Friday, February 19, 2010

More of The Same

But It Is Warmer

The sun is shining and the temperatures are above freezing--for the time being at least. The snow is melting, but when you have two feet of snow, that's not saying much and it's a long process. Trouble is, there is another storm headed this way for the beginning of the week. It's still not clear whether it will hit here, how much snow there might be, or if it will be a rainy mix instead. Frankly, this winter has caused enough trouble already.

The snow appears to be melting, although my solar panels are still under several inches of snow cover. The sun is helping but it has a long journey before its rays penetrate to the lower levels of white we're stuck under.

Meanwhile, I am trying to organize all my information for filing my income tax. Each year, here in the USA citizens are required to file a Federal Income Tax form to determine how much tax they are required to pay on their income. This year, mine is a mess. I have all kinds of little complications to sort out. Hopefully, I will have it all organized so I can file sooner than later. It is just a chore getting everything together.

This, of course, has prompted me to to a bit of cleaning. But around here, cleaning one thing triggers the necessity to clean something else, which necessitates something else....and so on. What starts off as a little project of tidying up becomes a large adventure in full scale cleaning. As I am not the most organized person to start off with, the challenge can be daunting. Oh well, it had to be done sooner or later.

I fed the Boys and cleaned the stalls this morning when I fed, so the basic outdoor chores are done, at least. With the horses turned out at will they do not make a big mess in their stalls. I'm a bit surprised this time of year, since I'd think they'd want to stay inside more, but I guess being out is far more entertaining for them.

I often think of horses that are kept in most of the time with very little turnout. I've read that in some of the top competition barns, some of the horses are in for the bulk of the day with the only time out when they are in a supervised exercise/training situation. I simply cannot believe that is good for them.

I grant you, 24/7 turnout may not be ideal and there is a lot to be said for keeping horses in under shelter for part of the day. When my horses were boarded out, they were usually inside either during the day or during the night as the season warranted, and they seemed perfectly content. But even then, to me, turnout was an essential service the boarding facility needed to provide. In most cases, it was turnout in a herd situation of some sort, with the geldings usually separated from the mares.

Horses are social animals and seem to be much more content with the contact and companionship of other horses. But, I suppose of you've spent thousands of dollars on a well bred competition horse, you are highly unlikely to want that horse out with other horses that might bite, kick, or injure him, even if it was in play.

We are our horses' caretakers, that's true, but how far should we go? Somehow I have to feel sorry for the horses that are so taken care of they never get a chance to simply be horses.


  1. I used to work in one of those competition barns, and I can tell you that the horses are not turned out unless carefully supervised. I do not believe that it is good for them, either.

    To some extent I understand the logic: the owners don't want the horses to be injured or too tired. Also, it is inconvenient for the owners to go get their horses when they come to ride and it's a hassle for the barn staff, too. Here in NJ it's also expensive to have enough land for so many horses to have turnout on. But I still don't feel that it's right. Which is why mine live at home on 24/7 turnout. They've never injured themselves or each other and they sure don't seem tired! As an added benefit, they don't have stall vices, either. They certainly seem happier than they did when they lived in that competition barn.

  2. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Horses are meant to move, and to eat continuously, and to live in social groups, and the closer we can come to that in our horsekeeping, the better for the horse. Stalling horses (which we do some of) is for human convenience.

  3. "Somehow I have to feel sorry for the horses that are so taken care of they never get a chance to simply be horses. "

    Me too :-(((


  4. i agree about turnout. unfortunately, can't do even full day turnout ATM due to total lack of grass and need to preserve something for when we do eventually get a spring .. also, the other horse not doing at all well when out and vet advised keep him in...

    roll on spring...

  5. oh, and we're not allowed to put hay out in the field...

  6. I agree that turnout is essential for all horses. It is necessary for their minds and physical well-being. We were once boarding where they only turned out for an hour each day. We left after a month. The horses were absolutely miserable. Our guys go out first thing in the morning and depending on the weather come in at dark. Of course, most of them prefer to stay out all night once in a while. During the warm months we let whoever wants to stay out enjoy themselves.

  7. But you have to do with the horse temperament too. My big bully of mare did not mind to be turned out alone, and when I owned another horse, I turned them both out. She carried on bullying him, until the day he almost broke her hock. Luckily he was barefoot.

    My QH mare goes BONKERS when she is turned out. Even with others horses around her, she becomes a nervous wreck. AND she managed to deeply cut her leg, we were lucky that she did NOT cut the tendon's sheath. So right now her stall with run, is her best option.

    In a dream I would love to have her turned out with others companions in a big field. But that is not financially possible, and for a long time ...

    Thanks very much for your fitness regiment.

  8. Anonymous5:48 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Anonymous5:48 AM