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Out 24/7 in cold climate?

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  • Out 24/7 in cold climate?

    I just moved to northern Indiana. I have always kept my horses out 24/7 as I think it is healthier, but it looks like the winters here will be worse than where I'm from (West Virginia).

    Very few area barns seem to keep horses out, from looking at their arrangements. I have stalls and could put them in at night. Does anyone leave their horses out all the time in deep snow and freezing temps? If so, do you blanket?

  • #2
    Out 24/7 with run-ins and extra hay in Vermont. Only the clipped tend to get blanketed, although some do just fine with a bib clip and no blankets.

    Comment


    • #3
      Here, where it gets really cold, in at night from October to Aprilish is the normal practice. In really bad weather, it is common to leave at least horses and dairy animals in for the length of the storm or bitter cold. When the snow blows over top of fences and stuff can walk out, in all the time. It isn't so much the cold that they can't handle but the winds here....and the fact that along about January, the fences disappear under 6-10 feet of snowdrift
      Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

      Member: Incredible Invisbles

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      • #4
        I'm quite a bit north of you and mine stay out 24/7 from Sept to May. Unless its really cold. e.g. -20 w/ a strong wind - they stay out and do great (w/ lots of hay). Northern Indiana shouldn't be a problem but rumor has it that you get more ice down there. I keep mine in if there is major ice, too.

        They are in days during the summer months due to biting insects - gnats, deerflies, horseflies and the like that can make the horses run.

        Welcome to the midwest!

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        • #5
          I second the welcome to the Midwest!

          I'm in IL, and my mare has lived out 24/7 her whole life. She always has shelter (manmade and treelines), and I do blanket her all winter. Some horses don't even need to be blanketed, but if your horses are from W Virginia, they'll probably be more comfortable blanketed this first winter.

          I've never brought her in to a stall due to weather, although if it was CRAZY bad, I could ask BO if maresie could hunker down in the indoor arena for the night. She doesn't do well stalled.

          She's been outside in -50F windchills though and did just fine. She was double blanketed, but stayed toasty warm.
          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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          • #6
            How Horses Cope with Cold:

            http://www.saddleshop.com/sentinel/a...coldhorses.htm

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            • #7
              Not in the Mid-West, but I switched my older TB to 24/7 turnout this past winter. Him & his buddies had plenty of hay, a 3-sided run-in, warm water, and I always had either a mid-weight or heavy-weight blanket on him (depending on weather). He seemed a lot happier being able to move around more, even if I had some trouble sleeping the first few nights knowing he was out there, lol.
              <3 Vinnie <3
              1992-2010
              Jackie's Punt ("Bailey") My Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbred

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              • #8
                I live in Ontario (not sure if you are colder than us lol) My horses live out. If we had better shelters they would be out 24/7. They actually are better at the really cold dry temps than that nasty drizzly rain at just above freezing.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Great info, and thanks for the welcomes! I am going to try to keep them out and see how it goes. The barn has an overhang but I may add a bigger shed.

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                  • #10
                    I live just south of Indianapolis and there is a farm near me where the horses are kept out 24 by 7, no blankets and no real shelter to the west (barn is on the east side of pastures). The horses seem fine, even with the wind blowing from the west across many acres of flat corn/bean fields. Brrrr...

                    I think if they can get shelter from the west wind, and possibly a rain shelter, the cold alone shouldn't be a problem. At the farm my horse is at we have quite a few horses that stay out 24 by 7 no matter how cold but we have three sided tromps, all with shelter above and from the west. You may want to invest in some good hay feeders and a really good water system.

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                    • #11
                      When I lived in Maine mine lived out 24/7, with access to shelter and with good windbreaks.

                      25 deg and snow is much less of a problem for horses to handle than 40 and rain, provided they have plenty of hay.

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                      • #12
                        We had a mustang come in from the Montana area and for the first couple of winters down here she looked like a wooley mammoth. It was like she just kept waiting for the snow and the wind but down here in southern Texas there just really isn't. Year three her coat finally didn't come in at all and of course epic winter of snow and ice and horrid wind. Every year after that she blanketed up like a wooley mammoth till the day she died. Just give them access to shelter and they should be fine.
                        Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                        Originally Posted by alicen:
                        What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

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                        • #13
                          I live in Indiana, formerly Northern Indiana, so welcome! You're right, not many people do seem to leave horses out 24/7 here in the winter. My main problem has always been the snow. MANY times the snow accumulates and then drifts, then you have to throw in the sleet, rain, or slight melting and refreezing during the day which leaves you with a 3'-4'+ drift with a solid coating, letting the horses walk right over the top of the fence! As long as they have proper shelter from the elements they'll be fine. I know in the winter mine longs for his warm stall though. Many days I literally have to drag the poor lad outside with a whip to the rump. I think he makes it quite clear he hates snow.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As long as they have run-in shelter(s) they'll be fine. If you are a worry wart, throw a t/o sheet/blanket on them when the weather turns brutal.
                            Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

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                            • #15
                              Welcome Newbie Hoosier!

