Readers Respond: Night Mare

More than 1,100 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "How many nights annually do you spend in the barn with a sick or pregnant horse?"

results of poll on sleeping in the barn

Results were as follows: 
  • None: 44.88% (500)
  • 1-3: 29.44% (328)
  • 4-8: 10.95% (122)
  • 13 +: 9.69% (108)
  • 9-12: 5.03% (56)

Poll respondents were asked, "What sleeping arrangements do you have in your barn?" All comments are listed below.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

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  • Camp cot
  • Heaters or fans in the tack room, with chairs
  • Only once with a sick horse - stayed right there in the straw
  • I use a camera.
  • Sleep on the hay with a sleeping bag, but if I spend the night in the barn, I am not sleeping.
  • We have cameras in stall
  • Didn't sleep and near froze to death
  • 150+ foals means many long nights!
  • Sleeping bag ob the ground to rest but can still see the horse
  • Couch and a heated barn with a frig, TV, radio, microwave ECT.
  • Cot, nothing formal. Sick only, no pregnant mares
  • STRAW BALE AND HORSE BLANKET
  • Bed in tack room
  • Sleeping bag
  • I walk back and forth from the house to the barn.
  • I have cameras in the barn so that I don't have to do that!
  • We use cameras to monitor horse from house
  • We installed cameras last winter for foaling mares
  • Cot if needed
  • Sleeping bag on hay bale
  • A chair!
  • A bail of straw in a stable complex
  • I sleep in my bed & watch barn cameras
  • Loft above the barn
  • I have Internet TV for the barn area
  • Hay bales
  • I have cameras in foaling stalls but still sleep in tack rm when mares are due Sofa, heat, not bad!
  • None
  • Tack room
  • Housing on the property
  • None
  • Sleep in the house have video camera in barn
  • House is near barn, treat problems quickly and aggressively, check every few hours
  • Straw
  • In and out of house
  • Curled up in the hay with her.
  • No sleep if the horse is that sick
  • Sleep in house and go out every 1/2 hr to check up
  • I don't sleep! I pace all night!
  • Tack room
  • We use a wireless intercom to help know when to assist
  • Usually a cot outside the stall
  • Old army cot
  • Heated tack room
  • Cot and blanket
  • FOLD OUT COUCH
  • Sleeping bag and cot
  • Sleep in the back of the truck, but I can think of doing this once in 15 years.
  • A blanket or sleeping bag in the hayloft
  • I live right beside my barn and check every hour
  • A pavilion with picnic tables
  • Lawn chair, pillow, blanket
  • Usually in the stall on a blanket.
  • Sleep in truck next to stall or in adjacent stall
  • I put a few bales of hay together and sleep right in the stall with my mare.
  • In the hay!
  • Tack Rm or trailer close to or in barn
  • Lawn chair
  • Only if I have too
  • Sleep on a hay bale
  • Truck
  • Have slept in the tack room
  • None
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag on foam mattresses
  • I have a hammock that is up year round. Used it once just to hang out.
  • An old reclining chair curled up with a sleeping bag on it if cold enough.
  • We have a barn house that our animals & we use. We have only had 1 mare give birth so far.
  • I sleep in the field in a sleeping bag.
  • Hay bales
  • Sleeping bag & pad
  • Sleep in my truck parked next to the barn, get up at intervals. Have sat up all night in a chair.
  • Heated tack room with cot, and camera
  • Both mares healthy, so far; keeping fingers crossed
  • Cot in the tack room
  • Couch
  • Stable apartment
  • I sleep on a pad in the aisle
  • Folding chair
  • I have an office with a sofa bed next to my stalls
  • Hay bales
  • Bed in observation room in one barn, remote viewing camera for other barns
  • I sleep in a sleeping bag, surrounded by my Cinerama pony mare's hay before she is due to foal.
  • I've only ever had once colic episode during the night.
  • Lounge chair, sleeping bag, battery lantern, books, drinks & munchies, phone. Camera depending -
  • A cot, horse blankets, pillow. Sleep next to stall
  • Daytime sleep; work 300 nights as full time night watch.
