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View Full Version : How cold is too cold to leave a horse out in the pasture!



horseowner40
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:02 PM
At -35 below zero my horse will not go in her barn, she just puts her butt to the wind and will seek shelter from the wind by going on the side of the barn, but she will not go in the barn, she does have a great winter coat, but she has ice on her eye lashes and whiskers, her muzzle is covered with snow and ice, just curious about other's and when do you put your horse up?:confused:

Equino
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:08 PM
If she has adequate shelter and chooses not to use it, I wouldn't worry. If she can't use it due to other horses not allowing her to or if she's not comfortable in the shelter, that's another story. Horses are very adaptable horses and should be fine. Just throw extra hay out if you are worried! It is disturbing to look out in lousy weather and see them outside when they do have a shelter to escape to. As long as they have enough hay and water, and don't seem upset with their conditions, they will be fine.

horseowner40
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:14 PM
If she has adequate shelter and chooses not to use it, I wouldn't worry. If she can't use it due to other horses not allowing her to or if she's not comfortable in the shelter, that's another story. Horses are very adaptable horses and should be fine. Just throw extra hay out if you are worried! It is disturbing to look out in lousy weather and see them outside when they do have a shelter to escape to. As long as they have enough hay and water, and don't seem upset with their conditions, they will be fine.

She hates to go in, she was always a pasture horse, I put hay in her barn but she stays outside, I guess she knows when to take shelter, good advice, Thanks!:)

enjoytheride
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:14 PM
If she's shivering then you should put her up or put a blanket on her. Otherwise give her plenty to eat.

stoicfish
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:16 PM
Funny you should ask :) I am at -35 C today too in Alberta, are you my neighbor? My horses have all the food and water they want, and a run in stall. I put food in a dish in the barn so they do not have to leave so much during the nite. My 5 month old is not even having a issue with it, I clean their feet from snow and up the calories. I watch them closely but they seem to be fine. No blankets either. It has been close to -40 at nite.

Good luck and stay warm!!

horseowner40
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:17 PM
If she's shivering then you should put her up or put a blanket on her. Otherwise give her plenty to eat.

I have only seen her shiver once, that was on a 40 degree rain all night evening, she was soaked, I did towel dry her and put her up until the rain ended, but this dry snowy windy weather does not seem to bother her, but it worries me.:eek:

Equino
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:20 PM
I understand! But they are horses and it doesn't help to "humanize" them. Their coats function to protect them from the wind and also insulate-which is why when you see steam rise when wet. Really, as long as she's not shivering and keeps her weight, she is doing well. All you really can do is throw more hay, I wouldn't bother with blankets unless she REALLY needs them, that just interferes with her body's ability to keep hair full and poofy! Hope this makes you feel less worried!

dwblover
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:42 PM
If it's dry I wouldn't worry. But if it is raining and she gets soaked she will lose her ability to insulate. For my own peace of mind I put a waterproof, light turnout sheet on my gelding that is pasture boarded.

Meredith Clark
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:46 PM
-35 :eek:

I feel horrible that my horses are out in the 40 degree and rainy weather today!

I need to come out to South Dakota to get a reality check!!!

It's so funny the way I (and I know other people) worry about horses. My guys didn't have access shelter when I first moved them to my new farm and although this was ok for a while the first time it snowed I FREAKED out and went a literally built them a bridge to get to their shelter in the freezing rain! (They couldn't get to their run in because the water line trench had been dug in front of it and the ground was still to soft for them to walk on)

Now that they have access to it... they could care less!

enjoytheride
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:51 PM
You will find that she is colder in rain then she will be in snow. Snow rests on top of the coat and actually helps insulate. We leave horses out without blankets in snow but will blanket or leave them in when it is warmer but raining. The rain soaks through to the skin and flattens the coat.

horseowner40
Dec. 13, 2009, 04:14 PM
-35 :eek:

I feel horrible that my horses are out in the 40 degree and rainy weather today!

I need to come out to South Dakota to get a reality check!!!

It's so funny the way I (and I know other people) worry about horses. My guys didn't have access shelter when I first moved them to my new farm and although this was ok for a while the first time it snowed I FREAKED out and went a literally built them a bridge to get to their shelter in the freezing rain! (They couldn't get to their run in because the water line trench had been dug in front of it and the ground was still to soft for them to walk on)

Now that they have access to it... they could care less!

