Thursday, May 27, 2010

Keeper of the stable...err yard.

I got back from Ireland Monday evening. It was a long trip but the flight was wonderful. I flew continental and I couldn't say enough things about the wonderful service there. No worries on the ash cloud from the volcano. The flights are actually a few hundred miles from the flight path. An attendant pointed out they had flown much closer to thicker ash clouds and thought they were too worked up about this one considering you couldn't even see it at all.

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.

Big Stormy looking around for his breakfast.

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.


Meghan said...

Wow, that is a gorgeous setup. I love the stone walls. So much prettier than wooden fencing. Or electric.

Those open fronted stalls are nice for ventilation and I like how they can't mess up their food and water. But my horse would duck under that little chain. Or go through it.

Cathy Clementz said...

First of all, welcome home! 2nd, thanks for that photo tour and all the info. When I saw the first photo that showed inside their stall, I thought they don't clean their stalls out very well, but then you explained in another photo how it is banked up on purpose, etc. Suppose their ideas would catch on over here? Or maybe they have in places? What a wonderful experience you have had!

juliette said...

I love the posts you did from your trip. I am forwarding the info to Brian, my husband! Could a trip there be in our future?
Thanks for sharing all your photos and stories. I am still working diligently on the Bit to Bitless story for you. Too much riding these days! Hooray!
Love the stone walls - like you I wish I had them here!

Shirley said...

Welcome back! Sounds like it was a grand holiday for you.
The racetracks I've seen in Alberta all use the chain across the door, open concept.

from my front porch... said...

Welcome home!
Isn't it interesting to see how things are done elsewhere!
We have skylights in the barn and yes, they are wondeful! Very easy to do. I never use the lights in the barn except at night.
Our horses could not live outside full time. No way. At the end of the day, all are waing at the gate.
Three of them would literally colic themselves, if left outside.
Our coyotee problem has escalated, too! Just since Sunday we have had five of them luking around. They are such a menace!

I hope you will treat us to more pix! Did you come home with an Irish accent?! HA!
xo, misha

Beth said...

I love to see how horses are kept in different areas of the world. Those walls are beautiful! I would love to see Abby try to bust through that. lol

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Welcome home! Thanks for sharing the photos and info about how they do the stalls and fencing over there.
I do wonder how the contain stallions and/or jumpers, though. Do they use the stone walls still for jumping over while fox hunting, too?
I also wonder how they keep those inside feeders clean if they aren't able to be removed.

Love the skylights. Always have had them in our houses we've owned. I don't know why the previous owners of our house didn't install them in our barn, though. It would have been especially nice now that the gophers have chewed through our electric up at our barn and I can't see a dang thing in my tack room even in the middle of the day. bah!


allhorsestuff said...

Yea Sydney is back...your horses will be so happy to see you!
Interesting how they do thinks elsewhere huh...reading lytha in Germany, reminds me of where you were with the stone wall and stone stalls too.

Okay...E.W. shoe report and Nutural Bridle too...Went on my 4th ride out today...totally NO pensiveness on the street/rocks/arena!I can honestly my mare and i may get somewhere with connection and training in the future! I am loving the bridle (my friend has let me borrow) Wa tries some of her behavior and I act...but now it does not hurt when I turn in a tight circle or pull . She calms down much faster and recovers.
Thanks again Sydney for all you do for the horses!

lytha said...

my package of bedding pellets has instructions for making this deep bedding system - put a 15 centimeter layer down, and then pick the manure out daily, leaving the wet stuff. i see this system in most of the barns i've been to (all?). but i'm american. i bought stallmats and clean the stall thoroughly everyday. i use one bag of bedding per week, at 10 Euros that is not the most economical solution, but oh well: ) it would be nice if i could train my horse to go outside to relieve himself, since the stalldoor is always open...

lytha said...

re: those built-in stall feeders - i see those here too - permanently attached to the stallwall, or actually built-in like this. how on earth do they clean them? i think those built-in feeders are perfect for things like loose minerals/salt. but i'd go nuts trying to keep them clean for anything else.

did you notice that the typical flat-sided bucket has not really caught on in europe? i brought mine from home and the barn owner last year said, "how on earth do those hang?" she was mystified as i clipped the snap onto the handle and it hung straight.

your stone walls are lovely, wish we had those here.

Sydney_bitless said...

If you look at those pictures the built in feeder is not very deep. I imagine sweeping them out would do the trick once you sanitized them.

Dunappy said...

I've been following along with your Irish adventures and just wanted to say Thanks for all the wonderful photos. I've never been there but I really really want to go. My older sister went one time and brought back a pin from the Irish National Stud but she didn't have that many photos of the landscape. Ireland's been a dream of mine to visit for a long time.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I rode Dalin today! It was amazing. He is so sleek and beatiful. The whole place is amazing! I love Dalin sooooo much! I want to buy him. I miss him though. He was so gentle yet so proud. I would take care of that horse forever.
Tracy and Rachel were so nice too. But I have to say I absolutly LOVE DALIN SOOO MUCH!
I want to go back there again and again. xxx

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