My new TB mare seems much edgier now than in Oct when I got her. One trainer said "some TBs just don't do winter" and she had one that she parked for Jan/Feb or she rode at risk of life and limb. I read someone else's comment on here saying something similar. I did have a lovely 'mare day' 12/26, but it was 40 degrees F, unseasonably warm, so she was quite warm under her blanket (but not sweating). She lives out with a run-in with two other horses. Gets Ultium 2x day and free choice hay.
So...can anyone explain why the cold just makes some TBs goofy and/or miserable?
If I give a shot to one of my warmbloods it takes some effort to stick them through their thick hide, but giving a shot to one of my Thoroughbreds and I can feel how much thinner their hide is; the needle just slips in.
I know that when I wear my full chaps I am much warmer with that extra layer of hide. I can only imagine that its the same for the horses.
Well...my boy finally got on 24/7 turnout. And I did worry. I have a blanket there in case.
Knock on wood, once he got to this barn, where he is happy, content, fed well (and good quality) - he has kept his weight on, the work we do has improved his muscling, and he grows a bigger coat (still not as much as the other breeds, but fine for him) and he is happy as a clam. In fact, the big joke is, because he hates flies, he has more clothes on in summer (mask, leggings) and I have more in in winter (he's nekked, I have 5 layers sometimes). He gets very "snorty" in the cold. And he much prefers 20oF to 90oF (unlike me!!!).
I went undergrad at Cornell and wore only a polyester jacket and mittens, regardless of the cold (who could afford down?). Now, of course, if it gets under 50 degrees I'm bundled in polartec. Maybe we should worry abut YOU and not so much your mare!!!
Well, I know my mare gets cold. When I take her blankets off, she shivers. When I start to ride, she's short strided and really sucks her tail down between her legs. (Seriously, her tail is smacked down tight between her legs!) She's flat out cold and wants to MOVE to keep warm!
So I try to start out with a quarter sheet on her that I only remove once I know she's warmed up. Since we're not really showing much right now, I gave her a trace clip rather than a full body clip. That helps somewhat.
Once I get on her, I let her move out at first without asking for too much in the way of proper movement. It's not worth the effort before she's warm enough to lift her back and relax. I do ask that she pay attention to me (and not all the boogy men hiding in the corners), but that's about it until her muscles warm up enough for more.
Wind is actually worse than cold for spooks. I've read that many horses are more spooky in the wind because they can't smell for predators. That and it can get noisy!
My guy is edgy and hot and silly right now... I find the problem with winter is not enough work, too much good feed...and he's just a nut!
He is thin skinned and doesn't put on the same coat as my Clyde/TB/QH gelding .... So I keep him blanketed all the time...which just increases his energy threshold and makes my life that much more miserable as he cheerfully leaps and spooks and spins and leaps and flings himself around the arena with me clinging to the saddle........
Of course, up here, you get used to winter real fast...and after -40... not much bothers anything, beast or human. Lol.
"Show me the back of a thoroughbred horse, and I will show you my wings."
My smart alec answer is: "For the same reason some people just HATE the cold"!
I would guess it's the same reason some horses of any breed hate the cold..... Their physiques make them more sensitive to it.
My old OTTB mare used to rack in the winter cold...and no, she was most certainly NOT meant to be gaited.
On the really cold days, there really wasn't anything to do about it. But since we had no agenda, we had all the time in the world to wait for spring. And sometimes, that really is the best for maintaining sanity...for all parties involved. There was nothing we were going to accomplish when she was doing her best impression of a pogo stick on fire, that couldn't wait for a better day.
My answer as to why they do it is - it's all of what the above posters have mentioned- the need to move to be warm, not enough turn out possibly, more food, less work, thin skin - all rolled up into one gelatinous mess of a horse - and it's just too much for them to handle.
Pokey - "pogo stick on fire" comes pretty close to describing her most days right now! I try to maintain the same attitude you mentioned - no agenda really, do what we can, stay safe.
She is out 24/7 but not moving much unless I work her. She has a low trace clip which I might widen soon since I'm getting tired of blow-drying her, but she sweats the most in places I don't want to clip -- like her belly. I understand the need to move, but honestly, after competing on the East Coast and 13 years of exposure to stuff, should a zipper REALLY induce airs above the ground?! Silly thing. She has a short coat but very dense and seems to be handling her first winter out full time well mostly.
Doesn't help that we're having the most wicked winter in 20 years though I think...for sure more subzero days than I remember ever having before. If my DH finds out that the mare wants to move south too....I'm in big trouble.
ETA: for DGRH, yes... I am the dope who's driving 25 miles in the subzero (probably also not dressed right) to check on the delicate flower and perhaps feed her a warm mash while I fight frostbite...no wonder she thinks she's smarter than I am!
Last edited by slpeders; Jan. 12, 2009 at 10:40 PM.