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Freezing cold Georgia girl worried about horses!

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  • Freezing cold Georgia girl worried about horses!

    so to add to the multitude of "it's sooo cold here!" threads, we are experiencing crazy cold/windy weather in GA like i have never seen- ever!!

    so far, i have perfected the art of hauling water from the house to fill buckets, breaking up and de-icing troughs and buckets multiple times in a day (we don't have tank heaters etc.), feeding the horses their reg. feed warm and soaked to make sure they are getting enough water, and blanketing, then sheeting over blankets and checking temps as they are NOT used to this kind of cold and wind and don't have the coats for it. and feeding TONS of hay!

    i worry about them ALLLL day when i am at work and look outside and when i wake up at night and think about how cold it is! they look sad and depressed to me- maybe they are just conserving energy and body heat but the usual spring in their step is not there! am i over-reacting? yesterday afternoon when i went to feed my mare was laying down in her pasture and didn't get up and run to the gate to greet me as usual- so of course i assumed she was not feeling good and i ran to her. she was warm and toasty and just napping in the afternoon sun, but it was strange that she let me pet her and check under her blankets and look at her legs feet and check the colors of her gums etc without trying to get up. she has never let me touch her before when she's laying down and usually hops right up when she sees my car pull in.

    she ate well and was totally fine when she did get up but i am totally distraught about them being ok in this weather and getting enough water etc. is there anything i am forgetting? is there anything else i need to check for? I have just never had to deal with temps like this before and with everything being frozen i am so sore and tired from hauling buckets and soaking and de-icing to no end. how do ya'll do this all winter up north!!! i just need someone to reassure me that the mares are ok in this weather!
    Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
    Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy

  • #2
    They are okay! Horses are amazing creatures who can really take care of themselves a lot better then we give them credit for. I'll tell you this story to prove how amazing they are. We had a hurricane years ago in NC at a co-op barn. Since we really didn't trust the barn to stay standing during that type of weather we put all our horses outside in the big field with flymasks on. At least outside we figured they could avoid being crushed by anything. Only one of the boarders lived close enough to the barn to actually go out and check on the horses right in the middle of the worst weather (crazy girl, lol!). So she drove out and glanced in the pasture and all the horses were lying down next to each other.

    So she starts screaming to her husband that they are all dead, and runs her crazy butt out into the field. When she gets out there, her horse Chance opens one eye up at her and gives her a look as if to say "What are YOU doing out here?" She takes a step back and realized the horses have purposely laid down in a circle formation, biggest horses on the outside, smaller/younger horses on the inside. Every one of them was flat out on their sides with eyes closed keeping low to the ground and safe together. Amazing! That herd/animal instinct is alive and well in these guys, hope that story made you feel a little better!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      They will be fine!

      Horses deal with cold far better than they deal with heat.

      We do go through the same concerns up here as well, just for a whole lot longer than you Southerners do!

      I have been frozen to the core and "feel sorry" for the horses so I make the decision to bring them inside early - at 1:00 or 2:00 instead of 4:00. I bundle up and head out to get them and they are either snoozing in the sun, or have their backs to the wind, or are running and playing and never - unless it is a cold driving rain, do they ever ever look cold and miserable. They just seem surprised to see me that early in the day to bring them inside!

      We chip and hack away at frozen water troughs as well I have heated ones in 3 of my paddocks but cant run a cord long enough out to my farthest one, so that entails trudging out there at noon to break any ice that has formed and fill it up with hot water to keep it drinkable until 4:00 and then its tipped and cleaned out ready to be refilled in the morning once again

      My guys dont have really long coats and they never have. They are very dense and "plush" and they fluff up like teddy bears and they all manage just fine. No one is blanketed except my new stallion who is in his late teens and I figured it took me long enough to get weight on him when he arrived, I didnt want to have it disappear just as quickly because he was using any stored fat reserves to try and stay warm

      Lots of hay is key to keeping them warm. That is what is processed and digested in the hind gut and thats what fuels the furnace to keep them warm

      Hopefully this is just a temporary blip and you'll be back to normal temperatures (for your area!) once again very quickly

      How cold IS it there anyhow???
      www.TrueColoursFarm.com
      www.truecoloursproducts.com

      True Colours Farm on Facebook

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        ok yes- that is an amazing story!! i hope our mares are as smart as i like to give them credit for! i don't have any human children to worry over- so the mares get all my worrying
        Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
        Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          yesterday it got all the way to 27! the windchill was 15!

          we are supposed to get above 32 today- which seems so warm to me right now!
          Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
          Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy

          Comment


          • #6
            Ahhh Skip I know how you feel! I hate it when it gets cold! This Georgia winter is not fun!

            I would not worry so much about your girl laying down. I have one that looks dead for half the day but he is just laying in the warm sun soaking up it's rays. He never lays down in the summer/fall/spring but winter he always does. It scared me to death the first winter but now I do not worry anymore.

