I got a horse off the track a couple of weeks ago,she has gone into the run in shed very briefly,she normally stands outside with her head in.
She is in a paddock with my retired horse,and she is the dominant horse of the two of them,so there is no issue of him not letting her in,she is firmly the boss.
I really didn't give it much thought,I live in the very Deep South,it hardly ever drops below 60 here.
However today and for the next few days it is going to be in the 50's and 30's at night,and raining.
She is standing outside and wet,I have honestly never had a horse stand outside and shiver in the rain.
How bad is it for a horse to be wet and cold?
When my mother was cold, she used to make us kids wear sweaters......
Seriously though Annie, if you're concerned about her being wet and cold, put a rainproof sheet or lightweight blanket on her, or stall her overnight. Mack HATES being stalled. Even if he's cold, wet, shivering and miserable, I physically have to MAKE him come inside, or he'll just stand outside looking pitiful. Quite different from Conny, who decided that being wet was to be avoided at all costs!
If she's in decent condition and so long as she has access to shelter and it's such high temperatures I wouldn't worry at all.
Here the night temperatures are about -6 to -9 C now. (21 to 15f). Mine are turned out about 4pm and back in about 8am. They have access to shelter but unless it's persistent freezing rain they tend not to bother going in other than to pee and poo just to give us extra work mucking it out!
Thank you for your replies.I should have said that I don't have a rain sheet for her,and she is to small to fit into my other horses clothes.
She does not have a blanket either,I live in North Florida, I wish I could put her in a stall but right now that is not an option,she is now standing in the rain grazing,[I still have grass]
I just wish it was not going to be so cold tonight,[I know you northerners are laughing]
If you don't have a blanket, just make sure she has a lot of extra hay to eat all night, the digestion process will help keep her warm!
If she's healthy and holding her weight a little shivering won't be bad for her. I know how you feel about the cold because we have similar conditions in California. I have every weight blanket possible for my horse and even though she has a trace clip, I rarely blanket her and she lives in a mare motel. I just make sure she has extra hay and she does just fine.
Last edited by jenm; Dec. 1, 2009 at 04:32 PM.
Reason: took out extra words.
Thanks Thomas and jenm, you made me feel betterI can't even imagine freezing rain!
I know I am such a southerner,I heard the weather and they said it might get down in the 30's and I panicked.
I got his mare 2 weeks ago from a trainer at Arlington Park, so she is used to Chicago weather.
I should have said that mine aren't rugged either but still would prefer to stand outside unless it's been persistent freezing rain.
We had that on Saturday night.... it was dire! A strong gale force wind gusting up to 70 mph north prevailing - straight from Siberia and intermittent hailstones between freezing rain. The next morning I had 4 t/b's squashed in one field shelter - snug as bugs in a rug! The rest were virtually inside in pairs and the shetland ponies and a welsh C and welsh A pony had taken the opportunity of the rest being in to hog the hay bales all to themselves!
If she is an off the track horse she may not understand the concept of shelter / run in entirely quite yet. It can be quite an adjustment for horses who have led very sheltered / managed lives to transition to living outside 24/7. She may also be so enamoured with the great outdoors that she is reluctant to come inside.
If she is coming at night, then I would just toss a rain sheet on her and not worry. However, a rain sheet 24/7 would inhibit her coat ability to fluff and keep her warm at night.
My suggestion? Feed hay (or MORE hay) in the run in. 1. It will induce her to come in for longer durations. 2. Hay and forage digestion keep horses warm. Good luck!
Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of theRiders with Fibromyalgia clique.
An old timer told me once that if they get dry once every 24 hours they will be ok. I've not got any proof, and yet, in my experience, it seems to work out that way. Some just stay out and the rain sort of drips off them. If she is shivering, then time to go shopping. She's preferring the grass to the hay in the shelter.
My mare will stand out in the rain rather than go inside. It's her call. She knows the shelter is there, she's gone into it before. If she wants to stay out, that's her decision. If she gets wet, that's her problem.
My mare does this occasionally, esp. if there's a chance she can build icicles on her shaggy coat and drive her person nuts!
She has access 24/7 to a bank barn with an overhang.
I suspect her choosing to stand outside may have to do with the pressure from the storm itself and from the noise of the precipitation on the roof. A prey animal isn't happy to have her sense of hearing diminished from the distracting noise. That's my theory, anyway.
If it's wet and cold/windy enough that I just can't stand it, I have rigged up a way to confine her under the barn, when of course I give her loads of hay to keep her occupied.
Honestly if she is from Chicago and you are in N FL, I don't think you need to worry too much :-) You may be projecting a little, she's most likely fine. We have run-in sheds that are 18x30 and 10' high. We only have 2 horses in each pasture and honestly in the pouring rain, like now, when it is pretty cold, like now (we are in TX), they stand out in the middle of the pasture with their butts to the rain. Why, oh why, did we waste $10k on sheds??? Anyway, my take on it is - they know where they are, they've been in there before (bit diff from yours) and if they are dumb enough to stand outside, that's their problem.
Make SUUUUURE there's nothing with the shelter that's making it scary/uncomfortable, especially for aa super-sensitive Thoroughbred jazzed up from the track in strange surroundings. I'm reminded of a story from a vet of a horse housed iin an old garage that was afraid of its feed box. Turned out there was a live wire that SHOCKED the horse every time it put its nose there...