  • Cot, sleeping bag, blanket
  • Sleeping bag next to stall
  • Pull Down cot inn each foaling stall, heated furnished room in barn
  • No sick (out of 25) in three years.2nights '05, false labor septic foal
  • Cot & Sleeping bag
  • I go out every hour or so to check on their progress
  • None, I have a camera on my foaling stall.
  • Hay bale and a bed roll in the barn aisle
  • We watch the barn cams from our bedroom, and take turns staying up.
  • None
  • None
  • ...Sleeping bag on the hay. And hay is NOT soft and comfy. Try it! It gets squished down hard.
  • A small SUV in the hall of the barn
  • Lawn chair
  • Couch
  • Cameras
  • Have an apartment at the barn
  • Sleeping bag
  • Stall monitor that goes to the home and I stay awake there
  • Hay just like the horse
  • None - We take turns. We always hope that it doesn't happen in winter.
  • Room in foaling barn
  • A bed in the tack room
  • Truck
  • Mostly foaling as we have 6-10 pregnant mares each year.
  • Nothing
  • Window between tack room and foaling stall with reclining chair to rest in.
  • None
  • Thank God for monitoring cameras
  • A cot and blanket
  • Hay bale bed
  • Army cot
  • None
  • A chair and footrest
  • Tack room/bales
  • Been very fortunate. Would sleep in tack room if I had to, though.
  • I have a video monitor in bedroom
  • NONE
  • I've been very fortunate.
  • A baby monitor in the stall and bedroom worked well
  • Cot & sleeping bag in loft, TV camera with receiver on bedroom TV
  • Cot, blanket, radio
  • Who sleeps if my horse is sick?
  • Sleeping bags, pillows in the loft
  • Recliner in office
  • Who sleeps when you have a sick horse???
  • None
  • Luckily she hasn't had a problem
  • Apt
  • A sofa, fridge, microwave and running water if needed. Luckily my horses don't get sick.
  • So far, so good...
  • None, sleep on hay
  • None
  • Stay awake all night on shifts in the barn
  • My horses seem to do better when left alone. Had a mare tell me she was foaling, watched it all
  • Room with a window to the foaling/observation stall.
  • Haven't had to care for a sick horse.
  • A bale of straw... and a blanket. :-)
  • Comfortable lawn chair
  • We have our motor home parked out by the barn for these emergencies
  • Sleeping bag
  • I CAN PUT A SLEEPNG BAG IN THE EXTRA STALL NEXT TO MY MARE IF I NEED TO.
  • TV in the lounge with audio and video, I sleep on a couch and set an alarm to check every hour.
  • Keep your Noise out of my business
  • None
  • Barn is adjacent and horse healthy
  • We have a fully stocked lounge.
  • A truck
  • Barn is at parents house
  • A cot and a flashlight w/ blanket and pillow
  • Mostly sick horses
  • Fortunately, none! Colic has always dissipated or mare gone to hospital - always recovered
  • Sleeping bag on 4 hay bales right in the stall. If I'm not right there with her, she paces the stall
  • Sleeping bag on straw bales
  • Rocking chair
  • I have a brazilin hammock.... hang it from the rafters in aisle. Or 1-2x in stall
  • Only in rare case of colic--who sleeps? Comfy chair, LOTS of coffee, cell phone!
  • Let the horses take care of themselves
  • We have cameras to monitor mares or a sick horse.
  • A hut with chair to sit in and a heater
  • I usually stay in the barn when the mares are getting ready to foal...
  • Hammock
  • Sleeping bag
  • *Knock on wood* I've been lucky to have fairly healthy horses.
  • Hay bales and sleeping bag
  • None
  • My van with a fold out bed
  • Only have run-in sheds
  • Video feed to house means only staying during actual labor
  • I have been blessed to not have a horse that sick...
  • I reside where my barn and home are within 100 feet of each other, so I stay in the house and use fr
  • I have my tack room next to my corrals i have a cot and two sleeping bags ..it gets cold in Nevada
  • none, maybe a lawn chair or some hay
  • Cot in tack room, tv, heater and coffee maker.
  • None of my horses have ever been sick!
  • Use Foal Alert and stall cameras-no sleeping in barn!
  • 2 haybales end to end with a sleeping bag ontop
  • sleeping bag, pad, kitchen and bathroom facilities nearby.
