, they buck, kick, bite, gallop, spin. Last weekend again they were going a little crazy and one lost his footing and fell as I was watching them. Luckily it was the sturdy one.
Nevertheless I freaked out, ran out to stop them and check him out. He seemed fine, then again if they strain a hip, the SI, you may not know instantly.
I think horses bang themselves or fall more often then we realize because we don't watch them 24/7. And watching them doesn't mean you'll necessary prevent them from injuring themselves.
I worry less about them in summer, coz they are out at night, when I sleep.
In the end horses shall be horses, unless you decide to keep them like a petdog in a stall or tiny pen.
So my advice, get good fencing, provide adequate water (and hay) and for the rest, do not worry, it's normal for them to be alone daytime or nighttime, as long as they are checked over once a day, even better twice a day.
Also during daytime turnout, better to UNDERBLANKET then overblanket, when you are not going to be there, ensure they are blanketed in such a way if the forecast is off a few degrees or they forecasted clouds, but the sun did come out, make sure they won't be sweating, coz you won't be there to change blankets.
Often I need to do a blanket change, coz temps in the am vs pm fluctuated too much and they sweat. When I know I will not be there all day, I underblanket to be safe. Rather a slightly chilly horse that seeks shelter, than a sweaty horse.

The only time it was beneficial to watch them constantly was a week ago, when one of mine started to paw and occasionally look at his belly. I noticed it from the very first paw and realized 'damn' colic. Brought them in, called the vet and yes early very mild impaction. But I'm sure had I caught it a few hours later with prompt vet attention he would have been fine too.

Other than that, you seriously rather not be watching them, especially if they are the active playful type.

rugbygirl
Jan. 4, 2011, 04:12 PM
I think I have had more "problems" that happened at night while I was in bed than happened while I was at work.

YES.

I've also had the horses "get out"...while I was there, holding the halter of the boss mare, and the other two decided to make a break for it. :mad: That was the first time most of our neighbors even knew there were horses in the neighborhood! They went about two houses down, each direction, with me in hot pursuit until a friendly neighbor (who grew up on a Belgian breeding farm) pulled on some gloves and made friends with Spooky, who sedately stood while he picked up her lead rope and gave her a pat. #$@#$^#^$ mare. :lol: I took her back and the others followed dejectedly.

The drama definitely seems to happen while we're around, not while we're at work. On weekends I tend to spend a lot of time with the horses, or watching them...they are lazy buggers all day long. Mostly eat a leisurely breakfast, find a sunny patch and nap. When they see the car come up the drive, they race it all the way in, and the filly stands in her feed trough until it is filled.

I've definitely had worried moments of horsekeeping at home, but if the basics are there, it's pretty simple to deal with. :) Very rewarding to have morning coffee sitting on the porch watching the horses contentedly munch on hay.

Belg
Jan. 4, 2011, 04:14 PM
I can either trailer 30 horses to the coast guard every day, send all 30 of them off to other farms with my wife when she gives lessons, or we can make sure the electric fences will deter and the hard fences & farm gates prevent ;)

jazzrider
Jan. 4, 2011, 04:36 PM
Yeah umm, well, by the way...do not EVER hang a metal pipe gate incorrectly thinking you'll remember later that you need to fix it....Mr Kat had slapped a gate up in a hurry, leaving both 'pins' pointing up, so he could bush hog, instead of turning the top pin to face down, thus securing the gate from simply being lifted off the pins.

Ok Kat, you've just made me nervous. We've done this with both sets of driveway gates so that if we get bigs snows, we can just lift them off rather than having to shovel to open them, then plow. We have gates all over the place, connecting four pastures and assorted paddocks. Now I'll be out there tonight making sure that only interier gates are done that way -- so if our boys suddenly got the urge to lift a gate (they've never shown any interest) they'll still be contained.

Not that they'd go very far. Neighbor has 12 unfenced acres of beautiful grass. :D

WildBlue
Jan. 4, 2011, 04:37 PM
Mine normally live out, with shelter, lots of pasture and free choice hay (round bales in feeders inside the shelter). They also have a big water tank and a stream for backup water. They're only stalled for graining or injury layup.

I'm gone 13-14 hours most weekdays (longer if I actually stay in town for drinks or dinner after work) and travel a lot for work.

A few things to consider:

-If you get hit by a bus and it takes a day or two or three for someone to come check on the horses (dogs, cats, etc), do they have enough water (and, hopefully, food and shelter) to survive?

-If something 'bad' happens while you're gone (power goes out, major snow storm, fire, etc) and someone else is there checking on your horses, have you done what you can to make it easy for that person to give the horses food and water? Ditto emergency vet (good lights and vehicle access, at minimum).