                              I'm in NW IN & my boys lived out 24/7/365 with free access to their stalls if they wanted. They hardly ever wanted & that included my 20+yo TB.

                              Both grew thick Winter coats & I blanketed only if we had wet, icy snow that soaked them through on their backs. Then I'd put on waterproof turnouts and remove those as soon as they were dry underneath.
                              They used to sleep in the snow as I could tell from the Horse Angel impressions they left in the drifts.
                              The only other concession to weather I made was to toss out a few flakes of hay for them to "graze" on while I was at work.

                              My new guy came from FL on 12/1/09 and he had no coat at all so he was blanketed all Winter.
                              He also had free access and chose Out over In most days.
                              His uncovered legs & neck did grow some good topcoat so he may go unblanketed this Winter.

                              As long as there is access to shelter, some hay to chow on and drinkable water I think most horses do fine staying out in cold weather.
                              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                              Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                              Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                              • #16
                                You could, and lots of people here in southwestern PA do, but why would you honestly want to? Sure, horses can deal with the cold, we know that. But it doesn't mean they enjoy it or always get any real benefit from it. It seems to me to be more work to keep horses out in the super cold/snow than to just stall them. I mean, you have to keep hauling extra food out there because they gobble it up to stay warm or it gets wet/frozen. Wouldn't YOU rather feed inside a barn where you can stay warm?

                                I also feel like it's a safety issue to get horses out in real deep snow or ice. My trainer has an old Arab mare that's permanently off on her one stifle because the vet believe she slipped on some ice and basically did a split with her hind legs. Ouch. I wouldn't want that on any horse. Deep snow is no better. The horses just have to exert more energy to travel around.

                                I say if you want them turned out do it during the day when they atleast have the sun and when the snow isn't too deep. But be kind and bring them in at night so they can sleep well.
                                Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
                                Thank you for everything boy.


                                Better View.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by katie+tru View Post
                                  But it doesn't mean they enjoy it or always get any real benefit from it.
                                  Well, you're gonna hear it from people over that statement!

                                  There are exceptions, but I know very few horses that would rather stay cooped up in a stall vs. living in a nice big field with a run-in shed. They adapt to stalls, sure, but given a choice, most horses prefer to be outside.

                                  I think it's fairly proven that horses DO benefit from 24-hour turn out, no matter what the weather. They are sorta designed for it.
                                  Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by katie+tru View Post
                                    You could, and lots of people here in southwestern PA do, but why would you honestly want to? Sure, horses can deal with the cold, we know that. But it doesn't mean they enjoy it or always get any real benefit from it. It seems to me to be more work to keep horses out in the super cold/snow than to just stall them. I mean, you have to keep hauling extra food out there because they gobble it up to stay warm or it gets wet/frozen. Wouldn't YOU rather feed inside a barn where you can stay warm?

                                    I also feel like it's a safety issue to get horses out in real deep snow or ice. My trainer has an old Arab mare that's permanently off on her one stifle because the vet believe she slipped on some ice and basically did a split with her hind legs. Ouch. I wouldn't want that on any horse. Deep snow is no better. The horses just have to exert more energy to travel around.

                                    I say if you want them turned out do it during the day when they atleast have the sun and when the snow isn't too deep. But be kind and bring them in at night so they can sleep well.
                                    There's so much that's incorrect with this post that I don't even know where to start.
                                    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      OMG my guys love the cold and snow! We don't get much here in TN, but in PA, MI, & ME a snowstorm was an excuse to go and play! Pawing in drifts, rolling, galloping and leaping and feeling great, so fun to watch.

                                      Here in TN my 30 yo guy is so much happier in the winter. He lives blanketed in the winter now because he has no teeth and can't eat hay any more, but he puts on weight, gets snorty and feisty, and makes me think that he must've been a serious handful as a young man.

                                      And personally, I'd rather throw hay a few times a day and check a trough or two rather than clean stalls!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I dunno... but in my experience when we used to turn horses out during the day, just for a couple hours, in the snow, they all just stood around. No one looked particularly thrilled to be there. There wasn't much prolonged frolicking. More like, trot around for a couple minutes then mingle by the arena windows and half-heartedly paw around for some grass. Maybe my barn just has wimpy horses.

                                        Yes, I realize that perhaps older horses or those with certain conditions benefit from being able to move around. My horse is one of them. But I wouldn't turn him out in a foot of snow. I'd turn him out in the arena or just walk him for awhile. Infact, he moves more if you just walk/ride him than turn him out, because then he just parks himself to eat.

                                        If the horses genuinely likes it, fine. But I have yet to meet many who do. A couple thought it was fun to sneak out of the arena and jump around in the 30" we had in February but there was no way we were leaving them out there. They were smaller and the snow was up to their stomachs.
                                        Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
                                        Thank you for everything boy.


                                        Better View.

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