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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gah.
This is my first real winter in my new place (moved from Florida, so I've barely ever experienced this kind of winter) and my first winter with horses. I have no problem keeping weight on my 2 and they both have nice winter coats and everything but last night went I went to the barn to check on them they both had ice in their coats. Like, little chunks at the base of their manes and on their withers pretty much to their rumps, but only on their backs.:shock: I got all the ice out but I'm worried that this might happen again and there is no way this is comfortable for them. Has this happened to anyone else and is this normal? Also, how can I stop this from happening?:?
Sorry for the book, I'm a little long winded..
 

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Happens all the time! Its actually funny but I wouldn't pull them out. That's gotta hurt. Their body heat eventually melts it. When they walk around or shake their body you can hear the ice rattle. Like their own jingle bells. It probably isn't all that comfortable but something they deal with.
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That means their insulation is working - their double coats.

A horse's coat is like insulation in the roof of your home; if there isn't any insulation all the heat escapes thru the roof and you won't see snow on the roof.

Same with a horse. If they are healthy, have ample fur and a chance to dry out when it's freezing rain, you will see snow and ice on them meaning their body heat is not escaping.

Most important is plenty of hay NOT more grain. Don't increase their grain unless they start losing a lot of weight. Hay/forage is what horses were designed to eat so that is what their hindgut needs to keep their digestive system working properly.

Lots of water too and that does not mean snow; every winter someone on a some forum will ask if they need to give their horse water because there's plenty of snow for them to eat:shock:

They should be eating snow because they feel like NOT because it's their only source to replenish liquid in their body. They need to stay hydrated the same as we do:)

And while my current location is Middle Tennessee and folks might wonder "from where I speak", I lived the first 50 years of my life on the OH/PA border and was raised on a dairy farm.

So extra hay and water and throw a maximum of a tablespoon of salt in there if they're not drinking enough water, and they will be fine.

Also need to check their hooves for ice/snow packs. It can sometimes build up so much the horse can't walk. There were times up north I had to carefully take a hammer and screwdriver to get that stuff out of my horses' hooves at the end of the day.

Hope this helps:)
 

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You should have seen my horses last winter during all of the ice storms we had. The looked like horse-cicles. I really felt bad for them, but they made no move to go inside the shed, so I guess they were okay...
 

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I live in Wyoming where we have already had below zero temps and cold and wind. Lots of snow. I know its not funny, but when you go outside to feed, my horses have frozen whiskers, eye lashes, forlocks and fetlocks. They do look like funny colored snowmen. But like said above, that shows their insulation is working and they are eating good to keep up their blood levels and therefore heat in their bodies.
I also hate when I have to watch horses eat snow because the farmers/ranchers swear their horses can eat enough snow to keep them hydrated. We have more colic cases in winter than summer, poor horses just cant keep enough water in their systems trying to digest hay and eat snow.
My guys go through a 75gallon tank of heated water every other day, we have three horses. Can't imagine trying to eat that amount of snow to be equal to that many gallons of water.
The one thing I do love about winter is watching the horses running through deep snow, playing, rearing and goofing around. Or laying down taking a nap and all you can see if bellies sticking above the snow around them
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It is pretty awesome to watch them in the snow. I've never seen mine jump and run as much as I have this last month.
I've been out to my barn every few hours these last few days because my water tank broke. Luckily, I've only got two and they have no problem drinking even when its cold outside. :lol:
 

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Going to agree with everyone else and say that it is fine. :)

These pictures are from last year, but it gives you an idea what my horses look like through the winter. lol







And this is just frost on her in this picture -
 

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If you want to stop it on their backs, you could always put a water-proof sheet or blanket on them...according to the outside temps.
 

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No sheets or blankets. That makes the hair lie down and then does not insulate and they get cold. The ice on them actually helps insulate them and keeps the heat in
 

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Nd, love those photos. That is exactly what MFM looked like last night. She had access to a run in and a stall but she stood out and got herself coated in snow.

No sheets or blankets. That makes the hair lie down and then does not insulate and they get cold. The ice on them actually helps insulate them and keeps the heat in
Not necessarily true. Some what an old wives tale. Most horses have no issue wearing a sheet or a full winter blanket. Now days blankets are breathable and water proof. They provide a nice protection against the wind which helps them stay warmer.

Two of mine are wearing a water proof turn out sheet right now (have been since hunting season started, it gives them color) and neither are suffering in our single digit temps with high winds.
 

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As long as you keep them blanketed to my knowledge they will be fine, but if you put them out in these cold temps without the blanket after they've become accustomed to it they WILL be cold.

They are hilarious in this weather. I was feeding the other night and all 6 got to running. I watched Jack and Grace both take a nose dive and slide across the snow, I was scared at first that they'd get hurt but they both got back up and took off running again. Lol, Jack had a big snow patch on his face from plowing through a drift when he slid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I kind of want to hug the little horse in the second picture near the round bale feeder!:p
I've heard that sheets/blankets can cool them down, too. I thought about blanketing but mine seem fine (now that I know the ice is normal).
 

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Nd, love those photos. That is exactly what MFM looked like last night. She had access to a run in and a stall but she stood out and got herself coated in snow.
Thanks! Mine get pretty fluffy. The temps get pretty severe at night here. The past weekend I beleive it was around -15 or lower. None of the horses were blanketed, but have 24/7 access to hay. :)

I kind of want to hug the little horse in the second picture near the round bale feeder!:p
I've heard that sheets/blankets can cool them down, too. I thought about blanketing but mine seem fine (now that I know the ice is normal).
Lol You can hug her if you can catch her! She is the most antisocial pony... She has had some pretty rough times and she is just a pasture puff here.
 

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My BO makes us blanket the horses if the wind even blows hard lol..
 

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As long as the horse has a place to be, shelter that is, they will be fine. The only time I ever had a problem with winter weather is freezing rain. I live in N. Illinois and last year I purchased my second horse in late december. I thought I had plenty of shelter for both of them but my mare Lakota decided she didn't wanna share the lean to!! My poor little Secret had no place to go :( And of course I never noticed because it never caused a problem up until the ice rain (both my horses are fuzzier than fuzz). Poor secret was DRENCHED in rain and shivering!! I immediately took her under shelter, scraped her off, dried her off with towels, and fed her cracked corn. She warmed up straight away. I immediately knocked out the wall to the stall and thus had another shelter :) Never had a problem since. Now my little poo of a mare Lakota cant chase Secret out :) Anyways, as long as you have adequate shelter, the winter coats they have will insulate them just fine :) If you ever worry about it, add a little corn to their feed and that will help keep them warmer.
 

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NDAppy - is the horse in the first pic going to ring the bell for service?
 
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