Winter housing, exercise, and general care - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-19-2014, 09:14 AM
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Saranda, when you have a big thaw followed by a big freeze, how do your horses cope with the layer of ice that is left behind?

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 #12 of 19 Old 08-19-2014, 09:42 AM
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Usually they have made shallow paths in the snow before it happens. Those are slippery then, but the horses just move slowly and I haven't seen any accidents. If we venture upon crusted snow in our rides, we just walk through it and it doesn't cut their legs if they don't go through it at speed - at least, not in my experience. We get quite a lot of ice-crusted snow, but I haven't seen any problems, unless a horse runs through it - and, if they do it, they usually stop after a few steps.

The worst we can get is when we have deep mud that freezes over with a layer of ice. The horses are practically immobile on that and we try getting sand over that situation, which makes it slightly less slippery. Luckily, the pastures are large enough, so they can be moved on untrampled terrain.

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-19-2014, 09:58 AM
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I've had to go get a truckload of sand and spread it before. Usually it happens at the beginning and end of winter. If the snow or mud is too deep to use the truck I use the sled to cart buckets of sand out there. Sometimes I can't do either and unfortunately have to use the soiled bedding for traction. Just makes for a bigger mess in the spring.
The first 2 wks of the thaw and I walk around feeling overwhelmed at the manure that had been lost in the snow. Takes me a bit to focus and not look up. Just keep raking and don't look up...hate that feeling. All by hand too because the mud is too deep for the truck to get out there. The frost is usually somewheres over 4 ft and it takes a while to thaw. The water just lays on the surface and makes this great field of mud. I've had trucks sink to their tail pipes in May because the kids werent listening to me about the mud. I've sunk myself to the center of my hubs and I was moving on ground that appeared largely dry to me and held me and the horses no problem. Took me 3 days to dig myself out of that one.
We don't really have spring here. We have Mud season.
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-19-2014, 10:16 AM
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Horses are adaptable to weather conditions, even -40. Mine never step foot in the barn during the winter much preferring to find shelter in a thick stand of trees. I feed roundbales, often setting out two for two horses. The reason for this is to keep them moving. They dine from one for a short while then head to the other. These two bales are set as far as possible from the water source. Smartest thing I did was have a line dug from the house to the fence, about 50' and had a frost free hydrant installed. A length of pipe directs the water to the tank. Because of ice buildup I finally got smart and bo't a kid's snow saucer for $6. Put a rope on it. It holds enough water for two horses altho I wait in case more is needed. It's tied to the fence and if ice builds up I slide it out of the pasture and dump the ice. This saucer's durability exceeded my expectations as it's been stomped on and pawed and nary a crack. If there's an easier way to do something, I'll find it. The taps on the outside of the house are also frost free, yup, I have hot and cold. The horses are watered twice daily, about 8 and 4 as that's when they drink the most. With last winter's depth of snow I twice had a bob-cat clear a 40' wide swath down one pasture, working from west to east to reduce blow-in from the prevailing winds. This was for hay delivery. Normally this is done once, but last winter twice.



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post #15 of 19 Old 08-19-2014, 10:23 AM
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Over the course of years I've learned not to spread anything on frozen punched up mud. The sun shines on it, thaws the surface which then creates ice. After 3 or 4 days it becomes treacherous. Once one starts with sand it has to be done daily.



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post #16 of 19 Old 08-19-2014, 10:27 AM
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I wish I had those frost free plugs. Had them at my other house and miss them dearly. This old house just needs too many other things first.

I actually lit a small fire in the stove this morning. The cool down has begun.

The first winter I was here the snow mobile club cleared me a pad out by my back gate with the snow cat so I could get in and out with hay. I knew this house sat in a small wierd snow belt but I had no idea just how bad it got. Just going in from the highway about a mile and half the snow banks double. I don't sit that high up either.

Last year my neighbor cleared a hole with his backhoe so I could dump round bales on the lawn and I peeled off what I needed and moved by sled to the horses. I have this big deep sled that will hold 3 square bales easily. Worst part was the climb over the snow piles to the hay. Then it's down hill to the horse pen. Have to be careful not to run myself over.
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-19-2014, 10:33 AM
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Maine here. We get snow anywhere from late October through April. Yes, 6 months out of the year!

I have never really had any issues with horses and snow. They go out most days as usual, but with more hay. If the wind is really strong and it's below 0 degrees before the wind chill, we will sometimes blanket them. The only conditions where we don't put them out is if its 30 degrees and raining. If the rain is going to freeze on them, but it's too warm to blanket, they stay inside.

If your horses are shod, you can get shoes with studs, or snow shoes for them. Regular shoes can be really slippery. I also make sure before I walk the horses into the barn that there is no snow balls/ice balls packed into the bottoms of their feet. That can make them slip on the cement isle way of the barn and hurt themselves, or roll an ankle. I just hang a hoof pick outside the barn, so I can pick the ice out before they step foot into the barn.

We usually make sure we have a lot of rough- first cut hay that has some tougher straw-like pieces. If you've ever put your hand inside a fermenting bale of hay, you know it gets really hot. That is what the hay does in your horse's stomach, so feeding lots of hay in the winter helps them stay warm.

"The barn taught me passion... Not the passion of winning-but rather the passion that you feel when you have nothing left but your love of something. The passion that is there when exhaustion steals your strength and frustration takes your hope."
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-19-2014, 10:35 AM
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In the center of my field I have a swale that runs with water most of the year. It's that I need to sand. Usually just the area where the horses want to cross. When my daughter was little I used to keep it clear on the sides to make an ice rink. The horses are plenty smart enough to keep clear of ice. I wouldn't even bother with that if it wasn't for me putting the round bales out in positions where they are made to walk a bit. Also keeps the manure from building up under the snow in front of the barn. If I don't spot it and pick it up almost immediately it sinks down under the snow and you don't see it until spring or if you do see it it's frozen solid and you'd need an axe to get it out of there.

Drove me nuts the first few years I lived up here coming from a place where it doesn't stay frozen for more than a day or two.

In front of the barn it's just the rare nasty ice storm that gets sanding.
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post #19 of 19 Old 08-20-2014, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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I'm from Minnesota :)
I thought I could leave them out... though I do like bringing them in so I can see them twice a day and make sure all is well. I used to leave them out all the time except for in really bad conditions.
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