Will They Be OK in the Cold?
   

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Will They Be OK in the Cold?

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  • Will horses self regulate hay
  • Texas cold weather will my horse be ok

 
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    01-26-2009, 04:41 PM
  #1
Foal
Unhappy Will They Be OK in the Cold?

I'm super worried about my horses, even though I've been told they are doing fine. They are 21 years old, and haven't really been outside 24 hours a day in a really long time. Like, over 10 years. They were barn-kept almost their entire lives. Out at night in the summer, and out during the day in the winter. Due to the cost of boarding, I was pretty much forced to make my two horses outdoor-only horses. They are in a gigantic pasture with lots of grass and woods. My concern is the fact that its the worst winter we've had in a LONG time and they aren't used to being outside! We put them out in either October or November, and I was thinking they were able to acclamate to it a little bit before it got horribly cold. My concern is that they don't have a true "shelter," all they have is the woods, which pretty much doesn't have much cover due to there being no leaves on the trees! Also, they told me they are getting a "splash" of pellets once a day. So they are basically forced to eat dead grass in the field and that's pretty much their only food. There is some green grass still out there, but not much. I know they huddle together for warmth and go into the woods when its cold and the wind blows. My one horse, Tanner, is a thoroughbred and we've had problems keeping weight on him in the past. Now that he isn't being used in lessons, that isn't really a problem anymore and I haven't ridden him in awhile, so it isn't like he's really active anymore. What do you all think? I can't move him to a different barn because all the others in the area are full. We are moving them to our property soon, but we aren't finished yet so it will be another couple of months before we get them to my house. :( I'm really concerned that they won't be able to handle all this cold weather!! (It's been in the 20s-30s in the evenings.) Thanks to all for any advice!
     
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    01-26-2009, 04:49 PM
  #2
Showing
If they are getting enough grass or hay they should be fine. If the pasture they're on is played out, then you need to make sure they are getting some added hay. The hay will keep them warm since it converts to energy. You might look into getting them some blankets if you notice they are shivering. For sure check the hay situation.
     
    01-26-2009, 04:49 PM
  #3
Weanling
Mine is outdoors, and she is doing fine with just a lean-to type of shelter. They do huddle for warmth, that's true...but they also shiver, and they use a lot more calories doing that. You're right to be concerned. Are they not getting hay?? Digesting hay is one of the best ways to keep a horse warm. I give my mare 8 lbs. Of grain pellets per day, and about 20 lbs. Of alfalfa, plus about 15 lbs. Of timothy at night to munch on to stay warm and full. However, she's on the skinny side, and also younger, so that may be a pretty high figure. I think if they're pastured during the winter, though...even old horses should get about 15 lbs. Of hay. I guess the best option would be to give them hay...it will help keep the weight on, it's affordable, and it keeps them warm.
     
    01-26-2009, 05:00 PM
  #4
Weanling
Mine have been living out since the 7th July, and were rugged up as soon as it got cold.

There's hardly in the grass, so their basically on hay all day, and have sugarbeet, chaff, nuts and mix twice a day.

With horses outside, you need to feed them alot more if there is less grazing, otherwise they will drop weight pretty quick.

It was hard enough getting access to my babies around the time of the fire, because we had all workers around and all their tractors and stuff were in the way.

But their doing well and have fattened up again.

They should do fine though, just keep on top of feeding.
     
    01-26-2009, 05:05 PM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by VACountryGirl    
Also, they told me they are getting a "splash" of pellets once a day. So they are basically forced to eat dead grass in the field and that's pretty much their only food. :( I'm really concerned that they won't be able to handle all this cold weather!! (It's been in the 20s-30s in the evenings.) Thanks to all for any advice!
You should be very concerned.... a "splash of pellets" and no grass? They need at the very minimum 20 pounds of hay each everyday. Why aren't you supplying them with hay?
     
    01-26-2009, 05:11 PM
  #6
Weanling
I just wanted to add that, since I'm not sure about your situation and whether you can get to your horses easily at the moment...most horses self-regulate on hay, so a lot of people in my area give round bales. However, they have to be kept dry, obviously, or they will mold. Just thought that might be an easy option for you, and fairly cheap, too. Round bales of timothy where I live (Louisville area) can still be gotten right now of good quality for $40-$50.
     
    01-26-2009, 05:19 PM
  #7
Foal
No, they are grazing, but the grass isn't as great as it normally would be, since its winter. The pasture they are on is about 30+ acres. The people that I board from are supplying the food. I pay $200 a month, which ticks me off considering they are barely being fed. That's what the board is supposed to cover! And no, they are not giving them hay. This was the whole point of my post. I don't feel that I should HAVE to supply the hay, that's their job as the boarder and that's why I am concerned. We (my mom and I) voiced concern over them possibly not getting enough to eat and we were told that they would be fine. I don't know what to think, though. I can't go up there and check on them every single day because of my job and the fact that the barn is 25 minutes away from my job and my house. This is why I'm moving them to my house, but I need to make sure they are being cared for while I'm setting up the horse paddock and barn at my place. See my frustration? :(
     
    01-26-2009, 06:54 PM
  #8
Foal
They really need hay, the dead grass isn't enough in the winter. I would move them to your place as soon as possible, even if you only finish your paddock. The barn isn't as important as good quality hay.
     
    01-26-2009, 08:14 PM
  #9
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by VACountryGirl    
No, they are grazing, but the grass isn't as great as it normally would be, since its winter. The pasture they are on is about 30+ acres. The people that I board from are supplying the food. I pay $200 a month, which ticks me off considering they are barely being fed. That's what the board is supposed to cover! And no, they are not giving them hay. This was the whole point of my post. I don't feel that I should HAVE to supply the hay, that's their job as the boarder and that's why I am concerned. We (my mom and I) voiced concern over them possibly not getting enough to eat and we were told that they would be fine. I don't know what to think, though. I can't go up there and check on them every single day because of my job and the fact that the barn is 25 minutes away from my job and my house. This is why I'm moving them to my house, but I need to make sure they are being cared for while I'm setting up the horse paddock and barn at my place. See my frustration? :(
I totally do. I have to say, I think $200 is ridiculous for being pasture-kept with no shelter. And for that price, no, you shouldn't have to supply hay. But...you may want to just for the sake of your horses. I think it's pretty crappy that the boarder feels that your horses "will be fine," when they're giving them substandard care. Was there a written or verbal agreement as to what the horses would be fed when you started boarding them? Usually a boarder would be more specific than, "Under our care, your horses will get dead grass and a 'handful' of grain." If they made any promises, I guess try to hold them to it...I'm so sorry you have to deal with this while your horses are in between homes! Good luck getting them to your place as soon as you can.
     
    01-26-2009, 08:22 PM
  #10
Super Moderator
Do you have blankets? I have some extra ones (they are old but should still be waterproof). The weather is supposed to get really yucky tonight.

They should be ok but I can see why you are worried. I used to rush down there right after storms just too make sure Pistol was OK. And that pasture is so huge you have to walk so far to even find them....

You would think they would bring them up to one of the paddocks in bad weather! Ugh... My extra blankets are old and dirty... they are like 76's I think... Might be small becuase your guys are big....
     

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