You guys are probably sick of me asking this, but I go through it every winter. Now I have to decide again tonight. Temps here in KS will be around six below zero (fahrenheit), and wind chills will be frighteningly colder than that.
Here's the situation: one old horse (coming 29), has a nice heavy blanket, doesn't eat hay; one younger horse who loves the cold, wearing a blanket, eats tons of hay.
Outside -- they have a three-sided shelter with heated stock tank and lots of hay.
Inside -- they have cozy dry stalls, deeply bedded, but -- their water buckets will definitely freeze over during the night.
Both have been thoroughly fed, the old guy (King) with senior feed + canola oil.
Precipitation? Possible snow showers overnight.
So? Inside or Out? Oh, and obviously, where one goes, the other must go, too. So, the question is whether King goes out or stays in.
One more thing, King has arthritis and he tends to stock up if he spends too much time in his stall. Overall, he is in good health and good flesh.
Outside. Chance of precip is very low, especially with the super-low temps. The heated water outside is more important to me, plus the problem of stocking up if King stays in. They have enough shelter to get out of the wind *if* they want to.
Really, unless King is showing symptoms of some distress, I'd go with outside unless we're in an absolute ice storm.
Yes, if it is not raining, I find the horses not only stay warmer if they can move around but also tends to do the arthritis a lot more good. Access to a good shelter should be plenty to keep them warm.
hahah I battle with this all the time as well LOL
Our horses are not seen as the old and disabled they may have become, but rather as the mighty steeds they once believed themselves to be.
Okay, I kicked them out. The first thing Elijah did was come right back in behind me. However, the first thing King did was take a big long drink from the heated stock tank. I looked in his stall and his water bucket was already frozen solid.
They have their blankets, plenty of hay, warmed water, and shelter on three sides. I really do think they are okay. King's blanket is a nice heavy one, and Elijah could probably stay out without anything, but he has a blanket on, too. I think he followed me back inside hoping for more dinner...
Ours are out 24/7, but tomorrow night it's supposed to be freezing rain & snow and winds as high as 45 mph with temps dropping below zero, so i think we'll do a night in the barn. More for the driving wind than the cold. I'll go out and check water extra times and put warm water out to add a few hours of drinkability. I suppose really they might not care about being out in it. But with the precipitation AND the wind AND below zero, a little extra shelter seems nice. The farms on an exposed hill, so even with the run-ins, it's windier up there than it would be if it were in a low area. Plus the wind will blow all the hay away.
Ya know KR, at feeding time tonight my "something teen" gelding, turned out with his winter blanket on, had two severely stove pipe, stocked up rear legs. No heat, very hard & not lame. Bright, alert and ready for supper. I put a ring into Doc asking "is this a result of the exteme cold or the first sign my guy is turning into a 4 headed horned goat with rhino legs?" He took option A with the caution "watch him". Best guess is he spent most of the day standing still and when he did venture around, he kept his butt to the stiff wind.
This is a really, really tough cold snap and we are only 1/2 way into it.
And mind you, Ted, the big weenie, isn't even wearing a blanket. (I have one there, but so far, so good).
And, of course, thank goodness they have the heated automatic waterer and the most marvelous of run ins. I suspect he and Bow will be snoozing side by side tonight.
More important math question: when you have to drive for about an hour to get to the barn, if it's a predicted high of 16, with winds about 40 mph, and the wind chill thus well below zero, how many layers can you wear and still manage to visit your horse for as much as 15 minutes?
For Mr. Connecticut Yankee - does LL Bean still sell the chamois-cloth lined jeans? They were great! (but you had to buy them a size too big, because the chamois cloth really made them bulky).
So how did the boys do overnight? Mine were all fine outside, although they were certainly enthusiastic about breakfast. And they ate just about every scrap of hay........unless it just all blew away......
If you are hunkered down in the cold, maybe you could come over and share some hot spiced cider and homemade soup?? The boys fared just fine overnight. First chance I get, though, I'm going to drain the stock tank and refill with fresh. King spills a lot out of his mouth and makes things yucky. But no way am I dumping it in this freezing cold weather!
My Yankee is enthusiastic about the Wal-Mart jeans, as we spoke about them this morning. If I can please him for $22 at Wal-Mart, then I won't even mention the chamois-lined ones from LL Bean! What he doesn't know can't hurt him, right? I did buy him some insulated Carhartt coveralls, and now he wants a bomber hat like mine!
Here is yet another reason why I love the Yankee. Yesterday, I went out and bought an elegant ball gown for us to wear to a soiree on New Year's Eve. You know what he says? He says that he loves the fact that I can bundle up in insulated coveralls and a bomber hat, or paint the town in an elegant gown ... and either way I'm just as alluring. (Swoon!) Yes, I am keeping the Yankee!
Well, here from across the state it's just as bitter. I will make the trek to see my pony. I won't ride. I may manage to pick out his hooves if my fingers will work in the cold. I will give him some treats. I will check to see if my cheeks have frozen and slid off (terrific if butt cheeks, not so good if face cheeks). Because I won't see him for over a week.
The good news is, after some more nasty icy disgustingness Tuesday/Wednesday, it should warm up to 40s daytime, mid to high 20s nighttime, so at least they'll be able to move around!