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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2006
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    895

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    LOL, I think it sucks in Wisconsin too, but it's been a crazy winter, so I am not a big fan of the pouring rain-turned ice-turned into a snowstorm. Pfft.

    As for the horses, most adapt quite well. Find a good boarding barn where the horses look to be in good weight and bright eyed that takes the winter thing seriously. Water and access to good feed is important.

    I think most horses enjoy the access to pasture/grass that they might not get in Southern California.

    But definitely learn and talk to a lot of horse people and farm people here before embarking in horse keeping at home. Setting things up the right way is important. Standing around with frozen pipes or hauling buckets through snow up to your hips, etc isn't exactly thrilling, even if it is a labor of love.


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  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2009
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    4,612

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    And, for the love of GOD, make sure that wherever you board will actually take steps to manage paddocks and get the horses out as much as possible. There are some barns that just stop turning out All. Winter. Long. and the horses are absolutely insane by the end of it...if they live through it at all. I'm not even kidding.

    But, yes, summers here are nice, although hot and humid, which neither my horse nor I mind. The grazing is usually good....except, you know, we had a massive drought this past summer...so no grass at all for most of the summer.

    I don't even know why I live here anymore other than that I like my job. If I didn't like my job, I would get out of this horrible state.
    Last edited by FineAlready; Feb. 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM.



  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2002
    Posts
    2,072

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    You will acquire two winter wardrobes, one designed for ice fishing, and the other designed for cross country skiing. At times, you'll put your ice fishing gear on over your XC ski gear! But truthfully, the clothes you need for being outside for long periods of time and not engaged in anything strenuous are completely different from the clothes you need for doing aerobic activity in the cold. Watch the sales as winter winds down. Check Sierra Trading Post for misc Carhartt stuff. Visit Duluth Trading Co when you're in WI (some of their stuff fits funny, I usually try it on then order). When looking at houses, ask about the closest Farm & Fleet. Things you might buy ahead this year: Yak Trax or similar; long underwear of various weights; smartwool socks, for regular life and the barn (Sierra sometimes has them); a good windproof fleece for spring and fall; ski pants or Carhartt bibs, or at least a couple pairs of jeans big enough to fit over winter breeches; really warm winter boots for time off the horse.

    And I'm also sick of rain and ice. I'd be fine with snow, and I"m ok with the cold. Rain in February is just stupid. My horses are across the street from Starrunner's, and ours are in today because the parking lot and the lane are so icy the humans could barely get around. The barn guys will spend the entire day working on the ice, and then it will snow on Thursday. Bleah.


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  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2007
    Location
    where its cold
    Posts
    845

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    another from WI adding in...

    all good advice but I'm pretty sure right now my horses want IN. They will be out until supper. It's a pretty sunny day out but the wind is howling and the windchills are -20 and more. The horses do want in when its windy and cold and yes, they even have run-ins to block the wind.
    short story about winter here:

    Last night I decided I was DONE with winter. Unfortunately, winter isn't done w/ us yet. It was windy last night. The two "sensitive ones" had to face the wind to be brought in - which instigated lots of biting (each other), bucks and rears until I got their halters on. Then, because it had rained, the gate snaps were frozen shut. This meant I had to take my glove off to thaw them [once it was too cold and my hand would not defrost the snap, I had to get a finger warmer and wrap the snap w/ the finger warmer with a glove]. Meanwhile the two geldings were face fighting and I was snapping their leads to say knock it off. Then the gate was frozen down into the snow due to the #^@#^! rain topped with snow. This means you lift vertically on the gate to break it free while demanding that the ornery !want to go in NOW! geldings stay in their place and not rush the gate. Then of course, they find something to spook and bolt (little one) at just because it's cold and windy.... GAH!

    And the auto waterer has a slow drip, which will cause a build up of ice by the tank. I tried to fix it (ok, pop the top and look) this weekend but it was too cold (0) and I froze up the pipe, just in the 5 minutes I was staring at it. It is still leaking - the one 12 hour period where it warmed up (and rained) wasn't the right time period for DH to really go out and fix it. So now we wait...

    That is winter.... month after month.... why are you moving here again?


    3 members found this post helpful.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2010
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    191

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    Been there, kept a horse in Wisconsin. I love the state- it's beautiful, but winters can be absolutely brutal. You either love it or hate it. Be prepared for a lot of maintenance- moving snow, thawing things, keeping water unfrozen, etc. Summer also includes lightening and tornadoes as well as giant mosquitoes. But it is beautiful and there are lightening bugs.