  • My car.
  • I generally don't sleep much.
  • I had a baby monitor set up when my mare was due to deliver, I did not miss the birth
  • have a baby monitor in barn and in house
  • I have an inflatable mattress that I put my sleeping bag on
  • Hall way
  • I have a camera in the barn for foaling.Have not had any sick horses
  • no preg mares and horses healthy.
  • hay bales!
  • 1 night per mare. rollaway bed, heater, fridge
  • I sleep in the back of my truck.
  • cot pillow flashlight cell phone blankets thermos
  • the stall, when my horse is that sick or injured there isn't much sleeping
  • video camera in bedroom
  • Camper
  • cots, sleeping bags
  • dorm room
  • We built an apartment into our new barn so we would always have a nice place to stay for any reason.
  • i dont have any
  • not a breeder
  • Just a folding chair
  • cameras in my barn
  • As many as necessary
  • cot outside stall if needed
  • In my own bed under a down comforter.
  • have been lucky, none have ever been that sick
  • chair, blanket and radio. This was the first year we needed to, bad case of founder and cushings !
  • I have cameras - so unless the mare is foaling I stay in the house
  • old recliner chair
  • Have surveillance cameras
  • Thank the good Lord my horse have not been sick but if they were I'd be there with them.
  • I use cameras and audio monitors
  • only sleep short times on cot in tack room
  • sleeping bag
  • sleep in my car, no barn available
  • None.
  • My setup has no sleeping arrangements, I'll live in my next barn.
  • do barn work at night- sleep in day
  • NONE
  • straw and sleeping bag
  • futon in tack room
  • sleep in chair just outside of stall
  • in the stall
  • I am blessed-only 1 night in 10 years!!
  • Cot & Sleeping bag
  • Barn & house are attached; multiple video cameras in barn, can see & hear from anywhere in the house
  • None so far but mare due in April - would put sleeping bag out on hay outside stall.
  • bales of hay, old spongy matress, pillows and sleeping bags.
  • We have cameras in each stall and a cot in the corner of the stall
  • We hay & tuck in around 8-8:30, house is close enough to hear if someone is cast, etc. I may check
  • adjustable lawn chair & sleeping bag
  • I will just do several checks throughout the night and stay in house
  • none
  • sleepless nights and the couch
  • chaise lounger
  • Just foal birth watching. Lawn chair outside.
  • futon mattress in tack room
  • horses are home so I sleep in my own bed and set alarm for night monitoring as needed
  • Straw...
  • My population is older horses. Colic seems to go with the added years.
  • I have a barn cam & watch from house, go out when delivery occurs, can vhs record horses also
  • extra stall and a sleeping bag
  • I have been very fortunate - only one night when foal was born
  • sleep in the truck
  • 8 yrs ago, I had a cot, sleepingbag and tv in the back of a truck.
  • we have a monitor that goes into the house
  • In the last 20 years I have been fortunate to only have one horse that was sick enough to have to sp
  • Hammock and blankets
  • Tack room next to stall
  • sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag & cot
  • I medicate late before I go to bed, then tell them to work it out until morning. Hasn't failed yet!
  • living quarters trailer parked next to foaling pen
  • sleep in the hay covered with a horse blanket if I sleep at all
  • I have been a horse owner for a long time and have been so fortunate not to have a horse that sick!!
  • LQ trailer with camera in barn to monitor horses.
  • Don't breed and haven't had any sick horses that I needed to, but would if I had to
  • I go up thru the nite and check on them
  • HAY STALL OR TRUCK
  • I wouldn't really call it "sleeping" though!
  • A folding lounge chair or on the hay bales
  • sleeping bag and hay
  • Sleeping bag on straw bales
  • guess I've been lucky! (but I don't breed either)
  • I am lucky enough that I haven't had to do this.
  • HEATED TACK ROOM
  • I have a room in my house. The horses have stalls in the barn.
  • i don't sleep
  • Pick up truck during foaling time.
  • Luckily, I have not had problems
  • small foam mat & sleeping bag
  • Baby (human) monitors work wonders!!!!!!!!!! You can hear and see!
  • a roe away bed
  • Cot or rotate people
  • Not all night, but off and on.
