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kko 08-01-2009 08:51 PM

Winter
 
how do horse handle the winter and what not, like the cold and snow?

im in north dakota so as you can guess it gets cold. so what can i do when there is like a blizzard or something or in the negatives? thanks

Walkamile 08-02-2009 09:31 AM

Hi kko. Horses do very well in the cold as long as they have shelter from the wind ect...I also give mine extra hay if the temps are 10 below zero or lower. That extra hay really provides extra "heat" for them through digestion. If you see one shivering you may need to blanket. I very rarely need to do this (I have on occasion for T, she's 20) but have when 10 - 20 below until temps rise.

Water will be extremely important. I bring mine warm water and they seem to know to drink quick before it cools. I have also in the past added salt to their feed to encourage water consumption. If you can use a water heater great.

It just fries me to see Walka standing in the paddock during a snowstorm or freezing rain storm! But they put themselves where they want, in or out.

If your horses wear shoes in the winter, you'll have to take precautions to prevent balling under their hooves. Mine are barefoot so no worries there. I've been told that if they wear shoes to rub the bottom with oil, or Vaseline or spray with PAM. I'm sure you'll get plenty of advice here.

Good luck with them this winter. I understand N Dakota gets cold! :wink:

NorthernMama 08-02-2009 12:15 PM

My horses are outside 24/7 with shelter -- all year. I live in Northern Ontario -- it gets COLD! -40 is not unheard of; -15 and -20 celcius are the norm for much of the winter. No blankets -- that inhibits their ability to control their temperature. No putting in at night -- that messes up their thermostats. -- can you imagine going from inside your house to outside -20 with no coat on??? Better to be dressed properly all the time and never get into a warm place -- so a horse wears his winter coat all the time and stays quite comfortable.

Winter demands lots of hay and lots of water. Forage helps keep the body warm and winter tends to be much drier than summer -- at least up here anyway.

smrobs 08-02-2009 01:48 PM

Wow, we don't have temps that cold down here. The average is between 0 and 35 F. All ours stay outside 24/7 but just have some shelter from the wind and the worst of the snow/rain. Although last winter was really harsh (for us) with negative temps plus a 40 to 50 mph wind. That makes the wind chill really cold.

TaMMa89 08-02-2009 02:02 PM

I've just taken lessons so I can just give only few general tips. But we have, snowy, cold winter over here.

I'd say it depends also the breed of your horse. Nordic breeds bear cold often better than southern breeds and that's what you have to notice when you're choosing blanket etc. Calkins could be good and make it more safe if there's ice.

NorthernMama 08-03-2009 08:34 AM

Tamma -- it's not the breed (but there are probably exceptions to every rule), it's how you keep your horses. I don't know how an Akhal Teke would take to winter (having never had one), but Arabs look like big, long-legged, fuzzy dogs in the winter up here. Many people that don't live with winters like ours or people that blanket and stall their horses would be very surprised at the fur coats that develop on horses. Except for show purposes and owner's vanity (again exceptions to every rule), there is no reason to blanket a horse.

Angel_Leaguer 08-03-2009 09:17 AM

My horses stay out with the option to take shelter... and they typically don't. Before I boarded and lived at my dad's, the nights where it was really bitter cold or a really nasty blizzard came through I would lock them in just to be on the safe side and it would make chores easier for me. But on average they would stay out through the normal snow showers and the cold temps.

Chloe really grows a winter coat and I never have to blanket her- April doesnt have the thickest of coats but she hasnt ever been affected by the temps. I dont like to blanket if I dont have to.

We didnt have heated water buckets- so each horse would get offered about 5 gallons twice a day. If you give them too much it just freezes and you end up breaking out the ice. Even if there is snow on the ground that is not ample enough water for them. They must be provided water.

If your horse normally wears shoes I would pull them once ice/snow starts showing up. Not only can hard packed snow form- the shoes will also get very slippery (smooth metal on ice does not do well).

Also dont forget about routine grooming in the winter. Often times if a horse gets a cut or sore the winter hair will cover it up. By brushing and feeling through the hair, these can be detected. The hooves should also be kept trimmed.

TaMMa89 08-03-2009 09:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by northernmama (Post 367664)
Tamma -- it's not the breed (but there are probably exceptions to every rule), it's how you keep your horses. I don't know how an Akhal Teke would take to winter (having never had one), but Arabs look like big, long-legged, fuzzy dogs in the winter up here. Many people that don't live with winters like ours or people that blanket and stall their horses would be very surprised at the fur coats that develop on horses. Except for show purposes and owner's vanity (again exceptions to every rule), there is no reason to blanket a horse.

I've always been taught that the breed can have effects, at least in it how easily the horse will adapt to the winter weather. Of course those effects aren't so significant that the effects of the way you keep your horses and of course all that depends on your horse too.

wild_spot 08-03-2009 11:11 PM

Quote:

Except for show purposes and owner's vanity (again exceptions to every rule), there is no reason to blanket a horse.
Unless you work them very hard in the winter. Sweat under a long winter coat is not something horses are equipped to handle. It takes them hours to dry and and get warm and can cause pneumonia. That's the reason I rug in winter, I also clip my main riding horse. In summer I rug for showing, but I don't show in winter, but I do compete and compete a lot. It's a health issue.

NorthernMama 08-04-2009 11:34 PM

Yes, you are right there ^^. Yet another exception I forgot about.


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