I can't believe what we as horse owners will do for a horse, they have trained us well. I have been freaking out over this weather, but again 40 degrees in Alabama with rain is COLD, -35 here in South Dakota is not the same kind of cold, it does not soak you to the bone, I am just worrying way too much, she was raised in Northern North Dakota and never had nothing other than maybe a tree for shelter, since I got her I want the best for her and like you I am willing to build a bridge if that's what she needs, your story made me giggle, you sound like a wonderful person...:)

sk_pacer
Dec. 13, 2009, 04:58 PM
Same bitter cold here and if I were to open the barn door, the horses would look at me as if I were nuts. When I opened the small door yesterday, they ran and hid so I won' even try until it warms up,

But horses raised around here are different, they only go in if they feel the need. They are a bit different than formerly pampered retired race horses who spent most of their lives in the barn. So enjoy not having to try to remove frozen turds from the barn, and freezing your ass off doing it. Just make sure she has plenty of hay and a windbreak.

stoicfish
Dec. 13, 2009, 05:39 PM
If it's dry I wouldn't worry. But if it is raining and she gets soaked she will lose her ability to insulate. For my own peace of mind I put a waterproof, light turnout sheet on my gelding that is pasture boarded.

No such thing as rain at this temp. Even the snow is dehydrated! :lol:
BTW frozen horse turds are why Canadians are so good at Hockey!

DieBlaueReiterin
Dec. 13, 2009, 07:04 PM
So enjoy not having to try to remove frozen turds from the barn, and freezing your ass off doing it.

haha love this! i cannot express how happy i am that it's staying above freezing tonight!

Meredith Clark
Dec. 13, 2009, 10:37 PM
you sound like a wonderful person...:)

awww thanks!

tell my horses that! I got a wonderful lil cow kick at me while I was trying to change blankets today... I guess he though he should keep his heavy weight on in 45 degree weather :confused: :lol:

NancyM
Dec. 14, 2009, 09:51 AM
The ability to run in large pastures keeps horses warm in very cold dry weather. Mine are mostly all out at winter pasture, -34 here this morning, not a blanket or a shivvering horse out there. I have one in the barn in a stall, she was cold last week at -20, because she can not run around in the stall. She's the only one that is blanketed, and heavily blanketed too, lots of insulation. The turned out herd takes a turn around the pasture at full speed in the snow if they get feeling a bit chilly, everyone warms up with a gallop.

(the location on my personal info is outdated, and I don't know how to change it... I am further north now.)

Painted Horse
Dec. 14, 2009, 10:34 AM
I'm kinda in the Banana belt. It only got down to 0* around here. My friends who live an hour or so away were down to -20*. Not as cold as you canucks. But cold enough. My horses have a run in shed, and they use it. But I see them standing out in the snow often enough. They have frost on all their whiskers and long hair. We never blanket. So our horses get pretty wooley.

Paddys Mom
Dec. 14, 2009, 10:38 AM
I have found that when my horses are alone or worried (eg, fireworks) they don't want to go inside. They'd rather be where they can keep an eye out for predators 360 degrees around them. Hopefully when you get her a companion she'll take advantage of her shelter. :)

alteringwego
Dec. 14, 2009, 01:27 PM
mine is pretty comfortable so long as he is dressed for the weather but at some point you definitely can't dress for the weather. I usually avoid turnout if the ground is frozen because of injuries.

starkissed
Dec. 14, 2009, 01:40 PM
she probably doesnt go in the barn because she feels trapped and there are no friends to keep her company.
My horse are all prissy and they have blanket and a barn. We dont have sheds. Usually we keep them in at night if it's below 10, which isnt very often. But our two tb's actually prefer being outside, the WBs like coming in (esp if its raining)

AnotherRound
Dec. 14, 2009, 10:17 PM
:eek::eek:OMG - that's so freeking cold the poops just freeze dry and blow away in the wind!! Does their pee freeze on the way down?