  • sleeping arrangements? You must mean the air bed...
  • I've been lucky-no serious illness in many years-have had to check on some at night
  • no broodmares, my horses are usually quite healthy
  • Chair and blankets
  • sleep?
  • cot in tack room with window into stall
  • Blanket on Hay
  • baby monitor replaces barn trips
  • couch, video monitor and a good heater.
  • none. house to barn
  • portable cot, heated room for winter time
  • Thankfully I haven't had a sick horse. BUT I would be there if needed !!!
  • air bed
  • Sleeping bad and lounge chair.
  • Closed circuit TV ( with ar without sound) is a must for all but emergencies
  • If its winter I freeze my arse off. But, you gotta do what you gotta do!!!
  • on a bale of hay!
  • checking on pregnant mares throughout the foaling season; take turns leaving our warm bed...
  • cot in the stable
  • Never had a sick horse, my mares foal in a dry lot outside.
  • I sleep in the barn aisle outside the broodmare's stall door, with it open a crack so I can see her!
  • none
  • i have a tv moniter in the house so i do not always have to sleep in the barn
  • who sleeps when they have a sick horse?!
  • None, have monitors and watch from the house
  • I stay as long as is necessary with a cot and down comforter
  • but really don't have any problems with to much sickness and foal;ing with my mares goes really good
  • none
  • only on Mare Stare
  • Have never needed to spend the night, thankfully!
  • havent had any long nights in a few yrs
  • wireless camera to our bedroom TV, go out only when it is time to foal/treat, also have apt in barn
  • webcam
  • Have camera/sound on stalls & monitor in house.
  • office with tv, coffee pot and microwave, sofa bed and heat/air...very lucky
  • all the comforts of home
  • If sick,every night until improved! We live close enough to barn that we have the option to go home
  • thankfully I havent had to,
  • We just slept in chairs next to the stall. Warm blankets and pillows
  • I usually don't sleep but go to the barn every hour or so throughout the night
  • a chair and a blanket
  • We can see our med/foaling stall from our bedroom.And portable heaters and sleeping bags!
  • Wireless video camera=nights on the couch not in the barn
  • sleep in car
  • House at the barn to stay in.
  • That is the job of the hired help!
  • Sleep in the stall usually
  • I have once in the 10 yrs of horse ownership. Thankfully it hasn't been necessary since.
  • lawn chair
  • I haven't had a sick horse in many years. Thank God!
  • i have an in house monitor
  • I have a video camera in the stall to watch from the house.
  • cot
  • Don't have a barn, & never had a sick horse. Our mare did fine on her own.
  • no babies, taking care of the already born. Mine are natural(on pasture) none sick
  • out in pasture
  • I haven't had either happen yet
  • cameras
  • bunkey bed in tack room
  • I have never had a pregnant horse
  • have a great camera system of stalls to 4 tvs in house
  • sleeping bag on hay bales
  • almost always because of colic
  • I don't breed horses
  • I sleep in the house and treck to the barn to check on those that are foaling.
  • bails of hay & a blanket
  • prev. cot/sleeping bag. Now camper on triuck in front of stall.
  • A COT AND A BLANKET
  • six nights a week-I'm a nightwatch/foaling person, and I have no problem sleeping during the day
  • Offices, guest house and people can sleep in their cars in front of stall/paddock if needed.
  • Thnak You Lord, cot in the isle if needed.
  • dont have a barn
  • barn
  • Heated tackroom & nightlights in the barn, so you can check 1 horse wo turning on all the lights.
  • The house is very close to the barn
  • blankets in front of the stall and lawn chairs
  • A chair and a sleeping bag
  • air mattress
  • Whatever it takes
  • 10 broodmares of my own + clients broodmares -- I live in the barn during foaling season!!!!
  • cot in the aisle
  • Differs year to year doesn't it? So far so good this year.
  • My horses never get that sick but if they do I have a sleeping bag and rocking chair
  • cot
  • Camera system runs in barn and monitor is in the house. I watch from my home.
  • We do not breed horses. But I have a stack of blankets in case my pregnant goats need a night nurse.
  • Haven't had any sick ones but sometimes fall asleep in a folding chair waiting for a mare to foal.
