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We are 'grazing' 4 Arabs for a friend. Have about 14 " of snow on the ground. They have 120 acres to graze on, but snow covers grasses that were left.
Owner brought over 1/2 ton of mixed grasses(bale) and now that is all but gone. Water tanks frozen, but I put hot water on when I can.

Owner says..they don't need more food...and for water they can eat the snow..:shock:
I used to have horses and in the winter they would each day...1 cup bran + 1 cup rolled barley and mixed with hot water + 1-2 flakes timothy or orchard grass per horse/per day..

What is your read re this...your advice is appreciated.

Guess I will go to town, when I can get out and drive the 150 round trip and get a couple bales of whatever I can find.

Happy trails,

Ranger1
 

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We are 'grazing' 4 Arabs for a friend. Have about 14 " of snow on the ground. They have 120 acres to graze on, but snow covers grasses that were left.
Owner brought over 1/2 ton of mixed grasses(bale) and now that is all but gone. Water tanks frozen, but I put hot water on when I can.

Owner says..they don't need more food...and for water they can eat the snow..:shock:
I used to have horses and in the winter they would each day...1 cup bran + 1 cup rolled barley and mixed with hot water + 1-2 flakes timothy or orchard grass per horse/per day..

What is your read re this...your advice is appreciated.

Guess I will go to town, when I can get out and drive the 150 round trip and get a couple bales of whatever I can find.

Happy trails,

Ranger1
I wouldn't let you board my horses. I have a heated HEATED water trough and I put out fresh hay each morning in the feeders.. Anything not cleaned up is removed daily.

Eating snow in not good enough for water and digging down through 14 inches of snow doesn't do it for hay either.

How about shelters?? Do you have proper shelters?? IT is the law.
 

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^^^ Agree with RiosDad. Snow won't cut it and digging for the grass isn't great either. You (or their owner) are just asking for colics. Fresh water and hay are the cornerstones of a horse's diet and their digestive systems NEED a regular supply of both to work.
 

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That is sad. A horse needs food to keep itself warm and water. They cannot eat enough snow to equal the amount of water they need. If you can't get the owner to bring more feed call the local animal rescue and turn them in. If you go get a couple of bales of hay that is a days worth at most for 4 horses. Please be responsible and do not let this continue any longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Winter care of horses

These are Not being boarded for $$. I was to get some $ just for pasture and to have them on the land.
According to the contract I set up..the owner IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL FEED AND WATER...
So, because I have some knowledge of horses...I will OUT OF MY OWN POCKET, BUY FEED AND SOMEHOW HAUL WATER IN..
I do haul 5 gal. buckets 200 feet to their trough's each morning.

we are at7000' and it will be below 0 this coming week....

I emailed owner and he/she say's I have had them in Montana all winter and now food or water..they know how to find it..:-(

I will tell them to take them out....although they must have according to contract 30 days notice.

R1...
ps..If I were being PAID TO BOARD..they would be treated well.

and PS NO law in AZ, NM or TX regarding shelter's you should see the conditions animals are left in down here it's terrible.:shock:
 

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In no way was I attacking you. I was just hoping you could turn the owner in for lack of care so the horses didn't suffer any longer and you could not have to worry or spend money out of pocket.
 

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That sucks. I'd be tempted to tell them the horses died and find new homes for them. Alright kidding. I wouldn't actually do it. Just think about it.

Good luck and good for you for taking the time/energy/money to take care of someone else's animals.
 

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Yup, I would tell them to take the horses off the property. Horses need hay or forage to keep warm, and access to fresh water at least once a day. I leave large 800 lb round bales out for mine, 24/7 and put bucket heaters in their water troughs when needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Got HAY...

Drove the 140 mile round trip on snowy, icy roads and got hay and carrots, and those oat/apple treats for the horses.
Yes, I haul hot water for the trough's and also brush them each day to keep their coats from getting matted with ice etc.

Is was -5 deg. last night and we have snow up to 5 foot drifts...

But all or ok..
I also found out that the real owner of the horses is out of state somewhere??

Stay tuned...I was taught to take care of all "my" animals...and will take care of others as well..Even got 20 lbs of bird seed for the wild birds...hope to see some unusual ones on the deck soon.

Happy trails, R1
 

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I just have to say you're a pretty amazing person if you are going so far out of your way and spending money on horses that aren't even yours. So good on you! =]

I would keep trying to tell the owners that they need to get their rears in gear and make sure their horses are taken care of. They are not wild horses, they can't just get through winter all by themselves.
 

