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Leaving horses out at night ...

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  • Leaving horses out at night ...

    I have come to the conclusion that everyone's situation is different and what is a perfect set up for some, is awful for others ...

    For the first time this year, the mosquito's were awful today. I mean downright huge, biting and relentless and I was about 30 minutes later than normal (7:00 - 7:30 instead of 6:30 - 7:00) bringing them in for dinner and by then they were all frantic trying to get away from them and covered in welts

    A friend up the road has his horses high up on a hill and the only trees around are some new maple trees that he has just planted. I dont think he has a mosquito on the entire 50 acre property ... his horses stay out 24/7 and you barely even see their tails swishing ...

    Us? We have every paddock bordered with pine and spruce trees as well as a good amount of cedars which mozzies love to congregate around so while our trees are great for shade, at dusk the mozzies come out and start to swarm and bite and all everyone does is pace or run to try and get away from them, which gets them hot which attracts the mozzies even more

    As much as it is a nice option to keep them outside during the summer months and not have stalls to clean, I really feel I am going to feel guilty as Hell if I leave them out knowing full well they are going to pace more than rest or eat and they will be miserable the entire time

    Am I just being a wuss?

    I mean - heck - now I am feeling guilty because I have a light on in the foaling stall and my Pearl mare is swishing away at the mozzies that are attracted to the light and Im sure the other horses are all resting comfortably in the dark instead ...

    Its never easy is it to make the right decisions at times is it?!

    True Colours Farm on Facebook

  • #2
    An old man once told me, when I was worrying about a bunch of stuff "You think too much." Which offended me, but I often think of that when I'm overthinking things!

    Cut down the trees? Build bat houses? Install large fans? It won't kill the horses to be in at night during the worst mosquito periods. They probably prefer it to being bitten.


    • #3
      Fly spray?!!!!
      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


      • #4
        Would any of those propane powered mosquito killers help? Also, put in battery operated fly misters into the stalls, so that if they are in, at least it keeps the mosquitos out (works in my barn). Fans help also.

        My horses are out 24x7 with free access to the barn/stalls. I find they come in on their own during "mosquito hour" and then go back out. That is usually around dusk/sunset.

        I have also found that Mosquito Halt spray works pretty well.
        There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


        • Original Poster

          Fly spray?!!!!
          I have not found one single fly spray that actually works and with the mares with foals at side, I am stuck also using the "nice" stuff that smells like marigolds or something and doesnt repel even one single fly out there ...

          And I found what works for flies, doesnt necessarily work on mozzies at all

          Also, put in battery operated fly misters into the stalls, so that if they are in, at least it keeps the mosquitos out (works in my barn). Fans help also.
          We are okay in the barn. They all rest very comfortably inside and our cross and through ventilation is fabulous, so no mozzies tend to come inside in any discernable numbers. And yes - once the weather turns warmer, they do all have fans in their stalls as well

          I have also found that Mosquito Halt spray works pretty well.
          Never heard of it up here. If it works, I'll have to buy some and bring it up to Canada to use

          Would any of those propane powered mosquito killers help?
          I am thinking that will be my next purchase, but would they work well enough it would clear the area and allow them to stay out at night?

          Plus the other killer for them is that their paddocks are surrounded by my hay fields and all you have to do is walk through those tall grass areas, and the mozzies come out by the tens of thousands - literally - so I am not even sure if something like the propane killer would make a dent in them ...

          True Colours Farm on Facebook


          • #6
            I completely respect your decision.

            In a perfect world, all horses would live outside 24/7 with shelters for their choosing. Nary a horsefly or mosquito would ever touch their skin. and the green green grass would stretch to the horizon. Never would the ground turn to mud, never ever ever.

            I'll tell you my reality in Northeast Ohio. I have 21 acres. 4 acres are wet and swampy woods at the back of the property. 4 acres at the front of the lot houses our home and three barns with three small paddocks. One has a screening riding track around the perimeter. One is a dirt lot. And one is an acre of grass that we just got fenced fall of 08. Our septic field covers a large portion, about 1/4 acre with mound and leach field. Can't pasture that. The remaining acreage is open field with a 1.2 acre lake. We spread poo on the open field.

            We have a drainage ditch that cuts across our acreage right between dirt lot and back pasture. It is always wet, all year. Mosquito heaven.

            we have 20 stalls, old timers, babied, show horses.

            Our turnout is limited but the horses get out of their stalls every day for some time to stretch their legs. We don't put out in the mud, the slick clay, shoe sucking sloppy mud. We bring them in if the flies start biting. We bring them in before the mosquitos start swarming. We use the indoor for turnout when the ground is muddy.