  6. #26
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
    Location
    living the dream in Chester County
    Posts
    679

    Default take a 'snapshot' of your horses now, before move, and after

    If I was moving horses to a different climate I would have a full blood panel drawn for each of them before the move in June and then periodically (quarterly?) during the first year they are there. There are some conditions (e.g. cushings) that can come upon the horse with age and as you are changing the forage so much I would want to keep an eye on it. The sugars in grass are quite variable when the temperatures have wide swings hi/lo in a day (fall and spring).

    The footing is as much of a factor as the weather - my horses like to be outside but they don't like sloshing around in mud and I don't like the scratches they can get - so as you prepare to get your new place think of that. Some places put mounds of screenings near the gate so the horses can have a high/dry spot while enjoying the sun and each other's company.

    A layering set of blankets such as Rambo sells now can be useful for all the temperature changes that happen. Good luck!
    Forward...go forward


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2009
    Posts
    4,612

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    Millerra paints a pretty good picture of what it is like. Freakin' horrible. I'm not even joking, if you can avoid moving your horses here, or, better yet, avoid moving here at all, do it.

    Granted, if you ask me how I feel about living here sometime other than the middle/end of February, I might give you a different response.

    But I practically want to kill myself right now.


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  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2013
    Posts
    310

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    I live in Canada so I know a bit about winters. I don't understand how people survive without an indoor arena. Even if you're not riding, they're great to turn horses out in when it is dangerous to put them outside due to weather. Right now my barn is surrounded by ice, for example, and it will probably stay that way for a while. If we didn't have an indoor my horse and I would both be in the loony bin by now. So, like others have said, ask about turnout schedules and what they do when the property becomes a skating rink. Also, winter horse shoes are great, but you probably only want them on the front. And you'll learn how to get ice balls out of your horses' hooves with a hammer! Very exciting.

    Some horses really change in the cold. Mine has been a spooky, demon-possessed monster since December and I don't expect him to transform back to a normal horse until at least March. Of course, others remain normal and happy all winter.

    I think finding a particularly good boarding barn can be even more important in places like this. There may be times when it is unsafe or practically unreasonable to drive and you'll have to depend on the barn staff completely. I was snowed in for three days a few weeks ago! Get winter tires.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2009
    Posts
    4,612

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    I feel compelled to come back here and say that I'm feeling a little better about Wisconsin today. Yesterday was a really, really, really bad day weather-wise, and we have already been dealing with winter for a long time now. Additionally, my horse is one of those that is a complete jerk in winter (although lovely in summer), so that colors my view of winter a bit.

    Anyway, OP, it will be okay. You won't like it in winter. NO ONE likes it here in winter with horses. Even people who like winter generally don't like it from a horse management perspective.

    But I thought you might be encouraged to hear that I no longer feel like killing myself over the weather today. Went and rode my nutball horse for an hour this morning, and now we both feel better. And, hooray, the horses are outside today. Things are better. And Spring is just around the corner.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,495

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    Quote Originally Posted by millerra View Post
    . . . Then, because it had rained, the gate snaps were frozen shut. This meant I had to take my glove off to thaw them [once it was too cold and my hand would not defrost the snap, I had to get a finger warmer and wrap the snap w/ the finger warmer with a glove]. Meanwhile the two geldings were face fighting and I was snapping their leads to say knock it off. Then the gate was frozen down into the snow due to the #^@#^! rain topped with snow. This means you lift vertically on the gate to break it free while demanding that the ornery !want to go in NOW! geldings stay in their place and not rush the gate. . .
    And this, boys and girls, is almost precisely the scenario that got me a really big fat lip and permission from the DH to move to a boarding barn for two months. Temps from 30 to 40 daytimes, soil surface thawing by 10 AM and turning into slick muck, freezing over night and becoming solid enough for turnout at oh, about midnight. Frozen snap, pushy pony got impatient, chested the gate, busted through and took me with him - just far enough to faceplant into the gate anyway. It being so cold, I couldn't feel my face so it didn't hurt till later, when I broke out the tramadol. I got a lot of quick stares in the store, poor DH got raised eyebrows, my upper lip is still somewhat numb, it's been almost two months.

    Expect the unexpected and be aware that winter adds a sometimes unwelcome layer of complexity to ordinary tasks!
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  11. #31
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    8,819

    Default This ~ exactly my thoughts !

    Exactly my thoughts ! Jingles & AO a smooth transition for ALL !


    Quote Originally Posted by Laurierace View Post
    Your horses will be fine. You, not so much!
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  12. #32
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2005
    Location
    best place so far
    Posts
    1,417

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    NC is no where as cold at the midwest, but previous to me living here I lived in NorCA and Fl. My horses live outside 24/7 with run-in shelters and paddock/ pasture access. Things I've learned over the last 5 years of horse keeping during winter months (yes, we do freeze and get snow where I am....just not a lot of it!):

    Have electricity to your run-in shelter or barn

    I use those larger blue heated water buckets during the winter.

