Ice + Horses = Bad.
So we got a lovely sheet of ice. It's been one of those events where it warms up, the snow melts a bit, and it freezes again. It's like mother nature wants me to bust my butt.
I keep my horses in during this mess, and they're beyond ticked about it. They're in a pole barn, so they've been rotating, one at a time, getting out to go have adventures... Those adventures consist of playing jenga with the haybales. "Oh this one looks good!!!" -chows down in the middle of the stack- Thankfully since the last bad weather snap where it was just COLD, the stack is no more and it's all in the loft.
But on my way to town and other places, I see horses that are out in this crap! And you know the ground is just a pure sheet of ice. It drives me crazy. It's not like you have to just worry about a slip and fall, which they can do in any weather - or mine can. They're 'talented'. But if they hit a patch just right and it breaks? Hello cut up pasterns!!!
Well I'm off to find some bottles so that maybe, despite their salt licks, they'll stop trying to escape by chewing the stalls down u__u
Some people don't have the option of bringing their horses in when it's crappy. And frankly I wouldn't do it anyways. They have shelter and the ability to walk around just fine in the iciest crud.
My horses live outside 24/7 and I can tell you that when it gets really icy they are very careful walking around. Even my young one doesn't run around like a nut when it's really icy. They walk slowly and carefully. Of course, if they're cooped up all day long or for weeks at a time they'll go nuts when they finally go outside. Then they probably will get hurt. And in reality if I was to never let my horses outside when it's icy they would spend from Jan to April stuck in stalls. And probably a good part of the beginning of the winter too the way it likes to melt and freeze.
This our forecast this weekend: Freezing rain starting tonight, all day tomorrow and tomorrow night, changing over to a wintry "mix" on Sunday, and then snow. After this crap is over everything in the area is going to be icy until it melts (April), so I should force my horses to live indoors for almost four months?
Mn Tigerstripes is correct. All of our horses are very sensible and cautious. But once they hit the indoor arena on their way in - they play!
Yeah, I've been falling all over the place today. I swear my horses are looking at me like "What are ya drunk?" as I'm slipping around feeding them. Of course THEY don't have any problems, just clumsy me. Then I changed shoes and went to work... should've kept my barn boots on they've got a lot more traction!
My horses are out 24/7 for the most part as well. We scrape the front portion of the pasture where they get fed, otherwise they have a couple acres of snow covered pasture to wander. They walk through the knee deep snow & make paths to their favorite napping spot. I worry that the front part will get icy after this weekend with all the rain we are expecting. I know people who have lost their horses to broken pelvis' due to slipping on the ice. There's not much you can do. I'd rather have them outside. I know they are pretty sure-footed and they don't over exert themselves too much. I have seen a lot of falls on the ice that have NOT hurt them one bit - they get up and keep on runnin'. Gotta let them be horses.
I don't care. I'm preventing injuries to my accident prone horses. Considering the majority of them are foolish yearlings, not taking chances. Next year is too big of a show year, and they'll not be skipping it because of something I could have prevented.
Something to think about, when I was a kid we lost a cow on the ice. She slipped just right and broke her back leg/hip/something, never got up again. My horse is outside, but I don't let her go out to the whole pasture because of the hills when it's bad out. If the back legs get spread straight out away from each other it's real easy to tear or break something.
Yeah it could happen, but there's a thousand other things they could do to themselves too.
Just remember when you're pointing your fingers at someone else because they're bad owners that they are plenty of people who may think you're a bad owner. Everybody has their own ideas of the best way to take care of their animals. My 30 yr old mare would go completely lame if I locked her up inside for weeks at a time. She probably wouldn't be able to walk around if I put her in a stall overnight. Anyways that's a little off topic. My point is that each of us takes care of our animals to our own conscience and as long as the horses are happy/healthy who are any of us to judge?
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