No one in the Equine Forum so I'll ask here...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ravenlost, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I need to know what I should do withing the next 30 minutes. It's 32 degrees here and the low is predicted to be 30. The pasture is saturated and muddy. The horses have only trees for shelter in the pasture.

    Do I need to stable them for the night? It isn't supposed to rain and there's no wind. Hubby said no. What do y'all say?
     
  2. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    I would, just to get them out of the wet for the night. I'm probably too much of a softy, but I like having my critters someplace snug and dry overnight.
     

  3. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Since it sounds like you don't have a barn, they'll have to make do without and I suspect they'll be fine unless you forgot to put negative values in front of your temps. What do they have for winter coat? Generally in climates that get cold, events lead up to cold so the horses adapt gradually. If this is incredible extreme temperature and very unusual they would probably still be okay because as my memory serves me (I'm on metric weather) that's not dangerously cold. Keep an eye on them for the next few days. If you have blankets for them, you might want to blanket.
     
  4. painterswife

    painterswife Sock puppet reinstated Supporter

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    It will not hurt the horses if they are used to the weather.

    My horses, are like most in my area, out in all kinds of weather. Snow. ice rain and sun, as long as they have the correct nutrition and enough water they can handle almost anything. If they are use to being stabled that is totally different.

    Jill


     
  5. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No, no negatives needed! We have a big barn, but it's not in the pasture. I'd have to let the horses in from the pasture into the barn lot.

    Thanks for the replies. After doing a little reading/research online I guess I'm just a big softie too and over-reacting. They should be fine in the trees tonight. That's on higher ground and not muddy like it is in front of the gate! I'm just going to throw them some extra hay tonight.

    They're not used to being stabled and they don't like it very much (resulting in two busted stable doors!).
     
  6. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Absolutely do not stable them if the risk harm, you need to start taking them in for short periods of time, maybe to feed and then let them back out. Lenghten their time gradually but don't leave them unsupervised if they have done that much damage in the past. That tells me that they are used to being outside and tonight will cause them no harm.
     
  7. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They should be fine unless you've got very thin-skinned horses with no body fat (i.e. race fit thoroughbred) or they've been clipped. Also, recent bathing (with soap) will reduce their ability to stand the rain because it strips the oil from the hair.

    Remember, horses are plains animals & are evolved to deal with really nasty wet cold. Lots of mustangs living places where the "trees" are wither height at best ...

    Watch 'em -- if they start to really shiver, throw a blanket over them, but I wouldn't worry at those temps. I used to have an old mare who had a run-in shelter and wouldn't use it; I remember one memorable morning finding her so covered in ice I had to defrost her before I could saddle her up. She wasn't cold -- her coat was plenty of insulation -- but she'd gotten wet and then the water on her coat froze that night.

    Oh, when it's really nasty cold, I give all the hooved critters extra hay. A big meal helps them generate body heat.

    Leva
     
  8. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think the reason they don't like the barn is because we had to keep them stabled for eight weeks while our fences were being built. And it's just one of them (Shiloh...five-year-old) who busted out the doors. Plus, the builder did a crappy job...the stall doors are GLUED together! We plan to replace them by next winter.

    I gave them extra hay and a couple treats apiece and hubby said he gave them a little extra oats and sweet feed this morning. They are FAR from skinny, in fact, they're very spoiled.

    I can remember the mule we had (when I was a kid) standing in the barnlot in the morning with icicles hanging off his belly...with a perfectly good barn right behind him.
     
  9. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    the only time mine ever go inside is to eat and if its pouring down cold rain and the shed is the olny dry spot to lie down..
    otherwise in fridgid weather, they look like wholly mamoths with iceicles on their mussle wiskers. ive often seen them lying in the snow with 3 inches of new snow on them, or standing the same way.
    the old one knows he has a house, he would rather be outside when its "dry". but he has a gizzly bears fur coat on and a walrus layer of chubby so i can see where that cold kills me but he most likey doesnt feel it much.

    I thought he was dead one morning, he was all streached out on his side with a coat of snow from nose to tail... he looked like a big dead pile covered with snow.
    I called he didnt move.
    I clapped, he didnt move.
    I walked over to him and said "time for food" and he was on his feet in a flash covering me with snow in an avalache off his side.
    the cold must not bug them much, it sure didnt disturb his snooze.
     
  10. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    finding them both under a blanket of snow this way isnt uncommon. :haha:

    [​IMG]

    (this part was in the process of being cleaned out but they decided they were going to remove the gate and go where the sunshine was.)
     
  11. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Great photo! I guess I better stop babying the horses and listen to my husband. After all, he had them before he had me! (But he kept them stabled out of state and never had much to do with their day-to-day care. That was MY idea.)
     
  12. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    if they have to stand out in freezing rain for a week, putting them in might be a good idea just to get their skin dried and a good groming to prevent rain rot. cold and snow they staypretty dry.
    I'd reccomend when the wether permits build a 3 sides shed just as a windbreak, they aint invincable and if they get chilly they will use it.
    If they have a good coat of fur, and a decent fat layer, even sub zero cold they can take but the DO often get frostbit ears in really brutal wind.
     
  13. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yep, I've already told hubby we have to build a three-sided shed in each pasture. They need some shelter.
     
  14. Oregon Too

    Oregon Too Active Member

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    Agree with everyone here, but will repeat anyway. My rule here, for the outside horses, is if we have bitter cold, bad winds AND rain or snow (wet), they go in. Right now, there is very light occasional wind, slight snow, 33 degrees, and they have trees adequate for shelter in those conditions. So no going in. If I even tried, they would run away:) If its dry, they could stay out to zero at least. They are conditioned to it, ie, they built up a hair coat like yaks, and on nights in the 20's and below, I put out at least twice the amount of hay I normally would (eating=warmth). And hay is better for that than grain (I would grain too if necessary, but its the constant ability to keep chewing down hay that probably provides the most warmth for a horse). We put up large feeders attached to our barn (each can hold probably 8-10 bales, so if I am unsure of the weather overnight, I have been known to fill one of them, so nobody ever runs out. These are under a shed roof, so hay doesn't get soaked, ruined, or wasted.)

    OTOH, I have one horse who has zero winter coat (show horse who came home too late in season to build a decent coat). He comes in every night and is given a stable blanket, and is blanketed during the day whenever its below 50. Plus he gets a barn buddy to keep him company (softie alert). Gawd are blankets a pain, but for this one a necessity! The other four are outside, including my prego mare who won't be interested in coming at all until foaling time. Okay, she doesn't want that either, but I always insist and win:)

    The key for me is also if I see one of them shivering - then they all come in. Trees are okay, provided they give enough cover. A three sided run would be most excellent - if you get that, you just won't have to worry as much. Horses stay out in what I consider horrid weather and REFUSE my nice shed - only using it when they would get a bit too cold, to warm up and dry their backs off, and whamo, back out into the rain (that was in the valley, where it never got much below the mid 40s-50).

    Here, we have 6" of snow now, expecting a storm tomorrow of maybe 7+". Should it drop, say, to the teens or single digits, blow hard winds, and be snowing, they will come in overnight. And unless they are shivering, I'll have to run them to ground to get 'em in. Severe cold isn't that bad - but add the wetness, and you could have a problem.
     
  15. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well darn it, it started raining last night (a cold rain) and hasn't let up. Our ponds are overflowing because the ground is so saturated it can't hold any more water. The horses are soaked through.

    I couldn't feed the horses out in this so I've given them access to the barn...opened the stall doors, opened the pasture fence and now they can come and go as they please. If hubby doesn't like it he can change things when he gets home from work.