    I turn my horses out on pasture at NIGHT during the winter too so they are eating during the coldest part of the day. During the day time they are in the paddock with hay. If we had lots of snow I would allow access to hay all evening.

    I only blanket the two riding horses (one is clipped and it keeps the other one cleaner, easier for getting ready to ride). The other ones (broodmares and youngsters) are all naked. IF it is wet, cold and windy I will sometimes put sheets on them at night...but it has to have all three parameters.

    Get yourself a pair of bib-coveralls. I have an off brand I got at TSC in a pretty raspberry color

    Get yourself a pair of water proof gloves for removing ice from water troughs (I keep these accessible in addition to the heated buckets I keep in their run in shelters).

    Pick up manure the minute it warms up a little. You cannot pick the paddock when the manure is frozen to the ground.

    I wear MUCK brand boots. Tried Bogs b/c they were cute and they didn't last, nor as warm as the MUCK brand for me.

    I keep a pack of tissues in my coverall pocket. Nothing worse than frozen snot on your face.

    My horses LOVE the cold weather. Especially if it is sunny out! Have a great move!
    Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses:
    http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2011.html
    http://blumefarm.com/hannoveranercourse2012.html


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  13. #33
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2012
    Location
    In the wilds of Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    363

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluehof View Post
    I keep a pack of tissues in my coverall pocket. Nothing worse than frozen snot on your face.
    Another Cdn chiming in.... when it's really cold skip the tissues and get the mitts that have the synthetic nose wipe insert in the thumb (like these - they also have the zippered picket in the back of the mitt for hand warmers). You REALLY don't want to be taking off your mitts all the time to get the tissues out. Lots of the skidoo mitts have a 2"x2" patch of sheepskin on the back of the hand for the same use but I couldn't find a link for them right now.

    If you're squeamish about snot on your mitts, you can always get these I have honestly never seen or heard of these before -- ran across them looking for the link for the mitts. They made me chuckle and I couldn't resist posting the link.


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  14. #34
    Join Date
    Aug. 13, 2008
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    864

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    You're moving here from CA?!? AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHHHAHAAAAAAHHHAAA! Ok, now that I have that out of my system...it's not THAT bad. Although you will have weeks where you get irrationally pissed at the weather, like it is something with a heart and mind and soul that you'd like to kill.

    I had it with winter on Tuesday, I think. I was sick of the lack of snow for most of the winter, and then when we finally would get it the temps would rise and we'd get rain, or the temps would plummet and I couldn't go out to enjoy the snow. Sick of freezing rain, ice, but mostly the bitter cold and wind. And it finally warmed up into the 20's but the wind howled, and it was so COLD. The last couple of days have been better. If it's 15 or above and there isn't a cold wind, it's very tolerable.

    Last winter was milder and I trail rode quite a bit. This year has been colder and there is more ice, so most of my riding has been done at lessons. I like the idea of winter, when it cooperates. I'm happy with 15-30 degrees and no wind.

    My horses tolerate the cold better than the heat/humidity/bugs. They are all fat and happy right now. They only have a run-in shed, and are 15, 17, and 25. The 17 year old doesn't get a really fluffy coat and has never needed blanketing, although I keep an eye on them. The one mare stood outside in the rain last time, but she did stay in during the last few days of winds. I feed more hay. The best thing ever is the auto waterer. Hauling water for the plug-in buckets was a huge chore, and we only had two then.

    Someone local is hosting a skijoring activity the first weekend in March, so I might go watch. A trail riding group also has a Christmas lights ride to the bars in town, but guess what? It was cancelled due to freezing rain! Always unpredictable here, but if you don't like the weather, wait 20 minutes. It will change.

    I think your bigger worry is Lyme's disease. I think your horses will be fine and probably not need blanketing as much as you think. You will need the warm clothes far more than they will.



  15. #35
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2005
    Location
    Black & white cow country
    Posts
    728

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    Quote Originally Posted by FineAlready View Post
    Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but horse keeping in Wisconsin in winter sucks. It is absolutely horrible - see my post in Horse Care this morning if you want an idea of what winter has been like in Wisconsin so far this year. Regardless of what people say about horses preferring the cold, most I know absolutely do not. Even when it is safe to turn out, the horses can barely move around. They become sore and fresh all at once.

    Ugh. I have absolutely nothing nice to say about Wisconsin winters, and I have lived here and had horses here most of my life.

    What part of WI are you moving to?
    We are moving near La Crosse.
    Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.



