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For those whose horses are outside in rain/snow...

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  • For those whose horses are outside in rain/snow...

    My horses are outside from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM and come in to the barn at night. Outside they have shelter and are sheeted/blanketed depending on the temperature. This has seemed to work for many years. They are very happy, with plenty of hay during the winter and pasture during the other months. In fact, they hardly ever choose to use the shelters, isntead preferring to stand out in the elements. If I kept them inside every time it rains or snows, they would be miserable.

    My problem is that there is a neighbor who comes by and constantly will make comments that she "feels sorry for the horses being outside in the rain/snow/cold/whatever." I know she means well, and have tried to explain to her that they are happy outside....but it just makes me feel so bad. It makes me feel as if she is questioning my caregiving, and that bothers me.

    Anyone else deal with this? Suggestions?
    In loving memory of Chutney (1977 - 2008)

  • #2
    Maybe explain to her that horses weren't really designed to be kept in stalls and share with her the problems that can be associated with keeping horses stalled ? Breathing problems, stocking up, boredom etc. Perhaps explain how horses need to move around to keep blood flowing properly to their feet and legs to stay healthy, also movement helps them stay warm.

    My non-horsey but animal competent neighbor looks after my farm when I am away overnight. Last time I was explaining the current feeding routine I showed her how to fill the "slow hay feeder", she was aghast that I didn't give my two little air ferns free access to their hay. I pointed out that they are actually designed to eat small amounts frequently (grazing) not to hoover a days worth down in an hour and a half. I think pointing out how the feeder allowed them to feed in a more healthy way helped her understand.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks, I will try that. She claims that she has "owned horses her whole life" but doesn't seem to know all that much. :-/
      In loving memory of Chutney (1977 - 2008)

      Comment


      • #4
        Print this off for her:

        http://www.saddleshop.com/sentinel/a...coldhorses.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          Hmph...your neighbor would be aghasted at me then. Mine are out virtually 24/7, despite snow, rain, etc. I just up their hay and they're fine.

          Perhaps explain how a horse generates internal heat by eating long-stem fiber, how it ferments in the hind gut generating said heat.
          <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mine are out 24/7, rain, sleet, snow, etc., naked, and happy as can be. They have shelter, but rarely use it. Personally, I think most people overdo it unless horses are being ridden all winter or are clipped and you need to blanket or bring in at night.

            Just because she is cold or uncomfortable, doesn't mean the horses are. LOL. People are so funny when they anthropomorphize. Normal, fuzzy horses are very comfy between 20 degrees and 50 degress -- when we are warm, they are usually too hot.

            You can explain all you want to her, but I wouldn't give a darn what she says. You know your horses are fine and well taken care of. Why on earth would you feel bad or be bothered by someone who doesn't know what they are talking about?

            Explain that your horses are fine and happy and ignore her. If you can't stop letting it bother you, find a professional to talk to about it -- there's something else going on
            "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."

            Comment


            • #7
              That's funny. We've had all kinds of questions: why are they out in the rain, poor horses (because they LOVE the rain, unless it is a driving rain, and then they still like it, just not all day), snow (again they LOVE the snow even one of my boarders who had never been turned out in the snow...he had a blast!).

              The best was: "your poor horses have blindfolds on (fly masks), why don't you want them to see?" I had to explain that the fly mask was like a window screen.

              Then I have the other ones who tell me I do too much...bring them in at night in the winter and day in the summer, blanket, fly mask, clean them up, etc. No pleasing everyone (this from the backyard breeder, but I don't want to go there).

              You just need a thicker skin...I really don't care what anyone thinks as long as I know I'm doing the right thing. I would explain it once and from then on just comment...but they love it.

              Comment


              • #8
                I have often found with someone like that it does not really matter what you say, it will not change her mind. I have learned, as hard as it is sometimes, to just smile and nod.

                Our horses are on the same schedule as yours, with a few that stay out 24/7 and are happy and healthy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'd tell her to mind her own business and learn a bit about horses in the meantime. Suggest 'Horses for Dummies' to her.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kim View Post
                    My horses are outside from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM and come in to the barn at night. Outside they have shelter and are sheeted/blanketed depending on the temperature. This has seemed to work for many years. They are very happy, with plenty of hay during the winter and pasture during the other months. In fact, they hardly ever choose to use the shelters, isntead preferring to stand out in the elements. If I kept them inside every time it rains or snows, they would be miserable.

                    My problem is that there is a neighbor who comes by and constantly will make comments that she "feels sorry for the horses being outside in the rain/snow/cold/whatever." I know she means well, and have tried to explain to her that they are happy outside....but it just makes me feel so bad. It makes me feel as if she is questioning my caregiving, and that bothers me.

                    Anyone else deal with this? Suggestions?
                    Tell her that you like to keep your horses' immune systems strong by treating your horses like they were meant to be. If I owned my own place, my guys would have a run in shelter and pasture.