-Did you make it as hard as possble for the horses to leave your property (such as double-fencing at least the road frontage) or someone else to steal them/your tack/other stuff (even a manual gate and padlock at the end of your drive--attached to a fence--helps keep the riff-raff out)? Do your horses have some kind of permanent ID, such as a microchip?

-Finally, have at least two separate professionals (one as a backup to the other) you can call if you need someone to feed on nights you're running late, medicate a horse on lay up, etc. Family, friends, and neighbors are a great informal safety net, but it ends up being worth every penny you spend to hire someone who is actually running a horse/pet sitting business (some BMs are willing to do this on the side for extra cash, as are horse-savvy students). If only because you can specify exactly how and when you want things done, even fire them, and no hurt feelings...

Mozart
Jan. 4, 2011, 04:42 PM
Good fences, good water sources, and neighbors that know how to get a hold of you, done.



THIS!

katarine
Jan. 4, 2011, 04:44 PM
Ok Kat, you've just made me nervous. We've done this with both sets of driveway gates so that if we get bigs snows, we can just lift them off rather than having to shovel to open them, then plow. We have gates all over the place, connecting four pastures and assorted paddocks. Now I'll be out there tonight making sure that only interier gates are done that way -- so if our boys suddenly got the urge to lift a gate (they've never shown any interest) they'll still be contained.

Not that they'd go very far. Neighbor has 12 unfenced acres of beautiful grass. :D

Yeah I had only the two QHs and donkey at the time. And that gate was one of two gates to the only pasture we had at the time. They hit the gate lottery. I imagine Jake pawed at it for supper, hung his leg just enough to lift it, and there it went. It's a typical 12' metal pipe gate, it wasn't bent in any way. Asshats ;)

jazzrider
Jan. 4, 2011, 04:47 PM
They definately can be. ;) I'm leaving work in 10 minutes. I'll be out looking at my gates in about an hour. Because now you've jinxed me. The dreaded COTH jinx -- read it one day, and it happens to you the next. :rolleyes:

classicsporthorses
Jan. 4, 2011, 04:51 PM
We routinely have 30-40 head here, and two breeding stallions. Except for bad weather, usually in the winter or early spring, our are out 24/7.

I have always worked off the farm, so had my husband (who's not horsey). the two stallions live out 24/7 with their own run-ins with my young stallion in with geldings.

We've never had a problem. In my experience, horses typically get out during the night, not during the day when they have their food from the AM feeding but after they have possibly finished their PM hay and it's 3 AM.

Ours just stick around b/c their friends are here. Yes, I have had my stallions get out but again they've never been an issue as in going through fences for mares etc. It's only happened 2 times and I have been home. They see me coming and know "oh dang, mom's here" and come right to me.

We don't have any of the horse halters on either. All of them know that if I whistle it means food (we do it at every feeding time) so if someone does get out, I just whistle, even if I don't have grain.

We've had it this way for years.

Silvercrown90
Jan. 4, 2011, 10:16 PM
I'm home all of the day now, but I used to routinely keep my horses at home alone when we worked during the day. I never had any problems. If there was a sick horse or something to be concerned about, I lived close enough from work where I could get back to the farm during my lunch hour. I never had any problems, and I would do it again.

JCS
Jan. 4, 2011, 10:16 PM
I work at home and my office window overlooks the paddock and shed. :) Which is great. But I don't hesitate at all to leave for the day if needed, or longer. We go away for 2-3 days at a time sometimes. Our awesome horse-savvy neighbor feeds twice a day and checks water, and we have contact info posted--contact info for ourselves, our vet, and two backup people who know our horses and could jump in in an emergency situation if needed.

There have been times I've been glad I was home--just the other day my gelding started showing some mild colicky signs, so I brought him in and gave him Banamine and he was fine. But as others have said, they tend to get in more trouble at night anyway. My goofball gelding likes to hop out of the paddock at night in the spring so he can eat the fresh grass growing on the neighbors' lawn. As far as we can tell, he eats for awhile and then wanders around the barn to get to where the gate is, at which time his buddy starts hollering and wakes us up. We always run out there in our jammies to find him standing at the gate waiting to be let back in. He has never ONCE jumped out in the daytime. Dork.


I've found it's really crucial to have a setup that's really easy for someone else, even a non-horse person, to come in and do chores for you in a pinch. When I had my baby, we had round bales and a huge water trough so when I went to the hospital my mom could just throw grain twice a day. Or even if she hadn't done that, they would have been fine.

I guess what I'm saying is, "What they said." Plenty of hay (if not grass), plenty of water, good fences, and good neighbors, and you'll be all set.

