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Is keeping horses easier in south than north?

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  • #21
    Grew up in Upstate NY, been in KY for almost 20 years. The only thing I miss about NY is the Polish and Italian food I grew up with- it's kinda sad when the best pizza around is Little Caesars.

    I absolutely don't miss the sometimes 6 months of snow and cold weather. People ask me about NY and the snow- I tell them them it's only fun if you can afford to play in it- like skiing and snowmobiling. The year before we moved here I remember one stretch it was 20* below for almost 2 weeks straight-the kind of cold where the hairs in your nose freeze and the snow squeaks. We get cold weather- right now it's about 15*- but that won't last long. I was amazed when we moved here that the grass was still kinda growing in November! The cold here is different- it's damp as hell and will chill you to the bone- at 40* I'm usually in my Carhartts! Problem with winter riding is that outside is mud, so an indoor or otherwise groomed riding surface is necessary for serious work- none of that nice frozen ground with a cushy snow cover.

    Summers can be brutally hot and humid. Some people ride before the sun comes up, I prefer to ride just as the sun is going down. Horse shows aren't a problem though, as the Saddlebred shows are held in the evening hours; most don't start 'til 7pm.

    I wouldn't move back up north for anything!

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    • #22
      I moved from Alaska to Texas and agree with the ones who say that the south is easier on people and the north is easier on horses.

      Winter in the north -- throw whatever blankets the horse needs on, and the horses were always perky and happy while the humans struggled through ice and snow and all that fun.

      Summer in the south -- no matter how much you hose and provide fans and do your best to help the horses through the worst of the heat, they always look miserable. Plus all the fungus and mold and insects bigger than houses -- none of that was in the brochures!

      But I can't cope with the cold any more, so the south it is. If I could cope with the cold, I'd move back north in a heartbeat. I would rather not need to know the safest way to kill a poisonous snake that wanders into the arena.

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      • #23
        Done both, and the South is WAY easier. The heat and humidity were as bad in the Midwest (but didn't last as long) and the bugs and footing much worse. So I even prefer the summers in SC. (Bugs in AL and TN...that was another story. Yuck.). The winters here are heaven.
        Hindsight bad, foresight good.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
          I absolutely don't miss the sometimes 6 months of snow and cold weather. People ask me about NY and the snow- I tell them them it's only fun if you can afford to play in it- like skiing and snowmobiling. The year before we moved here I remember one stretch it was 20* below for almost 2 weeks straight-the kind of cold where the hairs in your nose freeze and the snow squeaks.
          This is exactly what I feel now! I feel like half my year is wasted because I don't enjoy any winter sports. It's single digits without the wind chill, horses are edgy because they are stuck in due to the outside water being a frozen brick (no outside heated waterers but the inside buckets are heated). As soon as I chip one ice bucket it just starts freezing again. Yup, nose hairs froze doing chores last night and I got a headache immediately once I returned to the warm house. Takes a bit for your body to adjust from freezing to regular temps. Had to double up on blankets cause my horse was shaking even though he was IN the barn. Poor dogs limp when I take them out to go potty since the frozen ground is so cold.

          South, here I come.
          '10 Dolce Latte G - Thoroughbred Mare

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          • #25
            my TB and I lived in Central PA. 8+ years ago moved to Coastal SC. We MUCH prefer here than there. She likes the ability to have 24-7 turnout 365 and with a rug- runin and shadey trees is do-able all year long. I was talking with my mom the other day about how much she has mellowed since we moved down here. Worst thing we have to deal with is some mud which drains back to sandy loam with a day or two of dry weather. In the summer we hose them off daily and topdress electrolytes on their feed. soooo tough
            If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

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            • #26
              I was born and raised, riding horses in SC. Moved to WI after college and spent 21 years there with horses. Moved back to SC three years ago with my horses. Amazing how much more time I have to ride now that I don't have to deal with WI winters.

              I think it is without a doubt so MUCH EASIER keeping horses in the South.
              - No Snow
              - No -30 wind chill temps
              - No frozen ground
              - No frozen mud, crater filled paddocks
              - No mud in spring
              - Flies, Deer Flies and Mosquitoes were much bigger and worse in WI
              - No frozen water buckets/troughs
              - No dealing with bucket/trough heaters
              - No snow balls on horses
              - No snow shoveling or plowing so farrier can get to barn
              - No frozen or busted water pipes or hoses
              - Much less blanketing

              Shall I go on...

