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Old 11-04-2006, 02:15 AM   #1
Mike
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Default How long do horses take?

Well, Etta arrived on Wednesday. She seems to be settling in well but Audrey is beginning to regret her arrival.

She seems to spend about 4 hours a day mucking out the stable, collecting the droppings from the field, feeding them (Snowy and Etta) and changing Etta's rug. Then, on top of the 4 hours, there seem to be other jobs to do -- Snowy has to have his hoofs treated for white line disease; the muck heap needs moving; the tack room needs tidying; goodness knows what...and she hasn't had the time for a ride!

So she hasn't really managed any work for some days and is thinking that it would be better to give Etta to a retirement home.

Surely a horse and a donkey don't need to take so much time.

How much time do your horses take per day? Is it possible to have a horse and still lead a normal life?

   
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Old 11-04-2006, 11:01 AM   #2
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Audrey will get a lot faster at it when she's more accustomed to the work and has her technique down pat.

It's been a long time since I had to muck out a box and pick up manure daily, but I did it with two horses that were 15 minutes' drive away, and still worked full time in the city, an hour away by train.

So it's possible. You just have to be disciplined about it.

What bedding is in the box? Does Etta have to be stabled? Or is she stabled because she gets more feed than Snowy?

It's a bit hard, not knowing how your setup works, but this is how I would do it;

First thing in the morning
Feed both Etta and Snowy. I mixed morning and evening feeds at the same time, to save time. I never damped my feeds down, and never had a horse with colic, but if Audrey wants to damp them down, do it just before you feed.

Change Etta's rug while she's feeding.

Pick up the poo in the paddock while the animals are eating their breakfast. This makes it a lot easier, because you don't have inquisitive animals wanting to 'help'.

Total time, 30 mins max.

When Etta's finished her feed, turn her out, and muck out the box. Total time, 20 mins max.

Evening
Mix the feeds for tonight and tomorrow morning

Put Etta's feed in the box.

Bring Etta in, and rug her while she's eating, after looking her over for injuries that may have been sustained in the paddock during the day.

Feed Snowy if necessary.

Total time, 30 mins max, unless Audrey wants to have some quality time with them.

Treatments
I always did any treatments while the horses were eating, if possible. Not only did it help to keep them still, but it saved time, which was always short.

My horses have always been taught to stand still, haltered but untethered, or even unhaltered, while I did anything with them. So I could change rugs out in the paddock, or do the rounds of up to seven of them at night, in the dark with a torch, rugging and treating whatever had to be treated while they ate their dinners. But my case was extreme.

Riding
I always rode before I fed, either in the morning or the evening. In the morning, if the horse is boxed, you have her there and available, and not muddy, so tacking up and riding is quick and easy.

In the evening, the horse is ready to be caught, so that saves time. You also then feed afterwards, and that always makes horses easier to catch and do things with.

I never catch my horses with feed, but there's always a feed of something after whatever I have to do to them, so they still come when called, even in a 40 acre paddock.

The muckheap
This is a personal thing. The paddock poo can often be distributed around the garden as it is picked up. If you're using shavings or sawdust in the box, the poo will need to be treated more like compost, because the sawdust or shavings will cause a nitrogen drawdown if used straight on the garden.

Not knowing how your setup is arranged, all I can suggest is to site it in a place where it won't have to be moved every week, but one that is easily reached from both the paddock and the box. Oh, and get a good quality, large barrow that is easy to wheel when full of poo. A builder's barrow with a rubber body (not metal) is probably best. You need to minimise the number of trips.

For picking up the poo in both box and paddock, I always use the tall, narrow, 20 litre buckets you see in bakeries, or can buy in hardware shops. They're carryable when full of wet paddock poo, and you don't have to make umpteen trips to the barrow or muckheap with them.

Hope this helps...

   
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Old 11-04-2006, 12:42 PM   #3
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I've never done full care as Zo (and my first horse) were boarded out but I have mucked stalls and of course done the normal grooming and stuff.

I think Anne has it right on the money that it's a matter of time and getting used to what chores need to be done and organizing the process efficiently for your particular setup...I do believe that Audrey will find that she things will take less time as she gets used to doing them...

I'm not a great stall mucker (it really is an art if you watch someone who's good at it) but I can do a stall in about 15 minutes--mucking and adding shavings.

