WWYD - Where to put horses in storm

laura_nash

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17 July 2008
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Ireland
Hi

So Hurricane / Tropical Storm Ophelia is forecast to hit us tomorrow and we have a red weather warning for wind gusts up to 130 km/h. I'm struggling to decide where to put my two for the day, they are both sensible older geldings who live out unrugged and are used to windy conditions - a 14.3 HW cob and an 11.2 pound pony. Sorry if this is a bit long! My options are:

1. Leave them where they are. They are in a small paddock by a quiet road, lots of grass and no mud, its next to a neighbours house and yard and has a single large horse chestnut tree next to it. Normally the house and tree provide good wind shelter, but the storm is forecast to come from the wrong direction, on the plus side less chance of things blowing towards them (there is nothing on the other side of the road for miles). The road-side boundary is an unstable dry stone wall with electric fencing on plastic posts inside it, pretty likely to blow down, but I'm not sure they would bother to leave unless spooked (as plenty of grass) and hopefully wouldn't be many people driving anyway.

2. Bring them into the barn, open-fronted barn in a small paddock near the house. This is what I usually do in strong wind, but again the wind is coming the wrong way and will blow straight into the barn. Plus there are some things nearby (e.g. a corrugated shed roof) that are probably highest risk of damage and blowing about.

3. Put them back in their summer field behind the house, it has more shelter from the right direction (a higher, better stone wall and some sycamore trees), but then more chance of those things blowing over. Plus it has sycamores (a fair amount of seeds on the ground), some muddy bits and not much grass. It only has one electric fenced boundary and that leads onto an elderly neighbours drive rather than a road, the other boundaries are properly fenced and have neighbours secure fields on the other side.

I'm torn between 1 and 3, last thing I want is to move them because I'm worried about the storm and end up with one getting AM but then don't really want them loose on the road in high winds either. Any advise very welcome :)
 
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I would go for number 3. Just because they could get out on the road. If they did and were spooked they could run away. I know mine get very hyper during a storm and run about so I don't think they'll graze much. I wouldn't keep them in. Last time we had a storm like this I kept them out in the big field. I think if there is more space they are less likely to run into things. I'm no expert but that's what I'm planning on doing
 

GirlFriday

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24 November 2008
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Is there anyway you can improve the electric in field 1? If it is on separate stakes and not attached to the wall can you move them in enough that if the wall did blow down the electric would still stand a chance? And/Or run a second row a bit further in (I think the advice is usually wide enough to put them off jumping them like an oxer/not wide enough for a bounce) so that you'd not be relying on just one strand if the wall went down. TBH I'd lean towards 1 as the wall isn't likely to go over in a whole line, maybe just a few places which is less inviting for horses to squeeze through being dry stone. But you know the wall better than I do obviously as you can see what has happened to it before!

Otherwise 3 sounds like a better option than many horse will have.

Good luck.
 

laura_nash

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Is there anyway you can improve the electric in field 1? If it is on separate stakes and not attached to the wall can you move them in enough that if the wall did blow down the electric would still stand a chance?
Yes, that would be the ideal solution, but I'm not sure how.

The electric is on separate stakes (mostly plastic, some metal) and well inside the wall, there's no chance of the wall landing on the fence. Like you say, the wall won't actually fall over (its not cohesive enough) what is likely to happen is bits will collapse into a pile of stones, this happens fairly regularly - rebuilding walls is a routine job for everyone around here. The problem is the fence blowing over too, we have very light peat soil and electric fence posts often blow over even in normally strong wind. So far I've never had both a fence blowdown and the wall next to it collapse at the same time. I can't get better stakes in because its solid bedrock just below. There are concrete posts at each end though.

Doing something about the boundary of this field has been high on the "to do" list since we moved in, but keeps getting knocked back into the too difficult list. The field next door was apparently fenced by pushing posts in with a JCB after the post-driver just kept breaking posts! We had someone out to quote for fencing it with wooden posts and they decided they'd rather not try. I think the solution will be adding a few more concrete posts to keep the electric up, but that's obviously not do-able today.
 

sarahann1

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Could you pile a load of rocks around the fencing stakes in 1 to give the posts extra security? Or more randomly,mod you have access to a load of bailer twine and really long tent pegs? Thinking you could temporarily put guylines on the posts to help stop them falling over?
 

tamsinkb

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Is there any way you could sink a couple of wooden posts at the corners of the electric fence ? Then you could either use isolators or tie the plastic posts to them to keep the fence tensioned.
 

Merry Equimas

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At this time of the day not much can be done about the fence, mine blew over in light winds but was only there to stop my big horse putting his head over the fence to the little ones but now he is away to livery again it was just left cause im lazy, so when it was on the floor blowing about i lifted it up lol

Id probably be wanting to have them in summer field.

