If I had to perform the night checks that some of you guys do, I'd have to set an alarm to wake back up!!
Mine are brought in and fed when I get home. Sometime between 6-7 pm. Then...they're done! If I had to replenish hay enough times to make sure I had enough to last them every minute overnight, my gelding would pop. I've seen him inhale a bale of hay in a matter of a few hours.
The others always have hay in the am, and they all have some remnants of water.
IMO, if an accident is going to happen, no amount of checks is going to prevent that. I suppose if you had sensitive horses who were on high grain, high volume diets, then I'd be a little more concerned. But at the end of the day, I have to sleep, so at some point during those 8 hrs, they could get injured/colic, etc.
Mine are at home and in at night for the winter (summer they're in during the day, out at night). So I do night check on the winter schedule but not the summer schedule. I feed about 5-6 PM and go back up to check/throw more hay around 10PM. Breakfast is 6:30-7AM. During the summer I don't worry about night check since I feed dinner later (7ish) and they typically have plenty of grass.
I find that mine trash less hay if I give them a little with dinner and then more later in the evening. Plus I can check water and make sure all is well before I go to bed.
Pony is at my house, and out 24/7.
AM feed is generally 6:30-7:30 (maybe later if I sleep in on a weekend) and dinner is served anytime between 5:30 and 8pm, depending on when I get home from work. Night check is usually between 9:30 (if I'm really tired and want to go to bed) and 11:30 (if I fell asleep on the sofa watching TV), but usually right at 10pm.
Night check is less for Pony's benefit than mine (in non-freezing weather), however. (In cold/ugly weather, it's my chance to add/remove/change blankets and make sure that the water tub isn't frozen over.) She's pretty low maintenance and doesn't really NEED me to toss that half flake of hay, but it's a routine that I got into with my old guy and I don't feel right if I don't check on her. (Plus the dogs go out for "last call" at about that time anyways!)
I've been known to skip a night check if I'm close enough to the barn to hear anything untoward happening.. that is for MY horse. If I'm caring for other's horses, they're in anywhere from 4 - 6 ish p.m., then checked again between 8 - 9, and again sometimes even at midnight if my insomnia is visiting.
I usually don't perform 'first' night check much later than 9 because if there WERE an emergency I don't want a vet driving here too late. That makes them REALLY cranky....
We night check and give final hay and water about 9 pm, but I have a camera in the aisle and a receiver in the bedroom. If there is a ruckus or bang, we can jump up and run out to the barn to check. Next feeding is 7 am on winter schedule.
I also bring in at 6pm every night and ponies are all alone all day. I do not do a night check but when I bring ponies in, I always make sure they are all eating before I go to the house. I'm up before 6am and they are fed and out by 6:30. If the weather is cold and crappy, or if I bring them in early for some reason (show) I will do a night check around 9pm and give an extra flake of hay and top up waters.
I was lucky yesterday morning that my husband was home in the morning and a friend happened to be passing by our place. We had a little snow (not much) and a woman drove into our paddock with the ponies! Luckily nobody was hurt and my husband brought all ponies inside for the day. Paddock is now patched up for the rest of the winter and we will have to wait for the ground to thaw before we put in the new fencing....What a day!! I don't know what would have happened if he wasnt home....
Our two are at home. No night check. They are brought into their stalls when it's dark, nowadays around 5:30pm. Their hay is in Nbble nets (so hopefully takes them a little longer to eat it). We don't go over to the barn again (it is a distance from the house in that we can't hear them) until 6-7am, unless we felt there was something NQR and we wanted to check them again. Whenever I have gone over later at night, they've still had hay and water, and always have water left over in the morning (they don't drink alot overnight).
None of my horses ever got an official 'night check', generally I feed after work (3-4-5pm depending on season) and oftentimes call it good. I would say about three times per week I go out and don't get home until 11pm-ish and I'll pop in to check on His Highness and the only thing I've noticed is his displeasure at being awoken
Edited because I thought this was the post with the question about the new barn/no night check, whoops!
Last edited by Mosey_2003; Jan. 29, 2013 at 01:34 PM.
Reason: I'm blonde
I feed at 6:30 am and since they are right outside the kitchen window I can see them eating most of the day. We feed at 3:30 and then again at 6:30 pm. I do look out until it gets dark to see that every one is acting normal, but I don't do " checks" unless I am concerned about one of them. Actually my mule is always staring at the window to the kitchen and I think he does his own " checks" on me!!
In addition, I'm not traipsing around on 100 acres in the dark to do a night check...finding two horses on 100 acres is like locating a needle in a haystack, and I'm not wandering around out here with the coyotes lurking about. They creep me out.
"If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."
The work day ends for most of the staff at 5:30 pm and then we do a night check around 9 -10 pm where the horses are watered again. DH and I live in the barn (4th stall on the left and up a flight up stairs) so we hear any weird noise that is going on, but do not have any other official checks unless a mare is waxing then poor DH gets up every two hours to check if the baby has been born.
Over the years we have caught several colics and horses that were cast in the middle of the night. The scariest (for me, the horse was fine) was when a horse got cast in the stall right beneath our bedroom and was kicking so hard it shook our bed... Not how I want to be woken up, but since we live in the barn he was only cast for the 5 min it took us to pull on some boots and run down the stairs.
I usually feed at night between 5-6pm...if I ride, I'm in the barn later. During the winter, I go down around 7-830pm to fill the buckets with fresh water, but otherwise, I will shine a light on the barn and check the windows - my horses always have their heads out the window and they will often nicker at me. The one time my pony didn't look at me, I went down and he did have a fever.
In the summer when they are out at night, I shine my spotlight on them before going to bed to make sure everyone looks good.
I've got a killer spotlight and you can see them really well even if they are on the other side of the property. Love it!
Since I brought my horses home, there have been a few "night checks" when I have gone out to the barn in my pajamas on a warm summer night, just to pet noses and give carrots, right before bed. It was purely for my benefit, I will admit!!
Right now I would have to get all bundled up head to toe and then I would get cold and wet out there... no thanks....
Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**
Oregon, sitting on my couch looking out the window at a mountain
My horses are at home and are fed 4x day: 7-8 a.m., noon-ish, 4-5 p.m., and 9-10 p.m. for night check. We call night check "tuck-ins" because I have to give them a kiss on the nose and tell them night-night.
Barn I used to work at, I did night check around 9:30pm. My horses are at home now. In the winter, they usually get brought in around 5:30pm. Give them dinner, lots of hay, full water...and don't see them again until 6am the next day. During the summer, when they're out 24/7, I can just look out my window. Now if the weather is horrible, freezing, howling....I'll bring hot water up around 9:30pm to make sure they still have water. But otherwise no, I don't do night check.
My horses are at home, and have access to stalls 24/7 but are turned out. I feed at darkish...right now around 5:30. I do not "check" them again, but make sure to have hay in two separate areas so they have enough all night long. To do a night check I'd have to either walk out to the pasture in the dark, or bring them back in (which would make them think they are getting fed AGAIN).
If everyone ate dinner normally and no odd behaviors, I see no reason to call them back in a few hours and see if they are STILL ok.