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Self care once a day vs. stall board - UPDATE POST 11

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  • Self care once a day vs. stall board - UPDATE POST 11

    I am really getting conflicted about what's best for my horses.
    Background: 31 yr old mare and 19 yr old gelding live at a pasture and barn I lease. They can come in and out of the barn and a small pasture or go out to a large separate pasture with no shelter. But I can only get out there once a day and even that is a struggle. Otherwise, there is no one checking on them.
    I wonder if they would be better off at a boarding barn where the gelding could be on pasture board and the old mare on stall with lots of turnout. There'd be somebody there to check them when the weather is bad like now.

    The mare has really loved the no stress of being out of a herd as she is very low on the pecking order, always has been. But I worry that one might get sick or hurt and not be found for 24 hours.

    Thoughts?

    (I can't get out more than once a day with job/family duties. I also would get to do lots more riding at the boarding barn, I think.)
    Last edited by FatDinah; Jan. 18, 2011, 12:57 PM.

  • #2
    Your set up is not ideal in that a lot can happen in 24 hours. However, it may still be your best option. If the mare is going to get beaten up and injured in the boarding barn, she would probably prefer to take her chances at the place where you have her now. What is the boarding barn like? Would they have enough turnout and good shelter/run in shed in the pasture? Would the old guy be left out in the sleet or freezing rain because it is "pasture" board? Would they be fed enough at the boarding barn and always have water?

    Boarding barns can be wonderful or a nightmare. Check out your options very carefully before you move them.

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    • #3
      Is there anyone in the neighbourhood that you trust to help keep an eye on them? Maybe someone who has a horse they would like to retire there too?
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        I do have a barn in mind which has excellent care. The mare would go out by herself or with one other in a small paddock. The gelding has turnout blankets and there is shelter. Plus, if it were terribly cold and/or wet, he can have access to a stall.

        The mare got hung up in her blanket and basically could not move for I don't know how many hours before I found her. Luckily she was just stiff from standing still but I worry it could have been a disaster.

        No, the farm owners only want one person there so getting another boarder isn't an option.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
          I do have a barn in mind which has excellent care. The mare would go out by herself or with one other in a small paddock. The gelding has turnout blankets and there is shelter. Plus, if it were terribly cold and/or wet, he can have access to a stall.

          The mare got hung up in her blanket and basically could not move for I don't know how many hours before I found her. Luckily she was just stiff from standing still but I worry it could have been a disaster.

          No, the farm owners only want one person there so getting another boarder isn't an option.
          Well, it seems like you already have your mind made up then

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          • #6
            If I were you I would go to the barn you're considering several times, at different days/times and walk around for a while, watch what goes on. See if you can envision yourself 'living' there and your horses enjoying it. See how they feed, care, etc, and if it aligns with what you'd want for your own horses.

            Self care is awesome because you get to make all your own decisions and take care of your horses the way you want them cared for. The downside is that you're responsible for the daily grind that goes with it, and if you're pressed for time that can mean little or no riding some weeks.

            Full care, like AKB said, can be a blessing or a curse. If they do things and run the place in a way that suits you and your horses, then its amazing, all the fun, none of the headaches. All of your precious time goes to just purely enjoying your horses. But, if their style differs from what you have in mind, or if the BO isn't up to snuff, then it can be a real nightmare.

            Research carefully, each has their positives and drawbacks.

            I self care and can only visit once per day because of work/household commitments. Though I lease a barn thats part of a larger establishment, and there is someone on the property in the evenings, my horses do go 24 hours without being looked at for the most part and sometimes that makes me nervous.
            Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
              I do have a barn in mind which has excellent care. The mare would go out by herself or with one other in a small paddock. The gelding has turnout blankets and there is shelter. Plus, if it were terribly cold and/or wet, he can have access to a stall.

              The mare got hung up in her blanket and basically could not move for I don't know how many hours before I found her. Luckily she was just stiff from standing still but I worry it could have been a disaster.

              No, the farm owners only want one person there so getting another boarder isn't an option.
              Ah, well if you have a nice place picked out, and it seems to suit you and your horses and they'll be cared for in a manner that you approve of, then I can't see any downsides.

              Just have a plan B in case you discover down the road the boarding barn isn't as you hoped/expected.

              If I had an incident like you and found my horse hung up, I too would be rethinking things. Thats very scary, glad everything worked out ok.
              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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              • #8
                I have horses at home. Because they are at home, I can at least check on them twice a day, even if I'm dying from the flu or have some work or domestic crisis going on.

                I can see your problem. Doing self care off your property must be really hard. Especially when the weather is as bad as it has been so far this winter.

                I'm just not comfortable with leaving them for 24 hours, personally. My neighbor thinks I'm nuts. She can't quite believe that I go over and feed and check on her horses twice a day when she's away, (or that I expect her to do the same for me when I'm away...)

