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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just found out this morning that the barn where we have Jess boarded is leaving all the horses out overnight. We have only had her a few months and when we moved her to this barn, we were told that the horses would be in at night and that we did not need to blanket her because the barn does not get below 32 when they are all in there. I have been in the barn when all of the horses are in their stalls and it is warm. I posted a few weeks ago about whether do get a blanket for her but most people said it was best not to so we have not BUT I thought she was going to be at night. The husband, who is the horse person and normally takes care of the horses, recently had to have knee replacement surgery so he is bedridden and his wife, who is not a horse person, is doing the chores. Apparently she is leaving the horses out because it saves her having to do stalls in the am. This makes sense to me when it is warm but tonight it is supposed to be down around 0 and I have not blanketed her because I thought she would be fine if in the barn at night. The weather here has been crazy. Within the past week we have had temps from 0 to 50. I know that if I blanket her, it has to be checked daily and I can get to the barn every day but if I am out on an emergency at work, it's possible that I may not get there. I know I need to address this when the barn owner but the wife definately wears the pants in the family and I do not want to add more stress to the husband as he is recovering from his surgery. I am afraid that if I say too much, she will tell me to move Jess. Suggestions please!
 

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well...
I think if you are paying for a stall and not getting one, you need a reduction in your board costs.

My horses live out 24/7. They have access to a shed and they have a corner of pine trees to go into as well.
Horses are outdoor animals. As long as your horse has a good coat and is in good weight she should be just fine. If it is going to be freezing rain she needs shelter- one big enough to accomodate all the horses, or a rainsheet.

It has been getting down to minus 15 here at night. I don't really worry because the horses will stand in a group and share warmth, or they will move around and get thier blood flowing. Thier coats will fluff up as well.

Saying that...my tbred is blanketed.. That is because she was boarded out and there was a horse that would not let her in the shelter. So I needed to give her protection from the wet.
She does very poorly when she gets wet (and cold). Now that I have moved her, she is still blanketed because we are well into winter and I can't take her blanket away now.

If it makes you feel better, buy a blanket...however, chances are your horse does not need one.
If you do buy a blanket- make sure it is water resistant or that you have a water resistant shell for the outdoors.
It must fit well around the shoulders and withers. A blanket that is too big will slip back and then put pressure on the spine-leading to back problems, and rub the hair off the shoulders.
 

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I hate boarding. Sorry.
Not helpful, I know. This is a tough one. Jess' health and happiness is what's really important, though, and I know you know that. You just need to prepare yourself for the possibility that you'll have to leave, but I doubt it will come to that. I would talk to the BO, go over the terms of your boarding contract, clarify that he did in fact say that the horses would be put up every night, and tell him that if he is unable to live up to the terms (as he set forth!) then you will need to start blanketing Jess (and requiring that they put on and remove the blanket every day...I daresay that is more work than simply stabling her overnight). Just be upfront...you understand that the situation is not ideal right now, what with him recovering from surgery, but you are paying for an agreed upon level of service, and if he and his wife are unable to fulfill that contract themselves, then they are obligated to hire someone to do it for them temporarily until he is healed, or provide blanketing services for you in the pasture.

Good luck! I hate confrontation too, so I know how you're feeling right now.
 

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and you know? If she was sick, or whatever, or was unable to catch the horses, or was scared of them, then I could understand...on a VERY temporary, emergency only basis. But she just doesn't want to clean stalls in the morning? That's crap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I hate boarding also!!!!! But we have no choice at this time but to board her. I feel the same way I did when dd was little and I had to rely on a daycare provider that I did not care for.
Normally I do not mind confrontation but I am afraid of pissing her off and then she could tell me that we have to move Jess. We love the area that the barn is located because there are tons of trails to ride on. The barn is about a half mile off the road so we can let the dog run and play while dd is riding. The husband is super nice. The wife, not so great!

There is a lean to for her to get under and she does have a wooly coat. I went over one night last week to check on her (before I knew she was staying out for the night) and she was not shivering. It was cold and I went around 7:00 pm and they were still out. I just assumed that they would be put in before bed. Jess seems fine and does not seem stressed. DD's riding instructor thinks that I need to consider getting a blanket but with my crazy work schedule, I may not be able to get there to check it daily. And truthfully, after asking on here about the pros and cons of blankets, I would rather stay away from one.

I am going to go look at the boarding agreement to see if it specifically lists her being in at night. But I do know that I had a conversation with him and he said that she would be in at night.

I need to find a place out of town with a barn so we can have her home with us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm back. I went over to the barn again tonight and DD's riding instructor was there feeding the horses. She said that the barn owner's wife came out and told her to leave the horses in tonight because it was supposed to be cold. She then said that they leave the horses out if it is above 20 but if it gets below 20, they put the horses in the barn. I am feeling soooooo much better than I did earlier. All that worrying for nothing. I am still going to stop over to the barn on cold nights to make sure that she is inside. Thanks again for listening to my worries.
 

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I'm glad your more comfortable with the situation now.

My horse was outside 24/7 for his whole life although in southern BC it would very rarely get down below -20.

He did have a shelter but he never went in it.
 

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I don't worry so much about cold. It's wet that can get tough, and driving winds without shelter.

If she has a good coat, you can probably go without a blanket. Once you blanket her, she will shed sooner once the weather warms up. And if the blanket gets wet underneath, she'll get cold. Her coat is a better natural defense against the wet and cold, if she has a good one.

Are you still exercising her? You need to take care if she is woolly of getting her sweaty and then not drying thoroughly. When my horses are in work, they are clipped, then blanketed, but then they need to come in at night.

Watch her weight. If she is out more, you need to maybe provide more hard feed. And of course, plenty of good quality hay.

If you do have to blanket, and they are not bringing the horses in, I think it is perfectly reasonable that you ask them to check the blanket daily. If you get a good one, honestly, I think you can risk going a day in an emergency without checking it. Just look at reviews and find one that does not slip - but the designs these days are pretty good.

She won't necessarily shiver if she's cold. Look for her body language. Is she relaxed and moving around, eating, etc. Or backing into the wind and looking huddled and miserable. For temperature, feel the base of her ears - way down at the base. And most importantly, watch her weight and her behavior. That will be an indicator of whether she is coping well.

Also watch for issues such as cracked heels if the ground gets wet and she's not getting respite from it. And watch her coat for signs of things like rain scald. ie, generally, watch her wellness and learn to read the signs from her as to how she is coping.

I had horses live out 24/7 all their lives, but they weren't in hard work, and were hardy types. Some can do it, some can't. Even my eventer, when he was on rest for a year, lived out an entire winter, and thrived on it. His 1/8 Welsh Cob came into action and he grew an amazing coat. You wouldn't have believed he was 7/8 Thoroughbred that winter.


HTH
 

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My horse in Minnesota never went inside in the winter, and it can get to -40. The horses had a lean-to to get out of the wind, and they bunched together for warmth. When it was cold she got extra grain - more fuel fo the fire. She also grew a nice thick coat. (I used to ride bareback in the winter so she could keep me warm!)
 
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