Ive got mine all in but my stables are indoors in a large breeze block so no draft and id like to hope that it will stand up after being there 50years in all weather lol
 

ILuvCowparsely

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5 April 2010
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12,794
Hi

So Hurricane / Tropical Storm Ophelia is forecast to hit us tomorrow and we have a red weather warning for wind gusts up to 130 km/h. I'm struggling to decide where to put my two for the day, they are both sensible older geldings who live out unrugged and are used to windy conditions - a 14.3 HW cob and an 11.2 pound pony. Sorry if this is a bit long! My options are:

1. Leave them where they are. They are in a small paddock by a quiet road, lots of grass and no mud, its next to a neighbours house and yard and has a single large horse chestnut tree next to it. Normally the house and tree provide good wind shelter, but the storm is forecast to come from the wrong direction, on the plus side less chance of things blowing towards them (there is nothing on the other side of the road for miles). The road-side boundary is an unstable dry stone wall with electric fencing on plastic posts inside it, pretty likely to blow down, but I'm not sure they would bother to leave unless spooked (as plenty of grass) and hopefully wouldn't be many people driving anyway.

2. Bring them into the barn, open-fronted barn in a small paddock near the house. This is what I usually do in strong wind, but again the wind is coming the wrong way and will blow straight into the barn. Plus there are some things nearby (e.g. a corrugated shed roof) that are probably highest risk of damage and blowing about.

3. Put them back in their summer field behind the house, it has more shelter from the right direction (a higher, better stone wall and some sycamore trees), but then more chance of those things blowing over. Plus it has sycamores (a fair amount of seeds on the ground), some muddy bits and not much grass. It only has one electric fenced boundary and that leads onto an elderly neighbours drive rather than a road, the other boundaries are properly fenced and have neighbours secure fields on the other side.

I'm torn between 1 and 3, last thing I want is to move them because I'm worried about the storm and end up with one getting AM but then don't really want them loose on the road in high winds either. Any advise very welcome :)
If I had a choice number three

Is there a yard nearby with brick buildings who would accommodate you till it passes.
 

laura_nash

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Ireland
Could you pile a load of rocks around the fencing stakes in 1 to give the posts extra security?
This is what I've gone with, thanks. I've re-enforced the fence as best I can, including piling rocks around some key posts. After a conversation with a neighbour about their barn roof, which I hadn't considered a risk as it looks pretty sound from the outside, I decided the risk of flying debris is too much in the back field.
 

sarahann1

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This is what I've gone with, thanks. I've re-enforced the fence as best I can, including piling rocks around some key posts. After a conversation with a neighbour about their barn roof, which I hadn't considered a risk as it looks pretty sound from the outside, I decided the risk of flying debris is too much in the back field.
Good luck, hope you all come through with no damage!
 

MagicMelon

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North East Scotland
Id choose 3 but Id electric tape off a small paddock / corner away from any potential acorns and give them some haynets to keep them amused if there's really no grass. I wouldn't be happy having my horses in a field with fencing which could easily be blown down (I wouldnt be happy with this in general to be honest!) and I always feel horses are safer outside than in stables / sheds where they could get hit by roofing etc.

We're on orange in NE Scotland so wont have as bad as you but I do live on top of a hill so we generally get thw wind pretty bad. Mine will remain as they are - out in their field which is right beside my house with their stable doors open so they can go inside if they wish but they could escape easily if the roof started coming off (which I am desperately hoping it wont...!!). We wont get it until tomorrow night/Tues apparently so Ive been collecting up anything that could blow about and have put lightweight rugs on them just in case it brings rain with it.
 

laura_nash

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Good luck, hope you all come through with no damage!
Thanks, got everything crossed. Just been going around tidying up any stray buckets, watering cans etc.

Whilst I obviously don't want them getting onto the road, if they do the risk isn't as bad as it might be elsewhere. We're on a network of small country lanes, they'd have to go pretty far and be very unlucky to get to any main roads. Because of the unstable walls and difficulty in getting fencing into the ground loose animals on the road aren't that rare and people are pretty good about catching them, everyone knows everyone and the owners are traced pretty quickly. Its usually sheep or cows but we had a Shetland stallion turn up in our field last year, who was stuck in next doors barn until his owners (from the village over) retrieved him that evening.
 

Wheels

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23 September 2009
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It's a bit scary isn't it?

Not sure my electric fence will stand up to it all but my external fence should be grand.

Not so sure about my stable roof - extra tyres will be chucked up in the morning, it's due to hit us at about 3pm
 

laura_nash

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Well it seems to be just about over and we've been very lucky, no damage at all not even a tree down or a power cut. Checked my two at around 5pm and amazingly the wall and fence were both completely fine (starting to wonder now if the "blow downs" before were actually "pushed down by greedy cob"). My cob had apparently not noticed anything odd and was happily grazing in the field, un-muzzled access to good grass obviously taking precedence over hurricanes, no evidence of any charging about. The pony was tucked under the tree and a bit jumpy and miserable, but fine. I hope everyone else came through ok.

Not so sure about my stable roof - extra tyres will be chucked up in the morning, it's due to hit us at about 3pm
Hope your stable roof made it!
 

Wheels

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Glad to hear you are safe

We did get a power cut for a few hours but all back up and running now. Stable roof survives, thank you.

I think the worst is just about over for us now

Sending good wishes to any and all that have been or will be affected
 

Widgeon

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N Yorks
a 14.3 HW cob and an 11.2 pound pony.
Well as your pony only weighs 11.2 pounds I'd bring it into the kitchen if I were you or it will blow away.

SORRY. Couldn't resist. Very glad to hear that your ponies and property all weathered the storm well, I hope the little one cheers up once he realises the wind's dying down.
 
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