Horses and the Snow
Heres the thing, I hear about these breeds being imported from overseas, that arent accustomed to the harsher climates of north america, like snow and -20 temp's etc. but they come here and adapt, which is pretty ironic, considering alotta other animals would get sick or end up dieing? Do horses not even get sick when they are shipped here with such an overnight change in climate? Do they not require blankets n such for the fall n winter months?
Reason I ask is cuz in some countries, for example India, where their winters where we live might get at a worst case scenarion -2 or so, and usually just stays at around 10-15, in the fall and winter months they still give the horses blankets, cuz supposedly they cant handle the cold temp? I dont get that though, I mean we got horses here that deal with -25 for 3 months in alberta, is it the breed itself?
I personally beleive that it might just be improper training altogether, they baby the horse so much its dependent on the blanket? Is that most likely the case? I personally would want it trained to be able to handle with temp's like that...
I think it all depends on the blanket and the horse. There are blankets that are no thicker than a T-shirt that are used mostly to keep the horse clean and protect from UV rays. Some folks blanket to keep a winter coat from coming on for showing purposes or whatever. I read someplace it only takes a horse a week or so to put on a winter coat. Shipping a horse from one climate to another they may want to get the animal acclamated slowly to the climate by blanketing. As far as horses on a whole, I think if left to their own they wouldn't need blanketed no matter where they lived, Siberia or Tahiti they would adapt.
People shipping horses to different climates need to be very careful to constantly check on the horses, add or remove blankets as needed, provide adequate food and water, breaks, etc. Here is Alaska, there has been more than one case of horses dying on the trip from the lower 48 up to AK. There was one case I believe where something like 10 horses ended up dying because the people did not check on them. It is important when shipping to AK that people don't do it to early in the spring or too late in the fall...it just gets too cold for them to handle.
We had our mare brought up, and we checked references and got feedback from people who had had horses brought up before. When I got my Stallion, we brought him up ourselves, and stopped frequently to check him, walk him, and water him. I would not ship with someone who has not built some sort of reputation and has references.
My parents sold their gelding to someone out of state a few years ago, and trusted some friends to haul him out. A blanket was put on him here in Alaska because it was fall, and cooler out...well the blanket was left on him the entire trip, and he showed up sweaty, dehydrated, and looking like death...great thing for a new buyer to have to deal with!
That was all in reference to trailer hauling by the way....I am not sure what kinds of hardships there are shipping overseas...I would think the same applies for checking them, blanketing/removing blankets, and watering.
i had a friend buy a horse in fla and shipped it to montreal in the dead of winter, the horse was shipped in a climite control, horse trailer, blanket where removed or added when needed. once in montreal the horse was only turned out in the indoor areana for the first month.
When my sister-in-law first got her horse, Maverick, he had been kept indoors every night and therefore did not have as thick a winter coat as my horses (my horses are pasture kept with free choice shelter). It didn't seem to be much of a problem in the winter; however, when spring arrived there was an unexpected cold rain and Maverick was soaked and shivering. I ended up spending hours in the barn with him with towels and blankets. Poor baby. :-( He ended up being fine, but I can easily see where there could've been problems. I can see where there could be complications for a horse coming from a cold climate into the dead of winter, but I would think the horse would adjust if purchased in the spring or summer and allowed the opportunity to grow a winter coat.
I live in Northern Wisconsin and never blanket my horses. It does prevent the winter coat from coming in and I think what nature gave the horse (a winter coat) is better than anything a company can manufacture. ;-)
You have to remember that when a horse is imported they have to go thru customs and stay quarantined indoors for 30-60 days depending on where you are located and where the horse came from. If you can find the right location or the right facility you can even do the quarantin yourself and keep the horse outdoors.
Either way if you are in an area with a cold climate I would try to time the import during the warmer weather, allow the horse to adjust to the diet and weather.
I think most horses can adjust to pretty much anything as long as they are given the time and opportunity to. They might need the assistance of a blanket, but as long as they are given the chance weather shouldnt be an issue.
The breed of this little guy I was going to import from Europe. He adjusted just fine to Canadian weather:
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