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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-11-2006, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Advice Wanted

I lease a horse at a barn, where I ride, volunteer, and go to summer-stay-over-camp. In doing so I joined the 4-H Home of the Clovers. However, I suppose I have been naive, but recently I found out that many things are VERY wrong with my barn. I didn't really know how barns should be worked and how horses should be treated, so finding these things out was heart-breaking since I was under the impression that the barn was a great place. I love it dearly, the people who I am constantly surrounded by are wonderful, but I know there is work to be done. We have 22 horses, 21 stalls, 2 of which are box stalls and one stall is an indoor-outdoor "stall" and it houses two horses together, even though these horses just met about a week ago and one is not too kind. The rest of our pitiful 19 stalls are tie-ins. As in, they are about 5 feet wide, 8 feet deep and the horses are just that, tied in. They are conected to the stalls by their halters with a rope. I don't know what to do to help. I ALSO found out that we (meaning the people who manage the barn)... "recycle animals." Since the farm is also a place where children come on weekends to see the animals, learn about them, and pet them (chickens, pigs, goats, cows, sheep, rabbits, ponies, a miniature horse, and the full-grown horses) the people who run the barn are under the impression that the animals should be adorable little babies. What ends up happening is: every year about this time we send the cows and pigs to slaughter houses and are given babies of each species in return. I need a home for the 3 pigs, they are loving, sociable and adorable. Though large, they LOVE human contact. Any pushing or nibbling is surely done out of love. ANYWHO! The reason for writing this big-long explanation instead of a short one was partially due to boredom (I'm babysitting at the moment) and partially due to the fact that I love and respect my barn, so I thought I should tell a bit about it instead of simply saying "3 pigs need home, sociable and loving" that would make it too needy, but in essence that is exactly what I need to do. So! If you live anywhere near the Chicago-land area or Illinois, contact me through e-mail or message if you have a place for my 3 sniffy friends. Anyone who doesn't live around here, please help! I need any and all suggestions that I can give to the people who run the barn.

I realize that maybe only 2 people will have read this far, so, I give you props! I doubt I would have read this much.

(P.S. Only the pigs need a home, the cows have one [YAY! ])
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 06:55 AM
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Advice... pushing, nibbling is not neccessarily done out of love. That would be where we try to humanize the animals. Alot of barns and farms have that "recycling" system and whatever motion I have, I try to stay out of it. I know pigs can make good pets, but I've also seen what else they can do. Now as for tying a horse up in the stall that small...thats another issue. Personaly I dont agree on it- it invites trouble like weaving, cribbing and anti-social behavior. Horses are designed to graze, meander in the pasture and socialize. They have to be worked - I call it play -time- so to tie them up like that over extended periods of time is not a good idea in my humble opinion. Unfortunately most people dont know how to socialize with horses correctly and are intimidated by their size, so they tie them up to " have more control". Learn all you can in clinics about training in a natural way and maybe start slow to practice what you learn and show others in the barn and also visitors how to handle 1100 pounds of potential attitude. To love an animal- any animal - you have to be the "alpha" and lead them- extremely just and fair- and at the same time let them be who they are, wether its a horse or a pig or any other species. So you dont attach "human" feelings to them - that would be to try to turn them into humans. Cant be done. You dont try to turn a cow into a horse either. Thats where the respect for the species comes in. Love them for who they are. As for how to run a barn. Even here they have clinics for that. Nothing is perfect and as you learn you will notice that, but to learn all you can and as people see that to give advice as is asked for - thats when we can make changes. You may not get the answer you want to hear, so be prepared for that also and learn from that too.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-02-2006, 06:15 AM
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Knowledge is definitely power. To properly love, respect and care for the animals we come into contact with, we definitely have got to understand their species.

As a horse owner myself, I feel for those horses who are tied up. Do they get any run time at all? That's what horses do ... they run and LOVE to do so! Read, read, read as much as you can about the animals that you are attending to and you will be a great example to the rest of the folks you are working with, on how to attend to each animals' needs. In addition, you will be able to better answer your own question about what you can/should do to improve the barn conditions.

I am clueless about pigs so I am sorry to say I can't help out in that area. My hubby is more horse savvy than I and spends his time researching them. Me, I am a bun-slave to the nth degree, I have one who is treated like a queen and will be adopting/rescuing more. So when I saw that rabbits are a part of the barn animals, I immediately wanted to ask ... what happens to the bunnies when they are no longer babies?

Talk to you soon and good luck with this situation.

Mimi
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-02-2006, 05:02 PM
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I just adopted a Katrina horse that was supposed to go the the slaughter. He is still a stallion at 4 years of age, but pretty underweight- we have to put at least 300 pounds on this boy before I even consider cutting him much less work with him. Still- I am ALWAYS on alert when I play with him, knowing what a stallion can do. Now- I have seen how people get when they "just read" and not see in reality what a horse is cabable of and how to handle it, that is why I said go to clinics also. You are right- knowledge is power. A majority of people is very visual and also its different to read something and get to know a animal and trust it too fast without knowing its history or little "quirks" and then get yourself in trouble. I agree that horses love to move- not always run, but move. And alot of horses -or other animals for that matter- have been so spoiled that the manners and respect went out the window. How to teach a horse manners and respect? Its not by beating it into him as I all to often see, but by understanding. There are alot of good trainers that can help you understand and learn this new language. Go in with an open mind and keep a good sense of humor and I believe you will get alot more back in return
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