Friday, October 28, 2011

Freedom for Comfort: Stalls

Recycled photo from last summer
Domestication requires many tradeoffs. Well, really just one, that all the others fall under: Freedom for Comfort.

In today's Freedom for Comfort installment, I'm going to tell you a little more about one of  humans' favorite Freedom-takers, the Stall.

Stalls are creepy for reasons other than the obvious lack of mobility. Most of them have solid parts up to nearly wither height, so when you are eating your hay you have to keep raising your head up to look about and make sure there are no predators at hand. Not all stalls are like that, though...

One of the hospitals I went to had a door (and a ceiling-to-floor window) that was barred, and you could still look for predators, even when you were laying down. That was nice.
Rood + Riddle Equine Hospital. Stock photo. Horse in stall is not me.

The barn with the groundhog had nice gaps between the boards between my stall and Jay's, which I thought was great. And when I came home from surgery, my stall at Aunt Marilyn's was a sectioned off part of the run-in, with two windows into the barn, so I could talk to and groom the Badger mares, and a half wall into the rest of the run in, so I could chat with Belle.
Photo from 2008. Gosh, that was a long time ago! Look how dark my face was. And note my beautiful Jeanie mare on the right... sigh.

The gate was a pipe gate with wire grid, so it was really see-throughable, and the stall was a double wide, so a lot better than normal stalls. Actually, when I lived at Uncle Jeff's, if I wasn't out with Snap my stall was a double wide there, too. That's the way I prefer if I have to be in a stall.

Another creepy thing about all too many stalls is that you can't touch anyone else. It's just you, and your own company, and four walls, and if there is no food left... I mean what do you want me to do? I could go mad in there like that! Like when I went to Equine Affair, there was nothing to look at. Solid walls on three sides, and a green wall past the front. I could smell and hear other horses, but I couldn't see anybody. Well, at times I could see the mule next to me's lower limbs and/or ears, as she attempted to scale the wall to get in with me. She didn't like the isolation, either. (Fortunately Mother spent a lot of time right outside the door with Aunt Karin, and when they were there I could put my head out and see others, and Mother took me out many times a day to graze or lunge or just walk around.)

By this point, you are wondering why any intelligent horse would be willing to subject themselves to a stall. Stalls aren't all bad. I mean, when I first met shavings, I was in love. So warm and comfortable in cold weather, compared to laying out on the frosty ground. And no backsplash! And it is convenient to have food and water right at hand. There's no bad weather, although sometimes odd noises.

To sum it up:
  • Stalls are more likely to have food
  • Stalls always have water
  • Stalls are more likely to be shady in summer
  • No one chases you when you are in a stall
  • Stalls don't have rocks in them to trip on or hurt your feet
  • There is no ice in stalls, or if there is it's just on your water bucket and the humans will come by several times a day to remove it and make sure your water is nice and warm
  • Stalls in summer have a cooling breeze box, which Mother calls a "fan"
  • In winter, there are less cold breezes in a stall

On the other hand, without a stall:
  • You can see all around you at all times, or walk to a place you can see all around you at all times
  • You can warm up by running about if you are cold
  • You can huddle next to your herdmates for warmth, like penguins
From my old Nokota home. None of these horses is me. The one kind of reminds me of my mother, though. My horse mother, not Mother Mother.
  • You can reach out and touch someone anytime you want (but the way the barn is set up at Aunt Marilyn's you can reach through the windows and confer, so that is not such a  strong point in favor of freedom... hmmm)
  • You can scavenge for food over a broader area than a stall offers
  • Fresh air and lovely landscape. If you're in a stall with poor maid service, it is way, way less than ideal
  • You have freedom! You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, as long as what you want is there in the environment. Which all too often, it's not...

So, I suppose I have already shown you who is the Winner: Domestication

Of course, I have a triple wide bedded run-in on an acre with my Belle. Best of both worlds, although I wish I had more like 278 acres.

Oh, well.

1 comment:

  1. Humans are cave dwellers and we tend to make the mistake of thinking everything likes to live in caves with us. i can see the point of having a shelter, but to lock you in it? Some of the stalls you described sound pretty disgusting.


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