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Heat & Lights on All Night in New Barn

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  • Heat & Lights on All Night in New Barn

    Oh lord..I cannot believe my luck with boarding stables. I recently posted about the barn I just left. They were having serious issues with not feeding enough and dangerous turnout problems. Leaving that place was a no-brainer and I left recently for a new barn I felt good about.

    I was very careful with new barn to make sure everything looked good. Feeding and turnout good. Barn quality and safety great. Good places for riding. Horses seem happy and healthy. These new barn owners have only been running their new place since this past summer but were experienced horse owners and boarders previous to this.

    So....I find out recently that the barn owner is leaving the barn totally closed up at night, using a heater in the barn which makes it quite warm (warm enough that a blanket is too much), AND they leave the lights on all night! And I'm talking bright lights in the hall of the barn. Not directly over stalls but it's bright. Now..I'm in Oregon and it has not been that cold. In my previous barn, the doors were closed up and windows were cracked..and everyone usually left a light blanket for chilly mornings.

    Now..with the new barn, it gets so warm in the barn, I have to ask the owner to remove blanket and put it back on in the morning..so I have to pay extra for that service when usually I leave the blanket on full-time just for ease and convenience.

    Given I have a mare, I'm concerned what the constant light is doing to cycles and mood. Also concerned about overkill with heat and lack of ventilation.

    Any thoughts on this? BO will not change these things because I have asked. The reason for the lights is so "the horses won't be in the dark" and there seems to be a lot of fear and apprehension about the horses being in darkness..which surprised me.

    Do I need to move again now? Goodness I'm really not looking for perfection but concerned about long-term issues with this.

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    What a PITA. I guess you have to decide if potentially moving trumps lights/heat all night long. That would potentially be a deal-breaker for me.
    Goes to show you can't interview out all the little idiosyncrasies of a barn!

    I'm pretty sure there was a (somewhat) recent Australian study that showed that horses "exposed" to radios constantly on in the barn had a higher incidence of gastric ulcers, but I cannot find the official manuscript at the moment. But I would put constant light on the list with constant radios.

    I would assume that constant exposure to lights would be a detriment to your horse's health. Isn't that a method of torture in humans? Leaving a person on in a lit room until they crack?

    Comment


    • #3
      My first reaction was "Is this a TB breeding barn?" Why on earth would you want mares under lights except if you needed to kickstart their cycling. My second reaction was "What kind of heat source?" I am very leary about barn fires and the thought of an unsupervised heat source being left on all night gives me the heebie-jeebies. Third thought is "Wow, they must have a ton a money as their electric bill is going to be huge."

      I would never in a million years think to ask a prospective barn if they left the heat and lights on all night long. Every BO I have known, including myself, is always trying to get the lights turned off! So this is a new one. It wouldn't work for me.
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      • #4
        I wouldn't worry so much about the lights being on--you may find that your mare does not grow as much of a winter coat or that she starts cycling early if the lights are bright enough, but I don't think that having lights on 24/7 is a form of torture. For the lights to have an effect on your mare, they would need to be bright enough that you could comfortably read newspaper articles in her stall. What a terrific waste of electricity, though.

        Regarding the heat, wow, again, what a terrific waste of energy. I'd be more concerned about the lack of ventilation in a closed & heated barn than I would be about the heat, though. Still, there are many saddlebred and other show horse type barns that close up and heat barns through the winter and their horses seem to get along fine.

        On a practical level, I'd keep an eye out for any respiratory issues. I think it's fine to politely discuss the matter with your BO--obviously they aren't going to change things for one client, but it doesn't hurt to express your concerns about ventilation. Since ventilation is the big issue, I wouldn't bother discussing the lights and the heat.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
          I'm pretty sure there was a (somewhat) recent Australian study that showed that horses "exposed" to radios constantly on in the barn had a higher incidence of gastric ulcers, but I cannot find the official manuscript at the moment. But I would put constant light on the list with constant radios.
          I cannot recall the citation right now, but yes, I did read or attend a webinar where this study was cited. Let me see if I can find it...
          "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            This is a small pleasure horse barn (8 stalls) and although her horses seem fine, they have only been there since late summer so hard to know how constant lights will affect them.

            The heater is a medium-sized forced air kind of heater that looks like a fake fireplace. I think those are pretty safe but it makes the barn quite toasty..although I don't have temp reading. She proudly describes how the barn is "warm and toasty" when she enters in the morning...and does not blanket the horses because it is too warm to do so...so that sounds pretty warm to me.

            Gosh...not sure what to think. Left a message for my vet today to ask her too.

            Comment


            • #7
              Possibly read wrong but if their first year offering the service they may stop when they get the bill.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BlueSunMare View Post
                The reason for the lights is so "the horses won't be in the dark" and there seems to be a lot of fear and apprehension about the horses being in darkness..which surprised me.

