Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Continued [Slight] Changes to the Dry Lot / Barn Setup

Finessing the setup of my barn/dry lot has been such a fun process for me. As I detailed back in November, the setup has been modified a fair bit since moving the horses home.

With the end of winter, I've separated Grif from Q and Stan yet again. This suits everyone better and guarantees each horse has sufficient resource access with as little stress as possible. They can certainly exist in one big space together, but they are all so much happier in their discrete areas. In fact, while I was resistant at first, I'll likely get Grif his own trough and trough heater for next winter so that they can remain separated all the time.

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The happiest, relaxed ponies munching on evening hay while alpenglow lights the distant mountains

The newest slight-modification is that I'm now leaving their stall doors open 24/7. I had dreamed of doing this from the very beginning, but was hesitant about it because of my worries that Stan would flit into a stall unannounced and cause one of the other two to panic and flee and injure themselves in the process. However, as time has passed, this worry became much less as we all became more accustomed with our routines at home. And so, for some weeks now, the horses have had the ability to be in or out of their stalls as they see fit.

At first, I worried that I had reverse-litter box trained them. They all wanted to make quite a mess of their stalls! UGH. Fortunately, this only lasted a few days before they realized that they liked loafing in their stalls and really didn't want to loaf in a mess of their own making. From that point on, they pretty exclusively use the bathroom in the dry lot and use the stalls for shelter and naps.

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The oblong circle visible in the stone dust on Grif's side is a low spot in the dry lot from where a hay feeder sat all winter. Because it puddles first during high precipitation events, Grif doesn't tend to use it as a bathroom spot. Once it drains less than half a day after rain stops), he tends to use it for rolling and naps.

I feed in the morning and evening. Almost every time I enter the barn, at least one of the boys is in their stalls. Often both of them! Q, who prefers a much closer social proximity despite her mareish ways, tends to stand right outside the stall Stan has chosen (which is usually the center stall these days) under the overhang. However, whenever the weather is really inclement (rain/snow + wind) each horse holes up in a stall for the duration.

In fact, it's kind of amusing to watch Griffin - who is most visible from the windows in my loft - turn tail and hide in his stall with every single strong gust of wind. Such a goober.

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Note Grif's copious buckets of water. A temporary solution while I devise the best trough setup for him.

The setup has been perfect for our topsy-turvy spring weather patterns. I haven't worried much at all about blanketing. I know the horses have amazing shelter options for when temperatures drop 40-60 degrees in less than 24 hours. As long as I make sure they have more than enough hay, I know they'll regulate themselves as needed with their shelter situation. Despite their shedding coats and the crazy temperature swings, I have yet to see clenched tail or shivering behavior from any of them!

This slight change seems to have made my already-happy horses even more content. If they weren't spoiled before, they're sure as shit spoiled now. It makes me so happy to see them so relaxed and happy day in and day out. 💙

21 comments:

  1. I love being able to have the horses run in and out of their stalls. Carmen and Irish often share so I'm fortunate that they get along so well. I pile the shavings in the morning in the corner so that they don't make as big a mess. I have seen Carmen leave her stall, go into Irish's stall, pee and then go back to her stall. The phrase 'cheeky mare' was invented for her.

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  2. That is my dream set up. Unfortunately the way they built the barn it isn't possible at our property, so sigh for me. Giving the horses the freedom to choose when to be out or in is awesome. We have lived here now just over 2 years and we are still always making small changes.

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    1. You have such a gorgeous property. I love all of your pastures and am really looking forward to the track you make. I wish I had more area to do that for my guys.

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  3. Great that you have a system now - I find I'm always re-jigging something with the horses, usually centered around Fred. lol. Fred is in, Fred is out, Fred is in overnight, etc. etc. lol It was so smart of you to put on an overhang and then have access to their stalls. My place needs some re-arranging this spring/summer (if it ever dries out!) as I'm getting tired of my current set up. Two horses get super fat, one gets bit all the time and doesn't get enough food.

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    1. Oh goodness, Fred! I hope you can finagle a new system when things dry out (they will!) that works for you all.

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  4. your barn continues to be goals. I'm glad you found a way to keep them separated and that it's working. Sometimes the bullying is just too much. And it's YOUR barn so you can rig the set up as you see fit which is honestly the best part about having them at home!!

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    1. I wish Q wouldn't develop such an intense complex when she has to share space with Griffin lol

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  5. How lovely! Amber is just like Grif. She grew up outside in Colorado, yet here in Vegas she hates being cold, hates the wind and likes being inside haha!

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  6. It's so fascinating how your horses worked things out for themselves, and also Griff sounds very cute running back to his stall all the time lol

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  7. Love your setup! It's so nice for them to be able to choose where they want to be/how much shelter they want to have.

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    1. It's been so interesting to see when they choose to be in vs. out

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  8. I would love to train my donkeys to not use my expensive stone for peeing and pooping (Those little turds are so hard to pick up anyway) UGH.

    I love how you have them separated I thought of doing that back when Tate was here as Remus woudl chase him from stall to stall!

    looking good!!

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    1. It must be a QH thing to give other horses crap and chase them between stalls. Stan is such a jerk about that.

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  9. love all the small little tweaks and optimizations you're able to make <3

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    1. It keeps my mind active during otherwise stressful times!

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  10. awesome that you can continue to play with this! They all look like very happy horses

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