Category: Horse Care

Important Questions When Searching For A Horse Boarding Facility – Part 2

In my last post I talked about my ordeal finding a new horse boarding facility.  I thought the questions I asked might be helpful.

You can download the top 20 questions that were most important to me.

The obvious questions:

  • What type of board do you offer and what are the rates for each?  There are a number of possibilities  –  full service stall or pasture, self-service stall or pasture, pasture only, etc.
  • If you want a stall for your horse, how big are the stalls?  Most stalls are either 10’x10’ or 12’x12’.  The size of the stall should match the size of your horse.  A pony or small horse will do fine in the smaller stall, but a larger horse (say over 15h) would be better off in the larger stall.
  • How long are the stalled horses allowed outside each day?  Every horse needs some time outside either in a run, paddock or pasture.  Horses need daily exercise and they should be allowed to free graze for a few hours each day.  This makes for a healthier, happier horse.
  • How many horses are turned out on each pasture?  You want to make sure Lush green pasture and good fencing are a mustthat the pastures are not over grazed.  Depending on the condition of the pasture, a lush green pasture could support 1 horse per 1½ – 2 acres.  If there are more, the pasture should be supplemented with hay.
  • Are the horses pastured according to gender?  Some barns will have their pastures designated as mare or gelding pastures.
  • What type of grain and hay are used?  If the feed is not the same as you use, bring enough feed for your horse for a minimum of 1 week of feedings.  This can be mixed with the new feed and transition your horse slowly to the new feed.
  • If your horse is on a special diet, does the facility provide that feed?  If not, will they provide it and charge you the difference between the different feeds?  If you have to provide your own special feed, will the facility give you a discount on your board bill?
  • How many times a day do you feed?  Some boarding facilities feed twice a day, some feed only once a day, but I have heard of others that feed 3 or 4 times a day.  What ever it is, know the feeding schedule and what is being fed at each one.  Discuss any changes that your horse may need with the owner or manager.
  • What vaccinations or medical records are required to move in?  The most important and common health paper required is a negative Coggins.  You also may be required to provide a health certificate.
  • Is there an arena and what type is it (indoor or outdoor)?  Arenas are a big plus for me. 
  • Is there a round pen?  This gives you a small area to do concentrated training without worrying about being in the way of others in a large arena.  It is also great for lunging your horse or groundwork.
  • Is there a tack room?  It is nice to have a place to put your tack and grooming supplies on the premises.  I have come across a few places that did not offer a tack room.

Some not so obvious questions:

Trailer parking could be an extra fee

  • What hours/days is the boarding facility open?  I’ve found a facility that was closed on Sundays and I’ve found one that as only open from 8 am to 8 pm.  Both assured me that the facility was open if there was a sick or injured horse that needed medical attention.  Make sure you know the hours of operation.
  • Are there extra fees for services rendered by the staff?  This is an important question that is often missed.  Make sure you know what each fee is because they can add up in a hurry and make your reasonable monthly board bill prohibitive.  An example of what extra fees could be are for trailer parking, holding your horse for the farrier/vet in your absence, putting on/removing blankets or adding the supplements you provide for your horse.
  • Is there a wash rack?  If there is a wash rack, find out if it is indoors or if it has hot and cold water.  If not, they may have a specific place where you are permitted to wash your horse.
  • Does the gate need an access code to open?  Not all facilities have this.  If you decide on a facility that does, make sure you get the code.
  • Does the facility have a resident vet or farrier?  Some facilities like to use one vet or farrier and have all work done by their chosen professionals.  There is an advantage to this as it may reduce the cost of vet farm calls or get a group rate from the farrier.  You should be able to use your own vet or farrier at any facility, but make sure by asking before you move in.
  • Does the facility have a regular vaccination program?  This means that the facility sets up an appointment with the resident vet to vaccinate all of the horses, pull a Coggins, float teeth etc. at the same time.
  • Does the facility schedule trimming/shoeing with its resident farrier?  The stable I’m at now schedules all horses in 2 visits with its own farrier.  This can help keep the cost down.
  • Is there training/lessons available?  If not, ask if bringing your own trainer/instructor is permissible.
  • Are there accessible bathrooms?  This may seem like an odd question, but I looked at a couple of facilities that did not offer bathrooms to the boarders.  This could be problematic if you have children or you just had too much coffee before going to ride.

