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View Full Version : Thawing + Refreezing! How do you handle ice and turnout?



BunithGrace
Jan. 26, 2010, 10:24 AM
Here in NE we have a serious warm-up (50's!!!!) and so all the snow melted and made ponds and rivers throughout my paddocks. Some ice still remains, and those ponds and rivers FROZE overnight :no:

Just curious how others handle turnout? I have 6 paddocks to choose from for my two horses, so I put them in one with the least amount of ice, and spread sand/salt mix plus dirty shavings in all the roughest spots. They both have studded shoes and are munching hay contentedly. I did put them out later since the temp is rising again and I thought it would give the ice a bit more time to start to thaw more.

Just wondering how people handle turnout with weather like this.

Thanks!

SMF11
Jan. 26, 2010, 10:27 AM
My horses are out all the time. However, in one paddock there is an ice river. A few days ago ( before it was so warm!) I poured a little water on it and threw down dirty shavings. The water is so the shavings stick and freeze to the ice. Otherwise, they sit on top and are worse than nothing -- like sliding on an area rug.

The water trick was something I learned on CoTH.

BunithGrace
Jan. 26, 2010, 10:30 AM
My horses are out all the time. However, in one paddock there is an ice river. A few days ago ( before it was so warm!) I poured a little water on it and threw down dirty shavings. The water is so the shavings stick and freeze to the ice. Otherwise, they sit on top and are worse than nothing -- like sliding on an area rug.

The water trick was something I learned on CoTH.

I've wondered about this too. I have sheds in my paddocks and want to start leaving my horses out 24/7 all year, not just in the summer, but you can't possibly get out there in the middle of the night when things are freezing from a daily thaw - but plenty of ppl I know have their horses out all winter here.

Should the water be warm before you throw down the shavings? Thanks for the tip!

IFG
Jan. 27, 2010, 08:11 AM
I only do the shavings (or hay works too) on an icy puddle. The rest of the paddock I drag flat to prevent cupping once it freezes that might twist an ankle, mine or my horse's.

Horse has borium and snow pads all around. I wear Yaktrax or the LL Bean Stable-icers. We all stay upright, and he has 24/7 in/out privledges. If he can always go out, there is less craziness than a horse that is stalled, and only goes out when the weather is nice. I am lucky that I have only one, and that he is very sensible (at least when he is on his own. When I am on his back, it is another matter.)

MistyBlue
Jan. 27, 2010, 09:25 AM
I'm in CT and we're having "fun" with this warm spell after such a frigid start to winter. 10 days ago I was ready to start trying a blow torch or flame thrower to thaw the frozen paddock piles...yesterday was the first time in 5 years here that I couldn't pick the paddock at turn in because the wheelbarrow hit a mud rut, stopped dead and I wrenched my bad shoulder. :mad: (and swore a blue streak, LOL)

I don't get deep mud in my paddock thank goodness. The number one way in NE to combat mud to ice to mud is to have at least one sacrifice paddock that's stripped of *all* the topsoil and then graded on a slight slant so water runs off of it. You'll get a shallow layer of mud and a few ruts here and there from deep hoofprints, but overall you won't get that deep sucking mud. (just watch where you're pushing the barrow ;)) A swayle or drainage around the sacrifice paddock is also a huge help. Yeah, it's a royal pain in the butt to do all that but soooo worth it.

I get rid of the problem of the soft ruts caused by hooofprints freezing into hard lumps all over by using the tractor. When we have a warm up and things get soft, I drive the tractor into the paddock right before sunset (if it's going to freeze overnight) and rake it smooth again. Takes all of 10 minutes, the paddock is 75x220 give or take a few feet. That way in the morning the horses don't have to tip-toe on big rock-hard lump.

One horse wears shoes up front with rim pads and studs for ice. The other horse is barefoot. I don't get a ton of sheet ice though due to not having a lot of water in the paddock. Although some years we've had a layer of snow that froze like glass. At least the hooves can usually punch through that. Although if it's deeper than an inch or two and the top is frozen hard I tend to break it up with the tractor or leave them in or else their legs get scraped raw from punching through the top.