Mali
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:27 PM
I'm another one with 24/7 turnout. They have a run-in with built in stalls that they can come and go as they please. I will lock them in at night, unless they're calling for storms - then I like to let them have some space. I also kept turnout halters with i.d. on for the first few weeks, until I knew they were settled and knew the boundaries. Now the halters only go on during storms, or when the farrier is coming. I've never had any problems and my mother in law lives a few houses away. In the few instances where severe storms cooked up during the day, she was able to check in on them afterwards.

Deepinmanure
Jan. 5, 2011, 12:03 AM
We have our horses in the "backyard" and leave them unattended for at the most 12 hrs.I have only had horse "get out twice.Once years ago when we had electric fence and the weanlings were testing the wire and found a place to get out.That time my neighbor was cutting his hay and he lead them back in and hooked up the fence for me.Another time after we got 3 board oak fence a mare slipped on the ice and crashed throughthe fence .Luckily the boy who cleans stalls showed up right after they got out and they let him catch them.
Now we have "no climb" horse fence with a board on top.No one escapes from that!!!.
If your fence is safe and the horses have a run-in situation they are pretty happy.If you don't have a run-in than I would only turn them out at night when you are home to hear them.

subk
Jan. 5, 2011, 12:33 AM
I've got 40 acres, 4 horses, and I don't even live there. I drive out there (20 minutes) twice a day. I worry more about them hurt in a stall overnight for 10-12 hours while I'm sleeping (even if I lived there!) than I worry about them turned out un-attended for a few hours straight during the day.

yellow-horse
Jan. 5, 2011, 05:28 AM
Both times myy horses got loose I was home and didn't realize it because I was asleep, one time I found out when I got up and went to feed in the morning and 2 were gone and the board fence was wrecked this ws during deer season and we had packs of dogs running all over the place, I found the horses in a field down the road eating grass and the other time I found out when my neighbor called to tell me my horse got hit by a car and was lying in the road. That phone sent me running out the door and the horse was standing in the yard eating grass with a scrape along her side from where she slid, I don't think she was actually hit by a car, I think she fell and slid on the road. There was a car involved and the driver thought she had hit the horse since the horse ran out along the side of the road and went down but since there was no damage to the car or horse I doubt the horse was actually hit. In that instance a back gate that never gets used except to get in the pasture to mow was open this happened in the early spring and that gate hadn't been used in 6 months, that same night a neighbors horses got out with an open gate, another neighbor had tools stolen out of a truck and a car was stolen down the road. I suspect vandalism. I have 11 dogs none of them woke me up yet they will bark at a rabbit like hyenas.
Since both istances I have changed my set up, I now have 2 strands of electric inside my board fence and have padlocks on all gates that are not routinely used and changed the latches on the ones I do use. I have 2 sacrifice paddocks that are attahced to the barn so they have shelter in them and a pasture, when there is no one home now and at night, I put them in the paddocks that now have electric and board fence, or during hunting season when dogs are loose. I leave the gsd mix dog in the barn when I leave the place and close the access door to the barn, if someone breaks in to the barn to mess with the horses, they will meet him.
I do worry about leaving them long periods of time but it's not more than 12 hours at a time a few times a month.

manyspots
Jan. 5, 2011, 10:02 AM
I was also lucky enough to design my small farmette to accomodate 24/7 turnout for horses who were alone for 12-14hrs. a day. I work shift work and due to the nature of what I do sometimes get called in early or forced to stay late against my will. Two years ago when I brought them home I would panic if I couldn't leave after my 8 hour shift. You can imagine what was going through my mind..... do they still have food, did they get their doors open, did someone tear down a fence, was my gelding tying up (horrible experience... he did this until we determined it was PSSM).

I have two very mellow TWH geldings and a mini donkey at home now. I placed the gelding with PSSM and no longer had to worry about the tying up issue. The barn allows the three to have access to two 12 x 12 stalls and their sacrafice paddock all the time. Heated water, freedom feeder, and Nibble nets keep them with hay almost constantly. I have four strands of VERY hot Horsegaurd tape. My interior doors have extra locks. My gates are pipe with wire mesh and they are installed with one hook down and one up so it is IMPOSSIBLE to rip them off (I hope!)

They got out twice... both were my fault. Both times I was home. I am a stickler for checking gates and doors before I leave the house. Emergency numbers are in the tackroom, all halters hanging in plain view, and horse friends who drive my road back and forth from work that can see the boys in their paddock. Finger crossed.... so far so good.

The only time (knock on wood) I have had colics or other emergencies I have been home, getting home, or horsey fiance was home. Hope to keep this track record going.

Bottomline... you can wrap 'em in bubble wrap and they will still manage to pop it! We are very careful, but at the end of the day they are horses and we can't prevent everything whether we are home or not.