            Since you are wetting the feed and breaking the ice, I think your girl will be fine. Are you adding any elctrolytes to her feed to encourage drinking? Also, you could wet the hay to make sure she is getting extra water.

            Thankfully, we will be in the 50's tomorrow! Hurrah!!!

            I am tired of the hard ground! I want to get back to work!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Right there with ya Skip! Thankfully my two turn into veritable Yaks, so blanketing is a true rarity. The only time I've blanked them in the 6 years I've had them was for an ice storm.

              Free-choice hay 24/7, warm soupy beet pulp dinner and hauling in the HOT water for overnight freezing temps.

              Thankfully, even tho we do get these frigid tems occasionally, it truly is temporary and doesn't last for weeks/months on end...unlike our more northerly neighbors

              Soooo glad I no longer live up there.
              <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

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              • #8
                yesterday it got all the way to 27! the windchill was 15!
                Okay - I know that will appear to be cold for you, but that is "Spring" for most of us north of you!!!

                Heck - in all honesty - I'd be working inside and out in a sweatshirt and vest in those temperatures and not a winter coat.

                They will 100% be fine and what you are doing for them now will make sure they stay 100% okay as well ...

                Stay warm!
                www.TrueColoursFarm.com
                www.truecoloursproducts.com

                True Colours Farm on Facebook

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  truecolours- OMG that is crazy....

                  i start shivering and wearing a jacket when the temps get below 60!

                  thanks for making me feel better that what i'm doing is enough though!!
                  Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
                  Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My girlfriend and her horses will spend the next four months in a deep freeze......their highs will be minus 10 to minus 20 celius....over night lows will be minus 30 to minus 50 celius......they forage all day in the snow on 160 acres and come in at night to leans too and all the hay they can eat.....they are often covered in frost......but always warm......she has one really old guy that came to her this summer that has a big rug on and one mare that is thin skinned and wears a rug....the other 5 are oh' natural.

                    Dalemma

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                    • #11
                      It's a vastly different story to be used to worse temps than we are experiencing, and to suddenly be thrown into them.

                      This much farther South than Canada is, our horses did not grow coats as early or as quickly as farther North, since that is dictated mostly by daylight length, and we have a LOT longer day than you do. And, it's just not normal for us to be THIS cold for this many days this early in the season. We had 5" snow the first Sat in December which is just WRONG. It's been in the low teens at night for several days, upper teens for days before that, hardly breaking 30 most days and not above mid 20's several days.

                      A few days of this in Jan/Feb, sure, that's normal. But this is cold, long, and early for us.

                      so yes, it's fine ,and perhaps good, to be concerned about these Southern horses who simply are not accustomed to this *at all*, especially with winds.

                      Yes, horses are much better at staying warm than cooling off, but still, when it's this drastic a change, this fast, it's a concern.

                      Blanket if you have to. Being out and blanketed is healthier than stalled, blanketed or not, but if the horse needs to be inside *for his comfort*, then put him in.

                      Filling up tubs with hot water will mean it's just about immediately tepid water, and many horses will relish that and drink a lot.

                      Skip, it sounds like you're doing all the right things
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by skip916 View Post
                        yesterday it got all the way to 27! the windchill was 15!

                        we are supposed to get above 32 today- which seems so warm to me right now!


                        Ah.....I'd be so happy to have those temperatures as my coldest time of year. We are at about those temperatures now but by the end of the month and most of the way through Jan there's a good chance we won't break freezing during the day (or barely will) and will be zero or below at night, at least for the middle 2-3 weeks of this time period. Most of my horses do have heavy winter hair already and are still growing more. One is a bit thin coated but she's fat as a pig and never shivers and has lost no weight...so guessing she's fine with what she has. Bred for foals in late March to early May this year.....4 years ago I had a filly born in Jan (the 21st) and it was minus 13 that night....very light buttermilk buckskin who virtually disappeared in the foot deep straw in the stall (with two heat lamps and a space heater going....was not quite above freezing in there but sure warmer than outside where the rest of the herd was).
                        Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                        www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
                        Northern NV

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I feel your pain. I'm a southern California transplant in central Georgia, near Perry and I'm blanketing multiple horses and chipping ice out of water buckets and stock tanks too. I don't remember having so many days in a row where the temp stayed near freezing all day, let alone all night. We had several days when the wind was gusting and the wind chill was down in the single digits. Totally not normal for our part of the country. This year I even had to start blanketing my 27 year old mare who usually grows such a nice thick winter coat. This is the first winter that she just can't seem keep herself warm.....probably due to the fact that she can no longer eat hay like she used to. Despite getting warm buckets of soaked alfalfa and beep she still needs her blankie. If I wanted to live where the temps stay frigid all winter I would have chosen to live further north.
                          "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I understand your worry but after being raised in GA for the past 51 years and owning 60+ horses, I've not lost one yet due to cold weather. As long as your horses have protection from wind, an ample winter coat, and are drinking normally, they will weather our early winter just fine.