Someone on here had a great suggestion of pouring hot water on icy spots and then laying pine tree boughs/branches down so they freeze in place. That would make great traction rather easily, although I can imagine some horses eating the traction. :winkgrin: (can't remember who suggested it to give credit for the suggestion)

Yak Trax are a must for me in icy weather...otherwise it's like trying to walk with Crisco shoes on. :lol: :eek:

Sometimes a layer of dirty bedding helps a lot. And sometimes it only help for one day because things will melt enough during the day to cover the bedding with ice-melted water and then it can refreeze smooth again overnight. I have found that pelleted bedding lightly sprayed will stick to ice and then the tops puff up enough before freezing to create decent traction. Only takes a few handfuls.

I also don't leave the horses in often or for long...I'll do what I can with the ice to get them back outside. Horses left in too long tend to act stupid and run around once they get out and are more prone to falling. Horses oout every day tend to not lose their minds and are more careful moving around. Also helps if the entire paddock doesn't get icy so they have a "safe" area to move around.

But yeah...here in NE we sometimes have to get creative to stay upright or to keep our horses from wiping out on ice.

Zu Zu
Jan. 27, 2010, 09:40 AM
I have to put some dirty bedding for a soft and safe pathway to the water tanks to ensure my old, sore show ponies get to the water regularly ~ as they tend to have low pain & frozen mud thresholds. It is well worth the mess that is involved in cleaning up later.

2DogsFarm
Jan. 27, 2010, 01:07 PM
My horses were out 24/7/365 in all weather/any footing with free acess to stalls. Both were barefoot as is my new guy.
I like to think that's what keeps them sensible when it's icy & so I don't worry overmuch about someone slipping.
I also clean stalls directly onto the ice and the difference in temp is enough for the used shavings/manure/hay to stick to the ice & add some traction.

I wish I had a tractor to smooth the ruts when the ground softens.
But so far I just watch my step and in Spring hire a local landscaping guy to scrape down the yard.
The scrapings make a lovely compost.

Loves to ride
Jan. 27, 2010, 01:39 PM
No help here. I have a small place and onlt 2 hours. I try using wet bedding and I pray, alot.

I love snow, really despise ice. I've ended up on my butt SO many times this winter. And that's *with* yaxtrax! :(

IFG
Jan. 27, 2010, 02:05 PM
I wish I had a tractor to smooth the ruts when the ground softens.
But so far I just watch my step and in Spring hire a local landscaping guy to scrape down the yard.
The scrapings make a lovely compost.

No tractor, I use a section of chain-link fence weighted down with two 6 X 6's and hauled around by my truck.:)

sk_pacer
Jan. 27, 2010, 02:07 PM
I love snow, really despise ice. I've ended up on my butt SO many times this winter. And that's *with* yaxtrax! :(

Just wait until you get enough snow that blows around and covers most of one end of your main fence and over top of a cross fence AND in a drift across the barn door. Out no longer can happen here as they have about 200 square feet of pasture they can get to and going over that mess by the barn door would only give them access to downed fences that I cannot get at - 6' drifts. Oh, forgot to mention - have been digging the same path to the barn for THREE days - keeps filling in and it takes roughly 2 hours to clear the path. Under circumstances like this, I bet your enchanment with whitecrap would diminish fast.

2DogsFarm
Jan. 27, 2010, 02:27 PM
No tractor, I use a section of chain-link fence weighted down with two 6 X 6's and hauled around by my truck.:)

:lol:No truck either!
Ya think my PT Cruiser (currently the only 2 Dogs Farm vehicle) can do it?

Cloverbarley
Jan. 27, 2010, 06:02 PM
Isn't it crazy weather! Most of our snow has gone now .. but it isn't supposed to be gone until April. I expect we will get a number of large dumpings in Feb/Mar to make up for the lack of snow now.

Everything in my fields melted a few days ago and then the ice left on top froze slick so what I did was to take one of the big tractors in with our huge chain harrows and dragged them around the fields after the sun had been out for a few hours. It had just warmed up enough for the harrows to catch in any loose pieces of ice and pull them up and distort the slickness of the ice so now the horses have a grip on getting up and down the hills. All of our horses live outside in the fields so generally managed to keep pathways to hay, water and barns cleared of snow and ice but this time they needed a little mechanical help.

