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Web Cams at Boarding Barns?

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  • Web Cams at Boarding Barns?

    Here's an interesting one... boarder's horse recently had colic surgery. (It happens.) They would like to put a web cam in horse's stall to 'check on him' when he is released from the hospital.

    While my horse-girl side says 'Sure' my BO side says 'Whoa! That's a slippery slope that could have me responding to the panicked calls of horse owners 24/7 every time their horse has a snooze or a roll!'

    I have absolute trust and confidence in our barn staff and we have an exceptional group of boarders- but this is a monitoring twist that might have unforeseen repercussions.

    Thoughts or experiences, anyone?

  • #2
    Did their vet recommend this? Would he or she be willing to recommend it in writing or by making a call? If the vet recommended it, that could be the criterion B.O.'s can use to keep from having webcams in everyone's stalls.


    • Original Poster

      Good point, thanks for the reply. No, this was a boarder-initiated thought I believe.

      I hope someone will post that has actually used webcams, but your filter is a good one to keep it from becoming rampant.


      • #4
        How about for just a certain period of time? Two weeks, maybe?

        I'm quite sure that the boarder isn't blaming you--horses just colic. But colic surgury is a pretty major event (and expensive!) and I can certainly understand why they would want to set up a webcam, just to keep an eye on him. When my little pony coliced (luckily without need for surgery) I set my alarm and went out to the barn once an hour to check up on him, all night, just to make sure he was safe and sound.

        I certainly wouldn't want to welcome everyone putting up webcams (although what a novel idea for a luxury barn, no?? ) but I don't see how it could hurt for a week or two, and I say this as a barn owner.

        I guess it also depends on the boarders though too.....ARE they the crazy type to call you every split second over every belly itch and nose snort?


        • #5
          My ex used one to monitor her mare the last week or so before she foaled, I understand. Apparently worked great with no need for stumbling around in the dark with a flashlight worrying the mare. But she's not a COTH member that I know of so she can't post here.


          • #6
            I have a surveillance camera (not web enabled, just wireless transmitter to my house) set up in my (private) barn in the foaling stall. While it is invaluable in this setting and I would hate to be without it, I could also see how a BO would balk at the idea of boarders constantly playing cyber-stalker in this manner. It's an unimaginable amount of bandwidth to run a webcam for multiple stalls--I wouldn't consider it unless it were for medical reasons, and perhaps a SINGLE stall in a barn with a webcam for this purpose would be nice. Any ailing horse or one requiring special surveillance could stay in THAT ONE stall until the crisis was over. And as to it being a web camera--why does the whole world need to watch? Just one person would be fine, right? Maybe a couple--the BO and the horse's owner, by arrangement?
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            • #7
              I think the idea of a webcam is good, especially if it can be set up for only the barn owner and the horse owner to watch. The BO may want to set up an extra charge for monitoring the webcam a couple of times each evening, and any extra trips to the barn that are involved. If I were the BO, I would only want the webcam turned on as I left the barn at night, and turned off in the am. The privacy of other boarders and the BO should be respected.

              A horse who has had colic surgery is certainly at risk for additional episodes. The time between the beginning of the colic symptoms and the beginning of definitive treatment plays a big role in survival rates.


              • #8
                Many dog kennels and dog day care centers are going to those web cams on continuous feed.
                The owners can look on the internet and see their dogs in their pens, or in the exercise yard and be happy that they are ok.
                Most owners, after the new wears off, just look a time or two a day and rarely one feels the need to call to ask why is their dog doing or not doing xyz.


                • #9
                  Sounds like too ooky an idea and may tread on your other clients privacy and could be opening up a can of worms.

                  If you can isolate this horse to a separate area, perhaps...maybe.

                  If you have confidence in your staff and post-op care, then your client should respect that. Otherwise, they could look into at lay-up 24/7 facility if they are that worried.


                  • #10
                    I have webcams in four foaling stalls and I love them.

                    I have control over who has access to each cam, but I have allowed everyone I have given an access code to see all four cameras. They are great for having help with foal watch and allowing long distance owners to see their mares give birth. I have also occasionally put a boarder's colicky horse in one of the stalls so they can keep an eye on them from home. I would rather have them call and wake me up if they see anything concerning than be up checking on them every hour.

                    I am not a public boarding facility though, so I don't have any boarders who I would be concerned about viewing the cams at any time. There has never been an issue with someone wanting a camera in their stall "just because".

                    With the fairly high risk of relapse with colic surgeries, I would think it would be to the horse's benefit to be under surveillance as much as possible those first few weeks. It is easy to adjust the camera so that only the one stall is visible to eliminate any privacy concerns.

