Snow + steep hills... in or out?
 
 

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Snow + steep hills... in or out?

This is a discussion on Snow + steep hills... in or out? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        11-20-2010, 07:15 PM
      #1
    Super Moderator
    Snow + steep hills... in or out?

    Since this is related to Lacey's health and safety, I figured that this section was probably the best... :)

    Anyway, on Sunday evening/Monday, my area is scheduled for the first "big" snow of the year. It probably won't be more than 4 inches, but we're supposed to have a "crazy" winter this year so I suppose it could be more or less...
    Basically, I'm wondering if I should create a stall area (it wouldn't be hard at all) for Lacey in the shed/barn she has access to and stick her in there tomorrow night, just in case.
    I'm concerned that since the hills are so steep, and if the snow is wet-ish and slippery like we usually get, that she might get stranded in her "favorite place" (which is basically an acre away from the shed) and then get too cold or dehydrated (her water is in the shed) because she doesn't feel safe enough on her feet to get to the shed... She's like that, she's basically terrified of slipping.

    I really don't know. She's blanketed, so temperature-wise she'll probably be fine...

    What would you do? I'm inclined to shut her in just becuase, but at the same time I don't really want to...


    Also, if you say to let her out, what level of snow would you shut her in at? Since we're supposed to have a "crazy" winter this year, we might get something like we did 3 years ago, where we got over 4 feet of snow all in one night... I think if that happens again I would definitely shut her in, just for her own safety... But would you?
         
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        11-20-2010, 07:25 PM
      #2
    Started
    Our three horses are kept out all the time, they have a shed to walk into if they want, which they don't usually do, they have water on one side of the pasture and come closer to the house to eat. We already have about 2 feet of snow, and it is snowing still. On Tuesday, the weather is supposed to hit 3 degrees F.
    Two of ours are older boys in their 20's, they have to walk through snow to get anywhere and do just fine, even when it's slippery. Personally, would not worry about the snow at all.
         
        11-20-2010, 07:29 PM
      #3
    Trained
    I second that. If she is healthy enough to be ridden then even a foot of snow shouldn't bother her.
         
        11-20-2010, 07:30 PM
      #4
    Weanling
    I guess it depends on the horse...have you thought about shoes with studs/spikes? That may be a waste if you don't ride in the winter, but if you do, it'd be something to consider. As far as being in her pasture, you know her and we don't. Would it be like her to stay up there in fear of slipping? If so I'd think about just closing off that part of pasture if you're able to. Another thing is that you could let her roam when somebody's able to keep an eye out and if you notice a problem, then think about stalling/changing the setup of the pasture
         
        11-20-2010, 07:30 PM
      #5
    Trained
    I'd just make sure she is barefoot and leave her out. =]
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        11-20-2010, 07:34 PM
      #6
    Showing
    Let her follow her instincts, she'll be fine. If she's thirsty enough she'll go in the shed. Or she'll be like my old Clydesdale and eat the snow to try and stay hydrated :roll:
         
        11-20-2010, 07:36 PM
      #7
    Started
    Don't keep shoes on her at all if she is outside in the snow. You can't believe how fast it will ball up in the feet and freeze to the shoes and turn into ice stilts. Talk about slipping and sliding. No shoes and let her be a horse.
    She will figure out how to pick up her legs to walk in the snow and to go at a pace not to slip. Even with running and playing, I have not had one of my horses slip in the snow and fall.
         
        11-20-2010, 07:38 PM
      #8
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wyominggrandma    
    Don't keep shoes on her at all if she is outside in the snow. You can't believe how fast it will ball up in the feet and freeze to the shoes and turn into ice stilts. Talk about slipping and sliding. No shoes and let her be a horse.
    She will figure out how to pick up her legs to walk in the snow and to go at a pace not to slip. Even with running and playing, I have not had one of my horses slip in the snow and fall.
    You think mine will be okay in the winter? 4 don;t have shoes but two do....one has fronts and one has a full set. They have free access to their stalls from the main pasture....
         
        11-20-2010, 07:38 PM
      #9
    Weanling
    I think she'll be fine. Horses are a lot more durable than we give them credit for.
         
        11-20-2010, 07:39 PM
      #10
    Green Broke
    Personally I think if you are worried about it, I would put her up for the night. I would rather her be in, safe, warm, with a nice pile of hay and water, than keep myself awake worrying about her all night. But that's just me. I'm sure she'll be fine either way, it would be more for my peace of mind than anything. You could always put her out first thing in the morning and then you'd be able to see how well she handled it during the daylight hours.

    ETA, equiniphile, you can always use cooking spray or Vaseline to keep ice out of hooves when they have to wear shoes.
         

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