Good-bad idea? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 63 Old 12-11-2019, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Good-bad idea?

Tonight it getting down to 20 degrees F. The new horse barn has thermal windows, they used reflective insulation you see inside between rafters and steel roofing. I got a 5 gal. 90 watt water bucket, and just now hung a 250 Watt reflector lamp (chicken brooder) 10 ft. high above stall. I just checked and in the stall seems pretty nice, the lamp back is barely warm (no fire hazard) the heat seems to reflect down. I insulated drive-through sliding doors so there is ventilation but not wind blowing through.
Heat light cuts off at dawn, and I'll only use it if it gets in the 20s and below. In daytime pastured out about 10 acres with a flowing spring fed creek on it and small pond.
Is this all a good, bad, stupid idea?

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post #2 of 63 Old 12-11-2019, 08:29 PM
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At 20 degrees my horses don't even wear blankets, they are outside (their choice). My stall doors are open all year round except in horrendous blizzards.

As long as horses have hay (digesting it keeps them warm), and a place to get out of the wind, they don't seem to suffer from cold much at all. They sure don't need an insulated barn, much less a heated one, in any climate outside Alaska. I live in New England.

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post #3 of 63 Old 12-11-2019, 08:41 PM
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Keep them dry and out of the wind if that makes you feel good. The dry is the really important and as for the wind their choice if they have a wind break, three sided shed or barn they can go into or out of but if you want them in and they appreciate it all's good. The heat lamp is totally not necessary and is a fire hazard.
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post #4 of 63 Old 12-11-2019, 08:44 PM
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Sounds like the Ritz, to me. But it's like that if the wind is not blowing through the stable, that the indoor temp is likely at least 5 degrees warmer. Also, it is that cold only for a few hours, during the depths of the night. If the horses have hay to munch on, all night long, they will be more than happy. and Warm.
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post #5 of 63 Old 12-11-2019, 11:34 PM
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If 20*F is the lowest predicted temp, you probably do not need the heat lamp. But if you want to, have at it.

Yesterday morning my vehicle said it was -13*F outside. Yuck.
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post #6 of 63 Old 12-12-2019, 03:41 AM
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This was the scene I saw unfolding when I glanced out the window during a New England blizzard once. Those are my neighbors literally dragging their mini donkeys into the stable because they didn't want to go in on their own. The donks preferred to be out in the blizzard, which my worried neighbor didn't agree with. Equines are tougher in the cold than we give them credit for.

That being said, if your horse is okay inside and it makes you feel better, no harm.
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post #7 of 63 Old 12-12-2019, 04:20 AM
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I agree with the above posters. Definitely not necessary, but if it's something you want to do for them go for it!

Here's my youngest last year in 3 foot snowdrifts (yes that is a normal height round pen) They don't seem to mind the temps.

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post #8 of 63 Old 12-12-2019, 07:11 AM
Join Date: Jul 2015
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My horses will stay out in ice storms and seem none the worse.

I do worry about the heat lamp. Many a barn has burned down because of them. I would never use one.

I have heated water buckets (electric coil in the bottom) in every stall but my horses will break the ice in the stock tank until it is an inch thick and they can't any more, before they'll drink from those buckets.
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post #9 of 63 Old 12-12-2019, 08:09 AM
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1. Ditto all the above posters - who happen to be seasoned horse owners:)

During the nasty Ď75-Ď76 winter when the National Guard had to come and dig our road out (we only lived 45 minutes from Lake Erie), my neighbor called to ask if I would please put my Arab/Saddlebred in the barn to make her feel better:)

He was standing against the south side of the barn (storm was coming at us hard from the north), layered in enough ice to look like a statue. The other horse (a QH/Arab) was in the barn.

I donned my snowmobile suit & boots, and made Sonny get in the barn - and I do mean he went in under duress, lollol. He never got sick from that event:)

2. That said, my worry is the heat light - Iím afraid that heat light is going to cause your horses to NOT grow enough winter hair to keep them warm naturally.

I think, in all due respect, you are killing them with kindness with that heat lamp. Youíre liable to find them getting sick when you turn them out because they didnít grow enough winter hair and they will get sick from the weather that all of that extra fur would naturally protect them against.

Please try to remember they are in fact livestock and nature created them in such a way so as to protect them from the elements:). Granted they may need assistance during those times of extreme weather events, but in my honest and respectful opinion this is overkill and not in their best health interest:)

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post #10 of 63 Old 12-12-2019, 08:36 AM
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I've heard and read a lot about how tough horses are and have also witnessed it myself.

I have also seen them standing in windbreaks during cold weather winds. They wouldn't do that unless they were uncomfortable in the wind.

I've also seen the horses standing broadside to the first place the sun shines in the morning after a cold night. Ahh, sun feels soo good. It was cold last night.

Humans can be fairly tough also, if required. Think military bivouacking in the snow. But they'd prefer a cushier choice.

Hondo doesn't have a designated run in at our newly acquired digs. A shop area over concrete for feeding during rain and some trees he can get under or behind.

So here's what I've been thinking/wondering.

Plans are to construct an all metal run in for him. And with a heat lamp installed above one portion of the run in with a sensor that will turn it on when he is under the heat lamp. I want to give him a choice and see if it's the same as my choice would be in cold weather, which would be to stand under the lamp.

I can see that it might affect the hair growth, but if the heat lamp is always there, that should be no problem.

It'll have to be next winter before this experiment gets under way.
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