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              • #27
                Having lived and kept horses in the north (CO, MN, IL) and now living through my first winter in the south (southern LA), keeping horses in the south during winter is by far easier.

                However, I haven't lived through an entire summer (moved here in late July), so I have yet to see if it is worth it or not. But I think things will just be flipped. For 5 years in MN, I rarely rode from mid-Dec to mid-Feb, now I'll probably rarely ride from mid-June to mid-Aug down here.

                I do miss the seasons, but it was super nice to turn the horses out to graze on Christmas Day. That was definitely a new experience for me!

                I will say that hurricanes are a big trade-off. I had about a month from when I moved to when Isaac hit to figure out a horse evac plan. Not cool. I'd take a blizzard over a hurricane any day.

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                • #28
                  I used to feel like I was compromising, living the MD/VA area (esp. after growing up in Maine). Getting all four seasons, but not too cold (30s and 40s) or too hot.

                  But the past few years I feel like we have have been getting extremes of hot and cold. Like this week, the temps in ME and MD aren't all that different. Both &$#@*^$ freezing. And this past summer was ridiculous. So lately I feel like I'm getting the worst of both.

                  Although, I will say that Spring does come much earlier here (end of March instead of mid-May, as it does in ME ) so that is nice.

                  When I become independently wealthy (), I will buy a house and farm in New England and then one in FL and split my time accordingly
                  Barn rat for life

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                    This time of year it is easy to say the south would be better.

                    When there is great hay up north and down south is having to ship it at a crazy high price I would say north is better.
                    Ditto! I had friends that sold their place in western NY and could not wait to get down to western NC where they said "life was cheaper and easier". Two yrs later they moved back partially because of the summer heat and they realized it wasn't cheaper after all.

                    I think the person that said to have a southern farm for winters and northern farm for summer hit the nail on the head.

                    Before I bought my farm, I was in a condo and boarded my horses. I had decided when I retired, I'd buy another condo down south and trailer the horses back and forth from one boarding barn to the other.
                    Sue

                    I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
                      it's kinda sad when the best pizza around is Little Caesars.
                      Eek, that is scary!

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                      • #31
                        I've never lived in the South, so I can't attest to the winters there. But I cannot take extreme heat and humidity, so it will never happen.

                        However, my horses are outside right now, it is 7*, sunny and brisk. They LOVE it. Don't want blankets, don't want coddling. I have some retirees out there with them, the ones who don't do stalls. They look like Wooly Bears, and seem extremely happy.

                        The stalled retirees seem quite content too. When I turn them out there is an awful lot of playing, bucking and general silliness. Pretty amazing for a group that is mostly over 25 years of age.

                        I will take snow over mud anytime.

                        I will say my opinion might differ than most because I cannot stand heat, we make our own hay so I can be very generous with it, and I live with my DH and grown son who can load, haul, fix, and move anything. Might have a totally different attitude if I lived here alone.
                        Facta non verba

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                        • #32
                          I've done both, though I think the PNW is different that other versions of "north." Where I am, we don't get the snow and freezing temperatures as much (if at all this year...).

                          I've kept horses in MS and AL. Brutally hot, bugs, scarcity of hay pretty much year 'round now, then cold, wet, muddy, icy in the winter. Springs and falls are awesome, gotta admit. But depending on where you are, unless you have one horse per acre or two, you are probably feeding hay year round or round bales. IME, the drought year after year, the heat, and then the mud in the winter, pretty much destroys pasture. And grain is feed by the pound or the "scoop" which is the big plastic thing that scoops out 3.5 pounds of most pellets.

                          Up here, grass and hay is majikal. I've kept horses on a quarter acre each, thrown them a flake or two in the AM, then a two or three flakes at night and never had to feed grain, and they are obese. In fact, great example, sold a horse from here to AL. Up here, she got no hay in the AM, went out on a half acre, got a flake at night in the stall, and was a fatty, and this the same horse a year later after being in AL, out 24/7, round bales and a scoop and a half of a pellet twice a day with beet pulp. Anyways, the rain and mud get old, it does get dreary and depressing, and you really do need an indoor IME, but the summers aren't hot, bugs are only an issue in Sept, no fire ants. No natural disasters to really have to plan for; unfortunately the only two are volcanoes and tsunamis, and there isn't really much you can do! ETA: no one has "scoops" up here, which was weird as heck when I moved...everyone uses coffee cans. The small ones.
                          COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                          "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                          • #33
                            Well, seeing as how I nearly melted in the weeks of near and above 100 degree heat here in IL last summer, I would say I'd probably DIE in the South. The only bad thing to me about winter really is the water situation. If I could have insulated, heated water in the barn instead of bucket-ing from the house I'd say I don't mind winter hardly at all. To each his/her own though.
                            It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

