Bad Ideas Around Horses

Bad ideas

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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, putting thought into the concept from the horse’s perspective is often absent.

The example I have here is the banking of shavings used for stall bedding. The idea is to add more shavings along the edges of the stall so that when cleaned, there is easy access to fresh shavings to replace the shavings removed with the waste. An additional benefit is a focus on 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.

However, banking the stall with shavings diminishes the flat living area for the horse. 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 a stall 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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