Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Trials of Horsekeeping at Home--Stall-Cleaning

I've had Gailey at home since September. I've kept her at home before, but it's been years. So far it's not been much of an inconvenience. Of course, my husband and me can't take off for weekend trips at the drop of a hat like we once did. Still, I'm fine with that. Think of the money we save.

When Gailey lived at home previously, she was the tidiest horse a person could ask for. She never made a mess in her stall unless it was raining hard enough to launch an ark. If nature came calling while she was eating hay in her stall, her head would shoot up and she'd be out the door, heading for the same corner of the paddock each time to her personal outhouse.

After years of being boarded in a stall with no attached paddock, she's picked up some annoying habits. The most annoying one of all is that she's turned into a pig. I mean a full-blown P I G. I'll spare you the gory details. She leaves messes all over her stall, including on top of her fresh hay and in her water bucket, even in her feed bucket.

In the past, if I stripped the stall of shavings down to the rubber mats, she'd stop making a mess because she didn't like laying down in it. Not so this time, she didn't seem to care. She'd turned into an equine pig pen.

I was at my wit's end and resigned to my fate which included cleaning her stall two to three times a day. On Thanksgiving I threw a bale of shavings in the stall, figuring that she'd completely soil it within hours.

Well, go figure, it's now three days later, and her stall is pristine. She's using the outside facilities, rather than the stall. I haven't had to clean it three times a day or even once a day. I'm not sure my reprieve will last, but I'm enjoying it while I can, however long that might be.

In the meantime, I'm off to the feed store for more shavings.


Anonymous said...

Hey Jami: I used to work at a stable and we sure our equine pigs I HATED cleaning their stalls it would have been easier using a front end loader!! And interestingly enough it was only mares that were like that. The boys were usually cleaner by far!!

Hoping that Gailey continues on in her reformed ways!!

Dreaming said...

Hmmm, maybe it just took her a bit of time to figure it all out and create her own hygiene plan!
I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Alison said...

Jami, I'm sure Gailey was testing out her new situation. Now that she knows it's going to be okay and it's permanent, she's taking pride. Has she adjusted to being alone? Or did you get a pasture pet?

TBDancer said...

I wish I could figure out just what it is that makes one horse Norman Neatsy and another one Porky Pigpen. My OTTB is the former, thank goodness. He poops in one spot, pees in the middle (because that's how he's built ;o) and even when the stall has gone a day or two without cleaning, his day sheet is nearly as pristine as he is. I know he's been in the stall because there are shavings in his tail, but he's a joy to take care of. I count my blessings--and hope Gailey is learning new ways.

Jaye Robin Brown said...

Funny - I have 4, two are messes, the other two (mother and son), both pile their biz in one corner of their stalls. Thank you!

HorsesAndTurbos said...

When I got my winter boarder last year, she was a pig at first...and my mare, miss neat & clean, forgot her manners, too. But then one day, they were neat & clean again.

Flash winter boarder is back, and to my dismay, she (and my mare) went piggy again. Yesterday, back to neat. I credit it to marking the stalls...they need to get every corner smelling like it's theirs :) Hope they stay neat!


jenj said...

I had a similar situation years ago with a stall-kept horse who suddenly got moved to a stall with a run-in for layup. The first month his stall was a mess, and then all of the sudden he started going in one neat pile outside in his run. Let's hope Gailey decides that outside is better, forever!!!