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  • Frustrated

    This is totally just a vent, but I need to get off my chest! I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the BO where I board. I have made it clear on several occasions that my mare MUST wear her fly sheet and her fly mask whenever she is outside due to her pink skin and her increased risk of developing skin cancer and/or eye cancer. She already has swelling of the third eye lid which from what I understand increases her risks. The only pigmentated skin that she has in on her chest and under side of her neck, everywhere else is pink.
    The past three weeks when I have gone out she hasn't had her fly sheet on and sometimes she doesn't have fly sheet or fly mask. At the very least she needs her fly mask, which only take a few seconds to put on. I can understand that putting a fly sheet on can be a pain because of all the stuff you have to buckle...but there is also no reason that it ever really needs to be taken off.
    BO did at one point mention that she felt that Skye's fly sheet is too warm because of the material its made of and wanted me to get her a light weight fly sheet. This fly sheet is a kensington and I let her know that the reason she had a kensington was that she went through 4 fly sheets in the first couple of weeks that I had her. I can't afford her fly sheet destroying habit and this is the only brand that has held up to her. I much rather Skye be a little warm than develop skin cancer.
    Its just so frustrating that I seem to be the only one that is concerned about Skye developing skin or eye cancer, and it has been like this at every barn I have boarded her at, at least at the other barns if I put the fly sheet on they left it on. This one when I put it on the next day she's back outside with it off. Skye is 18 and so far has led a very healthy life, I would really like to keep her that way.
    Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
    The Blog

  • #2
    1.) What does your boarding contract say about blanketing? Perhaps you're being unreasonable to expect it for free, perhaps not, but you should check and be aware.

    2.) I have to believe that your barn owner has your horse's best interests in mind, and isn't just lazy. If she was just lazy, she'd leave the sheet on when you put it on.

    Unlike you....I would rather NOT have my horses sweating. Horses don't really do well when over-heated. Your barn owner is probably telling you the truth when she says your horse is too hot, and so she takes the sheet off. Perhaps you should at least attempt to find a lighter weight sheet....Schneiders has a few that are very light weight, while still being durable. Or perhaps look into UV-protecting fly sprays/sun block lotions, that you can apply yourself the few days that you're out at the barn. Then whether the sheet goes on or not, you'll have that as backup protection.

    The one thing I do back you on 100% is that she should have her fly mask on all the time. (Unless she rips it off herself and the BO doesn't notice right away, of course.) That's pretty basic, and while my guys do sweat around the fleece, it's better that they have those sweat lines than deal with the bugs/burns to pink noses.


    • #3
      Have you asked each time you noticed her fly sheet wasn't on, why it wasn't on? Or the mask?

      Seems like communication is the key here ... and you should offer to pay for this service, if you don't already. If you do pay for it and she is ignoring it, eek.

      How often are you out to the barn? You might have to come more often to make sure she has all her clothes on.


      • #4
        Ditto looking at your boarding contract to review what is and what may not be included in "board".

        See about paying extra if blankets and...accessories...like the fly mask, can be included with daily care.

        Also, in defense of the BO here, if they are not on the property all day, they may not want to risk one overheating under a sheet or getting tangled in one that slips with nobody there. And those things can get hot and/or slip no matter what the ad says.

        The fly mask I have no idea on, should not be a problem unless that type service is not included in your basic board.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


        • #5
          Also, it's probably not feasible, but a place where she could be in daytime and out nights would be the best ... or a place that had a lot of shade.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kwill View Post
            Also, it's probably not feasible, but a place where she could be in daytime and out nights would be the best ... or a place that had a lot of shade.
            Agreed. If she is that sensitive to the sun, perhaps night time turnout is best. Not sure your location, but here there has been intense heat and I would not want my horse outside with a flysheet.
            I LOVE my Chickens!


            • #7
              Agree with all the good advice posted so far!
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              • #8
                Skye, as with most BO/boarder issues, this requires clear and calm communication. Call your BO and ask for an appointment to talk about her. You want emotions calm and the BO not rushed or distracted, so you do want an appointment.

                Then, just tell her, calmly and without emotion, what you've said here: There seems to be a problem with Maresy getting her fly gear on each day. Then ask: What can we do to identify the root of this problem and rectify it?