I have a family history story, of the year my German ancestors upped and walked down the Rhine River one winter, and emmigrated out of there - it was said it was so cold that birds froze on the wing and dropped to the ground. How cold is that, I wonder?

I guess if it is dry, it is workable, however, in CT on the Coast, it is never dry, and always wet and damp, so that kind of cold makes me - where's the drop dead emoticon???

trafalgar
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:11 PM
someone earlier in the thread mentioned that they kept a rain sheet or maybe a "lite" blanket on because it was the rain not the cold that bothered their horse. if the weather is really cold this is a no-no. It keeps their hair slicked down and they get even colder....a Rambo rep told me this and it makes sense. I think if there was no rain I would never use a blanket but the precipitation in the Mid-Atlanic area is so extreme that I have a blanket on almost a the time. As mentioned earlier it can be in the 40s and still be bone chilling. Oh for some nice dry snow!

dani0303
Dec. 15, 2009, 08:32 AM
Wow those temps are so foreign to me! My ponies are completely bundled up when it dips below +35!! :lol:

How do you survive barn work!?

foundationmare
Dec. 15, 2009, 09:35 AM
I agree that it is definitely the damp cold that can be problematic. I rarely blanket horses, unless they've been body clipped. Our winters in central NY can be very, very cold with wind being the key factor. Outside horses are fine as long as they can get out of wind/rain and get lots of groceries. For the most part, they thrive.

There was one time about two years ago when a gelding fresh off the track was "kicked out" of the barn, orders of BO who was making room for boarders. He told the then barn manager (and I use that term loosely...) to throw a blanket on him and put him in a paddock with about 5 mares. I stopped in to the barn the next morning and found that poor guy standing outside the run-in shed, shivering like I've never seen a horse shiver before. The night had produced freezing rain, the mares wouldn't let him in the shed, the blanket was not waterproof and the blanket had literally frozen on him. When I managed to get it off of him, it maintained his form.

Needless to say, the geniuses involved in that fiasco got a piece of my mind.

starkissed
Dec. 15, 2009, 12:21 PM
I agree with the above. I dont think it's a good idea to put a lite sheet on a furry horse when it's really cold. If it's wet an miserable, bring them in, or put a heavier waterproof on.

Tif_Ann
Dec. 15, 2009, 01:03 PM
Wow those temps are so foreign to me! My ponies are completely bundled up when it dips below +35!! :lol:

How do you survive barn work!?

Lots of layers, lots of warm up breaks. Being inside helps because you stay out of the wind. Getting dressed for chores is a half hour process :) ... long/silk underwear, usually a layer like breeches or yoga pants, jeans over that, and then carharts/coveralls/snowpants over that. Top layer is again long/silk underwear, a turtleneck or long sleeve cotton shirt (maybe two), a sweatshirt/fleece, the top half of the coveralls and a heavy jacket. 2-3 pairs of socks, heavy wool if you can get them, followed by heavy duty winter boots. At least one pair of good gloves for outside work, usually have a thin pair underneath for inside work. Hat & Scarf, and the hood over the hat really helps. :)

Of course ... when the windchill drops below 0 my horses get their heavyweight blanket, drops down to -20 my QH gets a medium weight added to that, my mustang is usually still good with the HW alone, and when we hit the -40 to -60 windchills in Jan/Feb I'll layer a fleece underneath it all. My QH comes in at night but has no windbreak in his pasture really, but my mustang has a round bale and a shed in his.

The MAIN key to keeping them warm in pasture is to have windbreaks and free choice hay. Digesting hay helps them to keep warm. The biggest concern is the big storms that are icy and wet - that's when they get really chilled. I'll blanket at 40 degrees in Sept/Oct if it's rainy because they don't have their winter coats and the rain soaks them to the skin, but as soon as the rain turns to dry snow (not the big wet stuff) and the temps stay below 30 consistently the blankets are off until around 0. It's the wet that gets them, not the cold.

Equilibrium
Dec. 15, 2009, 01:13 PM
someone earlier in the thread mentioned that they kept a rain sheet or maybe a "lite" blanket on because it was the rain not the cold that bothered their horse. if the weather is really cold this is a no-no. It keeps their hair slicked down and they get even colder....a Rambo rep told me this and it makes sense. I think if there was no rain I would never use a blanket but the precipitation in the Mid-Atlanic area is so extreme that I have a blanket on almost a the time. As mentioned earlier it can be in the 40s and still be bone chilling. Oh for some nice dry snow!

