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SAsamone 11-05-2009 07:43 PM

This has been killing me....
Hello all =)
I am new to the board, and I hope I do not create any enemies right off the bat, but just I wanted to get something off my chest that I have been thinking of for a while...

Does anyone think it is...not cruel...but....not smart to keep a horse stalled?

I say this, not because I'm some animal rights activist, or some crazy conspirator, or anything like that, but simply because of a mare I purchased about a year ago now....

She's a beautiful 21 year old arab, who had her career caring for one young girl to the next, letting them live their dreams of owning a horse, and competing in one of the most popular sports in the horse world- jumping.

Now, of course, every horse who has been used in competition is going to come out with "battle wounds" such as arthritus, and ligement problems, especially being older...however, most horses can ride well into their late twenties possibly, as I have once met, into their thirties (though I admit this is rare)

Sam however, who was stalled for nearly 15 hours a day, in a 13x13 stall with concrete floors (no padding or shavings) is now hardly ever ridable (I trail ride), as she seems to be in pain when I get on her, especially bare back...(she weighs 875 pounds, I weigh 95)....she collicked several times, including once requiring nasal/gastric tubing with her previous owner, however, has never collicked on me, even after abrubt changes in food.

My point is this:
-A horses' anatomy is designed to move constantly: movement aids their digestion and flexes the muscels and keeps them loose.
-Stalling a horse prevents alot of this necessary movement, when confined for long periods of time- causing collic, sore muscles, and arthritus, especially when thrown in a stall after a hard work out. (don't you cramp up in the morning after a ton of work in a field fixing fences, lifting buckets, and lounging horses until dark the previous day?)

-a horse is designed to eat food while the head is down
-corner buckets, and hay nets aren't natural positions for a horse to eat, and, again, a stall prohibits alot of the movement necessary for gut and bowl movement.

-horses in the wild are free to roam about.
-Civilization brought these horses into these artificial confinements for practical reasons (easy to catch, and be near the horse; horse remains in one area; it remains clean etc.)- not because we were actually thinking of the horse itself.

I don't say that NEVER stalling a horse is a solution, as it is convenient at times, especially on hot or cold days, or before a show if they're neatly groomed, or especially if a horse is injured or sick. But stalling for hours, I feel, is a step backwards?

Another proof I have, is a stable used for children very close to me. I went to a clinic there for showmanship, and didn't have a trailer to bring my arab with me. So, I used one of their horses, whom they said was a champion at showmanship, but had arthritus. I thought nothing of it, until I went to walk the horse, and the horse was at least three steps behind my every move, and I noticed another girl who also borrowed one of the stables' horses, had the same problem. I took the liberty afterwards to take the horse back myself, and saw that the horses there were standing on pure concrete pads with no bedding or even mats.

I feel very strongly of this, however, of course, it's just an opinion. But am I wrong? I would love to be set straight if I am. I'm just applying what I know, and what I've seen. Any thoughts? Please join! I would love to hear what you all have to say about the subject. I know there are plenty of horse owners who stall their horses and they are just fine. So, as I said, I may be wrong. What do you think?

SmoothTrails 11-05-2009 07:57 PM

I think stalling any horse in straight concrete would be wrong, and if the horse doesn't get out every day I'm not a supporter of being stalled. (there are exceptions, but I mean in a normal situation) I understand stalling a horse and having turn out, but with concrete????

That just doesn't sound like a very good way to keep a horse IMHO. I have always known people to put down good, soft bedding for horses that were stalled.

SAsamone 11-05-2009 08:01 PM

That's what I always thought, too! But, apparently, it's pretty common, from what I read on the internet, and see at the different stables I visit....

SmoothTrails 11-05-2009 08:12 PM

Wow, it must just not be in my area. I have never seen concrete floors with no bedding. At the vet hosptial they have it with about a foot of shaving. (I'm still not a fan of it) I have always known people who had the ground, sand, and then shavings in their barn. (or at least just ground and shavings)

farmpony84 11-05-2009 08:32 PM

I think alot of boarding facilities have nice barns and pretty rings but poopie turn-out. Ive seen several places where the horses only get 2-4 hours turn out per day. I always opted to have my horse turned out at night when I was a board if I couldnt get field board for that reason. I have a 6 stall barn but during the summer my horses stay out all day with an overhang. I do bring them in at night during the winter when it is the coldest...

I agree the healthiest thing to do is to give them 24-7 turnout with proper shelter... but unfortunately not everyone has that option...

TwisterRush 11-05-2009 08:46 PM

im only a supporter of stalling IF the horse at least gets turned out, for awhile each and every day.
This means more than at least 2 hours.
I would hate to be put into an area and not be able to stretch after a workout ? Its nice when people take the time for their horses to cool down etc.

My horses are turned out 24/7 but that is because i dont have a barn yet, but still i would have them turned out alot even If i had a barn you know ?

I prefer if a horse had shavings or straw at the bottom, but concrete well THATS just idiotic, ive always seen shavings or something at the bottom, its much more comfortable for a horse IMHO.

SAsamone 11-05-2009 09:04 PM

I'm so glad other people agree! =) I was so nervous when I first posted this, becuase I know alot of people stall their horses. But, yea, it's just healthier for the horse....and happier lol =)

wild_spot 11-05-2009 09:07 PM

Stalling is WAY less common in AUS than in the US. The majority of horses here are turned out 24/7. Show horses are usually stabled at night and turned out during the day. I have NEVER heard of horses being stalled on staright concrete, and to me, that is cruel and abusive.

hiwaythreetwenty 11-05-2009 09:09 PM

I have 5 horses and all of them live outside 24/7 year round and they are healthier and much happier. I bring them in for a half a day for the farrier and you think you just murdered them all, they kick, chew and paw. In the winter they get a round bale of hay so they can eat whenever they want and I give them grain or corn 1x a day and they have a fresh spring to drink out of. I haven't had any of them colic, besides the minor cuts and scrapes no major injuries. I like having the barn as an option to bring in if they are injured or ill but 95% I know they are happier just being horses outside plus I kind of enjoy watching them do their daily run around.

riccil0ve 11-05-2009 09:23 PM

I think the damage done to this horse in particular had more to do with the concrete floor than the actual being stalled.

I do agree though. I'm not big on keeping horses in stalls for too long. My girls come in at night in the winter, but other than that, they are outside all the time. They are meant to move, so I let them move.

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