I need some winter care advice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-03-2010, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ~*~ NEBRASKA ~*~
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I need some winter care advice

I grew up in California, always had horses in California and well, in California there isn't a whole lot different you do to care for your horses in the winter. Just make sure to walk them cool after your right and that's about it as it will maybe drop down to a whole 50 degrees max out there.

But now I live in Nebraska. I've seen it go to 10 or 20 F below. I am absolutely CLUELESS as to how to properly see to Cinny's winter needs.

This is what he has now:

He is in a heated barn that they say they heat to about 30 to 40 degrees F. That's just above freezing and probably just enough to keep the auto water going.

He has grass mixture feed, 3 flakes in the am and 3 in the pm and it seems to give him enough to give him a few hours of something to do but has not made him fat. He gets it at 6am and 3 pm...the hours they feed at the stable.

He also gets a SmartPack with Farriers Formula, MSM, NuImage and Smart Vite grass formula. I AM planning to change this because I think the NuImage and the Farriers Formula may be a bit of overkill. He gets his Smart Pack mixed with just enough 12%sweet feed to get him to eat it, as he won't eat it on his own.

I know to give a good warm up and cool down with work, but in the winter how much longer, shorter? Should I get him a cooler sheet, or is that overkill? We do not have a hot walker and it's hard to walk him out in the barn but I will do whatever it takes.

Thank you for any and all adivice, etc I really want to get what I need before the cold hits in a few months.
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-03-2010, 03:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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I increase the hay almost twice and put medium weight blanket on my girls when it's snowing in winter. I keep amount of grain the same though (as they don't do much work anyway).
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-03-2010, 05:12 PM
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Yep, up the hay intake dramatically. The more hay they eat, the warmer their bodies keep.

During the winter months, I have Nelson in a Winter Blanket, the weights change in accordance to the temperature.

Next month, or November *depends on when it starts to get cold and when he grows a proper enough winter lining on his coat*, he'll get a Light Weight put on him. When it start to get even colder, I'll change that into a Medium Weight and then when December and January month hit, he wears a Heavy Weight.

Some horses grow great winter coats, some do not. I don't want to much of a winter coat on Nelson because we remain pretty active over the winter and I don't want to deal with cooling off a horse with too heavy of a winter coat, so I put a Light Weight on him jut at the right time where he has enough, but not too much.

I also have him in a nice large paddock, with a Round Bale infront of him so he can eat to his merry, at any given time.

The more roughage he gets, the warmer his body will remain and the better body condition he will keep. Also his tummy will be full *because he has ulcers* which is very important for a horse like him.

Roughage is very, very, very important.

Here is Nelson in his set up over the winter. He has a couple buddies in there with him, they are in the shelter though...

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post #4 of 6 Old 09-03-2010, 09:41 PM
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How much does your horse go out? If anytime? If he grows a winter coat then he could go with just getting more hay. But if he was in California with you i'm going to assume that he isn't going to grow much of a coat. My mare doesn't either. I have a simple sheet for her when it gets below 50 in the fall and a medium weight blanket for her when it gets very cold.

For cooling out, it depends on how much work he just did. What I learned is to put your hand on his chest and on his neck and see if the temps are the same. If his chest is warmer then his neck (or the rest of his body) then he needs more walking. If it is the same then he is probably cool enough.

Heated barns can be a little of a concern, tho yours seemed to be kept pretty cool. It isnt good for horses to come out from 10 degree weather and go into 40 degree weather. Its kinda of a shock to their body. My sisters horse was in a heated barn, tho the barn was around 50 degrees. He was okay with it but he was injured and had to stay in the coldest months of the winter. It seems like the temp your barn is kept is probably okay but for horses who colic easily that type of environment isn't the best.

Good luck with him this winter, im sure you will find out what to do :)
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-03-2010, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ~*~ NEBRASKA ~*~
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Cinny was born and raised here in Nebraska and when I first bought him he was a big black fuzzy teddy bear. He does get out for about 3-4 hours a day unless his personal turn (our stable has a separate turn out for each individual horse) out has bad footing and then they don't turn him out. It's big enough for him to do some nice trotting and bucking but only the most collected canter would fit in there and he's not quite into collecting himself.

I know that hay provides better "gut heat" through fermentation than grain so I think I will up that as it gets colder. I noticed today though he is gaining a bit since moving to the barn.

He gets exercised at least 4 times a week. My trainer thinks he needs a lot of "wet blankets" so that he can possibly go into the show ring next year. I just want to make sure I don't make him sick by working him hard and then not doing what he needs to put him away properly.

Thank you so much guys for the help so far....up the feed, keep feeling him while walking him out... anything more?
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-03-2010, 11:01 PM
Green Broke
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Location: Arkansas
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I agree, lots more hay, especially if he gets turned out. Since the barn is heated, you'll need a good blanket for him when he is turned out, medium weight plus a liner for extra cold or windy days. You do want him turned out at least during the day. Cooping him up all winter is not healthy either. It would be better if he could go out longer, 6+ hours a day is really best. Make sure they put hay in his turnout when he goes out. If the footing is bad, then he should get at least a little turnout or lunging in the indoor arena.
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