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What would you do in this situation?
I'm having a little bit of a situation...
I board my lovely gelding. I have been at this barn for 3 years now and my gelding has been on indoor board (except for the summer of 2012). However I bought him back on indoor board this winter due to severe rain rot (its wamer inside, out of the wind and better quality hay for indoor horses). Since the beginning of 2013 things have drastically changed at our boarding facility. The lesson program no longer exists and there are now multiple people doing barn chores through the week. The girl previously doing feedings is no longer doing so due to personal reasons but she always bought outdoor horses into stalls for feeding. This is not efficient for the barn owner.
- Stalls not being cleaned properly. There is dirty urine bedding not being cleaned out and being mixed in with fresh saw dust, IF more bedding gets added. Thus an ammonia smell lingers and this will cause thrush for my gelding. This happened once in 2012 and was the reason I went to outdoor board, the individual was fired ... but now its happening again with new employees.
- Supplements not being given in his daily grain. He is to get these once daily in the morning. Each should last me one month. Its now 3 months laster and just starting a new tub of each.
I have bought this to the attention of the barn owner. She assured me that he is getting his supplements and I know this is not true and the matter was pushed off a little. She assured me she would be doing the grain now and that was it. I heard a second hand comment regarding the stalls that I would rather not mention on this forum. I have not been able to get in touch with the barn owner since to discuss that concern.
I have considered going back to outdoor board at this current facility. Unsure how my gelding will do next winter as he has always been on indoor board. There are 6-7 horses in his field eating from one round bale or large square bale and only 2 of which are on outdoor board. Its not put out as often as I would like it to be... sometimes I go out and there is little to nothing in the field for hay and it was pretty much a dirt lot last fall so no grass to dig for. The outdoor horses get fed only once daily which is fine because he only gets 1lb of ration balncer. However, he has a lot of powder supplements. The barn owner has began using thse mesh feed bags similar to this: TrailMax Mesh Feed Bag-Outfitters Supply and I am concerned his supplements will be falling through the mesh or that mud is going to be getting into his food (there is mud on the bags so they are not hung).
I have considered moving facilities for an increase in cost (an extra ~$150 per month). From my current $300 to $450+ ... There is no indoor board available at this time anywhere. There is a waiting list because stalls are either full or they are not taking on additional boarders because they want to make sure they can feed the horses they have since it was a bad hay year. I understand this fully and am on some waiting lists. Outdoor boarding is very limited in my area.
These are really my only two options:
1. Outdoor board where I am. Discuss a different feed bag/bucket with barn owner. Pre-mix grain and supplements into zip lock bags. I would loose my option of a stall because there is a waiting list at this facility too but I am prepared to blanket over winter if necessary.
2. Wait it out and move facilities in the spring and pay more per month for the care I should be getting here ... either on indoor or outdoor board.
The way I look at boarding is this. Its all about what you can and can not deal with. If you can't deal with the issues you have listed, then move. If you can, then don't. Its that simple.
To move I have to wait till at least mid-spring but its still an option.
Move....., not only is the pee left in the shavings in the stalls bad for their feet it's also bad for their respiratory system......Poor air quality from poorly cleaned stalls is one of my pet peeves.......
Wait it out until spring.......
I'm certainly on some waiting lists and I'm always searching for other options so hopefully something will work out sooner then spring.
I would love for my gelding to be on outdoor board all year around... that would reduce thrush problems, respiratory problems and give him more movement as he is arthritic. However, this year his winter coat was falling out due to rain rot and we are with a harsh winter this year so he's blanketed and indoors (better hay and more of it overnight). I can't say for sure if he will thrive being outside all the time so I like having the option of both but its not acceptable - no matter how much or how little you charge - to not fully clean your stalls. That leads to health problems! which is my biggest fear, even with his stall in the arena.