As to the muck pile. At Zo's current barn, there is a large muck pile that is added to daily and a couple of times a year, Sandy (barn owner) has someone who comes and takes it away. Periodically--maybe once every couple of months--she uses the small tractor she has to kind of smush the pile up by coming at it from the ground level and pushing the muck up into the hill.

As Anne noted, if you are using wood shavings (vs. straw), the muck pile is basically trash--with straw, at least in this area, the mushroom people come and pick it up as it's apparently great for growing mushrooms...

Sandy doesn't pick the paddocks--there are 2 and they are about 8-9acres each--but she does mow regularly in the summer and she closes off the back paddock in the late winter/early spring. There are 6 horses on the property...

Tell Audrey to hang in there and give it at least a few months to see how it's going to work for her. I think it's probably harder starting in the winter because of having to rug up...

Speaking of rugs...what sort of blankie is she using? Over the last 15 years or so, blanket technology has changed quite a bit.

It used to be that Zo had ohhh 3-4 blankets at the barn...she had a heavy turnout blanket, a turnout sheet, a stable sheet and a stable blanket.

Now she has a turnout SHEET and a turnout blanket...that's it.

The turnout sheet (think of it as a windbreaker, a lightweight jacket) is a Rambo WugLight and it's a breathable waterproof sheet. Zo is not clipped so she has her full coat (she gets a nice dense winter coat) and she starts wearing the sheet when it gets down into the low 40's (farenheit).

She has the sheet on basically 24 hours--Sandy checks it daily. It used to be that people changed from a turnout sheet/blanket to a stable blanket when the horses came in at night but with the newer fabrics and blanket design, that's not common anymore as the horses are comfortable in their turnout sheet/blanket.

Zo's heavier turnout blanket is the Rambo Mediumweight turnout blanket--more like a coat for a human being--and she only wears that when the temps get down into the 20's (farenheit) and/or when it's icy raining or snowing and I tell Sandy to just throw it on OVER Zo's WugLight--easier for Sandy and the combo keeps Zo warmer.

What's nice about both Rambo blankets is that they are both breathable so the horse doesn't get sweaty--that's one reason why you don't really have to change blankets when they come in as the blankets stay drier and the horse does too...

As much as I like Zo's WugLight and Medium weight Rambo, I loathe the company that makes them--Horseware. They have an excellent product but have become very arrogant and have really lousy customer service at least here in the US--they are an Irish company so they may be better over your way. That said, I am hard pressed to find another blanket as good as theirs.

They are pricey blankets but well worth the money. Zo's Mediumweight Rambo is 9-10 years old and still going strong and while her WugLight is only about 2 years old, her earlier one lasted 5-6 years before I bought a new one.

Hmmm...I appear to have gone on and on and on...'-}}

Hope that helps...

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Old 11-04-2006, 04:15 PM   #4
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In a word, no. It is not possible to have horses and have a normal life, normal to anyone not a horseman, that is. It is doubly not possible to have horses in one's very home and have a normal life. By the time it's gotten to that stage one is no longer normal as defined by non-horse-persons and thus cannot by definition have a normal, also as defined by non-horse-persons, life.

Or one could put it the other way around --this is normal life and from now on yours isn't...
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Old 11-05-2006, 08:04 AM   #5
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Mike we have had two horses and now one.
They (she) live at home - we used to put shavings down as a bed but dont anymore- The mare is very happy wanders in and out of her stable ( couldnt do that with two) and takes about 90 mins a day to sort- both of them took and 2 hours ish - We have aTerraVac to hoover up the poo in the field on a weelkly basis which takes another couple of hours - as we bag the poo up for gardiners
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Old 11-05-2006, 11:53 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the advice.

We're using Aubios as bedding in the stable. At the moment we're only using a little over rubber matting but we think it will be quicker if we use a thicker bedding. Then we just need to use a shavings fork to pick out the lumps.

We also think we'll invest in a Rambo rug. We have a friend who uses them and they look really good. She often leaves the rugs on her horses for a couple of weeks if she's not riding them. She's had one of the rugs for 15 years and it's still in good condition.

We're told that coming in and keeping a warm rug on is much better than changing into a cold one. Well probably start with the Rambo supreme. Our friend has the 370g one so we'll probably go for that unless we get any alternative advice.

Part of the problem in cleaning the poo out of the paddock is that the grass is very long (a foot to eighteen inches in parts) but that will presumably be a temporary problem.