                Really, doing this whenever there is a question or a problem with a boarding situation saves a LOT of hassle. There are a few possible--and easily predictable--outcomes:

                (1) It's about money. BO will do it, but wants an additional montly fee. If you can afford this, you pay and stay. If not, you move to a place that suits your needs better.

                (2) It's about conscience. BO genuinely believes the sheet is hot to the point of harmful and that if she dons it, she is doing your horse harm. Your horse, you get to choose the risks, absolutely ... but BO gets to run her own place by her own husbandry "rules." Thus:
                (2a) You may be able to convice BO to go along, or the two of you may be able to come up with an alternate solution (e.g., night turnout during the summer); or
                (2b) This may be an agree-to-disagree situation, in which case you can either stay and choose to accept the fly-gear-less turnout (or come each day at the appropriate time and do it yourself), or you can find a barn that suits your needs better.

                Regardless, Step One is always businesslike, clear communication.
                Equinox Equine Massage

                In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                -Albert Camus


                • Original Poster

                  Removal and application of blankets is included in the board. Sadly, my mare is very high maintenance in the sense that she can't be out at night as is night blind and I don't want her to get hurt, plus most places around here don't seem so keen on night time turn out. Almost ever place I have been or seen always brings the horses in at night if they have the stalls available.

                  I have tried sevaral brands of fly sheets, weatherbetta, rambo, mio, and yes, Schneiders. I don't know what she does to them, but within a few days there were all in shreds.

                  edit to add: I have communicated to her several times on the issue, expressing my concerns of her getting skin damage due to her pink skin. When I first moved in there seemed to be a clear understanding on her part of my mare's needs, and they already had another mare boarded there that had similar needs. The other mare wears a sheet of a heavy weight canvas material when turned out, so I really don't see the difference. I don't think that my mare is that hot underneath the sheet, its a neutral color and her skin under the sheet has never felt hotter than the skin not under the sheet when I have checked.
                  Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                  The Blog


                  • #10
                    How many hours turnout does your horse get? If its only 2-3 hours, they shoud be fine in a flysheet, but otherwise I would THANK your barn owner for taking it off. So hot for a fly sheet right now for daytime turnout.


                    • #11
                      I am pretty sure horses don't get skin cancer in the same way people do from too much sun. There is a risk around the eyes and genitals, but as far as I have researched, there is no sun exposure risk equating to cancer on their body, regardless of skin colour. If you know of any research showing why your horse MUST wear a fly sheet to protect from the sun due to cancer risks, then present that to your BO. I would be interested in seeing it as well.

                      So as far as the sheet goes, if it is hot out, then the BO is likely keeping your horse's best interest at heart. I am not a fan of fly sheets in the heat, and those kensingtons do tend to get super hot even if pale in colour.

                      As for the fly mask, I can't understand that one, unless your horse is very naughty to have it put on, or if your horse is the only one to wear one, and they just forget. Perhaps have your vet talk to your BO about the risk of sun damage to your horse is, or present her with information.

                      Overall though, if you aren't happy, and the BO isn't making the changes it would take to make you happy, then leave.
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                      • #12
                        Have you tried to use UV spray?

                        I have a boarder that brought a mare to me with the same issues. Fly sheet was WAY too hot and they just got destroyed. YES, they are a super PITA to put on every day. We came up with the UV spray solution. We put it on at night when she comes in (when on day turnout) and she did great - no sunburn. You only have to apply every couple of days and it was much better for everyone involved!

                        She's now on night turnout so it's not a problem.
                        "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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                          How many hours turnout does your horse get? If its only 2-3 hours, they shoud be fine in a flysheet, but otherwise I would THANK your barn owner for taking it off. So hot for a fly sheet right now for daytime turnout.
                          I don't know what part of Michigan the OP's in, but around here if it was any more than an hour or so lately, I might call animal control on someone with anything over than a VERY thin scrim on their horse. It's been catastrophically hot. Heck, Lucky wears nothing for turnout and when I brought him in today he was sweating just from the air temperature (it was about 94 today before the storms finally arrived.) The only reason I just thinned his mane and didn't roach it was the flies have been evil, too.

                          I would ask about night turnout--the fly mask, yes, that should be pretty easy, but given the temperatures lately any sort of even medium-weight sheet is going to get very hot very fast.
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