                . Thoughts?
                Yes, years ago horses nearly became extinct because there were not any lights on at night

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yeah, that's what I was thinking...unless the BO is a multi-millionaire, she's gonna get a few hefty electric bills and before you know it she will be sporting a proper barn coat and some insulated coveralls and the heater will be disconnected.

                  Not a bad idea to have the vet casually mention something to her. My friends and I laugh at the multi-millionaire horse-guy-wannabe down the road who installed a hugely expensive HVAC system in his fancy new barn. First thing the vet said to him was shut that thing off and open up your barn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I live in Wisconsin - our heated barn is heated to 40 degrees - just so the water doesn't freeze - however the barn is insulated and we have yet to turn the heat on. As to lights - my horses are under lights for 16 hours a day so they dont grow winter coats they are geldings so no worries about heat cycles. However the lights are off over night. I don't think they rest well when they don't have "night time". I am not sure why the horses have light all hours of the day - that makes no sense.

                    As for heat - anything over 40 degrees is hard on the horses when they then go out during the day and it is 25 degrees outside.

                    As to the radios - all the barns I have boarded at leaves the radios on 24 hrs a day, I have had no problems.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would be more worried about the barn being closed up. Lack of ventilation will be a health problem.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lolita1 View Post
                        Possibly read wrong but if their first year offering the service they may stop when they get the bill.
                        My thoughts exactly!
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                        • #13
                          Anyone who knows anything about horses knows two things:

                          First, a horses night vision is excellent. I have jumped 3'6" in what you and I would call pitch black dark.

                          I saw the Walsh girls school over an outside course with 4' fences, stone wall, aiken and snake.

                          Second:

                          Horses are much more comfortable in cold than in hot.

                          Your BO is not knowledgeable at all.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think it is in poor taste to heat a barn that well AND charge for blanket service.

                            I would be curious as to the humidity levels and temperature in the morning when the barn is first open. How high is the ceiling? Is there evidence of condensation/moisture damage/mold?

                            A barn CAN be heated and well ventilated even with doors keep shut.

                            How bright are the lights in the stalls? Is one stall a bit darker that you could move your horse into? Could you suggest night lights instead of full barn lights?
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                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I left out that good ventilation is a must for horses.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think that this huge gap in your BO 's understanding of what is healthy (ventilation) and normal (darkness and no need for heat) for horses would make me VERY suspicious of her general horsemanship. If she is this off base about these obvious things, there are other gaps in her knowledge base. Yes, i think you should seriously consider moving.
                                Last edited by arlosmine; Dec. 18, 2012, 02:22 PM.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by arlosmine View Post
                                  I think that this huge gap in your BO 's understanding of what is healthy (ventilation) and normal (darkness and no need for heat) for horses would make me VERY suspicious of her general horsemanship. If she is this off base about these obvious things, there are other gaps in her knowledge bases. Yes, i think you should seriously consider moving.


                                  It sounds a bit "kooky" to me.

                                  I would not be okay with that under any circumstances.
                                  Last edited by wcporter; Dec. 18, 2012, 08:35 AM.
                                  Barn rat for life

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My biggest concern would be that heater. I don't care WHAT kind of heater it is, I'd be worried about it causing a fire. Does she have smoke detectors that she could hear at her house? I'd find out.

                                    My DD's first pony's first boarding barn used to be run by a whacko who liked to lock up the windows/doors, leave the lights on all night, and blare the radio all the time (so they wouldn't get 'lonely' was the reason for the radio) Consequently pony would stay outside except in the worst of weather. But none of that would worry me as much as a heater.
                                    Last edited by oldpony66; Dec. 18, 2012, 03:50 PM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by ArabX3 View Post
                                      I live in Wisconsin - our heated barn is heated to 40 degrees - just so the water doesn't freeze - however the barn is insulated and we have yet to turn the heat on. As to lights - my horses are under lights for 16 hours a day so they dont grow winter coats they are geldings so no worries about heat cycles. However the lights are off over night.

                                      As for heat - anything over 40 degrees is hard on the horses when they then go out during the day and it is 25 degrees outside.

                                      As to the radios - all the barns I have boarded at leaves the radios on 24 hrs a day, I have had no problems.
                                      Why don't you just clip them? Instead of forcing them to not grow winter coats? Sorry if I sound stupid, this is a legitimate question. I am not a "show" person. If we do serious winter riding we clip, either a trace clip or if needed a body clip.
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                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by 4cornersfarm View Post
                                        Why don't you just clip them? Instead of forcing them to not grow winter coats? Sorry if I sound stupid, this is a legitimate question. I am not a "show" person. If we do serious winter riding we clip, either a trace clip or if needed a body clip.
                                        In stock horse show circles it's typical to keep the horses under lights instead of clipping them. The coat texture comes out different.

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