Stalling at night
We recently moved our horse to a new barn very close to our house. The biggest drawback to this place is that the stall is enclosed and not connected with any paddock. We have been having wonderful weather so Lily has been staying outside in one of the small paddocks 24/7 and seems very happy. She is alone on the property but the neighbor has 2 horses that she visits with through the fence and she doesn't seem to be showing any signs of being lonely. She has a couple of trees for protection but with fall coming and leaves falling off she won't be protected for long. I'm thinking it might be time to start stalling her at night for a couple of reasons. First, in the last few days there are a couple of reported cougar sightings (VERY RARE around here) within 6 or 7 miles from us. I know it sounds far away, however we are in a city and the most likely migration route would be near us. Second, this week it is supposed to be rainy and windy (but not too cold) and I'm not sure that Lily will enjoy standing out all night in the weather. In her old barn she would prefer staying in her stall rather than out in the pasture or paddock when it was nasty outside (she had access to her paddock 24/7).
I just keep thinking that 10-12 hours in a stall is a long time for a horse. We will be letting her out in the paddock right after breakfast and she'll be out all day. Does anyone else have a similar schedule? How is it working for you? Should I have any concerns?
I'd prefer to keep them out 24/7. The cougars would be a problem (are there any dogs on property that could make some noise?) but I don't think the weather would be. A horse can stay warmer easier out of a stall. Depending on how her coat is, you may want to put on a sheet if it starts to get wet/windy/cold, but I can normally keep mine out and they're fine.
As far as keeping her stalled, I don't think it would be a huge deal, though I'd want her to have lots of things to keep her occupied especially since I'm guessing there wouldnt be any horses in other stalls she could see/talk to?
Newhorsemom are you in BC? I ask because we've had cougar sightings this years as well and it's unheard of around here.
Our horse's are stalled at night. They come in when the yard light comes on. In the dead of winter they will be in for about 12 hours and in the middle of summer it's about 7 hours. Load her up with some hay, hang a lik-it or some such toy. She'll be fine.
I agree outside is best but lots and lots of horses are stalled at night.
I would buy or build a shelter for her instead. I used a metal carport that was trimmed on all edges. It worked very well! You can even have them put on sides for you, or put your own sides using plastic or tin roofing panels (they have them at Home Depot). I didn't use sides, but I would blanket my horses when it was cold and windy or rainy. It worked very well.
Another thought is if you can do something to create a run from her paddock/pasture to the barn? So she could run in when she wanted to?
I just hate keeping horses in unless absolutely necessary. They usually prefer to be outside, even if the weather is bad. And I hate cleaning stalls, lol... ;-).
Thanks for the great responses - I love this forum!! :D
Hi G and K! No I'm not in BC, I'm just north of Seattle. The cougar sighting was in one of the north Seattle neighborhoods! Rare, but there was a cougar caught in a Seattle park back in the late 80's or early 90's. We had a bear caught in our neighborhood about 2 or 3 years ago! Not sure how they get around the city, but the wild critters do!
luvs2ride - unfortunately there is no way to connect the paddock to the barn. It's a bit of an unusual set-up. We are boarding in a very exclusive neighborhood just north of Seattle where most home owners have 2 or 3 acres. Some have horses but most do not. All have beautiful mansions. Anyway, the barn owners have grown children who had horses growing up but the barn has been empty for a few years and they were kind enough to let me rent a stall for Lily. They haven't ever done this so it is kind of on a "let's see how this goes" basis. It's working out really well for us and I'm hoping it works out for them and this will be long term. I'm trying to be the best and easiest renter, so I'm not comfortable asking to put up an additional shelter yet!
Lily was a stable horse before we bought her so a stall isn't foreign to her. I just hate the thought of keeping her so cooped up! I'll go shopping for a few toys for her this weekend. We'll just see how it goes.
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