Something to consider about your horse on a COLD day...
 
 

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Something to consider about your horse on a COLD day...

This is a discussion on Something to consider about your horse on a COLD day... within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        01-10-2014, 01:43 PM
      #1
    Super Moderator
    Something to consider about your horse on a COLD day...






    I grew up pampering horses terribly. If it got even a bit chilly, the horse had a blanket on. When it got cold, they had multiple blankets, were kept in heated barns and were clipped, heated, and fussed over all winter. Funny how those heated barns saw a lot of horses coughing and getting respiratory problems. We told ourselves they would be a whole lot worse if we weren't pampering our babies.

    Then I moved to the high mountains of Colorado. Initially, I had no barn, much less a heated one. My horses had a windbreak. You did not blanket your horses as they would flatten the hair and the horse would lose their heat trapping ability. I was HORRIFIED the first time the temps got to 25 degrees below zero. I was convinced that my horses were dead, for SURE. I would visit my horses and marvel over the thick coat and threaten to make a rug out of them. When spring finally came, it was a rush to clean the horses up and get them back in show fitness for the beginning of the event season.

    That first Colorado winter was a real eye opener for me, a person who thought I knew a lot about horses. I learned that not only could my horse survive these conditions, they THRIVED. I never heard a cough until I moved to lower elevations so that I could keep my event horses in better condition for the start of the show season. Then, I found a heated barn........and the pamper problems came back.

    I now have a thorough respect for the toughness of the horse. Yes, if you are competing, this gets in the way of allowing your horse to cope as they should. But, for those of you who allow your horses to "go natural" in the winter, fear not.

    This is an excellent article about horses and thermoregulation. Hope you enjoy it.

    Thermoregulation in Horses During Winter | Avventura
    Eolith, smrobs, Walkamile and 10 others like this.
         
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        01-10-2014, 03:49 PM
      #2
    Weanling
    Hmmm, interesting idea. Does it still work on Arabs who don't grow much of a coat?
         
        01-10-2014, 04:03 PM
      #3
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iRide Ponies    
    Hmmm, interesting idea. Does it still work on Arabs who don't grow much of a coat?
    One would assume they grow based on where they live?
    When we lived in coastal SC, my mare's winter coat was a joke, as one isn't really needed.
    Now we live in eastern mountain area WA, and it is cold. She has a winter coat to die for, though out mustang beats her still by far, the shaggy beast that he is!
    steeldustgurl likes this.
         
        01-10-2014, 04:16 PM
      #4
    Weanling
    She has always grown much less of a coat than her pasture mates.
         
        01-10-2014, 04:23 PM
      #5
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iRide Ponies    
    She has always grown much less of a coat than her pasture mates.
    It is true that some horses do not grow as thick of a coat as others. Another thing where Mother Nature impresses me is when a foal is born in the colder months they come out with a nice coat vs. the warmer months they have less coat. Mother Nature takes care of hers, where she can. It is usually when humans take over that the problem comes in and part of that is in breeding. Let's face it horses that didn't grow enough coat were to survive, were not passing that on to their young as they didn't survive to have any. Also if they are trapped in an area where they can't get out of the wind, or they don't have enough food, etc...

    Love seeing that heavy wooly coat. I also love riding bareback in that soft fuzz. Your butt and legs stay warm with all that hair too.
         
        01-10-2014, 04:28 PM
      #6
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Inga    
    It is true that some horses do not grow as thick of a coat as others. Another thing where Mother Nature impresses me is when a foal is born in the colder months they come out with a nice coat vs. the warmer months they have less coat.
    Wow! Never heard of that before, but when I think about it, Shakira was born in December and where I am that's the middle of summer. Perhaps that contributes to her fine coat?
         
        01-10-2014, 04:45 PM
      #7
    Yearling
    Ha Ha No, I mean that they are born with their coats the way they NEED them to be at the time, not that if they are born with a lighter coat in summer, that they will never grow a coat. I have had foals born in summer who then in winter get nice coats.

    I have also known a few horse that just didn't get super heavy coats and needed a bit of extra care. LOT of extra feed to stay warm etc... Actually, come to think of it, one of them was an Arabian stud. I also had a Saddlebred gelding that never grew a good heavy coat. Guess he thought fashion was more important then comfort. Ha ha
         
        01-10-2014, 04:50 PM
      #8
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iRide Ponies    
    She has always grown much less of a coat than her pasture mates.
    I agree, I doubt that is her breed so much as it is just her. My horse is half quarterhorse, half appy, and has much less winter coat than my friends' full quarter horse and half arab/half quarter.... I have wondered for my mare if it isn't her age? She will be 5 next month, both of the others are full adults... but again, last winter was her first real winter, and this year her coat is like last's... so with time maybe she will get heavier coated. Either way, no blankets, no shelters (aside from trees), and she frequently has a wettish/ice-ish layer on her back and neck, and she never shakes, so mother nature still has it under control. :)
    I too also marvel at the babies born in winter, that is so cool how they have a good coat already! Do they shed as much initially, I wonder, since it might be needed still?
    steeldustgurl likes this.
         
        01-10-2014, 04:51 PM
      #9
    Yearling
    Last winter, I blanketed all my horses. They had 10 acres and couldn't get into too much trouble. I had stalls and put them in if it poured and made the pasture too wet, but they were mostly out 24/7.

    I live in the NW, so we have mild winters, but occasionally the temps get below zero.

    Now, I have moved to 34 acres. The horses are out 24/7 with cover in the barn when they want it. We are going without blankets this year entirely. Even on the coldest days (-5 degrees F), they are perfectly comfortable. Their coats are fuzzy but not any longer than they had on their legs and bellies last year. Everyone has been very healthy so far (knock knock!)

    I can't believe how much they seem to enjoy the cold weather too.
         
        01-10-2014, 04:54 PM
      #10
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tiffanyodonnell    
    Last winter, I blanketed all my horses. They had 10 acres and couldn't get into too much trouble. I had stalls and put them in if it poured and made the pasture too wet, but they were mostly out 24/7.

    I live in the NW, so we have mild winters, but occasionally the temps get below zero.

    Now, I have moved to 34 acres. The horses are out 24/7 with cover in the barn when they want it. We are going without blankets this year entirely. Even on the coldest days (-5 degrees F), they are perfectly comfortable. Their coats are fuzzy but not any longer than they had on their legs and bellies last year. Everyone has been very healthy so far (knock knock!)

    I can't believe how much they seem to enjoy the cold weather too.
    Yeah, our 2 love it also! But they hate the icy-ness recently- they can't run around and play, (heck they can hardly walk sometimes!) for fear of falling. Last year they spent all winter chasing each other into and around the corral, in what I am sure was an attempt at giving us heart attacks as we watched from the kitchen. We just need a bit more snow to fix the ice issue, and they will be good to run! :)
    Foxtail Ranch likes this.
         

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