                If I couldn't have someone at least do a drive-by and count legs and make sure they hadn't tipped the water trough over, I'd be contemplating boarding too.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  My husband has been pushing me to do it because he freaks out about me riding alone. He worries I could get hurt even though my horses are very reliable - I mean any horse can spook or a girth can break - and me laying there for hours and hours.

                  I do really like having things my own way and I like the solitude in lots of ways. I love seeing them every day and doing their feeding and all their care. I have a great farrier who comes and a great vet who'd be there ASAP.

                  But more and more I think I could never forgive myself if I came and found one of them had been suffering for hours or if I lost one to some stupid accident that quick response could have made a difference.

                  I am looking in Nashville (mostly west and south of the city) and have one place in mind but so if anyone wants me to PM me about a barn, I'd appreciate it. I want a low key atmosphere, not one of the real competition ones.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm glad everything ended up OK with the mare. I'd definitely be looking at boarding. I've done self care at a place that is NOT home before and it was REALLY hard. Drove out 3x per day and it just ate up my gas even though it was pretty close. But I was paranoid about NOT doing it because even though I was at a boarding barn (doing self care in my own fields as part of a work arrangement), they didn't keep an eye on my horses, and i couldn't stand not knowing someone was watching them. Now I'm boarding and feel so peaceful knowing they're constantly being looked over and I'm not driving in Snowmageddon :P

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      What about these choices?

                      I hae a nice barn identified but have options there.
                      I'd welcome any opinions.
                      The gelding will be at the main barn in a pasture with two other geldings. He has turnout blankets for rain/cold.

                      Option 1) Mare goes in the retirement pasture board at the main barn with four other horses. Is fed twice a day separated and has access to hay/grass and auto waterer. No shelter but she is blanketed. Pasture is right by the barn so lots of folks to keep an eye on her.

                      Option 2) Mare has a stall in a satellite barn and goes out in a very large (15 acres) pasture with 4 younger horses. Fed twice a day in her stall. Much less activity so much less observation of her, especially in the large pasture.

                      There is no stall open at the main barn.

                      I am leaning toward trying the retirement pasture board with the option of switching her to a stall if she doesn't do well.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        FWIW, my horses are "alone" while I sleep, and while we're both at work or otherwise out.

                        I came home from early voting one Saturday to find my TB gelding down in the pasture, near the closest 2 houses (withing easy throwing distance). He'd been down a while, had obviously been thrashing based on abrasions on his head.

                        Having someone there doesn't always mean they are watching, or paying attention.

                        But yes, even in the Summer when I only touch/feel the horses once a day - breakfast - I do a visual check at night to at least make sure everyone is on 4 legs and can move. I did mostly self-care for a couple of years for 1 horse, and even though it was literally about a 6 minute drive, ice and enough snow made it very difficult to get there in a little Corolla!
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I wouldn't be comfortable just checking on them 1x in a 24 hr period. The BO where i board has a full time job, and so is away all day at work, but the horse get checked on at least 2x a day when they're fed. When they went away to Italy for 10 days, I offered to stay in their house and barn sit as I really didn't feel comfortable without someone there at night.

                          Sounds like boarding might be a better option. It's nice doing self care and having complete control over everything, but sometimes it's just not practical. (I did self care for years as part of a coop, until my barn buddy moved her horses home). It's also nice knowing if I can't make it out because of work obligations for a few days, someone else is keeping an eye that all is well, even if my mare isn't getting the attention that I give her !

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Echoing JB, even when we have them at home, things happen. But only getting there once a day would worry me as well. Personally, I don't like having them blanketed in the rain. If they need a blanket that badly, they most likely should not be out in it with no way to get out. Once a blanket gets wet, it is horrible for the horse.

                            Good luck with it!
                            Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A good blanket should be waterproof enough to keep the horse dry for at least a day or two even in heavy rain. I haven't met a blanket, no matter how waterproof AND breathable, that will keep the horse dry through days of hard enough rain.

                              I put blankets (or sheets depending on temp) in mine and keep them out, rather than stall them without a blanket. I'd just rather them be out. There are always exceptions, but generally, it's blanketed and turned out.

                              If things are raining heavy enough for long enough, if the blanket is on then I'll put a waterproof sheet on top of that - greatly extends the amount of time the horse can be out there before the waterproofing fails.
                              ______________________________
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by atr View Post
                                I have horses at home. Because they are at home, I can at least check on them twice a day, even if I'm dying from the flu or have some work or domestic crisis going on.

                                I can see your problem. Doing self care off your property must be really hard. Especially when the weather is as bad as it has been so far this winter.

                                I'm just not comfortable with leaving them for 24 hours, personally. My neighbor thinks I'm nuts. She can't quite believe that I go over and feed and check on her horses twice a day when she's away, (or that I expect her to do the same for me when I'm away...)
                                If I couldn't have someone at least do a drive-by and count legs and make sure they hadn't tipped the water trough over, I'd be contemplating boarding too.
                                Well I guess that would put me in the category of lunatic then because I check and feed mine 4 times a day.

                                Dalemma

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