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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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1. Ditto all the above posters - who happen to be seasoned horse owners:)

During the nasty ‘75-‘76 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 - I’m 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. You’re liable to find them getting sick when you turn them out because they didn’t 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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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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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.

I'm wondering about the temperature of the water in the water buckets. Some I've looked at keep the water fairly warm.


Or could it be the taste of the bucket? Will they drink out of the bucket if the water is cold?


Just wondering.


Also wondering about horses choosing or not choosing to spend time in a run in. Seems that the reports I've read are all over the board.


Horses, as everyone knows, can be choosy and particular. So I wonder if the difference in the run in reports could be based on the arrangement of the run in. How enclosed it is, claustrophobic feel, etc.


Edit: Should have mentioned this in my other post. There is a one inch pipe through the North wall of my little house with a propane line running through it. It is a temporary installation but at present a little warm air is being vented out of the house and through the pipe.


On the first of the coldest nights Hondo stood with his butt up against the hole. Maybe Hondo is just not as tough as other horses? :0) I've temporarily fenced off that spot.
 

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Horses standing in or out in a storm are all over the board for the same reason DH is in sweat pants and a hoodie at forty degrees, while I’m still in shorts a t-shirt — different metabolisms:)

I still would never consider a heat lamp unless a young foal was involved or I had a horse down due to illness and the vet suggested it.

On-going use of a heat lamp could alter the metabolic workings of the horse, over time, but that’s just my opinion:)

I understand Honda’s been thru a lot but, as long as he has a high/dry run-in, that has a small opening so the elements won’t hit him and the opening can hopefully face away from prevailing wind direction, he should be fine.

You might want to watch Hondo for Cushings, too. Joker was diagnosed in November and is now on Prascend. His metabolism (warmth & feel good factor) is hardier now than it’s been in years. He’s a horse that didn’t have any of the slap-you-in-the-face signs but his ACTH numbers were 93 when they should have been mid-20’s, according to how Cornell calculates.

Ok, back to regular programming:)
 

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While the concern about coat development and potential for illness are valid the choice is yours as to the level of comfort you are offering. All of the relevant blanketing threads could be considered here. There are reasons to offer/institute certain practices. Preference of the individual, age, condition, illness all factor in. Safety though should be a primary concern. No matter how you install it, protect it and use it there are risks of fire hazard with a heat lamp. The question is could you live with yourself if there was a fire related to the heat lamp that cost your horse her life? Especially when there are other non electric options on top of the already impressive lengths you have gone to for the comfort of your mare.
 

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I wouldn't use the heat lamp, mainly because it isn't going to make enough of a difference to be worth the effort.
I'm also very cautious about having any form of electricity on that isn't absolutely essential.

If you're concerned because you're seeing signs that the horse is cold then buy blankets.

My horses like to go out regardless of the weather but they soon start demanding to go into the barn when its not to their liking.
They all have different winter coats - a couple of them would no way deal with temperatures that start to dip below freezing. I've seen horses with thicker summer coats!

We have a lot of horses around here that have field shelters and they seem to spend more time in them than they do out of them, both in summer and in very cold winter weather. They all have hay outside and inside.

I've come across a lot of horses that simply won't go into a shared shelter because they don't feel safe but will go into an individual one quite happily.
 

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1. Ditto all the above posters - who happen to be seasoned horse owners:)

During the nasty ‘75-‘76 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 - I’m 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. You’re liable to find them getting sick when you turn them out because they didn’t 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:)

This is exactly what I was thinking. Keeping them SO warm indoors would inhibit their natural cold tolerances. Parrots are actually similar. People think they are tropical animals so you must have to keep your house at 80 degrees all the time to own one. Not so for many species. I keep my house at 67 in Winter and 60 overnight. I don't keep her sleeping room/cage area much warmer than that because with animals it's actually the big temperature swings that matter. The shock the system is not good. Once their bodies get used to the ambient temps, it's better they stay close to that rather than going from a very warm indoor area and then outdoors into the arctic air. I wish I could convince store owners of this! (Humans are animals) In Winter the stores are overheated and make the cold outside feel all the worse and vice versa in Summer. We all--animals and humans alike, do better when we follow Nature's rhythms a little better. I know its very tempting to want to keep our precious babies safe, warm and happy, but many of them have a different physiological idea of what tha means. :) I'm sure your horse can feel the love and caring behind your efforts, even if they don't care about the warm. :Angel:
 

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Nice barn.