            When do they spend many hours out? When the ground is dry and when the ground is frozen.

            It's a juggle but our horses have all managed to adapt. I feel guilty everyday that they have to stand staring at four walls. We feed hay no less than 4 times a day so they never go more than 3 hours without munchtime.

            We feel blessed to get those few weeks in the spring and fall where the ground and bug conditions are just right to have all paddocks and pastures occupied for several hours by the whole gang of 20 split up into groups. We also relish, below freezing temp stretches because they go out again for long spurts of turnout.

            Are there actually places in the US where neither bug population nor ground conditions play a menacing factor in whether a horse can have 24/7 turnout?
            ...don't sh** where you eat...


            • #7
              Are there actually places in the US where neither bug population nor ground conditions play a menacing factor in whether a horse can have 24/7 turnout?

              Yes, Ocean Beach in San Diego, but they don't like loose horses on the beach
              “You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” - Wayne Gretsky


              • #8
                Based on tests in the Muskoka area - I'd say those propane killers do work well enough to keep the skeeters away .

                They aren't free to run though - you should consider that as well; and you're going to need one of the big mommas.

                I'd cut back the trees if you can - but you're right about the turn out. You're forgetting the option of bringing them in 6-9 then letting them out again, unless labour-wise that's not an option.

                Just think it's an El Nino year, so even this evening as we were standing in the back yard (about 80' from the Ottawa River) swatting away in APRIL! It's s'posed to be a HOT and DRY summer, so hopefully not as many mosquitoes as last year... .
                "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
                Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
                Need You Now Equine


                • #9
                  They get really brutal here in the summer. Having irrigated pastures and being surrounded by hay fields makes for lots of mosquitos. When the hay fields would get dusted we would get INFESTED with them. You couldn't walk out of the barn without having at least 30 all over you. The horses were a mess and didn't want to go outside either. They swamed ALL day long.

                  Locally I called the county Mosquite Abatement and they came and sprayed my pastures for free and put down some larva stuff to eat the eggs in the damp ground. We also kept mosquito fish in the water troughs.

                  Generally mine were out 24/7 except when the mosquito were so bad and they were miserable. None of the sprays did any good.
                  Cloverfox Stables


                  • #10
                    Maybe you have too many horses, but have you tried fly sheets? Some come with neck covers. I think some are even treated with repellant.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                      Fly spray?!!!!
                      Fly sheets??? We have 11 horses that go out at night here, in during the day. They survive just fine. The Mosquitos are not really bad all night but are worse just right as the sun goes down IMHO.
                      I love cats, I love every single cat....
                      So anyway I am a cat lover
                      And I love to run.


                      • #12
                        Mosquitos are most attracted to the carbon dioxide from respiration, and less to light. So find a way to get your horses to stop breathing out and you would be set

                        Personally, I have found that fish in my tanks helps a lot, as well as keeping everything that can hold water turned upside-down. Mosquitos can breed in a very very small volume of water (though it cannot be moving very much). They are also VERY weak fliers, so even a ceiling fan will keep them from being able to land and feed.

                        Your best bet would be to use a fan, or a trap/zapper designed for mosquitos. They are just not attracted to or repelled by the same things as flies.


                        • #13
                          I have a great bug zapper that has this scent thing that you put in the bottom of it and it attracts mosquitos. It has been going off every dusk for about 2 weeks. YAY.

                          I also have a TON of dragon flies. I mean.. whoa nelly. Love them! I have seen 1-2 bats at night and am going to be building bat boxes.

                          Being in Florida, having a pond on site, and across the street from a 10,000+ acre hunting preserve (IE: woods!) I can certainly understand about the mosquitos.

                          I have found that fly spray (which ever, I personally buy the concentrate of pyrthirins (sp) and mix that with Skin So Soft) with something that is oil based to help it stick and not sweat off works well. I know you cant very well put a fan out in the paddock but they do make those large industrial fans that stand up and maybe point it towards the paddocks? Would certainly help desensitizing the foals!

                          I have those dunks you put in the water that are supposed to stop mosquitos from developing. Not sure how much they help, but I do it anyways.

                          But unfortunately, mosquitos are apart of spring, fall, and summer! Now everyone who gives me the evil eye for wishing winter would stay will see why!

                          Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!


                          • Original Poster

                            Some GREAT suggestions and nice to know I am not alone in this dilema ...

                            Fly sheets arent an option for the pregnant mares. Not at all.

