Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bad Vibrations

It is absolutely pouring here today and our neighbors are doing some serious deforestation on their property. The excavator, big trucks, chainsaws and toppling trees have put both horses on edge since early this morning. When I woke up they were standing under the cedars beside their shelter, but ever since they have been down at the bottom of the paddock looking wary in the rain. Unfortunately the whole shelter vibrates slightly with the heavy equipment nearby, and we suspect they got seriously spooked sometime midmorning when a truck rattled past. This evening I cannot coax them up there for love nor money (nor alfalfa cubes nor sweet feed) , and Raven reared up on my when I tried to do it by force.

I'm feeling at wit's end tonight. This shelter has been nothing but a headache, and now it's a headache that my horses won't even use. I don't have the time or patience to baby them through the desensitization process every time they decide it's scary, and I don't have the heart to let them stand in the rain day in and day out. After some discussion I think that David and may try relocating it (no small feat) to the south end of the paddock, which they tend to prefer. And if that fails we might have to try something else entirely. This is not the end I had envisioned after six months of frustration, but I guess that I shouldn't be surprised.

Addendum: When I went out to feed they were both cleaning up the alfalfa cubes I spread earlier. They didn't look happy about it, but they were doing it.


allhorsestuff said...

Wow, that is very disappointing!So sorry for their distain for your work on the shelter!
I have kinda wondered myself...about the metal.? why did you go with that?

Funder said...

Oof, so sorry that shelter's giving you so much trouble. :( As long as the horses are going in it to eat, there's still hope I think.

Have you considered insulating it somehow? Maybe with rubber between the metal studs and the metal sheathing? I haven't even SEEN the place and that suggestion sounds like a monumental task... but it might work.

EvenSong said...

Like you said: what a PAIN!
Along with Funder, I thought about some sort of insulation--but my idea was to maybe use that spray-on/expanding foam stuff. Might quell the rattles (as well as cut any condensation from the metal, and *maybe* even add some warmth).

Black Jack's Carol said...

No suggestions for you, but lots of empathy!

Black Jack's Carol said...

Okay, here comes what is more than likely a really stupid thought. We have gym mats at school that velcro to the wall...

Meditation? Shiatsu? (I know a great person) Yoga?

Anonymous said...

I have much sympathy for you. Desensitization can be so time consuming!

I couldn't find the energy/time/perfect method to do it with my puppy myself. (He pees on the spot when he hears the beep of an alarm clock, just like some sort of pavlovian conditioning). I just changed the alarm to radio instead. Didn't solve the problem, just circuited it. Now I have to get him to understand he needs to sleep in an extra hour before potty time with the time change. He potties an hour later at night, but doesn't get the need to sleep for an hour longer in the morning!

If you just fed them in the shed, would they eventually get hungry enough to go inside? Maybe leave apples and other treats in the far corners so they begin to associate it with good things?

Funder said...

Hey Evensong, I considered the "Great Stuf" type foaming insulation, but I'd really worry that the horses would eat it. So you'd have to insulate then sheathe the insulation with something non-chewable, which would make the whole thing even MORE annoying.

dp said...

Thanks for your thoughts and your empathy everyone. We went with the metal because it would last in this climate. We've had 150mm of rain in the past week, and they are calling for 60mm tonight alone. It is VERY wet where we live, so anything made of wood has a limited life expectancy.

As for the shelter I am not actually convinced that the vibrations are the problem. I fed them up there tonight and was kicking the crap out it while they were eating and it didn't phase them at all.

The two biggest concerns are location and footing. The north end of paddock is dark and near to the woods (monsters). I think they are not comfortable not being able to see what's going on around them in that location. Also, the north end of the paddock is bare dirt, which is is now slick mud. It is not deep, but compared to the crusher dust on the southern 2/3 it is slippery and I think they just don't feel that they have their feet under them.

After a long dinner table conversation David and I agreed to call the excavator who did our crusher dust in the spring to see if he will make a path up to the shelter and around it. If that doesn't help we will consider building something new down at the south end and keeping this boondoggle for equipment storage. Will keep you posted!