LauraKY
Jan. 27, 2010, 08:15 PM
Just wait until you get enough snow that blows around and covers most of one end of your main fence and over top of a cross fence AND in a drift across the barn door. Out no longer can happen here as they have about 200 square feet of pasture they can get to and going over that mess by the barn door would only give them access to downed fences that I cannot get at - 6' drifts. Oh, forgot to mention - have been digging the same path to the barn for THREE days - keeps filling in and it takes roughly 2 hours to clear the path. Under circumstances like this, I bet your enchanment with whitecrap would diminish fast.

I'm so sorry. Makes my weather seem balmy by comparison.

sk_pacer
Jan. 27, 2010, 08:59 PM
I'm so sorry. Makes my weather seem balmy by comparison.

Thanks.....and now gonna make you feel really good - just spent 4 hours clearing the same 500ish feet of ground that I cleared on Monday and yesterday, and the wind is still howling. Bets I have to do it all over again tomorrow??LOL

sk_pacer
Jan. 27, 2010, 09:08 PM
rodawn - I am looking forward to seeing a chinook arch, it would be a wonderful sight. I am trapped now, and trapped good - lane blew in so bad I may never get it cleared, and re-opening everything else took nearly 3 hours because the snow was really hard, and some required bashing. Cousin is bringing his land leveller so we can make a 'road' out in the stubble field, and that will be easier to keep open, then the big job will be the path to the barn. I DO intend to get most of that drift shifted to another location, but I am fast running out of places.

Saskatchewan winters are no better and I am betting that I can find a shovel for each and every snow lover to learn that snow is NOT fun :)

sk_pacer
Jan. 28, 2010, 02:43 AM
The power was off just south of me (like a whopping 15 miles) for 2 days, farther west, for 4 and they have to replace high tension so they will lose power again, and it is damned cold. There weren't a huge lot of places without power, certainly not the whole province, but the irony of it was the areas out were close to the Coronach power plant. That is a pretty sparsely populated area, around a thousand customers were without electricity. Leader Post story here (http://www.leaderpost.com/health/Saskatchewan+highways+shut+down+power+weather/2480817/story.html) . Some of those people also lost phone service, including cell as at least two cell towers were down. There also was one poor family that lost their farm home to fire. And the story about the woman who went home from somewhere (by the road she was on, I am going to assume one of the Deep South nursing homes) and hit a drift on the highway, ditched her SUV, and spent the night in said SUV. She was rescued around 9AM Monday morning. She was fine, no report on the condition of her vehicle though, but probably driveable.

The highways absolutely suck - it was warm enough when the mess began on Friday for the snow to stick to the roads, and by Saturday night, before the worst of the storm hit, highways were icy and slick. I noticed when I went for tractor fuel that there were some pretty large ice patches on the highway here, and it is supposed to be one of the better ones. No matter, I can't gat out anyway.

I haven't seen a 36+ hour blizzard for years, most blow themselves out in a few hours, but this was horrible. I stuffed as much hay into the barn for the horses as I could manage late Saturday night - something just told me to - and was a damned good thing I did as I never even SAW the barn for most of Sunday, hell, for most of Sunday, I could barely see the big poplar out the kitchen window and that is only 25' from the house, and the branches even closer and it did disappear several times.

They say it is going to 'warm' by the weekend, and from what I saw that amounts to being only 5 degrees celcius below normal instead of 15 degrees. If that damned wind would ever STOP.............

I should be in bed but was so tired I fell asleep on the couch and got 2 hours already. Tomorrow's game plan? MORE digging.

BunithGrace
Jan. 28, 2010, 07:38 AM
For those with snow, we live on a huge hill with TONS of drifts - it's insane...I can walk out to the path to put the horses out after a morning of snow and wind and it's up to my neck :eek:

Snow is no longer a problem for us though because my husband got one of these: http://faculty.nmu.edu/sfoulks/images/Kubota%20B3030HSDC/Right-front-Kubota-driveway.jpg

It is AWESOME. He snowblows everywhere, including into the horses pastures. It's great. It blows the snow anywhere you want it up to 30 ft.!!!!

Thanks for all the great ideas about the freezing/thawing and I'm glad to know I am not alone. Dragging the paddocks whilst warm at night after putting them in is a GREAT idea to prevent frozen ankle-breakers in the morning!