Ice on my horse's winter coat
This is my first real winter in my new place (moved from Florida, so I've barely ever experienced this kind of winter) and my first winter with horses. I have no problem keeping weight on my 2 and they both have nice winter coats and everything but last night went I went to the barn to check on them they both had ice in their coats. Like, little chunks at the base of their manes and on their withers pretty much to their rumps, but only on their backs.:shock: I got all the ice out but I'm worried that this might happen again and there is no way this is comfortable for them. Has this happened to anyone else and is this normal? Also, how can I stop this from happening?:?
Sorry for the book, I'm a little long winded..
Happens all the time! Its actually funny but I wouldn't pull them out. That's gotta hurt. Their body heat eventually melts it. When they walk around or shake their body you can hear the ice rattle. Like their own jingle bells. It probably isn't all that comfortable but something they deal with.
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That means their insulation is working - their double coats.
A horse's coat is like insulation in the roof of your home; if there isn't any insulation all the heat escapes thru the roof and you won't see snow on the roof.
Same with a horse. If they are healthy, have ample fur and a chance to dry out when it's freezing rain, you will see snow and ice on them meaning their body heat is not escaping.
Most important is plenty of hay NOT more grain. Don't increase their grain unless they start losing a lot of weight. Hay/forage is what horses were designed to eat so that is what their hindgut needs to keep their digestive system working properly.
Lots of water too and that does not mean snow; every winter someone on a some forum will ask if they need to give their horse water because there's plenty of snow for them to eat:shock:
They should be eating snow because they feel like NOT because it's their only source to replenish liquid in their body. They need to stay hydrated the same as we do:-)
And while my current location is Middle Tennessee and folks might wonder "from where I speak", I lived the first 50 years of my life on the OH/PA border and was raised on a dairy farm.
So extra hay and water and throw a maximum of a tablespoon of salt in there if they're not drinking enough water, and they will be fine.
Also need to check their hooves for ice/snow packs. It can sometimes build up so much the horse can't walk. There were times up north I had to carefully take a hammer and screwdriver to get that stuff out of my horses' hooves at the end of the day.
Hope this helps:-)
That's good to hear! I thought I was doing something terribly wrong. :lol:
You should have seen my horses last winter during all of the ice storms we had. The looked like horse-cicles. I really felt bad for them, but they made no move to go inside the shed, so I guess they were okay...
I live in Wyoming where we have already had below zero temps and cold and wind. Lots of snow. I know its not funny, but when you go outside to feed, my horses have frozen whiskers, eye lashes, forlocks and fetlocks. They do look like funny colored snowmen. But like said above, that shows their insulation is working and they are eating good to keep up their blood levels and therefore heat in their bodies.
I also hate when I have to watch horses eat snow because the farmers/ranchers swear their horses can eat enough snow to keep them hydrated. We have more colic cases in winter than summer, poor horses just cant keep enough water in their systems trying to digest hay and eat snow.
My guys go through a 75gallon tank of heated water every other day, we have three horses. Can't imagine trying to eat that amount of snow to be equal to that many gallons of water.
The one thing I do love about winter is watching the horses running through deep snow, playing, rearing and goofing around. Or laying down taking a nap and all you can see if bellies sticking above the snow around them
It is pretty awesome to watch them in the snow. I've never seen mine jump and run as much as I have this last month.
I've been out to my barn every few hours these last few days because my water tank broke. Luckily, I've only got two and they have no problem drinking even when its cold outside. :lol:
Going to agree with everyone else and say that it is fine. :-)
These pictures are from last year, but it gives you an idea what my horses look like through the winter. lol
And this is just frost on her in this picture -
If you want to stop it on their backs, you could always put a water-proof sheet or blanket on them...according to the outside temps.
No sheets or blankets. That makes the hair lie down and then does not insulate and they get cold. The ice on them actually helps insulate them and keeps the heat in
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