Since there is plenty of evidence of people ‘hoarding’ horses these days and not being able to adequately care for them in terms of feed, water, farrier, and vet work, yet they seem to eat fairly well themselves. What the heck?
Now we have 7 and we are seniors living on fixed income. While ideally we would like to whittle it down some, my volunteer work has made it impossible for me to sell, lend, or lease a horse. I know far too much about what could happen to a horse once out of my possession and control. Whether anyone agrees with me or not is immaterial. The only way these horses will leave my care is I will put them down.
Fortunately, we live in the Deep South where winters are usually fairly mild and summers are-while humid-aren’t as hot as the blistering heat of the Southwest. They live pastured 24/7/365-and barefoot. I rarely feed grain. They get trimmed and vaccinated. They’re fat and healthy-and my vet complains that if all his clients were like me, he’d have no business. We’ve talked about it-it seems that my natural approach to keeping horses results in healthier, happier horses. They’re also much cheaper on the budget.
I don’t have a lot of use for stalls-there are times when you need them, but not many. Basically, stalls are for the convenience of people-not for the welfare of horses. Horses are open space animals-they need to be with their own kind, able to see all the way around them in order to properly relax, able to move and nibble at their food 10 hours a day instead of 25 minutes, and walk up to 10 miles a day to get to water. A 10 x 10 space in solitude is horse solitary jail-and, in my opinion, is cruel. Oh, they’ll learn to adapt to it, but so do prisoners whose minds and spirits have been broken.
So how do I handle rough weather? Depends on what it is. Winter storms get varying responses depending on precipitation, wind, and temperature. They might get rain sheets, mid-weight turn-outs, or both. Plus they’ll get lots of hay-and they do just fine.
It’s possible to do this horse thing less expensively-I won’t say cheap-but letting them suffer should not be an option. If you can’t care for them-admit it and DO SOMETHING. Even if it means putting them down and burying them. Your pride should not result in their misery.