Water buckets will start freezing soon, horses will start getting fuzzy soon, I can't wait til Delilah starting to get fuzzy, I can't wait until she is in her winter coat and I can go snuggle with my furry palomino pony.
okay for the actual question,
How do you deal with frozen buckets and tanks, winter time mud and dirt, winter riding, etc?
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Well, mud and dirt in my area of the country is almost always ice or slush. And the way I "deal" with that is by wearing tall boots to keep my feet warm :D
I have a heated water bucket to keep them from freezing. I also have a tank heater that keeps the tank from freezing.
In the winter, I check water often, and make sure my horses are always dry (at least on their undercoat). I feed good quality hay 2x a day, plus a grain/corn mix if its super cold. When I check the horses, I especially check their feet for snowballing. I also check to make sure they are not shivering.
Honestly, other than those things, I do not treat my horses much different in winter. I still ride them, although usually it is bareback and not long distances since I get cold easy.
I leave a big ol stick by the water trough, and break it up twice a day LOLL, if Indie doesn't beat me too it, she'll break the ice up by lifting her hoof up and stomping on the ice.
Pick out the feet every day, more if I have time, blanket if she is cold to the touch, and feed hay as early in the morning as possible, and as late at night as I can- that way during the colder hours she has hay to munch and help stay warm other than during the day when the sun is shining. Ain't much to do about the mud but try and keep their legs cleaned up. Winter is the only time of the year I grain, (I start late fall to make sure she keeps weight, and carry on until spring) and it's just a sweet feed with oil for added calories.
Riding in winter is a blast though, we have hills behind the barn that Indie and I slide down... I swear she has as much fun as I do :lol: She couches her butt real low to the ground and we just slide right on down. (Not very big hills, but it's still fun). Agreed with Lakota, bareback is more fun in the winter- keeps you warmer LOL! And like you said OP, winter snuggles are the best ;)
Mud and dirt? More like ice, snow and slush. Horses are outside with a covered windbreak and a mountain of straw to lie on. I pick out their hooves if I see the snowballs starting to form. I've spent time covering their eyes with my hands to gently remove ice off their eyelashes too. :lol: They grow a nice thick, velvety coat to keep warm.
Winter riding. When it drops to -30 degrees celsius here, I DON'T go riding. But other times, bareback keeps my tushie nice and warm :wink: and I don't have to worry about my big snowboots in the stirrups. If you fall off, it's into snow so who cares?
This will be my first year actually owning my own horse in the winter. But i'v helped at barns before. we just went out with a hammer and smashed the ice daily lol usually once in the morning and once in the afternoon/evening. we picked the horses feet daily to prevent huge snow balls (though i wont beable to get out to see my horse daily because of school and work so hopefully coming inside at feeding time will melt any big snow balls :S). as for riding. i persially love winter rideing :) just bundle up and off you go. inside or outside
Heads up, please make sure your tank heaters are grounded and or on a GFI outlet. Also if you use a metal trough make sure it is on the ground not up on blocks, better jset attach it to a ground rod.
It is very possible to induce a current into the water with a tank heater, usally just enough to cause a slight tingle, like touching your tongue to a 9 volt battery. But this can keep the horse from drinking and colic one.
Inspect your heaters and cords, make sure it is a three prong outlet and the outlet is well grounded. Monitor the water level and watch your horses, they will let you know if there is a problem.
My mare has already started getting fuzzy! I love giving her giant hugs and snuggling my face into her soft neck. :)
We use stock tanks with heaters and clean them weekly. We also have a heated hose so that we don't have to worry about trying to drain the water out of it.
For food, the two horses share a Quart of grain daily( i don't know if they need it or not, but it seems like a nice treat). They get free range of the hay, but if we find that they aren't eating it all, we cut back a little. They always seem to eat the hay so quickly! It frustrates me because I know that they should be "foragers" and not be gorging themselves! ;) To solve this problem I bought a soccer net with 1' squares and made a bag to put their hay in, this way it takes them much longer to eat, and keeps them from getting so bored.
To take care of the mud and dirt I try to move them around between the pasture, "arena", and their paddocks as much as possible. This way the snow doesn't become compact and slippery, and it doesn't make everything muddy. We have gutters on the front of the shelter to prevent water from pooling where the stand to eat.
I clean their feet daily to help reduce the chance of thrush, which we have had a problem with before. I also trim their feet weekly so that snowballs can't form in their hooves. To keep them fuzzy I try to brush them a few times a week, and as much as I hate it, I let their bridle-paths, muzzle whiskers, and fetlock hairs grow out to help keep them warm.
As for me? I look like that kid off of a Christmas Story! I usually feel like I can harldy move so I don't ride much. Besides that, the days get much shorter and there isn't much daylight to ride in after school.
Here it is Ice, Mud, Dirt, Snow, Rain, Wind, and pretty much what else you can think of.
If I suggest to my chubby little pony and my chubby appaloosa that they share there grain or go on a diet they may try and kill me. But yeah, Mary Anne and Delilah have gained a couple pounds, I say they are getting ready to keep warm in winter and that they will be loosing their extra padding in the spring.
I learned a new trick, spray non-stick cooking spray on their hooves before you turn them out to help make the snowball packed hooves easier to clean. We can get anywhere from 5in. to 5ft of snow, I hope we get a couple feet so I can go out and jump off my horse's backs into the snow drifts, its fun!
I am not sure I am going to add a heater to the tank, as I have been hearing about horses getting shocked I am either going to go dig out the heated buckets, or something I heard is adding a soccer or basket ball to the tank that is empty enough that the ball won't get blown away.
when its not ABSOLUTELY FREEZING and you have a fat pony :P leave her ou without any rugs for a bit- the fat energy is used for heat energy- but dont leave them freezing for long!! only an hour or two!!
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