There could be questions that you may not even know to ask of the facility or your vet/farrier:

  • If the facility owner is the only one doing the work, how are the horses taken care of when the owner is sick or on vacation?  This may only be a problem with the smaller boarding facilities that do not employ additional help.  Even with the larger facilities, ask who will be taking care of your horses.
  • Can a friend bring their horse to ride with you in arena or trails?  Not all boarding facilities will allow non-boarding horses on the property for health reasons.  There are some very contagious illness that can sweep rapidly sweep through a barn.  I have seen a few boarding facilities that have riding memberships available.  There is a small fee per ride or per month and a yearly current Coggins must be on file with the facility office.
  • Are the arenas, wash racks, tack rooms etc available to all boarders?  I’veAsk about evacuation plans in the event of a natural disaster or fire heard of some facilities that only allow the full service stall boarders use indoor arenas etc.  If you are on a lesser board option, make sure you know what you get to use.
  • Will your vet go to this facility?  You can call your vet’s office to find out if there will be any change in the farm call fee.
  • Will your farrier go to this facility?  Ask your farrier if he will travel to the new facility.  If so, you need to ask if his rates will change.
  • Is there an emergency plan in case of fire, flood, etc?  This is a question most people don’t even think about until some act of nature hits them.  Whatever the cause, you need to know if there is action plan if your horses need to evacuate from the boarding facility.

You may have other questions that pertain to your particular needs.  If you do, write them down or add them to the list I provided  so you don’t forget to ask them when you visit a horse boarding facility.

Horse Chores For Your Springtime Checklist

Rex-Zeus-Feb2011It’s amazing how just a few weeks can impact the weather.  At the first of February, northern Oklahoma had it’s second ever blizzard warning.  Where I live, there was a record 25″ of snow.  Just a few miles north, there was a record setting 50″ and that area also set the record for the coldest temperature of -23°F.  There was snow for over 2 weeks, which is also out of the normal for Oklahoma.

Now, the temperature was close to 80°F today and the daffodils in my yard have been in bloom for about 2 weeks.  We had our first actual thunderstorm  just a few days ago.  Spring is officially around the corner!  So, it may be a good time for some spring chores.  Here are some chores that you may want to do.

At the barn:

  • Clean and condition your leather tack.  Make sure the leather is dry before applying a leather conditioner.
  • Inspect the leather for any cracks, cuts or splits.  Replace any leather that is damaged.
  • Go through your grooming kit.  Replace any tools that are broken.  This would probably also be a good time to wash your brushes.
  • Clean your clippers.  You can do this yourself or take them to a professional.  You can also have the blades sharpened at the same time.
  • Wash your winter blankets, if you are not going to need them anymore.  Store them in a dry place.  Most blankets come in a zippered plastic bag.  I have kept these to  store my blankets for the summer.  This makes for good dust free storage.
  • A warm dry spring day would be perfect to strip your stall completely (if you have one).  Let them air out for a few hours before you put bedding back in them.  If you have full board, this is probably done periodically through the year.
  • Give your trailer a good cleaning.  Do a thorough inspection and make note of any damage to floors/walls/ceiling/tackroom, worn tires, damaged lighting/wiring, etc.  Make a plan and time frame to get damage fixed.

For the vet:

  • Get vaccinations, if you haven’t already done so.  Check with your vet as to which basic vaccinations are recommended for your area.  Your vet may also have suggestions for additional vaccinations based on the age of your horse and also whether or not you show or trail ride.
  • Don’t forget to get the Coggins test.  A negative Coggins is required if you plan to show, trail Daffodils-Mar2011ride or take your horse to a riding clinic.  Most events want a Coggins that was done within a year, but a few require one that has been done within 6 months of the event.
  • Spring is also when I have my horses’ teeth checked and, if necessary, floated.
  • My gelding will have his sheath cleaned, if needed.

