Worrisome Encounter... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Virginia
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Worrisome Encounter...

I'm on the coast of Virginia. It doesn't get terribly cold here, but last week, during the 'Polar Vortex', we had 2 very cold (for us) nights...temps dipping down into the teens. One night, to make matters worse, it was windy, so with the wind-chill, it was cool.

I board my horse at an equestrian center that is adjacent to a well-traveled road. She is a 12 y.o. Belgian mare--very healthy, very good weight, very nice, thick winter coat. She lives out 24/7 with another mare that she gets along with well. I did have her blanketed that night with a mid-weight blanket.

The other night, I had just finished giving a warm mash, throwing extra hay, checking water & tucking her in. A woman pulled up & got out of the car & asked if the horses were staying out all night. I said "yes". She said "I am really concerned because it was really cold last night and these horses have no where to go to get out of the cold." I pointed to the huge run-in shed in the pasture & explained they have the option of going in if they want. She went on & on about how cold it was and how she didn't think it was OK that they were out. I said "They have blankets on and very thick fur. These horses are fine. They are used to being out all the time." She was looking down her nose at me and mumbled something about having animal control have their say, got in her car and left.

I did let my trainer know about the encounter in case it turned into anything, but it didn't.

I know the news was urging people to bring their pets in during the cold snap and I realize she must've been concerned, but I felt like she was indirectly telling me I was neglecting my horse. She had no clue what the situation is...that I love my horse more than most anything else---that I am out there everyday caring for her...that I rescued her from a abandonment situation, not knowing if I'd ever even ride...

Guess I'm just venting. It just irritated the mess out of me.
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 03:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Kentucky
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Let the animal control come out. There is nothing they can do other than tell you your horses are fine. Shelter, food and water. If they are of good weight and health, this nut can complain and call you an abuser all she wants. Doesn't make it true.
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 03:12 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
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I agree with the above. If animal control does stop by, I'm pretty sure they'll dismiss the case fast :). It sounds like you take good care of your horses, don't be concerned.
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Texas
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Having the horses out in pasture with a lean-to or wind block is perfectly fine! That is all we have done for years if it is an option. Right now there is no shelter in the pastures so we do bring them into the barn at night but we wouldn't have to otherwise. Some people do not even blanket horses in the winter. They are tough OUTDOOR animals and this lady really has no real knowledge of what she is talking about. They are not like dogs and cats. I would be irritated by her ignorance as well.
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 03:20 PM
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People who don't know about horses can sometimes associate their feelings with the horse. So if this woman imagined being out in the paddock all night and imagined how cold she would be she thought the horse must be cold.

I'd have probably said something like "Thank you for your concern but horses aren't like humans. Horses are happiest outside where they can move around, interact with other horses and seek their own shelter from the elements. We've provided blankets, a run in shelter and lots of room which I believe is better for the horse than a stable. I know it's hard to understand because you wouldn't like being out in the cold, but try to understand that horses aren't humans, they like open spaces, it's almost like they have mild claustrophobia, in a storm like this they'd be more afraid locked up because they cannot see, hear, smell or run, and in the wild without those senses they could die. You're welcome to call animal control if you'd like but I believe this is the best situation for these horses." That way you'd be educating her a bit hopefully, and maybe she'd consider looking at it from a different perspective.

Don't worry about what she said, even if she calls animal control nothing will come of it. She just doesn't know or understand, and has confronted you without researching the situation.
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 04:19 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Virginia
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I'm sure she meant well, but simply lacked the knowledge that not all animals will behave in the same conditions. Perhaps this encounter will encourage her to learn about the needs and behavior of horses.

Good intentions are sometimes not enough to involve yourself in something you know so little about. This applies to all life forms and is hard to live by. It certainly is for me.
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Minnesota
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I'm no expert at all but it sounds like your are doing a great job and thinking very hard about what you're doing. It seems that a lot of people differ in their thoughts on what temp a horse can deal with but I'm in minnesota and I was freaking about about my guys and kept a very close eye on them in the last few weeks. Didn't shiver once, I had them in over night for the worst days and turned out for a short period in the day, blanketed etc and they were fine. no signs of stress, shivering, didn't come into the lean to much. Agree with other posters here, don't worry about it.
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 07:26 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Brandon, Manitoba Canada
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Man she wouldn't have liked me last week with our horses then!
Our's are out 24/7 also, they have a run in, bush and free access to hay/water. I don't blanket our horses and they do just fine......in Dec. the windchill was -50 pretty well all month and mine survived it without blankets or going inside.....

My horses are the joy in my life.....
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 07:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
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Anthropomorphism is the term for this. A person imagines that since they feel a certain way, an animal must feel this way too. Since this lady was warned that she shouldn't be outside and that the cold was harmful, she assumed it would be for horses too.

But don't worry, it irritates the heck out of me when people don't know what they're talking about but argue the point anyway.
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-12-2014, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Sounds like my SIL stopped by. I will tell her to mind her own. My horses are in NY-lots colder……and she knows it-drives her nuts! lol
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