Please Enlighten Me about Dirty Stall
This is my first post as I don't even own a horse. However, my next door neighbor has a beautiful Arabian horse and I have been feeding and watering her daily now for over a week since my neighbor is in the hospital. The problem is this: The stall in which the horse stays is about 20 x 12 and it has not been mucked in the last last 3 years, maybe even four years. The horse literally has to sleep on all the feces and urine. I have harped at my neighbor for years to get it taken care of, but she always has an excuse: it's too wet;, it's too frozen; the tractor is broken; she's too sick, etc. etc. The rest of the paddock is also covered in horse manure and quite overgrown. Luckily, there is a back paddock where she can go to graze during the day and evening. But the flies are driving her crazy and, of course, they are living in the feces. I tried to shovel some of it out yesterday, but it is so dense and heavy I didn't even make a dent. When I did manage to get a good amount on my shovel, there were maggots under it. The owner is 74 and is not able to take proper care of her 8 acres of land, or her house, or her horse, but will not admit this, and will not spend the money to get the stall taken care of, even though money is not an issue for her. The poop is so deep at this point, that it will need a big machine to get it out. My questions are these:
1) Who can I call to get this stall cleaned out? I am willing to pay for whatever it costs, and then I can help her do the daily mucking out.
2) Does this situation pose a health threat to the horse? She looks healthy and has a healthy appetite, but I've read what feces and urine can do to their hooves, along with other things like thrush.
3) If I go in the stall and try to shovel at least the most recent droppings among all the flies and feces, does this cause a health risk to me?
4) Is this lack of cleaning the stall considered abuse of the horse? And if so, should I call someone about it, and if so, who would I call? I know the owner loves her, but she is getting older and will not listen to reason when anyone tries to help her.
5) Is there anything I can do to keep the flies off the horse? I currently have two fans outside her stall, one blowing air at her feet, and one at her head. The owner also told me where to find a horse flt mask, which I put on the horse, although it took some wrangling, but I think she realized it kept the flies out of her eyes and doesn't protest keeping it on. I made a spray out of white vinegar, water, and dish soap, but she will have nothing to do with it, unless I leave the bottle sit on the ground and then she comes over and licks it.
I know this is a lot to dump on my first post, but I am clueless about where to look for these answers, and it's killing me to see her so uncomfortable. I called a local college Equestrian center and they weren't must help, although they sympathized with my situation. Thank you in advance for answers or guidance to any of the above questions/concerns.