  • All geldings and they all have a good mind are thus far, blessed w/o injuries...............
  • In and out all night don't sleep there
  • a real comfortable reclining lawn chair
  • I can't sleep! If possible I can go to my house only 10 mtrs away.
  • sleeping bag on a camping bed, it was very nice actually!
  • camera's in all stalls, view at home
  • Hope to keep it at 0 nights
  • i have 2 barn cams no need to sleep in barn i have audible alerts and camera by my bed
  • Can't go to sleep when one is sick.
  • bed in a room
  • Apt. in barn, or folding cot in front of stall for very sick foals.
  • cot in office
  • Unfortunately, all the days and nights and extra care weren't enough; lost a good buddy!
  • Have spent 3 nights in the back of my truck in the barn aisle - with the loud chicken
  • We have 3 arabian glding and one Arabian brood mare. We have very little sick time.
  • Trailer with living quarters and night video (only for foal watch)
  • foaling watch lots of layers blankets and food!
  • uncomfortable
  • sleep in stall or aisle
  • straw bales or a chaise lounge, lots of blankets
  • MARE IS DUE IN LATE MAY, THIS WILL BE MY FIRST. BIRTH ALARM & VET.
  • My mare seems to foal between morning feed and me getting cup of Joe!
  • A lawn chair, or pallet on the floor next to the stall...
  • A chair or blanket in the stall works!
  • chair
  • I use a camping cot and lay on it. I may fall a sleep but the littlest noise wakes me
  • so far... fortunately
  • I am lucky to have a video monitor that I can observe broodmares from the house.
  • My husband took off work and slept in the stall 4 days to hold the foal up to nurse. He used a cot.
  • foldable cot in tack room
  • I have surveillance cameras in mine barn and can monitor from the house...
  • none
  • knock on wood - I have pretty healthy horses
  • Heated tack room
  • I have cameras in their stalls so i monitor from house
  • Hay bale in front of stall door
  • I just doze in the corner on a chair
  • We live above the stalls
  • None
  • I have an apartment in the barn
  • I wake up every few hours and go check I don't sleep there.
  • Very lucky - haven't had to, but I would if need be
  • A Cot and blankets and a pillow.
  • I have cameras in the stalls and watch from the comfort of my bed, I go to the barn when I see feet!
  • tack room with blankets
  • also, have missed work TO CARE FOR THEM
  • security camera
  • bunk room with heat
  • Horse not sick and at my home
  • none!
  • Horse has not been that sick, luckily.
  • I have a heated tack room with restroom and it depends what time of year it is ..
  • As many as required
  • Sleep? I take in hurt or sick horses. Nights spent in the barn are generally not spent asleep!
  • I watch our mares on a camera connected to the house.
  • A cot next to her stall--I spend whatever time is needed for birthing!
  • Pasture
  • I have been lucky in my horselife. Only one difficult birth and very little sickness.
  • small office off the foaling barn
  • I sleep on a lawn chair and/or horse blankets
  • I have been blessed with healthy horses.
  • The bed of my S10 Chev has served me well! Backed into breezeway of barn
  • Some years none, others a couple per horse, been very lucky with our horses!
  • Lexan window from office to stall. Futon sofa.
  • horses foal outside
  • I will check a sick horse every few hours, but have not had to sleep in my barn.
  • stayed late into evening, but had to go after 8PM and hope for best, see in the morning
  • Right in the stall next to my horse
  • Haven't had to -- yet. I'd bring a sleeping bag and a flashlight.
  • mobile home
  • sleep in bed, watch horses on the camera!
  • cots in tackroom, sleeping bags
  • Cameras and sofa bed
  • none--if I'm there I'm watching the horse not sleeping
  • recline chair
  • cot in tack room
  • trough with a blanket
  • my camper parked in fount of our pens so I can watch all night long!
  • extra stall and sleeping bag
  • None, I sleep at home, in the barn I take care of business
  • Lucky enough not to have that happen-but would stay as long as it takes
  • chair and a blanket
  • Whatever is necessary- but it isn't every year. I sleep in the trough or in the back of my pick up
  • Heated tack room w/futon & video into foaling stalls. Bathroom. Fridge. Nice!

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care.

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