We need to stable the horses because the field is a steep east-facing slope. In the winter we may not be able to allow access to the field as it may be too muddy. For the past couple of nights temperatures have been -6C so that's another reason for stabling. However, we're hoping we can allow open access to the stables and they can come and go as they please most of the time. The evening before last Snowy asked to be let in to his stable but it still takes a little time persuading Etta to go in.

We have to limit Snowy's feed so we've decided to get a couple of hay bags to hold the haylage in the stables. We can arrange for Etta's to be out of reach of Snowy and we don't think Etta will go into Snowy's stable.

I'm hoping to run electricity up to the stable this week and put in some lighting. That should also make life easier in that we won't have to get everything done by 5pm.

   
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
Then we just need to use a shavings fork to pick out the lumps.
Ha! It doesn't work like that. The horse will wander around all night, so there will be lots and lots of little bits to pick up in the morning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
We also think we'll invest in a Rambo rug. We have a friend who uses them and they look really good. She often leaves the rugs on her horses for a couple of weeks if she's not riding them. She's had one of the rugs for 15 years and it's still in good condition.

We're told that coming in and keeping a warm rug on is much better than changing into a cold one. Well probably start with the Rambo supreme. Our friend has the 370g one so we'll probably go for that unless we get any alternative advice.
I can't comment on your climate or rugs, so suggest you accept the advice of a local.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
Part of the problem in cleaning the poo out of the paddock is that the grass is very long (a foot to eighteen inches in parts) but that will presumably be a temporary problem.
Not necessarily. Horses are notoriously difficult feeders, and will die of starvation in a paddock with apparently plenty of feed. One of the reasons is that long grass is rank and they don't like the taste. I know you have a steep slope, so slashing – which is what we would do here – isn't an option. Ask a local horseman what to do about the grass, making sure he knows you have a horse and a donkey, not cattle, on the paddock.

Quote:
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We need to stable the horses because the field is a steep east-facing slope. In the winter we may not be able to allow access to the field as it may be too muddy.
OK, then you have a different problem, one of keeping grazing animals locked up away from their natural environment. if they're stabled 24 hours a day, then you are going to have to deal with digestive problems and boredom problems. I live in a climate where horses are happy outside all year round, yet still develop stable vices if not treated appropriately. The best advice I can give is that you talk to local horsemen and farmers about how they look after their horses in winter.

   
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Old 11-06-2006, 01:44 PM   #8
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As I am sure u know Males are very difficult in stables with concrete floors as when they spend a penny on them they splash their legs - so wait until the bed is down and then wee all over it - my wife trained our gelding to spend a penny before he came in -
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Old 11-06-2006, 01:46 PM   #9
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Mike a handbell is good - to ring to get them in - they will come if its food time - with Mollchop
Peter
and watch the hay - they get very picky as well - and cut the long grass and take it away
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
mike: She's had one of the rugs for 15 years and it's still in good condition.
The best thing to do with any Rambo blanket is to get the "Rambo Wash" which is their own formulation and wash them in cool water and never, never, never, EVER!!! put the blanket in the dryer with the heat on...I just hang Zo's on a bush outside my patio door and they dry in no time. You could put them in a dryer if you have a non-heat setting like "air only"...


>>We're told that coming in and keeping a warm rug on is much better than changing into a cold one. Well probably start with the Rambo supreme. Our friend has the 370g one so we'll probably go for that unless we get any alternative advice.

Personally...I'd suggest--if!!! they both have fairly heavy winter coats--to get the WugLight and then perhaps the Medium weight rather than the Supreme but I don't know how cold and nasty it gets where you are.

Even if you get the Supreme, I'd still get the WugLight because it gives you more flexibility...I think the Supreme is only for when it gets really cold/nasty out and would be too warm for your basic cold day...if you get the medium weight in addition to the WugLight, then you can just throw the medium weight over the WugLight--also note that in addition to the WugLight, they make a medium weight Wug and a heavyweight Wug. I have the WugLight and the original Rambo medium weight...it's a bit confusing...'-}}


Additionally, I like the Wug design--comes up a bit on the neck and has a different closure mechanism than the other Rambo blankets--as I've found that it fits Zo better and she doesn't get shoulder rubs from the blanket...the design of the closure helps that I think...


>>I'm hoping to run electricity up to the stable this week and put in some lighting. That should also make life easier in that we won't have to get everything done by 5pm.

Oh yeah!!! Definitely will make things easier...

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