There is a multitude of chores that you can do in the spring.  This is just a small sample.  Plan a work day and make a list of what you want to accomplish that day.  If you don’t finish your list, add it to the next planned work day.  Don’t try to do everything all in one day . . . . your body won’t like it.

Ask The Tack Store To Stock Your Favorite Products

A few months ago, I stopped by one of the pet stores in my area that happens to carry a few horse products.  I buy my favorite hoof supplement from them because they are conveniently located close to my house.

On the way out, they asked if I found everything I needed.  I surprised myself (and my husband) when I said “No”.  They asked what I was looking for.  I told them I used the all natural Hoof Flex and that no one carried it.  I also used Absorbine Refreshmint as a brace in the summer.  This, also, was not carried by anyone in my area.   I told them about my favorite bath products and antiseptic spray I have come to love.

The store help wrote all of this down and said they would see what they could do.  They were trying to expand the horse products and appreciated my input.  I left the store thinking I probably would not see these products on there shelf.  I didn’t think the wants of one person would amount to  much for a big store.

I went to this store last week to purchase the hoof supplement again.  I always cruise the horse products looking for anything I may need.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  There on the shelf was not only the Hoof Flex I asked for, but also the Refreshmint!  I was stunned.

So, if you don’t see what you want at the tack, feed, pet store that you frequently go to, just ask.  The store may not be able to get the products you want, but you won’t  know if you don’t ask.  You’ll be amazed how well this works.  I was.

Prepare For Saying Good-bye

It ‘s coming up on 2 years since I lost Iggette.  You can read about her in a  previous post,  “Meet My First Horse“.  She was a 3 year old when she came into my life.  We learned a lot from one another.  She turned out to be one of the best teachers I have ever had.  Why am I reminiscing about her now?

Over the last few months, we lost 2 members of  our barn family.  The most recent was Brig.  He was a 31 years old gelding that had been at the barn since before I came over 20 years ago.  He was not a very big horse, but a very sweet guy.  Because of his  age, he found the play times of Dollar and Sonny too rambunctious.  He preferred to spend his days soaking up the sun and grazing.

Monday, I received an email from the barn manager.  She told us that Brig had spent the day at the clinic with colic.  As the day progressed, he did not improve.  His owners were prepared and made the decision.  Brig was laid to rest.  He will be greatly missed.

The other member of our barn family was not a horse but an owner who passed on.  She was not that old, in fact, she was younger than me.  She had been fighting cancer for the last year.  In December, she lost that fight.  Her horse left our barn and went to live in a friend’s pasture.

I am a firm believer that if you listen to your animals, they will tell you when it is their time.  We have to have the compassion and strength to make the decision to stop their suffering.  We have to be brave enough to go on without our friend.

As horse owners, we also have to be responsible and plan ahead.  Yes, I know no one wants to think of their own death.  But if you don’t plan, what will become of your horse?  Is your family prepared to take on the responsibilities that you found enjoyable and fun?  Are they going to be financially able to take on the care of a horse?

If your answers were yes at one time, have you asked them lately.  In these hard economic times, circumstances change.  What was once a firm commitment may now be a hardship.  Even if you had planned to donate your horse to one of the many great foundations, have you kept up contact with them to make sure that option is still open?

It might be a good idea to review your plans every year or two.  Discuss them with the people or foundations that you will be  entrusting your horse to after you are gone.  Make a will if you need to and update it as circumstances change.

This post is meant to make you stop and think. What would you do?  Are you prepared?

It’s Too Cold To Ride When . . .

When is it too cold too ride?  I have been asked that several times.  Unfortunately there is no concrete answer.  You will have to base your answer to this question on your region’s winter and also on you and your horse’s condition.  It also depends on whether or not you have an enclosed arena.  So since I don’t have access to an enclosed arena, I’ll just tell you when I determine it is too cold for me to ride in the Oklahoma winter.

