Some of you asked about how the stables were kept at the Slieve Aughty centre. Well if I can first correct, it's a yard, not the stables. Hehe.
Standing up the hill at the sand arena you get a pretty good view of everything. The barn strait ahead, front and center is two sided. Horse stalls on the side facing us and ponies on the other. The taller barn with the three skylights has five bigger stalls for the horses that escape out of the chained ones.
Every morning the horses are fed hay outside their stalls which are shut with chains.Left to right: Jack, Collin, Portus, Dynamite, Pearl, Troni, Tessa and big Stormy.
They stay in all night, a few ponies sneak out under them so they are tied with long leads. A few horses walk through them so they stay in stalls with solid doors in the other barn. Other than that they are mostly airy and roomy. Each stall had a skylight over it so it was very bright inside them. No one does that here, it's such a good idea and saves electricity.
They can poke their heads out as they please.
Their hay and water is placed outside the stalls. It's kinda nice not having to worry about your horse pooping in it's bucket and not having water for the night.Pearl eats some left over hay.
The feeders were cool. Each stall had a feeder built into the wall. Don't have to worry about horses destroying buckets.
Pearl also searches for remnants of breakfast grain.
Because of the high cost of bedding over there and the floors in the stables being cement they clean their stalls a little different than here. Jack models a thickly bedded and banked stall.The stalls are banked really high on all the walls with shavings. Only the manure is picked out and some of the shavings spread over the top. Now everyone asked me if the ammonia smell from the urine was bad and the answer was no, it smelled clean and offered a very thick bed for the horses to lie on rather than cold cement. The stalls are gutted a few times a year.
The horses are turned out daily in paddocks at various walking distance places around the farm.
The paddocks are interesting. Here you would find wooden boards and fence posts laced with electric fencing here 99.9% of the paddocks are stone walls. Stone walls covered in vines with holly, gorse or other bushes aiding the stone walls that have likely been around longer than most of the trees in the woods around them.Dalin front, Babe left and Manray right. Dalin was not actually in a paddock but rather mowing the lawn.
The stone walls are so neat looking. I thought for a moment "What a good idea, I bet we could make one of those with all the rocks out of the paddock" Then I actually thought about it and considered that once I got about 4 feet built I would likely cuss, kick the dust and toss that idea in the trash. It would look neat though. Maybe one day.
I love the idea of the openness of the whole barns. Now I am not a person who likes horses in stalls; horses gotta be horses. However if I were to build a barn I love their skylight/outside and open deal. Lots of air and less confining to the horses. It's almost a culture shock to see how different the ways the horses are kept. They were a lot more peaceful than the horses around here kept in barred stalls with no way to look around and develop stereotypies because of it.
What a wonderful place for both horse and human.