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                            • #34
                              As much as weather, the set up matters too! My horses at my mom's in Vermont have large stalls with full 24/7 turnout to a huge grassy pasture. They love it in the cold - see them out there bucking and playing. My guys here in Montana have a large barn/loafing shed but are on a much smaller lot which is NOT so nice in mud/ice season. I think a nice set up is nice no matter where it is, BUT...I have kept horses in AZ, NM, CO,VT and MT and really think they do love the cold(er) weather.

                              I thought CO (front range) and NM were perfect for my horses - wonderful, low humidity summers and easily rode all year long.And lovely hay. A friend of mine told me that in AZ they are paying$17/bale for MONTANA hay!!! I do get very tired of frigid, much too cold to ride (for me), hate the hose/hauling hay, the rest of it. But, having spent a summer in Miami.....never, ever again. I'd head for CO, possibly NV (depending on hay) if I were heading south.

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                              • #35
                                Right now, I would prefer to be south! My frost free hydrant is frozen. My bathroom pipes are frozen. We're watering from the kitchen sink. The horses are fine, all double blanketed except for the connemara who has just one and the donkey who has just one. The goats are cold, but they'll chew on blankets, so we just give them extra hay. I do think the horses handle cold better than heat, but riding? Fawgetaboudit.

                                Ask me again in July though.
                                blogging at HN: http://www.horsenation.com/
                                check out my writing: http://jeseymour.com
                                Just out: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/dd-p...ead-poisoning/

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                                • #36
                                  I moved myself and the horses from NE PA to NE TN to be in the same area code as my family, and I love it!

                                  But no Southerners have mentioned the scourge of the predominant red clay/mud that permanently stains your horses, blankets and clothing!
                                  "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive

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                                  • #37
                                    I live in Central Oregon at about 3300' elevation, so sort of north and sort of high.

                                    We get winter here but are prepared for it, so it's not a huge deal. I don't have an indoor arena, so when the footing gets too bad I just give the horses some time off.

                                    Our weather is rarely extreme. Yes, we get cold and snowy in the winter, but it doesn't last that long. And our summers are pretty perfect. I would never trade our winters for the southern summers, ever! I can't stand the extreme heat, humidity, bugs and snakes! :/

                                    We have great volcanic soil that drains well, so mud for us is a couple of inches.
                                    Kanoe Godby
                                    www.dyrkgodby.com
                                    See, I was raised by wolves and am really behind the 8-ball on diplomatic issue resolution.

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by wcporter View Post
                                      I used to feel like I was compromising, living the MD/VA area (esp. after growing up in Maine). Getting all four seasons, but not too cold (30s and 40s) or too hot.

                                      But the past few years I feel like we have have been getting extremes of hot and cold. Like this week, the temps in ME and MD aren't all that different. Both &$#@*^$ freezing. And this past summer was ridiculous. So lately I feel like I'm getting the worst of both.

                                      Although, I will say that Spring does come much earlier here (end of March instead of mid-May, as it does in ME ) so that is nice.

                                      When I become independently wealthy (), I will buy a house and farm in New England and then one in FL and split my time accordingly
                                      Moved from MI to NoVA this fall looking forward to missing out on the frigid cold and what do we get? Mud mud mud followed by COLD! I'm starting to get the feeling that winter here is really an extended mud season punctuated by cold snaps. Say it isn't so!?!?
                                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                                        I'm starting to get the feeling that winter here is really an extended mud season punctuated by cold snaps. Say it isn't so!?!?
                                        Sorry, but it definitely IS so!
                                        "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive

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                                        • #40
                                          I'm sooo not qualified to say - but in the summer months when I read
                                          the threads about snakes, spiders, heat, humidity, bugs, fungus, etc. I'm glad I live in the PNW. At this time of year and I read of your difficulties in the extreme winter, I'm glad I live in the PNW.

                                          Overall, I've become a fair weather horse person, not liking the extremes at all, but I think we get more easy weather than difficult.
                                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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