It’s too cold to ride when the ground is frozen hard and has been for several days with no thaw in the near future.  Not only is the ground frozen but everything laying on top of the ground is also frozen solid.  Any sign of moisture is transformed into an ice rink and the occasional horse droppings have become small boulders.  Each have their own form of hazard if the horse steps on it.

It’s too cold for me to ride when the air temperature is below about 30°F or if the air is sparkling as any moisture is instantly frozen.  Between the extra under layers, the extra pair of socks and winter boots, the heavier gloves, the ear muffs, I just can’t move freely.  Just walking in this much garb makes me think of penguins.  Forget about trying to raise my leg high enough to step in the stirrup.  I just can’t enjoy riding if I’m wearing so much clothing to stay warm that I’ve added another 20 lbs.

It’s too cold to ride when the wind chill is 20°F or lower even if the air temperature is above freezing.  Having the breath ripped out of my body by even the slightest of breeze is not my idea of fun.  I imagine my horse is just as reluctant to work in these conditions.

It’s too cold to ride when . . . . .  my eyelashes start to have the frosted look.  My fingers and toes get numb just walking from the car to the barn.  My cheeks turn bright red and then purple from the cold in just a few minutes.  My nose runs from being so cold, but freezes before I can use a tissue.  My steaming hot coffee becomes an iced drink in 10 minutes or less.

Riding is supposed to be fun, even if you are training seriously.  If the winter weather is cold enough to be hazardous to you or your horse, why risk it?


When To Schedule Vaccinations For Your Horse

This is just a reminder that as I write this in early April, show season is around the corner.  You can’t show your horse in even the smallest of shows without a coggins test, which must have a negative reading.  Coggins papers are good for one year and are accepted within this time line for most instances.  Some of the larger shows may require a coggins test that is no older than six months.  Check the show rules for what is required.   If you haven’t done so, schedule a visit to the vet to get your horse’s vaccinations & coggins.  Now is the time to do it.

There are basic shots you should give your horse.  Different areas may suggest different combinations of vaccinations.  For instance, I give my horses flu/rhino, West Nile/EE/WE/VE/tetanus, and rabies shots.  If you are unsure of what vaccinations your horse needs for your area, ask your vet.

I would also suggest that if you have a new horse, have the vet give the shots.   One reason is that you may not know how the horse acts around the vet.  The vet & the vet tech handle all temperaments of horses every day and are better equipped to handle a rowdy patient.  Also, in case the new horse has an allergic reaction to one of the shots, the vet is right there to handle the emergency.

Keep your horse’s vaccinations & wormings up to date.  I know this is not the “fun stuff” but vaccinations are not the place to skimp on your horse budget.

Groom Your Horse Cautiously In Early Spring

Early spring snow viewed from my front doorIt’s the last weekend of March.  Mother Nature has teased us more than once with beautiful springtime weather.   This weekend did not qualify for that in Oklahoma.  We have had one doozy of an early spring snow.  In my area, that has been 4″-6″ of the white stuff.  The farther west you live has turned into as much as 26″-28″ of snow.  I know, some of you from the north are saying “Waaaaa, whiners”.

My horses have been shedding their winter coats for about a month now because of the warmer weather and lengthening daylight.  So, how much effort should be put into to removing the winter coat?  I have been grooming cautiously, using the curry comb as sparingly as possible so as not to loosen too much hair.  Then, I remove only what winter coat is already loose & laying on top of the coat.  This leaves your horse’s winter coat mostly intact for these late snows & low temperatures.My dog, Zeus, loves the snow

On the worst days, they also stay in a stall or in a paddock with overhead protection.  This gives their coats time to dry out.  Cold blustery weather & a soaked winter coat are not a good combination.  A thoroughly wet coat does not give much protection.  A drier coat provides a better thermal barrier against the elements.  My horses are not real happy about being penned up for very long.  But I now they are better off staying dry as long as possible.  As soon as the snow stops, they are allowed to go back out to the pasture to romp & play.

