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yadlim 03-24-2012 10:41 PM

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.

themacpack 03-24-2012 10:44 PM

Sounds like you could use a great big {hug} (and then some). I am so sorry for this recent turn of events for your family. I really admire the immediate jump to action to try and make the very best of it you can and how you all pulled together to work through it.....speaks volumes of your family. I will be thinking of you all - and wishing the very best for your husband's search for a new position!

loveduffy 03-24-2012 10:47 PM

A lot of people around here have share boarder on there horses It take the pressure of them money wise and the horse get groomed and ridden A lot of them say with the other person they would of lost there horses-good luck hope it works out for you

COWCHICK77 03-24-2012 10:47 PM

50 Attachment(s)
Wow, sorry to hear that hubby lost his job...that sucks.
I agree, great for you guys to get tough and do what is needed to keep your horses healthy and happy :)

yadlim 03-24-2012 11:24 PM

At this point, if I had one of those horses that anyone could ride, I might think about half leasing my gelding... But my boy is a handful. The only other person I trust to ride him is my daughter. He won't hurt a rider, but he won't listen to them either.

I also happen to know that is someone comes at him agressively, he responds in kind. I had a farier ONCE slap my horse with a rope because my horse lost his balance and almost fell on the farrier... That was the one and only time he has ever offered to kick in the 13 years I have owned him. He left two perfect muddy hoof marks from both back feet on the man's shirt without hitting hard enough to even leave a bruise.

No way I can take a risk that someone woudl screw up my boy. So, we are just going to tighten up our belts in other areas... good bye soda! good bye fast food! good bye espresso!

We'll get by. It just is a bit stressful.

Thank everyone for the great happy thoughts.

waresbear 03-24-2012 11:32 PM

384 Attachment(s)
Other than the fact your hubby is unemployed, nothing sounds horrible, sounds like a healthy change. You got out & got exercise (cleaning the outside pen), you are giving up junk food & soda (on the list of "never consume" food anyways), and your horses will be out in the fresh air. Chin up, your hubby will be working again soon.

gunslinger 03-25-2012 05:31 AM

Yes, times are tough on many people now. Life's about the ups and downs, and just as sure as you're down now, you'll be up tomorrow.

I hope your situation changes again quickly.

November 2012, one person, one vote. Use it wisely.

Susan Crumrine 03-25-2012 05:48 AM

I wish I could loan you our skid steer, make quick work of that run in....
Just take your time, be careful of your back.
I think this is a positive change for you. Your horses will love the freedom and you won't be spending the extra money to stall them..
Good Luck! Susan

Saddlebag 03-25-2012 12:27 PM

Yadlim, unless the biting bugs are out, your horses won't use the shelter at this time of year. Let it dry out a few more weeks. It's during fly season they will seek out dark corners. I've had my horses at home for many years and know their habits. My barn sits empty 10 mo of the year but when the bugs converge not even hunger will get them to leave the barn. Your horses will be healthier being out 24/7.

yadlim 03-25-2012 01:12 PM

Right now, in the Pacific Northwest, we haven't slowed down on rain yet. Everywhere is still covered in mud and standing water. Yesterday was the first day in two weeks it hasn't rained at least part of the day. All of the turnouts are about 1/2 standing water up to four inches deep and half mud that is between two and twelve inches deep.

The run in is necessary because it gives them a place to sleep in the dry, gives thier lower legs a place to get dry (VERY important), and a place to be fed where the hay doesn't get ruined. Oh, and we are below freezing at night with daily high's about 40 to 45 right now...

I have to get it down to dirt because the cacked maneure and hay holds moisture and sticks to the horses like baked on clay when they sleep on it.

If I had some sort of scraping skid, this would have been done yesterday. My horse is trained to pull and has oftern been used to skid logs and debris about the yard. I have the horse power, I have the harness... but not the scrapper!!!

Oh well, all these stiff mucscles are worth the comfort of my horses.

And the good news is that where we are, the only biting insect we get are bot flies. The chickens eat everything else that would pester the horses. I think I used fly spray twice last year!!

We are goign to nurse our still muscles for a few days and go back at it. The horses are paid up for thier stalls until the first. I think one more hard day will get most of it done. After that we can just poke at it to make it perfect as time goes on. Once the paddock is dry, the stable owner will get in there with the scraper blade on his little loader and get the stuff that right now is too wet to deal with - but right now it would sink a foot or two into the muck.

Oh, and I have to pick up some grain feeders that hang off the rail for thier vitamins and rice bran (also known as horse crack). If I can get this paddock as good as I am planning, I won't bother putting them back into stalls when money gets better. I like having them out 24/7. They have blankets for when it gets too cold. Actually yesterday was the first time they were out without blankets in months!

Did I mention I love this stable? My horses are happy there.

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