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Hello all, so I have a question about cold weather and I have only really been around horses for the past 5/6 years but it has never gotten this cold in that time so...
Here is the situation:
-I live in Iowa and it is supposed to get down to -17 this week not including wind chills
-We have a herd of 17, including 3 miniatures, consisting of horses between the ages of 10-40. Most are QH’s in their late teen’s to mid-twenties.
- We have had these horses for several years and they are mostly all used to the cold Iowa winters-we typically don’t blanket-and all have pretty decent winter coats.
-The whole herd is pastured together 24/7 with access to hay and fresh water(as long as the tanks don’t freeze). We don’t feed grain unless a horse needs the extra calories.
-Currently the boys have access to 3 three-sides shelters(all facing the south) and due to the cold weather we have opened up our arena to them(not heated); however, one of the overhead doors got stuck open so it is not completely protected from the outside weather.
- Due to the cold, we have blanketed our 40 year old(he’s also on grain twice daily), and two of our other horses who are more susceptible to losing weight in the winter trying to keep warm. One is also fed grain twice daily. I noticed that one of our other horses(25 years old) was losing a bit of weight as well so he’s been blanketed as of two days ago.
- If the temperature get below 0 we keep our old man and the blanketed horse, who does not get grain, in stalls(barn is also not heated) overnight with hay and warm water to keep warm.
-With the weather getting so cold this next week, the two boys will remain stalled overnight and the two others with blankets will remain blanketed. My question is, is this enough?
I know that horses can get frostbite on their ears and other places where the skin is thinner and I’m wondering if our other boys will be fine with their winter coats and the shelter they have access to right now, or if we should blanket them all, or stall as many as we can(only have 9 stalls but can corral a few more in the isles if need be), or lock them in the arena so they’re more protected? What do you all think we should do/what would you all do?
PS. This would only be overnight, they would get turned out during the day.
Pictures show how thick most of their coats are right now.


9,043 Posts
Cute horses!

IMO all the oldest ones, and any that seem to not tolerate cold well (or are aggressive) should be put in the 9 stalls and put the rest in the arena.

The biggest concern is adequate water. Studies have shown that horses drink more when the water is a little warmer.

Blankets too if available.

I am in the south, but the cold front is coming here too and we have SNOW in the forecast. The area shuts down for SNOW so it should be an interesting week...
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