As a caretaker, you want to provide the best possible care, whether your caring for humans, equines, animals, or nonliving things. I get that, and we strive to do so on our farm. Some people take it to the next level, purchasing custom, top-of-the-line equipment and supplies for their steeds. I’m cool with that too. Every horse (and their human) deserves to be spoiled a little bit here and there. But you won’t necessarily see top brand names or very expensive tack and equipment at our farm, and for a very good reason.
My horses love to destroy things.
Now, before you start jumping to conclusions and siding with the horse, (who wouldn’t, when gazed at by those innocent-looking puppy-dog eyes?) let me preface the rest of the post by saying this. Yes, our horses have plenty of access to forage, exercise, and attention. Sometimes, I think they just get bored. Regardless, here are a few of the latest phases our horses have gone through and their victims.
After spending quite a bit of money and time on our barn renovations, we were pretty excited about moving the horses over into their new stalls. At first, they seemed excited too, looking out the back windows, sticking their heads out the front windows into the aisleway, and enjoying the fresh air from the fans. But then they decided to put their own marks on the barn. Teeth marks. If beaver impersonations were what they were going for, they aced it. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Not only can the horses not appreciate their new stalls, some of them (ahem, geldings in particular) have now learned how to open their neighbor’s door via the stall window. (Cue “Run Free” soundtrack from Spirit.) I’ll give them credit for mastering the door latches quickly, however, that wasn’t the purpose of the windows in the first place. What happened to just sticking your head out the window and enjoying the fresh air?!
Some of our horses just simply like to chew. It doesn’t matter what it is — a lead rope, bucket, your t-shirt, maybe even the dog as it walks by— they just like to chew.
Solution: Keep everything out of reach, and if it’s a stationary surface, add cayenne pepper.
We’ve also had our fair share of blanket destroyers. Apparently a certain number of requirements must be met for the horses to keep said blankets on and in one piece. If they’re really on top of their game, they’ll even remove the lining and stuffing for you. Fly sheets and stable sheets aren’t safe from harm either.
Solution: Well, we haven’t really found a solution for this phase per say. But instead of getting the high-dollar winter blankets, we typically wait until blankets go on clearance at Big Dee’s or Chicks Saddlery and replace the destroyed ones, or buy used blankets that are still in decent shape. And we also keep plenty of elastic leg straps in stock.
Does anyone else have a horse who likes to turn their bucket into a horse toilet, scratching post, or just seat in general? Our buckets have morphed into many different shapes over the years, to the point that sometimes no matter what you do you just can’t get them back to their original form. We also have one gelding in particular who’s goal (no matter where the bucket is in the stall) is to fill up his bucket with manure. Every day. Sigh.
Solution: Lately we’ve started pulling feed buckets back out of the stalls once the horses are done eating. This at least preserves them from the occasional rump scratching. The water buckets, however, are on their own.
Those are just a few examples. I could go on, but then I wouldn’t have time to actually fix everything!
Are your horses natural destroyers?