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I live at 7000 feet and have snow and sometimes-30 below zero F. My three horses get fresh hay twice a day, grain in the morning and alfafa pellets at night. They also have 2 75 gallon water tanks, both are heated, I have to drag a hose to fill the water troughs and bring them back inside the house to keep them unfrozen. Horses can't survive on snow, they would have to eat gallons and gallons of cold snow to even begin to have enough water, because they are eating cold snow, it is even worse. As far as hay, they need hay to keep them going while digging through snow to get at whatever is underneath. Whatever is left underneath has absolutely no food value, like eating straw.
I work for a vet and during the winter we see horses almost everyday with blockages and colic due to eating snow for water. I live in a valley where the oldtimers still feel a horse can eat enough snow to keep their water needs up. Not true. It is very very important that horses have clean water to drink, up to 7 gallons a day per horse.
As far as shelter, alot of states don't require shelter and won't even be worried about horses being made to eat snow. Our state doesnt require shelter for animals and if you turn someone in, if they see signs of any hay and there is snow on the ground, they are happy.
 

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Ranger - it would seem that you have taken on a lot - 4 arabs on 120 acres of snowed up grassland up at 7000 feet, 75 miles from the nearest feed store.

From the description you give - there is a strong risk of the horses losing condition over a hard winter - an arab is a breed of horse originating from a hot climate and is not well equipped to cope with a harsh winter such as you seem to be experiencing. The horses will need ample hay and supplementary feeding to keep out the cold and to maintain condition. Personally I think they need rugging up and as a minimum some shelter from the wind.

I would not have left my old horse - a very hardy woolly cob out, untended in such conditions as you describe. Even he would have needed some shelter, plus fresh clean water and unlimited hay.

Eating snow to assuage thirst is not recommended practice as in the process the horse uses up energy to melt the snow in its mouth. They need a constant supply of cool fresh water - and water is heavy especially over 200 yards.

The big risk you run is of both colic and laminitis - founder. Grass which grows under frost and snow tends to hold a high sugar content - which might provoke laminitis. If the snow does melt quickly then certainly there is a risk of the horses gorging themselves - which again might bring on laminitis or colic.

Colic in a horse is very distressing to watch and you'll need the help of a vet to save the horse - which will cost money.

We over here have already had this year in our barn one case of laminitis which the vet puts down to the pony eating too much grass on what is in fact a badly poached small field of 3 acres max. You have allowed 120 acres for 4 horses needing only 2 acres each. We partition areas of grassland off with portable electric fencing powered by a battery so as to ration the horse's eating area.

I would suggest that every day watch every horse to make sure they are not lame (the sign of laminitis) also check to make sure none of the horses are lying down on their sides (the sign of colic).

If you can get near them with safety then check their feet and the exposed soft tissue areas around the muzzle for frostbite.
Whilst you are there check for warmth by feeling at the base of the ears

You are presumably through half the winter - let us hope you get through the
second half without incident. Then you'll have the problem of catching the horses.

Whilst I admire your generosity in offering to look after the horses I do wonder if you realised at the time what you took on. Anyone who drives 150 miles along icey roads for hay has a good heart. Perhaps along with the hay it would have been a good idea for you to buy hard feed - say a specialist pasture mix plus some instant sugar beet plus some vegetable oil.

You need some help Ranger. All of we Forum readers are a long way away.
I have no personal experience of keeping horses in a cold climate at 7000 feet
Perhaps there are others living in cold regions who can give you some tips

I can only suggest you look on the internet at:
laminitis/founder. colic. horse nutrition. the arab horse.
As a start try the 'Wikipedia' website

I do hope all goes well for you and that the Spring comes quickly - but then with the Spring grass comes a bigger risk of laminitis. Sadly you are in a no win situation. The owners of the horses were not honest with you - or they did not care about the welfare of their horses.

B G
 

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eating snow!?

are they serious?
that is horrible!

and they don't have to eat?

i know they are your friend but I would report them.
That is not fair to the horses.
The won't have the energy to keep their bodies warm when it's cold out.
 

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Yes, I haul hot water for the trough's and also brush them each day to keep their coats from getting matted with ice etc
You should not groom horses when it is cold out. when you groom a horse you break up the little pockets of air and oil that thier winter coat holds for insulation. This inadvertantly alllows moisture to get to the skin and you can cause many skin infections this way as well as cause the horse to be much colder.

I hope you have all this sorted out, It sounds like something fishy is going on with both the ownership and care (or lack of) by the person you think is the owner.

It is a good thing thay have you to make sure they have food and water :)

Kristine
 
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