turnout on frozen pasture - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-15-2012, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Nevada city Ca.
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turnout on frozen pasture

I was wondering if its safe to turn my 2 quarter horses out on a frozen pasture with ice and snow. They have front shoes and will accumulate ice balls in their feet but they don't have back shoes. Is it very dangerous to do this?
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post #2 of 5 Old 02-15-2012, 02:21 PM
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They should be fine in the snow, its the ice you need to worry about. Is the ice a solid sheet of ice, or a layer of ice on the snow? A lot of times the weight of a horse will be able to go through that layer and through the snow and will be okay. But I would not turn out if there is a lot of ice in the field. Last thing you want is a vet bill.
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post #3 of 5 Old 02-15-2012, 02:34 PM
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I would not turn a horse on frozen ground
an ounce of prevention is a pound of cure
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Country Woman

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post #4 of 5 Old 02-15-2012, 02:58 PM
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I'm ok with frozen ground and snow but I won't turn mine out if there's a lot of ice either.

It's not a big deal if there's some ice in the hoof "pockets" in the ground, but if the pasture is (or is nearing) the look of a big roller rink, I wouldn't turn them out.

Last year we had a blizzard that put so much ice in my pastures, the horses couldn't even break thru it

I kept the four of them in my one acre flat pasture, that is attached to the barn. My pastures are so hilly, the Co-Op won't come out and spray. We have to do the spraying.

It took five days for the ice to melt in main pastures. That means completely gone off the hills and what was left the horses could easily break thru.

They were really happy to be stuck in one acre, doing nothing but eating hay all day --- no they were not - lol lol

My horses are barefoot. If you have slick shoes on your horse (meaning there's no borium or any type of grip design to the shoe), I might worry on the snow or, if the ground froze into ruts in some places. They could easily get sliding with slick shoes, hit a frozen rut and anything could happen

Hope this helps
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-15-2012, 03:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northeast Pennsylvania
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My vet prefers that the horses go on snow. The frozen land is hard on them, and you can watch them pick their ways across the pasture/paddock full of pock marks made by their own feet when the ground was soft.

Ice is another issue. At my barn years ago where I was boarding, a horse went down on ice and could not get up. He was exhausted from trying, so everyone went out and chipped and broke the ice until a path was cleared to allow him to walk out. Terribly scary!

Non-skid on shoes does help but cannot assure no slipping will happen, in my opinion.
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