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  #1  
Old 01/07/10, 07:27 AM
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Unhappy How much cold can horses stand?

We've had some arctic air move down and the wind chills are sitting between -10 and -20 below. The horses have a shed to get into, except for one and he has a wind block, but not exactly a shelter per se. Some of them are choosing to stay out anyway where the hay is. It's extremely cold and the wind is really strong. How cold can a horse stand it? 3 of them have blankets including the one that can't get inside a shelter. The other two wouldn't let you within 20 feet of them with a blanket. It's supposed to stay this way for 2 more days with near zero temps and strong winds before it's supposed to warm back up into the 40's. Is it spring yet?

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Old 01/07/10, 07:35 AM
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That is not too cold. Just give them extra hay to eat and keep warm.

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Old 01/07/10, 07:47 AM
 
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A wind block, free choice hay and unfrozen water and they will be fine. The water is usually the hardest to manage so with luck you have tank heaters (I can't believe I went a full winter without one once!)

The wind is really awful, we've had it too. If they can get out of the wind (preferably their hay is out of the wind too, so they don't have to choose shelter v. foood) they will be fine.

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Old 01/07/10, 07:57 AM
 
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Mo hay, thats what mine say when I feed !
we rotate them in and out of the barn cuz we can't get them all in. The rest have shelters but they do appreciate the time in the stalls when it's like this,. Gotta go feed now and it is just not fit for man or beast out there now.

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Old 01/07/10, 08:13 AM
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OK thanks!! Unfortunately, they do have to choose between hay and shelter. We bring in round bales, but you can't get the round bales around to the east side shed. Just not enough room between the fence and the garlic area and the shed. But they're rotating. Out to eat, then back to shelter and around. I wish we could put the hay over there, but there's just no way.
Thanks for the tips. That makes me feel better. Poor horses. I think this is one of the colder winters we've had in a while

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Old 01/07/10, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by offthegrid View Post
A wind block, free choice hay and unfrozen water and they will be fine. The water is usually the hardest to manage so with luck you have tank heaters (I can't believe I went a full winter without one once!)

The wind is really awful, we've had it too. If they can get out of the wind (preferably their hay is out of the wind too, so they don't have to choose shelter v. foood) they will be fine.
Ha! We went 7 years without them when we were off-grid. Tank and bucket heaters are one of the best things about being grid-tied.
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Old 01/07/10, 08:18 AM
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(Amen, ks! There's a reason we moved south, dang it!! I feel sorry for my DH on days like this, but cows need fed, fences need checked, water needs chopped.... I just wish he had a little more insulation. But then, as Baxter Black says, there's no such thing as a fat cowboy in the wild...)


Quote:
Originally Posted by 6e View Post
How much cold can horses stand?
A lot!

The first winter we lived in North Dakota, it never got above freezing for about 80 days. Never got above 0 for something like 40 days. And the wind has been known to blow in North Dakota.
The horses would all be gathered around the hay feeder, frost all over their backs, but they were fine.
We've never had a run-in of any sort either, until we moved down here where the winters are milder than any of my horses have ever known. lol

Just go out sometime and look at their coats. If they're covered in frost/snow, they're plenty warm enough (because of course they're maintaining their heat and it's not escaping enough to melt the snow off of them)
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  #8  
Old 01/07/10, 08:20 AM
 
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Horses evolved in some mighty cold climates. They are kept in Siberia, Mongolia, Tibet, and northern Canada. They are made for this weather.

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  #9  
Old 01/07/10, 08:30 AM
 
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The only problem I ever had with horses and cold weather in all the years I lived in Montana was when we were trying to get the show horses ready to winter after the last shows in October. Had to keep them in and blanketed, of course, until the last show (we obviously didn't clip in that country) but the hair coat wasn't as thick or "fluffy" and it took a few weeks to get it back to where it would insulate properly.

We managed ... but when we had an early winter, they could get pretty uncomfortable. We would bring them in where there was a shed, or even a stall, just stay away from the blankets, which would plaster all the hair down again.

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Old 01/07/10, 08:31 AM
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The wind is wicked here today!
I, too, worry about my horse, Old Timer. He has a stall with hay in it, but he doesn't like to go in very often. He also has hay outside, and would rather stand outside and eat than inside his stall. Well, it's his option!
Couldn't even coax him into his stall with oats this morning. Maybe the wind makes "noises" in his stall that he doesn't like? I didn't hear nothin', but I had double layers over my ears!

