This economy sucks - horses are losing thier stalls
We just found out on Wednesday that my husband's contract, which had been extended once, ended abruptly. He and three others, including one in management, were told so sorry try to see if we have any more openings in July. As of yesterday, he is unemployed and we will be living on unemployemnt until he finds a new job.
This means that I can't afford $450 a month for the two horses to lounge in their stalls at night with eight hours of turnout. The stable we are at is not really set up for 'pasture' board'. However they do have a huge paddock, about 1/2 acre that has a covered area that is 20x60. The problem is that the covered area has never been cleaned out... ever. The three of us (me, hubby, and grown daughter) went out today with shovels to see about cleaning out the covered area so my horses would have a decent place to sleep at night...
OMG I wish we had Hercules to come and divert a river! The paddock itself is too soft (with lots of standing water) to risk the small loader they use in thier hay business to get it in there to scrap it until the water dries up - some fo the mud is a foot deep (but that is how all the paddocks are this time of year. So I with my broken back, my daughter with her healing hairline fracture of her hip (form a bad fall off a horse) and my husband who is sporting an extra 300 pounds of weight got out there today with shovels.
The stable owner was nice enough to dump the wheelbarrow when we woudl get it full - which we did ten times. Ten BIG loads of compacted, damp, manure and hay. I swear, every shovelfull weighted about ten pounds. After three hours, we had cleared an areas about ten by fifteen feet (and about eight inches deep). That took us three hours...
It is going to take at least two more work parties to get that area cleaned out. Once we get it cleaned out, the stable is going to see about setting a layer of gravel to lift it a bit higher then the surrounding mud and cover it with stall mats so we can keep it clean from here forward. I can buy shavings from the stable to bed them.
For her part, the stable owner is going to tighten up the fences. My filly is known for not respecting anything that is not electric fence. Two of the sides need to be fixed.
If I can get the shelter area clean enough that they can sleep without being in muck, the horses will actually be much happier with 24/7 turn out. Being Arabs, they LOVE to play all day long.
The reason for the move, is having them out instead of in stalls will cut my horse bill by 1/3rd. My horse bill will go down to $310 a month - on average. $90 per horse plus how much they eat. I still get full use of the facilities and they can now rent out the two stalls that will be empty - at the new higher rate of $300 a month vs the $225 I was paying. It is just up to me to keep the shelter clean. I can do this - the horses will still get the great care they have been gettiing, they just won't be in stalls at night.
I am a bit stressed, and a LOT exhausted, but my horses are worth it to me.