I've decided I'm going to pull him off indoor board and have him outside until further notice. Better for his feet. Better for his lungs. I will address the feed issue ... maybe pre-mix into zip lock bags. This way its weighed out and powder supplements added. They just need to put it into a proper bucket to feed it.
Then I will address the situation in the spring if we have another facility.
Tonight I will also be experimenting with the mesh feed bags to see if powder gets lost, does water get in etc. unless someone here has used them???
There are facilities I would like to move him to, we just need an opening! It's a waiting game at this point.
go out and feed the supplements daily yourself. It makes no sense to give better quality feed to a stalled horse than to one without a stall.
is there a cover for the outdoor horses? how many horses is he going to be kept with. He may get chased off feed. Ask for a reduction and clean your own stall until you can move.
Can you keep him on indoor board and give the stall an extra cleaning when you visit and make up baggies of food for him? It doesn't sound like outdoor board is a very good option at your facility (dirty feed bags and poorer quality hay than the indoor board horses would be a deal breaker for me)
I've ended up doing extra stall cleaning for my horse, since I'm also not happy with the job the stall cleaners do. He always pees in the same spot, so it's very easy for me to just scrape up the wet spot and add a little bit more bedding to the stall. Once every week or two I'll also end up stripping the bedding and replacing it all (which I don't think is ever done by the staff) However, my horse's stall is very airy- if it weren't and he were still getting ammonia fumes from neighboring stalls I wouldn't be happy with that.
I'm also pretty anal about my horse getting exactly the right feed, so I make up his bags of feed and bring them to the barn once a week. They have several different people who feed (I also feed one night a week) and it seems everyone has a different idea about what a level scoop is ;-)
As long as there is shelter outside and he is blanketed-I also vote for giving the supplements yourself, or baggieing them-AND I personally have been known to label them with the day , leaving only a week or 2 supply, so that you KNOW he is getting it. Same principle as Smartpack, but DIY.
Not sure where you're at but you could also post a proactive boarding request up on CraigsList. I wanted a group pasture board situation when I was weaning my foal, but I couldn't find any barns with what I wanted, so I threw it up on CraigsList and a lady less than a mile away emailed me back. She has 10 acres and her 4 horses and takes care of my boy as if he were one of her own.
A lot if the best barns I've boarded at were private barns you would never know about.
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I'm unable to do self care. My work schedule just does not allow for it. However, when I am there, I am mucking at least my own geldings stall (sometimes others if they need it) and bringing horses in, occasionally feeding etc.
Unfortunately... I can't make my budget work to afford the full care situation I'm looking for so I have to suck it up and try to make things work where I am or at another facility in that price range.
I had a discussion with the BO regarding his glucosamine supplement and she said she would be doing more of the feedings from now on so she would make sure it gets done. So far so good. However, I still plan to start getting things ready into baggies to be able to feed. That just makes it fool proof for anyone else who does do feedings. I don't mind doing that prep work.
The biggest concern is the stalls because multiple people do them and never on the same days so I'm finding it hard to find that person who isn't removing all the urine to have a friendly chat. We're experiencing some thrush issues as a result. We're back on outdoor board April 1st because health concerns from a inpropelry cleaned stall is not something I want to deal with.
The hay situation, I cannot do much about if I don't provide it. There is no storage for me to do so. I saw the new round bales that were just delivered and they are very dark/black on the outside from sitting in the weather. I'm going to do some poking around today to see what they are like toward the middle and see if I can remove that outer layer - adding botulism vaccine to this years protocol....
The BO is bringing in more horses so fingers crossed it's not going to end up more crowded in my boys field. If too many more horses are put out there then that would be a factor to move...
Otherwise, I'm trying to find solutions to things as I encounter them. I will provide a different feed bag/bucket and pre-mixed feed for them. Fool proof! I will be doing the repairs on the shelter in his field IF we decide to stay.
I am still keeping an eye out for alternatives or a private farm but for now ... its something we're just going to have to work with and be deligent about.
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