Bad ideas

Bad Ideas Around Horses

Every now and then I see a “bad idea” with good intentions on a horse farm.  Usually the idea springs from the mind wanting an easier way of doing something.  However not much thought is put into the idea from the perspective of the horse.

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Every now and then I see a “bad idea” with good intentions on a horse farm.  Usually the idea springs from the mind wanting an easier way of doing something.  However not much thought is put into the idea from the perspective of the horse.

The example I have here is the banking of shavings used for bedding of a stall.  The idea is to add more shavings along the edges of the stall so when it is cleaned there is easy access to fresh shavings to replace the shavings removed with the waste.  An additional benefit is the focusing of adding new shavings to one day of the week rather than adding the work to the daily schedule.  A good idea because of the increased efficiency of the barn work.

The bad side of this idea is clearly seen in the image where the area that is flat for the horse is greatly diminished.  Having a stall that is 12 x 12 feet or 144 sq ft (3.6 x 3.6 m or 13 sq m) is small enough but now the area used for movement in the stall is reduced to 6 x 6 or 36 sq ft (1.8 x 1.8 or 5.8 sq m) – only 25% of what the had if the stall was not banked with shavings.  The horse now is in a standing stall with little opportunity for movement other than twirling in the stall.  Horses can’t even go to their window if they have one.  

You might be tempted to say that banking the stall walls prevents the horse from becoming cast but an equally effective preventive measure would be to add casting rails to the stall walls.  Banking the stall with shavings is a bad idea based on laziness masked as efficiency.

Here is another bad idea I have personally seen.  A horse owner was unsuccessfully treating his horse for a chronic skin condition by covering the horse with used motor oil – nose to tail.  Sometimes I am shocked by the ideas of horse owners.

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