Is your area prone to late snow fall?  Is the temperature steadily rising or does it resemble a roller coaster?  You need to judge these for yourself.  Groom cautiously now.  Protect your horse from the last of the winter elements.  There is plenty of time to put the springtime shine on your horse.

Inspect The Barn For Your Horse’s Safety

I went to a seminar recently put on by my vet.  We were introduced to the 2 new vets that had just joined the team.  We were also reacquainted to the team that is behind the scenes; the office help, the vet techs who Loose fencing is a hazard to your horseaccompany each vet on calls and the barn manager who looks after your horse if he needs to stay for more intensive care.  I really appreciate each & every one of these people.  They do a great job.  A presentation was done by each of the 2 new vets.  One was on the importance of proper wound care.  I could go on for days about this subject because my horses have given me plenty of practice.  But I would like to talk about how you can possibly prevent some injuries.

Lord knows, both Iggette & Zip had their share of injuries.

Iggette had one injury to the left hind leg caused by a loose fence. The wire was down in one spot of her pasture and tangled in some weeds.  This happened all too soon after I purchased her.  Doctoring a leg & changing dressings is not what I envisioned for my bonding experience with my first horse.

A few years later, she caught her shoulder on an exposed nail head in the gate post.

Iggette also injured her front feet from pawing at the fence & getting caught on the barbed wire.  Each time this happened (twice on each leg), Iggette found herself in the stall with a cast for weeks while recovering.  I don’t know who disliked stall rest worse, Iggette or me.  Iggette NEVER liked being in a stall.  She walked circles the entire time she was confined.  This meant  ground in manure which was next to impossible to pick out.  It was just easier to strip it & start over with clean bedding.

Zip had a puncture wound to a hind pastern.  The vet said I was real lucky it didn’t cut a tendon.  Then just a few months later, she sliced herself on the under side of the jaw line.  This took about 30 stitches to close.  The cause of these 2 injuries were never found by either my trainer or myself.  We Dispose of any flood debris left in your pasturelooked for hours & did not find a spot of blood or the tell tale sign of horse hair on a fence post or tree branch.  Zip’s injuries were costly & required weeks of stall rest to heal.

With colder weather just around the corner, your horse may start spending more time in the stall.  You can prevent some injuries by just being observant of their surroundings.  Take time to really look over your horse’s stall, barn & pasture whether you own your barn or you are boarding.

Over the years, I’ve learned what to look for to make sure my horse’s environment is relatively safe.  I’ve listed a few of the things to look for below.


  • Hammer down any nails that have backed out of the wood.
  • Look for any loose or broken boards in the walls that need to be replaced.
  • Check the stall doors & latches to make sure they are working properly and the hardware is securely in place.
  • Make sure the bucket hangers are in good shape.  You don’t want to find your horse with the bucket as his hat or using it as a kick ball.
  • Keep the aisle clear of clutter.  A loose frightened horse and a cluttered aisle way are not a good combination.
  • Make sure the tack room & especially the feed room have a good lock on the door.  You don’t want your baby helping himself to a midnight snack.  An open feed room to a horse is like turning a kid loose in a candy store.  They just don’t know when to quit and more importantly . .  they won’t.
  • Check the fence charger to make sure it is working properly.
  • Check the electrical wiring for damage to the insulation.  Rodents (rats, mice & squirrels) will chew thru wires.  While most wiring is not in the reach of horses, frayed wires can be a fire hazard.
  • Check for leaks in the roof while it’s raining and mark them for repair on a dry day.  You really don’t want rain in the feed/tack room or over your hay storage area.


  • Walk the fence line of both paddocks & pastures to look for loose wire.  Look at the posts to make sure the wire is actually attached and not just hanging somewhere near it.
  • Make sure the gates are hanging properly.
  • Check for broken planks on board fences or broken fence posts.
  • If you have an electric fence, make sure the insulators are all in place and that the wire is not shorting out.  I had a little paint mare that would actually touch the electric fence everyday just to see if it was working.  If it was off, she would poke her head through the fence to get the grass on the other side.



