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- ArborealEquine - 10-06-2007

Originally posted by Saddletramp

My horses are in the barn at night, but not for human-related security reasons. I usually have an older horse or two here, and the one has beginning signs of cataracts. He does not appear to feel secure enough to lay down at night if he is outside. The other reason that my horses are in the barn at night is predators. While the largest predetors that we have are coyotes, they WILL run the horses, or the horses will run THEM. I don't want to go out some morning and find that the horses had been run thru the fence.

Bringing them in at night allows for individual feeding and no chance of fighting over feed. Yes, they *could* go back out after feeding, but for the reasons above, I keep them in at that point.

At least in our area, reducing exposure to Potomac Horse Fever is another reason for stabling at night. They finally nailed the vector for the disease - the pathogen lives in snail larva, and is picked up by dragonfly/damselfly nymphs when they eat the snail larva. Then the adult fly dies and falls in forage/fodder and your horse swallows it with the hay - and you end up with a seriously, possibly life threateningly sick horse. Vaccine is only so-so effective at prevention, so now the recommendation is to keep horses indoors at night and reduce/eliminate any outdoor lighting around the stable to prevent attracting the flies during hatches. They recommend that you check with local fly fishermen since they are well in tune with the timing of the hatches. Serious stuff, since PHF has a 30% fatality rate. We had a serious scare with Bear 2 years ago - the vet really thought it might have been PHF initially, but turned out to be a nasty reaction to a tick bite.

- mtn rider - 10-06-2007

Wow, never heard of P H fever, what area is this in?

- ArborealEquine - 10-06-2007

Originally posted by mtn rider

Wow, never heard of P H fever, what area is this in?

It was first identified in Maryland in 1979, but it's recognized throughout the US now. There was a cluster of cases in Minnesota that coincided with big mayfly hatches that helped researchers pin down the way it spreads. Most horses respond if treated early - tetracycline is the drug of choice.

Here's a 2 page explanation from U of MN -- http://www.cvm.umn.edu/img/assets/9385/Potomac%20Horse%20Fever.pdf

- EZ2SPOT - 10-06-2007

Besides Potomac Horse Fever, keeping horses inside at night cuts down on their risk of mosquito bites, which, in turn, should lessen the risk of other mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile and EIA. My horses are vaccinated against West Nile (although no vaccine is 100% effective), but there is no vaccine for EIA, so I think it pays to be careful and keep the exposure to mosquitos as low as possible.

We have coyotes here, but they so far have not bothered the horses. Loose dogs are another story. There is a hefty fine here for letting dogs run loose, so what to people do? Just turn them out at night, when they figure nobody will be the wiser!


- Hook - 10-06-2007

AE; Thanks for the link. Mrs Hook says (she know these things) there has been some cases in PHF in Southern Ontario as well.

RE: - Warrior Horse - 03-16-2021

(09-27-2007, 09:00 PM)puddleplasher Wrote: Well, I'm still learning too, but here's my take on some of these:

->Does a horse know when to stop eating? can they eat too much?
Some horses do know when to stop eating, but some don't. Especially for yummy stuff like clover, fresh green grass, or grain. Overeating these things can cause major immediate and lasting health problems, so the safe assumption is to assume that NO, horses do not know when to stop eating.

-> I know they lay down to sleep but can also sleep standing up out in the field?
Yes, horses can get sleep standing up. There was an article recently (in Equus maybe?) that said that they only get deep REM sleep when laying down, but that most horses didn't seem to need that as much as people and did fine if they got that kind of sleep for just a few hours every few days, and got the rest of their sleep in the lighter, standing-up mode.

-> Should they always have fresh water to drink at their disposal?
Yes, that's best.

-> Do they know to get out of the sun, white horses do they sunburn?
Yes, white horses can sunburn especially where the hair is thin, like on the muzzle, and no, they probably don't know any better when to come in out of the sun than people do. [Smile]

-> Is it okay to leave the horses out all the time? and let them come into the barn at their own free will?
I think the main issue with leaving horses out all the time is making sure they have some way to get out of harsh weather if they want to: some sort of windbreak especially, though overhead shelter from rain is nice too. If they have those things, they can stay out, and might even prefer it.

-> Do all horses get along with each other? I often see fields of horses but some are together and others are seperated?
Not all horses get along with each other. Any group of horses will establish a pecking order among them, and inevitably some horses will end up on the low end -- sometimes the owners of those horses prefer to keep them separate rather than have them marred with bite marks or skinny from being driven away from choice feed.

-> Is it okay to feed horses like apples, carrots etc or shud that just be for treat time?
I'd say those things are treats only, not a regular diet for horsies.

-> Do you guys alwys have a halter on your horses? I guess its a preference? I've seen some with halters in fields an;d someone with a bridle over a halter?
In the field, I generally take the halter off unless I'm watching or planning to re-catch the horse shortly; the idea being that the halter can't catch on anything and hang up the horse if it's not there. For riding, a bridle over a halter is common on trails because then if you need to get off and tie the horse to something, you can tie them with a leadline to the halter instead of to the bridle. Some people even loop the lead line around the horse's neck and back to the halter as a second set of "reins" in case something happens to the real set while on the trail.

I'm sure others will have other insights...

Yes horses can sleep standing up its pretty much a ligaments, tendons, and muscles  in their knees that locks up (not at given times it locks up when they want it too) and they sleep that way the joint is called "The stay apparatus is a group of ligaments, tendons and muscles which "lock" major joints in the limbs of the horse. It is best known as the mechanism by which horses can enter a light sleep while still standing up" had to search it up couldn't remember what it was called.