                    However, it's your property and you need to be comfortable with the idea of having a camera installed and who will have access to it.


                    • #11
                      Sounds like a nice idea. If it costs the BO nothing, why not let them do it?

                      If BO is unwilling to get up in the wee hours to check on the horse after a worried phone call, can the owner be the one to drive over and check?

                      I would print up a few "video surveillance in use" signs at/around the stall. As long as other boarder know where the camera is, they should not object.
                      Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


                      • #12
                        Well, we have webcams in our four foaling stalls. They are primarily used for foal watch in the spring. However, when we have a horse that is colicky, or recovering from something, we DO put them in one of the stalls with a cam and we DO keep watch on them with the cams.

                        It beats running out to check on them every 15 minutes. I can just click on the TV and take a quick look. And if the owner wants to check on them from their computer, why the heck not?
                        Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


                        • #13
                          I think installing a webcam is a great idea, I often thought about putting one in my horses stall.


                          • #14
                            In response to the poster who said web cams don't cost the Barn owner anything I beg to differ. There is the cost of bandwidth and in our case fiber to the barn, media converters, IP cameras 250.00 each, wireless long range router 200.00 and labor. I charge 10.00 a month to have IP access, the boarder supplies the IP camers which also gets the boarder wireless access to our network for those work from home summer Fridays.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TalkIsCheap View Post
                              Sounds like too ooky an idea and may tread on your other clients privacy and could be opening up a can of worms.
                              Errr, I'm all for it just being annoying, but really, how is it "treading on your other client's privacy"?

                              I mean...the camera would be in the ONE horse stall, focused on the middle of the stall. Assuming all of the boarders are aware of it, they will perhaps choose to use other stalls for their bathroom/undressing purposes? That's really the only thing that I can think of, in regards to it "invading their privacy." It's not like you're wiring up the entire barn with cameras and lasers.


                              • #16
                                The poster might be referring to the fact that you can also get cams with sound. But really, I don't think this is any expectation of privacy in a barn. Don't say anything you wouldn't want repeated or heard by the entire world.
                                Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


                                • #17
                                  As a barn owner I would be happy to allow a webcam for the duration of recovery provided all costs were born by the horse owner.............I think it would take a lot of stress off of me to have the horse owner watching as I will often get up in the middle of the night to do a check if something wasn't right earlier or if I have a sick horse........I do this with my horses as well as boarders horses if necessary.



                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Miss Motivation View Post
                                    While my horse-girl side says 'Sure' my BO side says 'Whoa! That's a slippery slope that could have me responding to the panicked calls of horse owners 24/7 every time their horse has a snooze or a roll!'
                                    A while ago, I thought it would be cool, and a nice option to allow people to put up webcams - IF they paid a fee as a service. But after thinking about it, and knowing how many times I get people in panic mode, knocking on my door because their horse, or ANY horse is laying down, and they just wanted to let me know so I can be aware of a possible problem, I realized it would make my life really crazy.

                                    It may also be a kindness to some super worried boarders NOT to be able to see if their horse is breathing every few seconds.

                                    I also had a boarder 8-10 years ago that had to be at work really early, so I thought it was fine if she came in to see her horses at 3 AM before work. At LEAST once a week, she woke me up as she was worried about something - the way her horse was snoring, position sleeping, etc. Not once was it ever something real.

                                    I would STILL love to have one aimed at the fields, so the boarders could see their horses playing, running, etc. If I had extra money laying around, I would do it.

                                    I also love the idea of installing one for a few days on a horse that we are worried about. I do have a camera and have used to to foal, or watch a baby I am worried about. It is just hooked up to my TV though. so not online for anyone.

                                    I also have a fisher price baby listening monitor that I hang on a stall of a recovering colic, choke, etc, so I can make dinner, etc, and still keep an "ear" out for in case they get bad again.


                                    • #19
                                      You haven't said if the boarder is able to come check things out in person if she is worried by what she sees on camera. If she can come down, then I see no harm in this (provided she pays any extra cost for the set up). But if she's going to be calling you to check things out, maybe set up a charge for that, assuming going to the barn in the middle of the night is not part of your usual routine.
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                                      • #20
                                        If someone came to me with that question, I would say absoloutly not. Survailance cameras at a breeding barn are great but that is not the situation in this case. I have had enough crazy boarders over the years to know that for me, it would be a bad idea. If someone is that worried and they do not trust me to handle the situation, they should not be at my barn. I would say they were welcome to camp out if they wanted, but a camera just opens the door to excessive worrying, as in a call every time the horse rolled, lay down, drank, pooped or anything. Yes the horse needs close monitoring and maybe some people have the time and patience to babysit owners, but not me.