From stall cleaning preferences to turnout and feeding routines, every stable has its own unique way of doing things. Lila Gendal contemplates the differences of opinion.
When I was a teenager I remember curfews, chores and rules that only applied to our family. I had to be home by a certain time on weekends, I had to help around the house, and there were certain obligations I had. We’ve all heard of the following phrase, as long as you’re living under my roof, you’ll obey my rules. Well, same goes with farms. Haven’t you ever noticed that every farm does the same exact chores differently? Is there a right way, a wrong way, or does all this madness boil down to preference?
Cleaning Stalls. I have been around my fair share of barns, and have cleaned more stalls than I can recall. I find it fascinating how many different techniques and strategies there are to picking up manure. You would think it would be simple, and all barns would follow the same sort of routine. Let me tell you, there are a plethora of different stall cleaning routines out there. Some people are extremely picky and want the stalls banked over two feet high, with two more feet of fresh bedding on the floor. Others are less stringent and just go for the basics. Some barn owners want their stalls swept in 3.6758 inches, while the bedding must lay perfectly smooth. Again, it’s all preference.
Turnout. Again, you would think most horse farms would fall under the same, or a similar category regarding turnout. NOPE…WRONG. Every barn has different turnout routines. Some people say the following: Summertime means horses in during the day, and out at night. Wintertime means horses out during the day and in at night. Some people have their horses turned out 24/7, while others have their horses inside all the time. Some people have their horses out from 5 a.m. until 8 a.m. in the summers, inside during the hottest part of the day, and back out for a few hours at 7 p.m.
Feeding. How many times a day does your horse eat grain? Once, twice, three times? Every farm is different. Some farms load on the chow, while others are more conservative, depending on the group of horses they are feeding. Also, feeding times generally varies from farm to farm. At Tamarack, we feed around 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., more or less, every day. Some people don’t feed at the exact same time every day because they don’t want their horses expecting to be fed at a certain time. What do you think: Is it better to be scheduled with feeding, or to be more random?
Not one single farm is exactly like the next one. Every barn owner, barn manager, and employee has his or her own system. There is no right or wrong way to run a farm, but rather there are routines, and systems that best fit individual needs.
My name is Lila Gendal and I am 27 years old. I am from Vermont and have been riding horses since I was 6 years old. I have been eventing since I was 10. I have been riding and training with Denny Emerson for the last 7 years. My goal is to compete at the upper levels someday. I currently have a 2005 Holsteiner mare, “Valonia” (Contester X Parlona), who is currently going training level, and I am riding one of Denny Emerson’s horses, a 2005 Selle Luxemburg gelding, “Beaulieu’s Cool Skybreaker” (Beaulieu’s Coolman X Une Beaute by Heartbreaker) who will be moving up to training soon! When I am not on a horse or in the barn I am likely working in my office on what I like to call Equine Media… or social media for equestrians and equestrian websites.