                            I was disgusted when our hot water heater in the barn decided to die yesterday. DH will install a new one this weekend but I can't haul enough warm water from the house for the 10 stall kept horses so they're roughing it for a few days with cold water.

                            Slightly OT but were you old enough to remember (or in GA) when we suffered thru the '93 blizzard? That was a much worse time than this. We actually had horses at a show when it hit much harder than expected, paralyzing all of metro Atlanta. What we're having now is a walk in the park compared to then!
                            Susan N.

                            Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We are in Georgia, north of Atlanta. My brother-in-law works in Kennesaw, lives in Canton out in the boonies. He could not get home from work today. I've got friends stranded where GA Hwy 20 meets I-575. They could not make it up the exit ramp, were told to park and walk to the nearest restaurant. My sister had to go to the pharmacy since her husband could not get home. On the way back, sitting still at a red light on a very slight slope, her van just started to slide forward. Fortunately the light changed and she could ease on through the intersection.

                              Most of the bypass around Atlanta is closed because of wrecks on the ramps. The evening news is nothing but stuff about wrecks and iced up bridges and mess mess mess.

                              I board my horse, thank goodness. The barn has heated water buckets.

                              I DO remember the blizzard in 93. I was taking care of an entire barn then and worked myself half to death. THIS IS NOT NORMAL WEATHER. There are new record lows being set all over the south, midwest and northeast for this early in the year. Remember, winter doesn't officially start until Dec 21 or 22.

                              I know people in other parts of the world will laugh at us about this, but remember, this area isn't prepared for cold like this. The greater Atlanta area doesn't have enough crews or equipment to take care of things. Many barns have never had to worry about frozen water tanks his early.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by spotnnotfarm View Post
                                Ahhh Skip I know how you feel! I hate it when it gets cold! This Georgia winter is not fun!

                                I would not worry so much about your girl laying down. I have one that looks dead for half the day but he is just laying in the warm sun soaking up it's rays. He never lays down in the summer/fall/spring but winter he always does. It scared me to death the first winter but now I do not worry anymore.

                                Since you are wetting the feed and breaking the ice, I think your girl will be fine. Are you adding any elctrolytes to her feed to encourage drinking? Also, you could wet the hay to make sure she is getting extra water.

                                Thankfully, we will be in the 50's tomorrow! Hurrah!!!

                                I am tired of the hard ground! I want to get back to work!!!
                                South Carrollton checking in here! Mine have blankies, hay and my best wishes. I went up to the barn in the middle of the night twice this week, but once was to meet the Finger Lakes trailer. I've resolved to obsess no more. They have all they need. Water is an issue, but it takes a while to freeze, as it's warm from the hose. I too am sick to death of the frozen ground. It didn't have a chance to dry out before this cold snap, and both arenas are ice blocks. I'm hoping I can dodge some showers tomorrow, and get a few rides in.
                                "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer
                                http://dressagescriblog.wordpress.com/

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                                • #17
                                  Ah, the blizzard of '93. 10 days without power and 4" of ice all over ev'ry thang. Had to haul buckets of water from the creek 150 yards uphill, twice a day for 4 horses. I don't remember it fondly.
                                  ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                                  • #18
                                    We are in the north Alpharetta area. Horses are snug in the barn, all wearing two layers of clothes. Two retirees who live outside are wearing heavy turn-out rugs over winter blankets and are holding up okay. Turnout for the barn horses has been limited most days to minimize risk of injury (these are dressage horses in full training). Training time is down to a bare minimum - arena is not covered and although it has great footing, it has been too hard, and trainer is concerned about increased risk of injury since it has been so cold (horses cannot warm up their muscles properly).

                                    We had an unusually warm November, and we usually don't have a hard cold snap like this until January, so everyone is unprepared - esp. the animals. The deer that live in my woods look miserable. We see them hanging out next to the houses - esp. near dryer vents if possible.

                                    Temp has just gone over the freezing mark and it is supposed to hit 50F today and tomorrow - and even sunny tomorrow, although they are predicting a cold rain for Saturday (mid-40's).

                                    Edited to add that it is now 34F with light rain. I will probably try to head into the office shortly.
                                    Last edited by DownYonder; Dec. 16, 2010, 08:42 AM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The forecast looks good after Saturday! YAY! I am already thawing in Carrollton! How is everyone else this icy am?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I just came in from feeding and it was nice to not have any ice in the buckets this a.m. We had some sleet yesterday afternoon and all the horses thought the barn roof was falling in - they don't mind rain or snow but sleet must really sound odd to them. They are all suffering a bit from cabin fever since the ground has been too hard to let them really have any exercise, but that ends today thankfully.

                                        I'm fortunate to have an enclosed lunge arena and wouldn't you know when our hot water heater went out day before yesterday, it flooded right out into our arena and made a huge deep puddle so it couldn't be used. I'm sure this was a classic case of Murphy's Law!
                                        Susan N.

                                        Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.

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