Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rain, Rain and More Rain

It’s raining today, and the prediction calls for heavy winds, with gusts up to 50 mph. The horses are hanging out together in Siete’s stall right now. I leave the front doors open, and they wander back and forth between the two sides of the barn throughout the day when the weather is bad. Siete plays in the puddles in the corral just like any kid, but her mama doesn’t like to get wet.

When we lived in Virginia, I hated rainy days because I worried about my horses. I was at work all day, and since I boarded them in a barn where the owner also was a vet tech at a local animal hospital, the horses either got turned out early in the morning to stay out all day or stayed in their stalls without their buddies. There was no shelter in the pasture, so if they were out in the rain, they got soaked, and the mud was terrible. I know horses are meant to live outdoors. Most people don’t bring them in just because it rains or snows. My girls survived, and it was especially good for young Siete to be part of a herd. And yes, I do pamper them now that they are at home with me. I know that Silk, who will be 20 years old soon, appreciates it.

I put down fresh shavings in the stalls last night because I had a feeling that it would be an “indoor day”. I just went out to give them some hay. Silk is lying down taking a nap, and Siete is standing right behind her mother, lightly resting her head on Silk’s back. If I were my horses, that’s where I’d want to be. I'm grateful that I am able to do this for them.


Singleat50 said...

I am enjoying your stories very much. My girls both rode when they were younger and we loved hanging out at the barn. I miss being around the horses. The wind here was amazing last night.

billie said...

It's windy here too but sunny, so everyone is out enjoying their hay.

I agree with you that most horses will prefer shelter if it's offered during rain and wind, especially during winter months. Our boarding barn was similarly disposed as yours, it sounds like - barn owner had another job too and the horses were either in or out all day depending on owners' preference.

However, she also felt that horses were fine "being horses" and if it happened to start raining/storming while she was home, she didn't go out in the rain to get them in. I found my horse standing by the gate one day, shivering, in winter rain and wind w/o a blanket, and that was the day I knew I would do whatever it took to get my own place. He had probably never been left out like that in his life, and whatever he might have done had he been born in the wild, during his lifetime he's been given shelter from the elements. He was totally freaked.

Anyway, it's lovely to read about your girls in the barn with room to move about, clean shavings, and soft hay to munch while the rain and wind dance outside!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Our horses don't seem to mind the wind as long as they are blanketed, but they stay in during any kind of rain or snow. It is so much nicer when you have some control of the situation.

No matter where we boarded over the years it seems not one facility knew how to manage horses properly. Case in point;boarding at a barn where the owners knew nothing about horses, it was a hobby for a retired executive and his wife, our horses were left in the care of their barn manager. She was impossible to deal with,since she thought she knew everything there was to know about horses. Many times they weren't turned out,even on sunny days, because they might ruin the grass in the paddock, which was all important to this place, as the owners had a lot of gardens and wanted it to look like a showplace. The worst thing that I can recall happening there was, a horse who had been clipped was put out in the coldest dead of windy winter weather with no blanket, by the manager. The hobbyists were down in Florida for the season hob-nobbing with the elite of the horse world. Well the poor horse froze to death by the afternoon. Thank goodness we were no longer there. But their all important gardens are still beautiful.

Click your heels three times and repeat " There's no place like home".

Victoria Cummings said...

And that fancy barn probably charged a fortune to board there, didn't they? We went out and chanted "There's no place like home" three times. The wind blew like crazy and the sun came out.

Austin Maloney said...


Callie said...

I wish it was warm enough to rain here........It was below zero last night...Brrr!!!!!

Kerbear said...

hey this is my first blog experiance, and i also have a horse "in my backyard" lol we used to have 2 but we just lost tuffie a few weeks ago...heart attack we think. i was wondering how all this blog stuff works so if u could help me out and tell me how to do this i would greatly appreciate that...happy trails and God Bless!

Rising Rainbow said...

Well, horses may have lived outside for centuries but they were not meant to be closed into places like pastures where they cannot seek shelter when they need it. So I am right there with you. I'd rather have my horses in a barn where it's dry than outside where there is no option for them to seek shelter.

And for that matter, herd life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Life is brutal in the herd. It may be part of their instincts to seek out a herd but managed herd situations are much safer for horses than the ones they would seek themselves.

Ewa said...

Hello Victoria,
Srong wind brings anxiety as every element that shows the power we are not able to control. But in wind there is something more - I don't know what - maybe because it is invisible and you can not touch it? I guess that horses do not like it.
20 years for a horse is much, ha? I wonder what is that age in human years :)
Greetings from Poland,

Victoria Cummings said...

I'm glad that other horse owners agree with me about giving shelter. I was afraid I'd be called a wimp.

