Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thoughts on barns

This is the only man-made shelter that has been available to my horses since I moved them in July. Has this been a bit of a hassle for me sometimes when it rains or gets dark early, or it rains after it gets dark early (like tonight)? Yes. Enough of a hassle to move them back into stall board?

Oh Hell No!!!

I'm pretty sure my horses are the happiest they've ever been right now. Out in the pasture peace and tranquility flow off them in waves. What's funny is that I never realized how much both of my horses disliked stall life until they weren't in them anymore.

Gwen's distress was obvious. Her panic whenever she was left without a stall buddy was pretty explicit. Less so were her calls to me whenever I arrived at the barn. She knew the sound of my car, if the barn was quiet enough that she could hear it she'd be calling to me before I even got out. If the barn was noisy she'd scream to me as soon as she saw me (the other boarders always knew I was there, she made sure of that). I thought it was endearing, until she moved out to pasture and didn't do it anymore. That made me sad until I really thought about it. Every time she'd call to me in the barn it always had a note of panic in it. I think she was making frantic pleas to me to get her out of there.

Coriander was never as obvious as his sister, he practiced avoidance. For one thing, I'm pretty sure that he didn't stick his head out of his stall if I wasn't there. He'd grab all his hay and pull it into the back of his stall to eat away from the aisle activity. I just took these as signs that he was a little standoffish, but I've found out that he's really not, he's usually the first one to approach me in the pasture. And you should see him now with his pile of hay- he sets up camp in front of it, cocks a leg, and just chews away. He doesn't feel any need to drag his hay around. Not to mention that I'm still battling the horrible thrush he picked up from standing in those stalls.

Would they have had a different experience if it had been a nicer barn run by better people? Who knows. All I know is that tonight, while there was blowing rain all over the place, my horses were not standing under the shelter where it was dry. They were standing out in the open, waiting for me to bring their hay to them, and I was happy to oblige.


  1. Great post!

    Horses were meant to be outside 24/7.
    If they have adequate food, water, shelter, and safety, almost all would prefer to be out 24/7.

    I've ridden horses who were kept in all different situations, out 24/7, some or limited turn out, and stalled 24/7. The pastured horses have all been by far happy, healthier and saner. There really is a difference.


  2. Personally I would be afraid to ride a horse that was stalled 24/7. I was reading somewhere about a dressage barn where they intentionally keep their horses stalled to get more "explosive" movement when they ride. I don't understand how they could justify that.

  3. Horses really were meant to run be able to move at will and graze, even if they just have an old barn as a shelter (half of mine do as well :)

    Beautiful barn pic, my the way!

  4. Thanks! The sky was pretty fantastic that night.

  5. You absolutely made the right move! Cute pic of the two of them. My guy didn't run for cover either....he was soaked last night. :-)

  6. I love horses at pasture. We kept all of ours in fields all the time in Florida and it was great. So funny to see them passed out in the hot sand at high noon when you're so sweltering hot you can't leave your air-conditioned house. Or cheerfully standing out in the snow, their coats protecting them so much better than a rug ever could.

  7. Howdy! I got the thrush post up, and completely forgot your question... Soooo! Here I am ;)

    Frogs grow like the rest of the hoof- that is from the inside out. If you treat a thrushy frog, you can literally see it happening. (Wish I still had the pix of Sonny's frog growing back in from the abscess he blew in the heel bulbs.) After about a week of washing and packing the holes, I could literally see the tissue generation from the inside. It was really neat. (Oh geeze... can you tell I'm a hoof junkie? LOL)

    At any rate- hope that helps! Feel free to zap me email too- swequine @ yahoo.com

    Stay warm up there in Tundra Country!

  8. Pasture life is definitely the best!

  9. Mrs. Mom- now that's service! ;-)