                    A trainer once said to me....horses reflect the way we treat them...the ones who are treated like horses...are strong and hearty for the most part.....those who are pampered to the hilt, are the ones who have the most issues.

                    I make myself get out in the rain and snow with my dogs so that they can run and play outside. I have the same philosophy for myself and the dogs as well. More outside time equals a better immune system.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You are in the right. Don't purchase the guilt she's selling because it's her issue, not yours.
                      Click here before you buy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ask her what horses do in the wild AND in much harsher climates than ours?? I get asked this about my two hugely fat ponies. Why don't they have blankets and the others (thin skinned TB's) do? I just answer "b/c they're PONIES" albeit they look like yaks.

                        People mean well, but they really have no clue.
                        "A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority." Rick Warren

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You're never going to make everyone happy with how you care for your horses, so don't change your management of them to appease others. My mare lives outside 24/7, and I get a bit of shunning because I blanket her, and don't leave her naked 24/7 like the other horses. Go figure.
                          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Mine live outside 24/7, have a barn with an overhang to go in/under, but they seem to prefer being out in the weather anyway, and I always leave hay both inside and out. One's blanketed and the other's naked and when people go "why isn't that one wearing a blanket? he must be cold..." or whatever else, I just explain the situation, the one that's blanketed gets ridden more and needs to be clipped, so he doesn't overheat when I'm riding, but he needs to be blanketed when its this cold out, and the other has his own fluffy waterproof coat-like a duck has waterproof feathers! haha. I've also explained how the hay keeps them warm. Most people seem to get it pretty quickly :]

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MoonWitch View Post
                              Ask her what horses do in the wild AND in much harsher climates than ours?? I get asked this about my two hugely fat ponies. Why don't they have blankets and the others (thin skinned TB's) do? I just answer "b/c they're PONIES" albeit they look like yaks.

                              People mean well, but they really have no clue.

                              They often die of exposure actually. Not sure I would use the "horses in the wild" card to make my argument. I don't think they have such a good life as people feel they do.

                              Having said that, if they have shelter and choose to be outside they obviously want to be outside. Maybe she's missing that part?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Perhaps, but they also get eaten by mountain lions, shot by poachers and don't have ample food supply. I'm pretty sure the Creator provided them with everything they need to survive in suburbia.
                                "A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority." Rick Warren

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Horses will seek shelter when needed. However, our idea of shelter and theirs may be different.

                                  I have run in that is wonderful in summer, breeze blows right through it.
                                  In winter, breeze runs right through it too, causing the wind chill to bring the temps down quite a bit.

                                  So, think about the situations we force our horses to live in. Just because someone has a run in doesn't mean its an ideal shelter for a horse.

                                  Not directing this at the OP, but a general comment on horse management.
                                  Also, New England and northern climates where temps do not get above freezing for months is a bit different than temps that are cold, but usually above freezing.
                                  save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by MoonWitch View Post
                                    Ask her what horses do in the wild AND in much harsher climates than ours?? I get asked this about my two hugely fat ponies. Why don't they have blankets and the others (thin skinned TB's) do? I just answer "b/c they're PONIES" albeit they look like yaks.

                                    People mean well, but they really have no clue.
                                    Not my favorite argument either. Horses in the wild have the space to try and find their own shelter. Horses kept in pastures don't usually have enough space or varied enough terrain to find their own shelter unless it is provided for them (as the OP has done with the run in). Provided they don't always take advantage of it, but I animals need the option of a shelter if they are outside for extended periods... I am not advocating stalling horses, just providing a field shelter.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My horse spent the first six and a half years of his life in North Dakota with no shelter other than finding a low spot in the hills. And probably huddling with other horses like emperor penguins...
                                      When he first moved to Ohio in December, he sweat like a pig whenever the temperature was above 38 or so!

                                      Where I board, we have a lot of uneducated horse owners... the answers "They're horses!", explaining horse behavior, and relating that non-"hotblood" horses' comfort zones are considerably lower temperatures than humans comfort zones seems to answer a lot of questions. As for my guy, he hears, "Enh, he's fine, he's from North Dakota!" a lot... but it's true, everything he has is a step up in his eyes!

                                      I wish people would realize how much more important proper ventilation is to the horse's health than being "warm"... it's like -20 degrees or something before warmth and closing your barn is more important than the air exchange of keeping your barn open. Wish I could find that study...
                                      I'm not really at the top of my game today. I'm not even exactly sure what game I'm supposed to be playing, in fact... or where it's being held...

                                      My horse's antics iamboyfriend.com

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        If you cannot simply tune her out or ignore her without it bothering you, simply ask her to stop criticizing how you keep your horses (which is what she is doing- repeatedly and rudely). Tell her, however well intentioned she may be, you find it insulting/rude/whatever that she continues to do so despite your telling her that you have made a decision as to what works best for your horses and to please stop commenting on it because you are going to have to agree to disagree.
                                        You are not going to change her mind but you may be able to stop having to hear it.
                                        There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)

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