Winter housing, exercise, and general care - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-18-2014, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Minnesota, USA
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Winter housing, exercise, and general care

(Not sure where this should go...) I live in the midwest where winter (piles of snow) lasts for about 3 months. I know horses can get some pretty bad cuts from the ice... And they can easily slip. or those of you who have the same weather conditions, what do you do with your horses during the winter?
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-18-2014, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Kent, UK
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im in the uk so we dont get loads of snow. When it does snow though my boy stays in with as much hay as he can eat. Im paranoid about the snow after my mums horse broke its hock slipping in the snow. However if bringing in wasnt an option I' d be barefoot so the snow and ice couldnt ball up and would be turning out in turnout boot/socks to protect their legs
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-18-2014, 05:42 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Dakota, USA
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Our winters last from usually early November to late March. Our horses are out 24/7 with trees only for shelter.

We don't do anything special for winter. They don't have shoes either. They've never been severely cut but maybe a scrape on occasion.
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-18-2014, 05:43 PM
Green Broke
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Mine just have a big run in and get all the hay they want. So exactly the same thing as summer only they eat more.
Snow is usually around hip deep, few times it's gotten over my head.

The horses come and go and stomp down paths. One year they had tunnels- almost. It was freaky walking down a corridor of snow with just enough room for my drafts to pass. I had a half crazy big QH gelding that I had to listen for if I was using one of those paths because if he got running he would just run you over. Had little holes I dive out of the way.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-18-2014, 05:46 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ohio
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I'm in central Ohio. They do not get turned out on ice. I have seen a couple of cases of Stringhalt that I relate to hard falls on the ice.

One a carriage horse that fell in the traces. And another unloading from a trailer. Both hard falls on the hip on ice.

The BOs here are more conservative than I and leave for their day jobs early, before you can tell it will be a nice day. So they stay in on many days that I would have put them out.

The weathermen around here seem to play it safe and forcast worse case scenarios. Although last year was a doozy.

Subbing. Can't wait to see what some of the Canadians have to say. :)

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post #6 of 19 Old 08-18-2014, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Texas
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We don't get much snow, but we do get some nasty ice. They get extra hay and I try to limit how much they need to walk around in it, so they stay in their barn. (It also means lugging water buckets to the barn every hour because things freeze so fast, ugh). As far as exercise, I lay off until most everything's melted.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-18-2014, 06:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Central Alberta here, 6 months of snow and cold :)

My boys live out 24/7/365. They are unshod and unrugged and not clipped. The snow here is deep (and crisp and even). I worry only when there has been a spring melt followed by a spring freeze - but regardless of my worry my boys manage just fine and they are adept at judging what is deep snow, and what is icy. Plenty of hay, and a water heater in their trough.

I was in the UK, where a snowy week can be far more deadly because it's more like sheets of ice than proper deep snow. In those conditions the horses stayed indoors because the yard and their fields were treacherous.

If your three months of snow are consistently cold, then your horses will be fine. If you have fluctuating temperatures, bringing about thaw then freeze, then you will have to be more proactive about judging the safety of the footing.
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Get up, get going, seize the day. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, cloudy days, snowstorms, and thunder. Getting on your horse is always worth the effort.
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-18-2014, 10:57 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Indiana
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We get about 3-4 months of serious winter, snow and bitter cold. Really the only thing we change is how we get them water. Hoses are useless when it's 0 so we truck them water. Other then that it's a lean to and round bales. As long as a horse is healthy, winters are great times to ride!
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-19-2014, 07:55 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2011
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I use a hose to fill water even at -25. I have a hook up in the house, run it out the window and to the stock tank. Then I have to run the hose up into a tree branch and slowly pull it up and over so it drains. If you pull too fast the water doesn't all get out and it's freezes. I leave an end hanging in the branches so I can find it again later.
If it does freeze I have to roll up 150 ft of frozen hose and bring it in the house. Just letting it thaw on it's own takes hours, the rubber is a surprisingly good insulator. Usually I have to put it in the shower and turn the hot water on it.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-19-2014, 08:11 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Riga, Latvia
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Latvia here, we get around 6-7 months of freezing cold, snow and, when it warms up, loads of mud. My boy, along with his herdmates, lives outside 24/7 and gets unlimited hay 24/7. He is unshod and balances himself well in any kind of slippery conditions, so I see no cuts and scrapes, and is stalled only one night a year - the New Year's Eve, when the neighbours go crazy with fireworks and I prefer keeping him safe inside. And we ride even more, both in the arena and on trails, than in the summer! Nothing compares to a good gallop through a white field, dashing through piles of snow and leaving a deep trail behind us. :)
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