I board ciro at a nice quiet private barn. There are only 5 horses, and a pony on the property. A few nice cats and one very well mannered, innocent barn dog. All who have always gotten along, or at least the last 7 months that I have boarded there. Up until the last 3 weeks or so we have never had any issues with the horses getting out of their stalls at night.
The first incident, the barn owner went out in the morning (he lives on the property) to do his morning routine of feeding etc. when he went out three horses (mine, the other TB, and the pony) who all share a paddock that opens up to three stalls, were out in the barn isle, back yard and just running free. Nothing was missing, messed with or anything. So we just decided that the stall hadn't been latched when I left the night before, which is why the horses got out. The door to the tack room was also wide open. The wind or a cat could easily push that open also. A bit fishy but we decided to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to silly mistakes that could easily have been avoided. Ok so pay closer attention when closing up at night (I do the nightly feeding/lock up of the barn Monday-Friday).
About 5 days later. Barn owner wakes up. Horses again, are out in the pasture. This time, the small sapling tree had been DRIVEN over by what appears to be a car.However, nothing in the barn is messed with. At this point we call the sheriff because we know someone had obviously been messing around at the barn.
Fast forward a week. Horses are out again. At this point in time, We are beyond frustrated. So during the day we stalled the three that had been mysteriously getting out to see if one of the horses were letting the others out. I get to the barn in the evening. Nothing. All the horses are happily resting in their stalls, none of the latches are even touched. So we opened the stalls back up in the back so the 3 horses can mingle in the paddock together again, all while still having access to their stalls for shelter. It had always been one particular stall that was being left open, so we decided to latch it and then also tie it shut thinking that if the horses are getting bored and playing with the latch, they wouldn't be able to get out. So that seems to work fairly well. We decided that we would do another trial and not tie the stalls to see if they would get out during the day since it is only at night that this has been happening at night, which seems a little odd considering there is generally no one at the barn during the day to even stop the horses from messing with anything.
So everything has been going great since then. None of the horses have gotten out, the tack room has stayed locked, nothing was messed with.....until this morning. The barn owner goes out this morning to do his routine. Last night the barn was locked up by 7:30 or 8 when a fellow boarder finished up riding her horse and I finished up with feeding, mucking, etc. and at that time all doors were locked including the stalls that lead to the paddock and the tack room. So this morning barn owner goes out and finds that yet again the horses are out. Again. This time however, someone (or a horse, which I'm finding highly unlikely) had turned on the water spicket and flooded the barn isle, which then spilled under the door and flooded our tack room and bathroom to the point where there is a good amount of standing water in our tack room. We called the sheriff again, but we are just so frustrated with the whole situation. What do we do? Do we camp out every night until the horses prove they are letting themselves out or someone shows up? What is something we could do to tie the stalls shut with?
Any suggestions are welcomed and appreciated greatly. Also, we don't have sliding stall doors, they are on a hinge if that makes a difference.