  • Keep the trash picked up.  This goes for the barn also.  Blowing trash to some horses is the absolute most terrifying monster there ever was; even if the piece of trash is just a small candy wrapper.
  • Make sure to mow as necessary to keep the weeds down.  Tall pasture grass/weeds can hide a lot of potenial hazards.
  • If you have had really bad weather (heavy snow, ice, high winds, floods etc), check any trees on the property for damaged branches.  Dead branches falling from the trees can happen months after it was damaged.
  • Remove as much of the debris as possible.  Any debris that is allowed to stack up in the pasture can become the home for unwanted animals & reptiles.  This is a whole other type of hazard to your horse.

If you are boarding your horse, let the owner/mananger know of anything you find that is in need of repair.  You could even offer to help with some of the minor repairs.  If you own your place, fix the minor things as they are discovered and schedule a weekend to tackle the bigger repairs.  The sooner repairs are done, the safer the environment is for your horse.

In my opinion . . . . . It’s not if a horse will get hurt . . . . it’s just when and how bad.  Protect your baby, and your wallet, as best you can by just being observant.


The Effect of the Economy on My Horses

a good horse for the noviceThe floundering economy has touched the horse industry in so many ways.  My own personal concession is I had to sell one of my horses.  I did this last November (before Iggette passed) to try to cut the rising cost of my board bill as well as the vet bill.  I didn’t want to sell Princess (pictured) and it was a hard decsison to make.  Actually I was supposed to sell one when I purchased my gelding over 2 years ago.  I just didn’t ever get around to it.  Quite honestly if we lived on our acreage instead of in town, I wouldn’t have sold her.  But she has a very nice owner who decided to stay at the barn where I am, so I get to see her all the time.  After Iggette passed away, I was left with 2 horses.  Even with my board bill being reduced by 2 horses, the money crunch can still be felt.  I have made some small adjustments in my horse keeping to save some money.  Here are a few of the ways that I chosen to save money.  Please keep in mind that my choices may not work for you.  Make your decisions wisely.

1.  My boarding has fluctuated over the years.  For 4 horses, I changed all of them to pasture board only.   After selling Princess & Iggette’s death, I changed my board to pasture with stall rights for inclement weather.  This is cheaper than full board in a stall.  Not all barns offer this option, but a good choice might be a paddock with a run-in shed.

2.  My horses are school horses.  I receive a small payment each time one of them is used for a lesson.  This pays my farrier bill most of the time.  There are times when it’s been too cold or too wet to have lessons.  On those times, I have to supplement the difference from my pocket.

3.  Since I don’t actively show or ride the trails, I have my farrier trim my horses hooves.  I am lucky to have horses that have good feet and  I’m a big believer in barefoot is better.  Trimming costs less than shoeing your horse.  This is a truly personal choice.  You, with the help of your farrier & your vet, have to make your decision based on your horse’s needs.

4.  I worm my horses myself.  I use a paste wormer and shop around for sales.  Sometimes I buy from the catalogs or on-line and sometimes I buy from the local co-op.  When buying from the catalog or on-line, be sure to compare the cost + shipping versus the cost + local sales tax.  You may be suprised how close these can turn out to be.  Try to find free shipping specials.

5.  I give my own shots.  I have bought shots from both the local co-op & from my vet.  If you don’t use the vet, make sure to tell his office what vaccinations you have given your horse.  This is to keep your records up to date.  I do not recommend this for the true novice.  You need to be trained on how to give shots.  Next time the vet is out, ask him to show you.  Also, check to see what shots are recommended for your particular area.

6.  If you have a trailer, haul your horse to the vet whenever possible.  This saves the farm call.  With the ever increasing fuel costs, the farm call fee is only going to go up.  Keep in mind that some vets also charge a mileage fee as well as the farm call fee.

7. I have owned mares for years.  I also don’t breed my mares.  I don’t have the added costs of  a pregnant mare or the cost of trying to raise a foal.  There are just wwwaaayyyyyy to many horses out there to consider breeding for one.  I can always find a good horse.