I'd ditch the heat lamp. It's not needed unless you have a very ill horse or possibly a new foal born during a cold spell of -30, and could potentially cause more harm than good.

Horses are built for extreme temps. If they have somewhere to get out of the wind and some shelter if they choose to use it, they are fine. If they don't grow a good coat or struggle with cold due to a health condition, blankets are far safer than a heat lamp.
 

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Curious about the warnings on heat lamps. Is the concern that the horse could break them causing a short that could start a fire? My plan was to put them overhead beyond his reach. I have two 250 Watt heat lamps for chicks, one if which is in the well pump house with a thermal switch to prevent freezing. I reckon I'll take the other and set it up in my work area to see how much heat it will project at a distance.


I do understand the concern for anything electrical that horses can reach, especially with their mouths. I have a heater in a 100 gallon water tank but the cord running down to it is in a 2" pvc pipe. So any electricity in his run in would be similarly protected plus be out of reach.


My thoughts are to just offer Hondo a choice. Stay in the run in or out of the run in. When in the run in, under a heat lamp or not under a heat lamp.


Part of it due to my incurable curiosity. Judging from watching a 20+ herd head for the hillside with the first morning's sunbeams after cord nights, I'm betting this habit did not alter their natural rhythm.



I'm betting Hondo will choose to stand under the heat lamp in some situations. And again, the heat lamp will only turn on when he is under it.


Edit: I'll also mention that Hondo will stand broadside to the sun at sunrise after a cold night and if I approach to groom or pet him from the sunside he displays an objection that he does not display if I stand on the shady side of him.


Horses have evolved to be tough, but not stupid! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for replies.
Our outdoor cats are in a 11x22 gazebo with chain link fence at night. I put tarps over to keep wind out. They have an insulated room, thermostat set to 60.
Lamp is away from anything combustible and I'll only use it if really cold.
The Holsteiner looks like a wooley bear!
All I know is the barn was 40deg this morning and she kissed my cheek when I let her out!

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Discussion Starter #19
Curious about the warnings on heat lamps. Is the concern that the horse could break them causing a short that could start a fire? My plan was to put them overhead beyond his reach. I have two 250 Watt heat lamps for chicks, one if which is in the well pump house with a thermal switch to prevent freezing. I reckon I'll take the other and set it up in my work area to see how much heat it will project at a distance.


I do understand the concern for anything electrical that horses can reach, especially with their mouths. I have a heater in a 100 gallon water tank but the cord running down to it is in a 2" pvc pipe. So any electricity in his run in would be similarly protected plus be out of reach.


My thoughts are to just offer Hondo a choice. Stay in the run in or out of the run in. When in the run in, under a heat lamp or not under a heat lamp.


Part of it due to my incurable curiosity. Judging from watching a 20+ herd head for the hillside with the first morning's sunbeams after cord nights, I'm betting this habit did not alter their natural rhythm.



I'm betting Hondo will choose to stand under the heat lamp in some situations. And again, the heat lamp will only turn on when he is under it.


Edit: I'll also mention that Hondo will stand broadside to the sun at sunrise after a cold night and if I approach to groom or pet him from the sunside he displays an objection that he does not display if I stand on the shady side of him.


Horses have evolved to be tough, but not stupid! :)
Please let us know how it works out. Now another subject but since your mentioned horse intelligence I swear it's like they fully understand what you're saying. Mine does.

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Fuddyduddy1952;1970802861 Now another subject but since your mentioned horse intelligence I swear it's like they fully understand what you're saying. Mine does. [/QUOTE said:
I do not believe they comprehend the actual words we are speaking, but I have become convinced they do completely understand the meaning and intent behind the spoken word, if that makes sense.
 
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