Ewa - That's an interesting idea about the wind. I think you have to be okay inside yourself to not let it rattle you.

Crotourism said...

Great blog...greetings from Croatia :-)

Heidi the Hick said...

Mine stayed in yesterday too. It was windy enough to pick up a sheet of plywood and hurl it across the yard into my dad's van window. Ouch. He opened the barn doors, took a look at the horses' unenthusiastic faces, and let them stay in.

We have a big two acre pasture, and a 100 x 60 corral which they stay in during winter. We don't have a shelter in the pasture or corral, and the north wind is brutal. They can hide behind the barn but sometimes it is just too much. I'm glad we have a barn for them to stay in.

They're tough little Appaloosas. We really want them outside as much as possible, but even they have their limits!

My old half Arab gelding spent a lot more time indoors in his last few years. He'd be standing at the barn door at 3pm. He was 21. It's worth it to take extra special care of the old ones.

My dad's a good sport. I'm lucky to have such a good keeper for my horses.

Autumn said...

I live in Kentucky and there are a lot of horses in the area. I don't have any horses but I often drive past many pastures and wonder what it would be like to have them. I don't get the chance to experience them up close and enjoy them. Your blog gave me that opportunity and I thank you. You are my link to experience how truly wonderful they are.

Pay Per Play Belen said...

You are brave to take on the challenges of horses now. I think I rode before I walked. I now have 3 wonderful boys, all from different disciplines. Promise comes off the racetrack here and he shattered his knee winning his race, Jefferson from my younger days of competing in the hunter/jumper arena and last but not least Cimarron came to me when my daughter got married and had children.(By the way they came named.) Two of the "guys" came from the Northeast where the weather was horrendously cold in the winter, I used to have to double blanket them in the winter, days we could not ride because it would freeze there lungs to work. We had to body clip them to help them not over heat when working and then so they would not stay damp to long and get a chill. NOW I live in the desert where there is beautiful sunshine, miles and miles of wonderful riding and WIND. I think these two think they have died and gone to heaven. The only time I have seen them use their shelter is during hail. My challenge with them now especially Jefferson so is the grandfather of the group is keeping him from overheating in the winter. He still gets his northeast winter coat. Hope everyone is enjoying their special four-legged friends.

Shirley said...

Guess you'd probably rather have the rain than the -40 weather we had here!(It's up to - 25 today)That's Celcius, not Farenheit. My stallion and three mares live outdoors for the present, the cold doesn't seem to bother them too much. Wind isn't a problem here as we live in a bit of a basin and the wind is usually higher up. I am looking forward to moving in the next month or so, hopefully to a place with a horse barn, with heated waterers. Right now I have to take the ice off their water 3 or 4 times a day, and of course the water freezes overnight; my strallion, Beamer, always plays with his water tub when it's frozen up, drags it around his corral. He makes me laugh; when he does something like that he always looks at me with a rather smug, look-what-I-did look!

luskvilleteresa said...

Hi there. I came upon your blog while trying to google an answer to the question, "why does my horse like the rain". And, is this common? During all rain my 3 year old Haflinger walks out of our backyard barn (always an open door) to stand in the rain, even during thunderstorms. Our 7 year old pinto pony usually joins him but not always.

In nice weather they spend about 4 a day just standing there resting in their stalls. Maybe its where they feel safe, or maybe because there's not so many bugs as in the small pasture. (I do pick up manure a couple times a week from the area within about 150 feet from the barn.) And I rarely find any manure in the stalls, which explains the lack of flies in my barn.

So, back to my rain question. I am thinking maybe my horse just likes the feel of it, cools him off, maybe he feels claustrophobic in the barn during thunder and lightning and wants to keep an eye on things, or maybe its just nice not to have the bugs around. I am pretty sure its NOT because he wants to be clean, because both my horses love to roll in the muddiest place near my barn entrance after a good storm.

Anyway, its summer now, and not quite the same conditions as when you were writing in January. But even in winter up here in Canada, my horses don't seem to go in to get out of weather much. I'm sure a part of it is that both Halflingers and ponys are pretty hardy in general. The only time I blanket them is during mid-winter on the coldest days and worst storms, once they have already grown their own shaggy winter coats.

Victoria Cummings said...

Pam - I use a spray called Mosquito Halt that Farnam makes and this gel called DeoGel to fit the no see 'ems. They really eat Silk raw on her belly, but these two products seem to have stopped them. As for rain, if the horses don't get too excited and run in the mud and slip, I'd say let them go out. Especially if there's a way to get inside some overhang or shelter if they want to. My girls can go back and forth as they chose from barn to corral to pasture and when it rains, they usually like to stay in the barn. But they like the idea that they could go out and they don't get antsy from being locked inside. Good luck with your horses at home. I'm sure you'll grow to love it!