Tried a trough heater with my last horse. He wouldn't touch it! Acted like he was getting shocked, so stuck my hand in... no shock. Guess some horses are just more sensitive to it than others? So I sold it. I haven't bought another, but may do that for Old Timer. No, not for OT... for ME so I won't have to bust that water and remove the ice 5 times a day!

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Old 01/07/10, 08:34 AM
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Just wanted put out a reminder to not remove the ice/snow from horses. It's an insulator against the colder temps and wind.

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Old 01/07/10, 08:35 AM
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Several people have touched on this, but it bears repeating:

More important that shelter, even is feed.
Keep hay in front of them when it's wicked-cold. That keeps the internal fires stoked.

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Old 01/07/10, 08:39 AM
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.....

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  #14  
Old 01/07/10, 09:07 AM
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My horse has started taking the tank heater out. Grr

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  #15  
Old 01/07/10, 09:11 AM
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Well, they have plenty of hay. Water lines are all frozen, so had to go to the pond and break ice. Sigh. The joys of winter. NOT. The ice was thick and the horses were very happy we were headed down. So, looks like we'll be breaking ice the rest of the day off and on until we get the water lines thawed. The horses put on quite a show for about 4 or 5 minutes. They were all running around bucking, rearing and flagging their tails. Everyone that is except the Thoroughbred. He just stood there and watched. Everyone else was feeling quite full of it for a few minutes.

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  #16  
Old 01/07/10, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by southerngurl View Post
My horse has started taking the tank heater out. Grr
LOL
I had to laugh. We have our sons new horse in a pen by himself, well, actually the orchard area until they get to used to each other and we keep the bees back there. There's some empty hives too, but he was taking hives apart yesterday. My husband had to run out there and get him. Guess he wanted to steal some honey.
My daughters Thoroughbred was having a blast the other day taking brushes out of the brush bucket and throwing them everywhere. My daughter was running around and picking them up and putting them back in and he would just standing there bobbing his head up and down as if to laugh watching her scrambling to pick up his mess. LOL
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  #17  
Old 01/07/10, 10:12 AM
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If you have a run-in shelter, unless it is huge, then I would say do NOT put the hay in the shelter. Your boss horse is likely to claim the shelter as "theirs" and chase the others out.

My qh mare does that, "oh this pile of hay is mine....oh wait, that one is too.....oh and that one also!.....she would waste half her time moving everyone else along. So what I got was a shelter with one horse and all the hay in it, and the others standing outside, waiting for her to finish.

If you think your horses won't do that, that's great, but be aware that food is sometimes worth guarding, as far as they are concerned.

I'm in Canada, and on rare occasions, the wind chill can get down to -30C. We have a shelter (plus two box stalls that rarely get used). Blankets will make the horses pretty much impervious to that weather, but still, most times we don't blanket. They do fine so long as they're out of the wind, and haven't spent a day dripping wet from ice rain, etc. We also allow the snow to stay on their backs. Even then, sometimes with access to a shelter and hay, they will STILL go and stand out in the middle of an open field. Go figure.

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Old 01/07/10, 10:18 AM
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I get cracked up at all the people around here with blankets on their horses. Oh no, it's 20 degrees, I better put a blanket on fluffy!

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  #19  
Old 01/07/10, 10:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by southerngurl View Post
I get cracked up at all the people around here with blankets on their horses. Oh no, it's 20 degrees, I better put a blanket on fluffy!
I blanket my TB mare when it's below 25 degrees. Not every horse grows a great coat, and TBs weren't exactly the breeds that developed in cold climates. The QH cross is fat and furry, so no blanket for him. Not every horse is the same. I don't want her to drop weight over the winter trying to stay warm.
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Old 01/07/10, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by southerngurl View Post
I get cracked up at all the people around here with blankets on their horses. Oh no, it's 20 degrees, I better put a blanket on fluffy!
You would definitely laugh at me...I worry at 30 degrees!
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Old 01/07/10, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by southerngurl View Post
I get cracked up at all the people around here with blankets on their horses. Oh no, it's 20 degrees, I better put a blanket on fluffy!
We blanketed the Appy when he came as he was always kept in a stall and had NO winter coat to speak of. He came with a slick pretty summer coat. So, he got an insulated winter coat and still if he's in the wind, even with the coat, he stands there and shakes all over. The Thoroughbred gets a coat. The QH doesn't and the Arabian doesn't. My son's paint came wearing a sheet and we leave that on him. No insulating particularly, but does break the wind.

