Horses living in urban areas & stalls - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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Horses living in urban areas & stalls

This probably doesn't pertain to a good majority of members here, but I am sure it does to quite a few. I would love, love to be able to board my horse in a pasture/paddock, but live in an urban area and board in an urban area (i.e. surrounded by housing on two sides, a park on the other, and a community garden-- with a freeway not too far behind that-- on the other). There is one facility within 14 miles that I know of that has paddocks, but 1 is for retirement, 1 is general population, and the smaller ones are private and full with a waiting list. If you venture out 30+ miles, you can find more pastures/paddocks, as the land is more open and in acreage. In fact, we have our 2 retired horses in paddock 60 miles away. My horse that is currently in work is boarded about 5 miles away from where I live, but is obviously in a stall. I go to the barn every single day and he gets out every single day. On days I ride, he is out of his stall up to 3 hours (riding, then turnout), but on days I don't ride he is out of his stall only 1-2 hours (turnout). Our barn has a "20 minute" limit for turnouts if others are waiting, but the barn is small (30ish horses-- but now there are only 3 turnouts... don't ask) and I try to go when it is the most quiet so I can get him out for as long as possible. Anyway, I hate keeping him in a stall and it truly bugs me. If I moved him 30+ miles away (60+ miles round trip), I would not get out there nearly as often. In a few years, we should be able to move somewhere with paddocks/pastures (when I move out), but it bugs me it will take that long. I wish we already lived in an area like that. Does anybody else feel this way and want to share their frustration?
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 03:00 AM
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This was my only option for about 8 months when I first got Brock - from what I've seen, some horses really don't care while others just don't work being stalled at all. Best thing to do is try and schedule a few week's spell 3-4 times a year, ride them as much as possible and make sure they have interesting stuff to look at or do during the day to prevent boredom.

In the end I decided Brock wasn't suited to living in a stall (not so much that he got bored, but he became very territorial when it came to other horses and he just peed so much I was spending more hours a week doing his stall than I was riding. I sent him out to the country and he did so well there that's where he stayed for the next year and a bit. It took a while for me to sort out a way of getting down there but eventually they put a local taxi service in so I could get to the property from the station.

If you find a stalled environment doesn't suit your horse, try and find a good agistment (boarding) facility as close to a railway station or busroute as possible. Preferably get one where you can keep your tack (securely) so you don't have to cart around a bag of stuff and a saddle every time you go to ride. You may only be able to ride there once a week but if the horse really needs more regular riding you can always offer a part-lease to an appropriate person. But you can find that even 'hot' horses like TBs are so much more chilled out when on a paddock, having a bit of space to run and sort themselves out mentally, that they don't need daily riding/work to keep them sane.

A crazy girl with a crazy horse
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post #3 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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He doesn't show any signs of not being able to tolerate being stalled... doesn't crib, doesn't weave, doesn't charge over feed (though did get more "grumpy" about food when he moved stalls a few months ago-- due to the other stall never drying out in the winter-- because now he is between two grumpy mares). He doesn't kick though or act like a crazy child. He is pretty "happy", well, as "happy" as a stalled horse can be. I, personally, just don't like how he is so confined for the majority of the day, when horses are meant to wander around in bigger areas; hence my wanting him to be in a paddock/pasture.

It drives me nuts when other people leave their horses in their stalls for the day, or for many days at a time, and you can tell the horses who don't like it and look so bored.

My guy has 360 degree vision of what is around him (not a box stall), so he can watch other horses, etc. A paddock/pasture would help with his sticking/locking stifle, in keeping him moving a little more, but moving him somewhere he could not be ridden multiple times a week would make his stifle issue worse, as work (forward trotting, trot poles, etc.) is what keeps his legs non-problematic. He was off the track, so his current stall is better than his track box stall, but ideally he would have more room to roam.
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 03:53 AM
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Sometimes vices come in less "obvious" ways than cribbing and weaving - wood-chewing, eating bedding, eating poop, overdrinking etc. Best way to sort out less severe boredom in the stall is to give them as much grass hay as you can, and break it up so it's spread out a bit (just not on the usual "toilet" spots).

It's good that he has 360 views though - that really does make a difference. Does he have some shelter from the draft though?