  16. #36
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2005
    Location
    Black & white cow country
    Posts
    728

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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudy18 View Post
    You're moving here from CA?!? AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHHHAHAAAAAAHHHAAA! Ok, now that I have that out of my system...it's not THAT bad. Although you will have weeks where you get irrationally pissed at the weather, like it is something with a heart and mind and soul that you'd like to kill.

    I had it with winter on Tuesday, I think. I was sick of the lack of snow for most of the winter, and then when we finally would get it the temps would rise and we'd get rain, or the temps would plummet and I couldn't go out to enjoy the snow. Sick of freezing rain, ice, but mostly the bitter cold and wind. And it finally warmed up into the 20's but the wind howled, and it was so COLD. The last couple of days have been better. If it's 15 or above and there isn't a cold wind, it's very tolerable.

    Last winter was milder and I trail rode quite a bit. This year has been colder and there is more ice, so most of my riding has been done at lessons. I like the idea of winter, when it cooperates. I'm happy with 15-30 degrees and no wind.

    My horses tolerate the cold better than the heat/humidity/bugs. They are all fat and happy right now. They only have a run-in shed, and are 15, 17, and 25. The 17 year old doesn't get a really fluffy coat and has never needed blanketing, although I keep an eye on them. The one mare stood outside in the rain last time, but she did stay in during the last few days of winds. I feed more hay. The best thing ever is the auto waterer. Hauling water for the plug-in buckets was a huge chore, and we only had two then.

    Someone local is hosting a skijoring activity the first weekend in March, so I might go watch. A trail riding group also has a Christmas lights ride to the bars in town, but guess what? It was cancelled due to freezing rain! Always unpredictable here, but if you don't like the weather, wait 20 minutes. It will change.

    I think your bigger worry is Lyme's disease. I think your horses will be fine and probably not need blanketing as much as you think. You will need the warm clothes far more than they will.
    I do worry about Lyme's. My husband had it when he was 15. My FIL has had it, along with a couple of other tick-borne diseases. I don't like blood-sucking insects.
    Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.



  17. #37
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2005
    Location
    Black & white cow country
    Posts
    728

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    So the reasons we are moving there are (in no particular order): 1) the schools are far better than in CA. 2) Property is more affordable. 3) My DH misses snow. 4) DH misses hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, mudbogging, etc. 5) Crime is lower than in CA. 6) The pace of life is slower and more relaxed. 7) There are more job opportunities in my degree field (agriculture) for when I do go back to work eventually. 8) It is the only place besides this tiny area of CA where we have family. 9) Almost everything is less expensive there. Yeah I know winters are gonna suck. But I think the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks. I hope.
    Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.


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  18. #38
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2011
    Posts
    1,012

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    Dealing with the ice has been awful this year. We are fortunate to have enough pastures and paddocks to keep them out. We have been able to break up most of the ice with a landscape pulverizer, now the paddocks are OK, put the pastures are compacted again and turned to solid ice about 4" thick. Others near us have had their horses in for the last few weeks.

    We keep our herd out unless there is lightning, freezing rain, or -40F temps. Ages 2-20, no blankets, good run ins, and lots of hay.

    2 horses should be very easy. Just plan ahead for heated troughs, have spare heating elements. We keep an entire trough with heater as a spare. A couple of run in facing different directions and the ability to move to different paddocks if they get compacted and icy.


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  19. #39
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    2,201

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    I am in Minnesota ( born and raised in Ca) Nothing can prepare you for the deep cold you will experience and as FA already said horse keeping in winter is awful here. The snow drifting and blowing is up to the top of my fences in several places. My teen boys go out and shovel it away from the horses side, otherwise they could walk right over.

    Plenty of hay and warmed water and access to good shelter out of any wind is essential. My horses are not blanketed or ever kept from going out during any weather. If it is awful out they put themselves in. Allowing them the freedom to move around at will to keep warm is very helpful. One good blanket designed for sub zero temps should be what you want. Too many blankets on a horse is heavy and binding, especially on an older horse. You will get used to the change, eventually.....


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  20. #40
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2005
    Location
    Black & white cow country
    Posts
    728

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    I love the great advice I'm getting here! I am starting to look at blankets now hoping to take advantage of spring sales. I already have a smartpak medium weight turnout for each of them. I am thinking of picking up a heavy weight turnout with belly wrap and separate hood for them for the coldest/nastiest days, and a stable blanket for in the barn. What weight stable blanket should I look at, or can they just wear their medium turnouts in the barn?

    Also, when transitioning them to pasture this summer, how gradually should it be done? Half an hour a day? An hour? How much of an increase over how many days/weeks? We will try to bring as much hay as possible from home, but having a professional shipper haul them so space may be limited.
    Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.



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