I recently bought my gelding back after selling him 6 years ago. I looked at several boarding facilities in my area and although the one I really liked didn't have a stall available, the BO told me he would convert the run in in one of the small paddocks into a stall for me. I was on a time crunch and decided to go ahead and move Stormy there. It is a self-care facility with very laid back boarders and a nice 25 acre pasture. Since we are new, Stormy has to be segregated in a smaller paddock so he can get used to the other 12 horses before being let out into the big pasture. I had only looked at the place once before moving and somehow didn't notice the HUGE power lines running directly through the pasture.. One tower is in the small paddock directly above the run-in shelter and the other is in the middle of the big pasture. I was a little unnerved the day I moved Stormy and I could hear the electricity humming above us. I asked the BO if he's sure it's safe for us to be there and he said he hasn't had any problems in the 50 years they've been there. So, not having another option at the time, I told myself not to worry about it.
Over the past week I have noticed Stormy being a little more jumpy than usual but assumed it was because he's in a new place and that he'd settle down. Everything was going great.. The boarders are amazing. They have lent me a saddle (I sold all of my tack when I sold Stormy back in 2006), made me reins, invited me on trail rides, and have been genuinely nice to me. On top of all of that, I love taking care of Stormy because it give me an excuse to see him every day and the area is beautiful.
This past Saturday, my mom wanted to come check out the new place and see her 'grandson' (Stormy). She made a comment early on that she didn't like the power lines. I tried to shrug it off as an over-protective mom comment but after an hour or so, we were both a little on edge about them. They were really loud that day and on several occasions, my mom seemed to shock Stormy when she touched him. When we were standing by his run-in, she put her hand on one of the posts and it was vibrating. You could feel the electric current running through it.
When we were about to leave, we nonchalantly asked some of the other boarders if they've ever had an issue with the power lines. We were shocked (no pun intended) to hear what they had to say... One guy told us that he had been riding his mare in Stormy's paddock (before he was there) when he heard the power line 'tick', shocking his horse through the bit. He cracked 3 ribs and punctured a lung. Another woman told us to be careful when its wet out, especially in the winter, because "you WILL shock the **** out of your horse if you touch them".
Here are some pictures of Stormy's paddock and one leg of the power line:
I will get better pictures today but this is the type of power line I'm talking about..
My mom and I did some research on power lines and animals. This is what we found:
The Dangers of High Tensile Power Lines | eHow.com
In case you don't want to read all of that, I'll summarize.. High voltage power lines are linked to disease in animals and humans including cancer, ulcers, birth defects, etc.
I do not play around when it comes to the health of my baby (Stormy or my future children). Yesterday I stopped by the barn I boarded Stormy at when I sold him. I felt like I had stepped back in time. The barn managers are the same, the horses are the same.. it's crazy. They hugged me and we caught up a little.. It was great. They said they'd love to have me back! All these years I thought the barn managers had changed (one left but was offered her job back shortly after).
For me, it is obvious what I have to do but the decision is weighing heavy on my conscious. I signed a 6 month contract with the barn owner and I feel absolutely terrible for having to break it. I am dreading the talk I'm going to have to have with him today.
I also don't know what to say to the other boarders who have welcomed me with open arms.. It is a hard topic to talk about with them because they keep their horses there (some of them for 6 years or more) and I'm almost positive they are going to think I'm stuck up or over-reacting. I also don't want anyone trying to talk me out of it.
What do you guys think? Am I over-reacting? I'm seriously upset about the situation but I don't see any alternative. It's not like he can get rid of the power lines.
Any suggestions on how to approach this to both BO and boarders? Does anyone here have an experience with high voltage lines and horses?