A crazy girl with a crazy horse
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 04:27 AM Thread Starter
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I have not observed any of those behaviors either (in other horses, yes, but not him). I will not comment on the feedings included in the board, but I will say I do need to feed extra. I feed a flake (or more) of Orchard, then he gets his "bucket" which consists of beet pulp, grass pellets, and O&M (with supplements). He has a jolly ball (never seen him play with it though) and I just ordered a hanging himalayan salt rock (will be here Tuesday!). I have other hanging treats, but can only put them up while I am there or they will be covered in ants if left hanging for a long period of time.

I always put his hay in the feeder though, #1 to keep it away from the other horses (may spark a "grumpy" fit from the other horses) and #2 so it doesn't get mixed in the shavings (actually, Fine Pine). It is good he is a slow eater too. :)

He is in the middle in a mare motel, so isn't out in the elements (not that our "elements" get that bad where we are, haha), but there isn't a solid wall if that is what you are asking. The mare motels are the 2nd largest stalls available (out of 3 types). The largest is the barn (12x12 inside and 12x12 outside, but it is terribly overpriced.

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post #6 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 04:40 AM
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Convenience is not always better. It may make it easier for you to see your horse. However, it usually costs you. The closer a barn is to the city, usually the higher the cost of boarding.

Not only may it cost you more money wise, it may cost you more health wise for the horse. Stalled horses usually need their teeth floated more often. They may develop bad habits, cribbing, pacing and such like your horse with stiffness.

We used to board our at a stable (outdoor) that was 30 miles away. My wife got a job at a stable that was close to our house, so we moved them there. They had to be stalled at night. We could tell that they weren't happy there. They were more resistant or difficult to ride. So we moved them back to the stable farther away. Their attitude change for the better after we moved them back.

You just have to decide what is best for you and your horse.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usandpets View Post
Convenience is not always better. It may make it easier for you to see your horse. However, it usually costs you. The closer a barn is to the city, usually the higher the cost of boarding.

Not only may it cost you more money wise, it may cost you more health wise for the horse. Stalled horses usually need their teeth floated more often. They may develop bad habits, cribbing, pacing and such like your horse with stiffness.

We used to board our at a stable (outdoor) that was 30 miles away. My wife got a job at a stable that was close to our house, so we moved them there. They had to be stalled at night. We could tell that they weren't happy there. They were more resistant or difficult to ride. So we moved them back to the stable farther away. Their attitude change for the better after we moved them back.

You just have to decide what is best for you and your horse.
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Being in a stall did not cause "stiffness" in my horse. Being a race horse with an extremely hard exercise routine, then retiring and going to a "normal" work load gave him stifle issues (locking/sticking). I had the vet out and that's exactly what was said.

Like I said, due to his stifles, it could be a huge loose/loose situation, unless he is pastured and ridden consistently (my ultimate goal).

Cost wise, depending where you board it depends how much you spend. The paddock 14 miles away is more expensive than the stall he is in now. There are cheaper pastures (i.e. 32 miles away) than what he is in now, but there are obviously more expensive pastures too. I am not sure where you are located, but travel to farther away cities for me would incorporate freeways and sometimes lots of traffic as well. So a 30-40 mile trip could range from 40 minutes to 2 hours (one way), depending when you go and which facility/city you go to.

I am smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles and Orange County. Los Angeles being expensive with mostly stalls, Orange County being even more expensive (in most cases-- i.e. a box stall being $550) with a few more pasture options, but being one of those 30-40 mile trips on all freeway.

We have been looking for horse property for sale, but you run into the same issue.... it is scarce unless you go far.

Last edited by LostDragonflyWings; 06-03-2013 at 05:01 AM.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
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Our 2 retired horses are in a paddock 60 miles away for $200 per horse. My stalled horse is $360, excluding all the costs of extra food (so add on another close to $100 a month). So yes, you can find places cheap, but they are far. Then you also have to judge how good the place actually is and how much they will watch after your horse when you obviously can't travel 120 miles daily to see them.
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 01:04 PM
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I've seen several horses that got stocked up in the hocks while stalled. One I know of, was moved and put out to pasture. What do you know, the stocking up went away.

Having them closer and paying more doesn't always mean they are better cared for. That is another reason we moved ours back. That is also why my wife quit working there.
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 04:31 PM
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I feel your pain! And don't forget that just because you move them farther out and the barn has pastures, that doesn't mean they utilize them. So I would really do your research before switching to a different barn just because it looks like a better turn out situation. The barn I board at is in a rural area with a decent amount of turn out space and yet a large majority of the time they are spent empty while all the horses stand in their stalls. Drives me nuts. And I only live about 20 minutes away, but I still can't make it out there every day.
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