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leaving horses unattended at home

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  • leaving horses unattended at home

    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.

  • #2
    Routinely done here.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


    • #3
      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.


      • #4
        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!
        Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


        • #5
          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.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chall View Post
            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.
            Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
            Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
            & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
              They can survive without padded stalls and without you staring at them all day! I promise!
              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!


              • #8
                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!


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Chall View Post
                  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!

                  Originally posted by aspenlucas View Post
                  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"?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                    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.


                    • #11
                      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.


                      • #12
                        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.


                        • #13
                          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.


                          • #14
                            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.


                            • #15
                              Horses are out 24/7 both DH and I work full time- I never even really thought about it-
                              "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                              So you might as well have a good time"


                              • #16
                                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.
                                Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                                Northern NV


                                • #17
                                  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!!!
                                  Memebr of Charlie Horse Riding Club.


                                  • #18
                                    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.


                                    • #19
                                      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.


                                      • #20
                                        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.