Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Shed and New Stalls

My husband and I spent the weekend building a huge Rubbermaid shed to store our hay pellets and grain in since the thick plastic and paper bags can't seem to keep the water out by themselves.  I am so glad that I don't have to store stuff in the garage and horse trailer anymore, because the garage is too far away from the barn and I have to keep the trailer under lock and key so that trespassers don't steal my tack.  I doubt anyone would want to haul off 80 lb. bags of pellets by hand, but they might make off with a saddle or bridle.  I really don't like having to remember the combination for the lock or find the key to access the horse's feed twice a day.

My husband did most of the heavy lifting and drilling.  I did most of the jobs that required fingernails.  We had to put the shed on top of pallets because it floods everywhere here.  As a matter of fact, it rained while we were building it.

Here's what it looks like on the inside...


The horses seemed to be entertained by our activities.  When they were younger, they would run away from us when we were using power tools and building things.  Now they act like true ranch horses and just hang out by us and observe.

We're thinking the summer monsoon winds might blow the whole thing over even if it is staked down, but hopefully it won't blow apart into pieces like the storage box below...

I've been keeping horse blankets, buckets, and traffic cones in this storage shed, but if I don't keep some twine through the lock hole, a small wind will blow the whole thing apart.  But the storage box just has plastic pieces that supposedly fit together while the big shed has metal beams, joint locks, and is screwed in everywhere.

We considered getting one of those wooden kits or building a custom shed from scratch, but termites destroy everything that is wood around here, and we are not construction workers.  We were willing to take our chances on a plastic kit.

These are the 80 lb. bags of hay pellets we're going to pile in the new shed...

I've been putting all other bags and buckets of supplements in these containers...

They work well as long as the bags and buckets aren't too heavy to lift and aren't taller and fatter than the tubs, but they only last about a year.  The sun makes the plastic brittle and then any amount of weight on them cracks them.  I've thought about using metal or aluminum trash cans, but I'd have to lift higher and the metal would get really hot and burn me in the summer.

Not much of anything lasts in the desert.  Even my metal barn is rusting and getting holes in it.  So, I've come to accept that replacing shelters is just another part of horse ownership.

Having Bombay and Gabbrielle switch stalls has been an interesting challenge.  Most people think of horse training as mainly teaching a horse to carry a rider, but I've been having to come up with creative ways to remind Gabbrielle and Bombay to go into their new stalls at meal times -- not their old stalls, because habits die hard.  At first I just used a lead rope to guide them into the right stalls, but at some point I need them to just remember which stall to enter on their own.

I tried herding them and cracking a whip to get them out of the wrong stalls.  Tonight I took the approach of not feeding them until they went into the correct stalls.  I fed Lostine and Rock, and then sat down in a chair and waited.  Bombay knew exactly what was going on, and he kept trying to get Gabbrielle out of his new stall, but she wouldn't budge.  

I said, "Gabbrielle," and waited for her to look at me.  Then I said, "Go in your new stall," and pointed at the other stall.

She looked at the other stall and you could see the wheels turning in her head.  She started to walk out, but just walked in a circle as if to say, "See?  I am in my stall, Mom."

I repeated the request while pointing.  She circled again.  I said, "Noooo.  That's Bombay's stall now.  Go in your new stall."

She started to circle and right when she was walking toward the gate, I said, "Good girl.  Right there.  Go out."

She stopped and thought some more, then walked out.  I kept saying, "Good girl," and as soon as she walked into her new stall, I got up, locked her in, and fed her.  Bombay was able to get into his new stall and get fed as well.  It only took a couple of minutes.  Hopefully, she'll remember for the next meal.

8 comments:

Cindy D. said...

Do you like the Ametza pellets? I was using them for a while, but then went back to the "G Farms"brand which my horses seem to prefer.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

My horses haven't had any complaints. In fact, they get this look of ecstasy on their faces when they eat them.

TeresaA said...

that is a great looking shed. well done

achieve1dream said...

That's a nice looking barn!! I hope it works out well. I'm guessing it won't take Gabrielle long to figure out the new feeding arrangements. Isn't it funny how all she wanted was to be in his old stall and now that it's hers she doesn't want in it hahaha!!! Horses!!

fernvalley01 said...

Nice shed hope it works out for you

achieve1dream said...

How is Scrappy? Is he feeling better?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

achieve1dream - He's had his ups and downs. He got sick again, then got better, and now he's having bladder problems.

achieve1dream said...

I'm so sorry. I hope he can pull out of this soon. It's so sad watching our old dogs being sick. :(