Stall Board or Pasture Board
Hi, everyone! I just have a few questions. I'm knew to the whole horse mommy thing and want to make sure I do the right thing. I'm wondering if I should continue to pay for stall board or just pasture board my Dancer. With stall board he's pretty much outside all of the time unless the weather is extremely poor i.e. rainy or really cold. I'm wondering if I shouldn't just allow him to stay outside 24/7 since that is what mother nature designed horses for. I'm afraid that I anthromorphise him too much because I worry that he'll be cold, etc. He does have a shelter he can get to. Another concern is that he may possibly have heaves so being in a dusty barn is not good. I noticed him coughing 8 times yesterday and 6 times today after a trail ride. (A vet is coming to see him Friday) Overall, I think he is doing well. I just think maybe its silly for me to pay an extra $60 a month to have him indoors on those few bad days if its not necessary. Also, when its cold he will have a blanket if needed. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Depends on the horse and on your preferences. Do his feet hold up if he is out in the wet? Does he have problems with bugs in the summer? How severe are your winters and if they are very cold - will that be a problem if he is out in it? Do you care if his coat bleaches out from the sun? Will you be ok if he is out in a thunderstorm? Will he be ok if he is out in high heat with his heaves? Do you want to have to clean the stall? If he hurts himself, will you be comfortable that he can't have stall rest?
Only you can answer these questions. Stalls have advantages and disadvantages. Figure out which are most important, then make your choice.
I also debated the same thing for this winter in Va. Last winter sort of scared me tho....but besides that, where I am taking my guy for the winter, field board has many differences. With Stall board I get blanketing, feed twice a day, turnout all day (in winter). With field he would only get fed once a day(other than hay), extra charge for blanketing. So, I made the decision to do a stall. I used to have one in MD tho that I left out 24/7, unless there was an issue, then I could call and have him brought in for $5/day. I like to have a stall, in case I need it, and I do like them brought in and checked on. Just would never do what some of the show banrs do and only turn out a little while. They should be out a good amount daily.
I hope your guys cough is ok, and when the vet is there I would ask them. They will be there, able to see the barn, ventilation, etc, and help you.
It really depends. There's absolutely nothing wrong with bringing them in when the weather gets lousy, yes they're designed to handle it but they're also our pets so we're allowed to spoil them. No, they won't understand "Mommy is making sure I'm warm", but most horses I've met will GLADLY pile into a warm barn on a crappy day.
However, if he's heavy, then I would definitely examine kicking him outside for good. Being in a barn is the single worst aggravator of a horse with heaves - I've seen complete 360's from a horse practically on deaths door to barely knowing he had heaves just from removing the "coming in at night" factor.
Our horses have always spent most of their lives outside. However, that doesn't change the fact that my Arab mare gets an enormous blanket in winter because she doesn't grow a proper coat or that I'm paying for a stall for my filly this winter because she won't put on weight.
Every horse is an individual so do what's best for him!
Thanks guys. I guess I'm just a worry wart when it comes to him. He's my first horse so I'm learning as I go. Also, its hard for me not be able to take care of one of my pets on my own and since I don't have the land for him I have to board him. I'm definitely going to talk to the vet about it on Friday.
As long as there is adequate shelter in the pasture, your horse will be fine staying outside.
How was he boarded before you bought him?
My horse was pasture boarded (no shelter at all) before I bought her and the place I moved her put her in a stall with an extremely large run. I noticed that the second the weather got slightly yucky, she hightailed it for the stall and wouldn't even so much as stick her nose back out until it was nice outside again. She's now outside during the day and stalled at night or in really inclement weather since that's what makes her happy.
My horse is out in a paddock 24/7, she is not a big fan of stalls because of past experiences, so as long as she's out she doesn't pace anymore, and she loves being out with the other horses. She's also an Arabian, so doesn't really grow a coat, but our winters in Southern Cali are pretty mild, so I'll only blanket if its really wet and rainy. I do have to keep in mind though that the blanket will probably get ripped up pretty quickly, as she's in with three yearling geldings. Most horses I know don't mind being outside, though I have met a couple of picky ones that get quite upset if they get rained on, and have to come inside. Aside from any potential medical issues like heaves, its really mostly what YOU as the owner feel comfortable with, and if you are happy with him being outside, then do pasture, if you'd rather he come in then do a stall.
It depends on where you keep your horse and the pasture he'll be in.
I keep my horse in a paddock 24/7. He is rugged every night, and during the day if its cold or wet, and there are trees for windbreak and shade.
I have kept horses in a situation where they are stabled over night, and turned out in the day. It can be useful if you need to feed large feeds at night and the horse is kept in reasonable work. If I stabled my horse I would want to be riding at least once a day, preferably twice, to make it worthwhile. I find horses are less "herdbound" when stabled at night.
All in all though, I prefer to keep my horse in a paddock. There is rarely any need for horses to be stabled.
It's healthier to be 24/7 out. However having stall is very handy in bad weather or if horse needs a medical rest. Mine are out, but when it's heavy rain or snow or ice I keep them in stalls (which they love :wink: ). Also when I had to wrap my qh's hoof for 2 weeks straight stall was extremely helpful.
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