DixyDoodle: Our Thoroughbred does the same thing and I did think about that. They're doing fine taking turns inside the shed. 2 will go out to hay and 2 will stay by the shed, then they switch. I think they're doing ok so far. It's a relatively small area by the shed and we don't need any big fights right there. Too easy for someone to get hurt.
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Old 01/07/10, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by shanzone2001 View Post
You would definitely laugh at me...I worry at 30 degrees!
I only worry below 20 and down in the single digits and below zero if the wind is blowing. We are wide open on the north and that wind comes across here with absolutely nothing to break it and it comes across strong and with the snow on the ground it just makes it that much colder. Today the wind is around 30mph with gusts over 40. Fun fun. Plus we have frozen water lines that we're trying to thaw.
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Old 01/07/10, 11:02 AM
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Everything is relative. Thinner skinnned horses can do just fine in very cold conditions but they need time to adapt. My horses can survive very well in brutal conditions (we've been known to have -40C and colder) without blankets. I think our chinooks are harder on livestock than the actual cold. When a Chinook rolls in our temps can by double digits in an hour or so.

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Old 01/07/10, 11:22 AM
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If I have a horse that is old (like my 30 year old gelding) or doesn't grow a thick hair coat and is shivering in whatever conditions, I put a waterproof rug on them. They stop shivering, they keep weight on, and everyones happy.
I take it on a horse by horse basis. However, I do have a blanket for every horse in case of sickness or special circumstance.

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Old 01/07/10, 11:39 AM
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generally as long as horeses aren't wet..as in cold rain they can do quite well in really cold weather. Its the cold rains I hate. We used to ride at -40 below zero in MN. My horses all wintered fine in cold northern temps. They'd put their butts to the wind and do just fine. Extra HAY and if you can some warmed water and you are set to go.

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Old 01/07/10, 11:55 AM
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Oh I know some horses need it, especially to keep weight on. But a field with 4 quarter horse types that look perfectly healthy, probably not

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Old 01/07/10, 12:51 PM
 
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just a note on that tank heater you thought was shocking your horse , it probably was ! When they go bad they will shock and you won't feel it in your hand dipped in water , you have rubber soles on , try it barefoot and stick your tongue in the trough , bet you get a jolt ! Try a new heater !

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Old 01/07/10, 01:29 PM
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I have Thoroughbreds, and they appreciate their "blankies"
My one freeloader horse came to me about 300 pounds underweight, thin skinned and with almost no coat despite it being the middle of January and COLD. The friend who brought him to me had him in a large field without so much as a run-in shed, and she wasn't blanketing him. Thoroughbreds use alot of calories anyways, but when it's cold anything I can do to minimize their need to expend lots of calories trying to stay warm is helpful. I'm sure that a big part of why the poor horse was so dang skinny when I got him is that he will shiver miserably if there's hard and chilly wind. When he came to me, the very first thing I did was throw a waterproof, insulated rug on him. He was freezing cold when it was in the high 30's out.
Maybe it's all these years of caring for sensitive Thoroughbreds, but I find it quite pleasing to see a pasture full of healthy happy horses with blankets on

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Old 01/07/10, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by kscowboy View Post
just a note on that tank heater you thought was shocking your horse , it probably was ! When they go bad they will shock and you won't feel it in your hand dipped in water , you have rubber soles on , try it barefoot and stick your tongue in the trough , bet you get a jolt ! Try a new heater !
Is that my post you're responding to?
If so...
That would makes sense, but it was brand new out of the box!
Sold it 3 days later on ebay for just short of what I paid for it.
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  #30  
Old 01/07/10, 06:34 PM
 
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yep I've had two older ones do that in the past year , watch the horses get jolted and go over and i can't feel a thing. Poor guys wouldn't go near the tank for a day or two until they saw all the others drinking. I had a bad one right out of the box this season , worked for a couple days and quit so i guess new ones can go out too.

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