There are lots of ways you can cut your horse keeping costs.  The one thing to remember is to keep your horse’s well being in mind.

Secure Those Stall Doors

Even though Iggette is gone now, she still has lessons to teach.    Let’s talk about securing the stall door & gates.  Most people look at the latch on any typical stall and wonder how in the world can a horse open it.  Well let me tell you, Iggette was quite an escape artist.  She learned this little feat while at the first stable and continued it at other stables.

The small pasture I originally put Iggette in just didn’t work out as planned.  She was the only horse there and horses just don’t fair well by themselves.  So I moved her to a shed row with 3 large paddocks and each paddock was shared by 4 stalls.  Everyone who had stalls here rotated paddock time.  Iggette had other horses to visit and a mare next to her.  I felt like I had her in a pretty safe place.  The stall was big, it was in good condition, the stall door was a partial door so that she could stick her head out and socialize and the paddock was secure.  The stall & paddock gate had “horse-proof” latches, so I knew she would be safe.

I’m one of those anal types when it comes to checking & rechecking for closed & locked doors.  When I left everyday, I must have checked the stall door 5 times, the feed room door 10 times and the paddock gate 20 times.  I absolutely wanted to make sure that my horse came to no harm through my carelessness.  Can you imagine the shock I felt one day when one of my friends called me at work to say my horse was out.  Not just out of her stall, not out of the paddock, but out in the open field!!!!  This field had no fence and it was only a few yards from a busy street.  I rushed from worked to the stable.  As I drove up the long driveway, I saw my friend out in the pasture trying to coax Iggette AND her friend to come to her.  I went to the tack room and got a bucket of grain.  If Iggette was anything, she was a chow hound.  I just knew she would come to me with this temptation.  To my surprise, Iggette thought much more of her freedom at the time than what her belly would normally tell her.  Everytime I got near her, she would turn tail & sprint off in the opposite direction.  Remember I told she was hard to catch and she was certainly living up to that on this day.

I talked with my friend while trying to catch up with these two.  She told me she didn’t know how they got out.  She came out to feed her horse which was in the paddock next to mine.  She noticed that my horse was not anywhere to be found.  She looked for her and just happened to catch a glimpse of her through an alleyway between our shedrow and the one behind us.  That’s when she called me.  Since we weren’t having much luck trying to catch them, we changed out tactics.  We decided to try to herd them into a semi-enclosed area.  There at least, we might have a chance putting a halter on them.  Funny how things work out.  Iggette led us right into the alleyway and actually caught herself.  I was quick to put a halter on her and my friend caught the other horse.

I put my horse back in her stall.  The other horse, we just left out in the paddock since it was her time to be out.  Iggette had another idea.  I was standing not far from the stall talking with my friend, all of a sudden Iggette’s stall door flew open.  Iggette promptly walked out and went over to her mare friend.  She actually herded the mare back into her stall & closed the door on her.  She didn’t lock, just pushed it shut.  Then she returned to her stall and closed her door.  My jaw just about hit the dirt.  My friend & I looked at each other in total amazement.  How did she do that?!

It was time for a little investigative work.  I locked Iggette’s door and all of the others in our paddock area.  In no time, Igggette’s head popped over the door and started jiggling the latch with her lip.  You’ve seen how a horse will curl their lip when you scratch just the right spot, well that’s what her lip looked like.  It was only about 30 seconds later and she was out of her stall.  She went next door and got her lip working over that latch.  Soon, her friend was out and they both went over to the gate.  Iggette once again got the lip going.  Fortunately for us, I had figured out where she was going and just got to the gate before it too went flying open.

An escape artist had been born.  Now the hard part was going to figure out how to keep Iggette in her stall and keep her safe.  We start with making sure the “horse-proof” latches have a way to lock it closed.  Get a swivel snap or double ended snap & secure the stall door latch.  A simple $2 piece of hardware can give you piece of mind.  It may be more of a pain to the open the stall door, but wouldn’t you rather have a friendly face meeting you at the stall instead of you meeting your worst fears opening an empty stall?