I mentioned this in another blanket thread. Light sheets are only good for one thing and that's summer rain. The coat has to fluff up to work.

I can't honestly imagine temps as cold as you all are talking about. We don't get cold cold, but the damp cold is never ending and life sucking all the same.

Terri

caballus
Dec. 15, 2009, 05:48 PM
My guys are out 24/7 with free choice shelter. The older guys or the metabolically challenged guys get their blankets on frigid, windy, rainy days but all the youngsters stay nekkid and they're just fine.

Under each hair is a special nerve that helps to regulate their automatic thermoregulatory system - in other words, a nerve that tells the hair whether to stand up or lie flat. Blanketing negates that messaging system. So does packed on mud or manure or wet fur.

I used to worry but then I'd think of the photos I've seen of wild herds running across the plains in the Dakotas or other states where the temps are unbelievably cold. Not even New England can hold a candle to them. Then I look out to my own herd and see them playing and running and enjoying the blizzard or snow and then I know they are fine. They have FUN! They run to keep warm. They eat hay and forages to keep warm and they turn their butts to the prevailing winds.

It makes me laugh when I hear of people who think that the horse are freezing cause they have mounds of snow on their backs. They don't stop to think that the horses are so well insulated that the snow doesn't melt from their body heat. Their roofs/homes should be so well insulated!

philosoraptor
Dec. 15, 2009, 08:44 PM
If she has shelter and doesn't want it, then you shouldn't worry. It's not like she is sick or emaciated.

My drafts won't use the shelters in snow or winter cold. If it's raining, they might or they might not. It never seems to bother them.

sk_pacer
Dec. 16, 2009, 02:47 AM
I just thought I would add this story from horseshoes.com

http://www.horseshoes.com/humor/hrsfire/yrhraron.htm

Mozart
Dec. 16, 2009, 11:11 AM
[quote=AnotherRound;4556884]:eek:
I have a family history story, of the year my German ancestors upped and walked down the Rhine River one winter, and emmigrated out of there - it was said it was so cold that birds froze on the wing and dropped to the ground. How cold is that, I wonder?

[quote]

That would be about -40 Celsius I would say. I was walking to my office once when it was about that cold and I found a dead pigeon on the ground that had died, fallen and SHATTERED into about four pieces.

stoicfish
Dec. 16, 2009, 11:52 AM
The day before yesterday was -43C with the wind chill ( -34 on them). My 5 month old was outside in the morning with his mom. Some days I could just kick her butt! She would rather be outside no matter what. They were both fine, but I feed them tons. I do not know what a healthy, well fed horses critical low temp would be? And for how long.
There are wild horse herds along our Rocky Mountains that manage to live through this (unfortunately not other things). There is a large reward posted and people are very upset. It is a nice area!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYrO4cXuGLE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdBWLFkRkr0

katarine
Dec. 16, 2009, 02:18 PM
She's fine, leave her be.

gooselover
Dec. 16, 2009, 10:56 PM
LOVED the story! I am ashamed to admit that while my three OTTB's are outside 24x7 and do have shelter to get into (and choose not to except to sleep), the temps were getting down into the teens last night and I asked DH to put the blankets on. Why? I thought they would feel "better" in them.

After reading this thread, I felt like an idiot. If it wasn't so late when I finished reading the thread, I would have called him and said, take the dang blankets off, but DH was already in bed.

I had always been told, if you are cold, then your horse is cold...but now I know better. I did only blanket my 24x7'ers ONLY if the weather got really cold or bad, but I may not even do that now!

Nanerpus
Dec. 17, 2009, 07:07 AM
It's cold here today (Well, not compared to some others) but it's only 7 degrees!

Just went into my barn and it's 7 degrees outside, 24 degrees inside (the slab warmed up yesterday and I have a draft who warms the barn). No blankets, but they have great coats. I will be putting on their fluffy mid-weights when they head out as it is WINDY and so much colder than 7. But inside, no wind, and unless it's going to be VERY cold the barn stays so much warmer.