                            I have found no matter how much I spend on fly spray and how "superior" a product it supposedly is, I - like probably every other horse owner out there has tried every single one and its disheartening to spray them down, turn them out and see them stamping and swishing out there immediately. And I found none of them worked on mozzies either

                            The one thing we have been discussing and Im glad it was mentioned here again is to install 3 ceiling fans to keep the air moving. That will be a priority for this year but really - at "horse level" we have windows and doors on all 4 sides of the barn and it is quite breezy here for the most part, plus inside the barn they are mildly annoyed by the mozzies - but nothing like when they are outside. Unless its REALLY windy outside at dusk, they are miserable out there

                            We have a LOT of bats, bless their hearts ... ... and a ton of purple martins as well. I love watching them do their work and know they are eliminating a whack of mozzies with every swoop.

                            It's just *wow* that Ontario has mosquitos already!
                            Yeah - we've been swatting at them the last few days but by last night, they were out in full force already. Thankfully everyone got their WNV shots 2-3 weeks ago so I dont have a concern from that quarter at all ...

                            True Colours Farm on Facebook


                            • #15
                              See, I'm expecting black flies and mosquitos by t'mow here (ME) as it's going to be in the SEVENTIES.

                              BUT, we're still due at least one blizzard/Nor'Easter/Ice Storm etc.

                              So I actually sort of *want* the bugs to come out now, then DIE DIE DIE when it snows again.

                              I have no answers.

                              I use flea & tick stuff for the black flies. I have a breeze and am on top of a mountain, so the skeeters aren't as bad as the black flies. It's the horse flies and deer flies that kill us later though.

                              SEVENTY FREAKING DEGREES. I thought it was an April Fool's joke in the forecast yest'dy. It wasn't.
                              InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                              Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                              • Original Poster

                                SEVENTY FREAKING DEGREES. I thought it was an April Fool's joke in the forecast yest'dy. It wasn't.
                                Well - I dont think you're alone in the "weird weather" department ...

                                CO was in the 80's this past week and are expecting snow this weekend. And in Aberdeen, Scotland they were walking around in t shirts and shorts one day and had a virtual blizzard the next day. TWICE this past week thats what they were contending with!

                                Us - we had very little snow, warmer than normal temps and a VERY early spring, so it makes sense the mozzies are out already - I just feel bad for the horses having to deal with them in full force this soon ...

                                True Colours Farm on Facebook


                                • #17
                                  I am stuck also using the "nice" stuff that smells like marigolds or something and doesnt repel even one single fly out there ...
                                  This begs the question: why bother, then? And also begs the question: is exposure to a little bit of mosquite repellent really "worse" for a horse/mare/foal than being tormented by bites and exposed to insect-borne diseases?

                                  We are surrounded by little creeks on three sides, so mosquitos are just a reality during wet times. My horses come in covered with bites on their heads unless I spray them with Deep Woods Off (which works very well but is expensive) or keep masks on them, which I do when they're really bad. The bites don't seem to bother them, though--they keep right on eating grass, even though they have the option to come in under their shelter and get away. Maybe some skeeters are pointier than others?

                                  Those mosquito dunks help some, by the way. I have just chucked about a dozen of them into the low/wet areas. It's actually been ridiculously DRY here (brush fires and all) but rain is on the way.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    The best fly spray in my opinion is to take the hose, get the horse moderately wet and let them roll in the dirt They will looks gross, but it is nature's repellent. Coats the skin so that the buggies cannot bite!
                                    Welcome to my dressage world http://www.juliefranzen.blogspot.com/


                                    • #19
                                      I dont think there is anything wrong with keeping them inside at night.

                                      I have one of mine come in for about 4 hours when the bugs seem to be at their worse (dusk), but he goes back outside later at night in good weather. The other horse doesnt seem to be bothered by the bugs too much so he gets to stay out.

                                      If your horses are irritated, bring them in. For the ones who tolerate it, leave them out if the enjoy that better. No one would consider you cruel for stabling your horses....as long as they get decent daytime turnout time, most horses are ok to spend nights inside stalls. Absolutely ideal for a pregnant mare? Probably not, but harmful - not at all!!


                                      • #20
                                        My mare is very allergic to the mosquito bites. The only thing that has worked well for me is Deep Woods Off with DEET. (and it does help with the deer flies and horse flies in late summer too)

                                        I don't think there's any good reason NOT to bring them in if the bugs are bothering them so much. Beyond that, mosquitoes are vectors for a plethora of diseases so beyond comfort level, I just don't want my horse being bitten.

                                        Good luck!

                                        ETA: You could just bring them in til sundown and kick them back out. The skeeters seem to go away once the sun sets.
                                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...