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Cold Weather and Horses

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  • Cold Weather and Horses

    so, thanks to the army, we are making a very short notice move to MO. This will easily be the coldest place I have lived and had horses. Suggestions? Things I should make sure I have when we get there? I started thinking about it today when I looked and the temp was sub-20 degrees this morning.

    My mare will have a stall with open access to a run.
    Integrative BodyWorks Blog
    'Cause every pony deserves a good rub!

  • #2
    Originally posted by katlee View Post
    so, thanks to the army, we are making a very short notice move to MO. This will easily be the coldest place I have lived and had horses. Suggestions? Things I should make sure I have when we get there? I started thinking about it today when I looked and the temp was sub-20 degrees this morning.

    My mare will have a stall with open access to a run.
    Where are you at now?

    Do you own any blankets, turnout RAINPROOF ones, that is? If not, I'd pick one up before you go.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I'm in Western WA now. From Coastal SC in the original way of things She has blankets, since she's trace clipped. But she rarely needs more than a stable sheet inside and a waterproof t/o outside- she has limited turnout here and the barn is very well insulated.

      I have several stable sheets and liners. 2 waterproof sheets. A medium weight that's waterproof.
      Integrative BodyWorks Blog
      'Cause every pony deserves a good rub!

      Comment


      • #4
        Layering is a very good thing.

        Waterproof heavyweight turnout will be useful. You can stick a liner under if need be too. Stable blanket + middleweight works too. They make these nice stretchy spandex liners, they are great for keeping coats nice, keeping heat in, and preventing rubs. Or throw a fleece type sheet under.

        I remove and readjust blankets every day even if I'm not riding the horse regularly.

        Make sure your horse has lots of hay to munch on, and is getting enough calories. That is key to keeping them warm!

        For yourself, get some good wool socks, some hardcore winter boots, and silk long underwear! I also love fleece vests layered underneath a winter coat.

        Good luck!!
        We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

        Comment


        • #5
          Where in Missouri does it get to minus 20 degrees!?

          Check out Schneiders Saddlery--they have a HUGE selection of weatherproof turnout blankets, and they are very durable and not horribly expensive. If your horse is unused to the cold, I'd invest in a heavyweight and maybe a midweight turnout. Make sure she has plenty of hay, and keep an eye on her water intake as she settles in. She'll likely adapt more quickly than you will.
          Click here before you buy.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by deltawave View Post
            Where in Missouri does it get to minus 20 degrees!?

            Check out Schneiders Saddlery--they have a HUGE selection of weatherproof turnout blankets, and they are very durable and not horribly expensive. If your horse is unused to the cold, I'd invest in a heavyweight and maybe a midweight turnout. Make sure she has plenty of hay, and keep an eye on her water intake as she settles in. She'll likely adapt more quickly than you will.
            I think she meant it is under 20F, not -20F.
            Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

            Comment


            • #7
              Maybe they mean MT? Still sounds a little cold for this time of year even in MT.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
                I think she meant it is under 20F, not -20F.
                That's it.. Really not used to anything much below freezing.

                Talking to a good friend today who is there and it was 19. Which, I have to admit, is a bit unfathomable to me. I've done the best I could to stick to more temperate climate, but the army isn't listening to me at the moment

                I'm sure my mare will adjust much more quickly than I will- she prefers colder weather, although she's never really been exposed to weather quite this cold.
                Integrative BodyWorks Blog
                'Cause every pony deserves a good rub!

                Comment


                • #9
                  You think 20 degrees is cold?! Sorry, that cracked me up. I'm just teasing. I live in Wisconsin where we have weeks at a time of below zero and even down to -27 below with -50 windchills. Yikes. Sometimes the thought of that deep, desolate northern winter scares me. But....then I put on the carharrts and go for a ride.

                  This morning I did chores in -1, and drove to work in -5. And it's just getting started. That's still warm! LOL

                  Lots of fluffy layers, never anything tight or constricting. Boots that are 1 size too big with thick wool socks. Seriously, spend $14 a pair, and buy really good quality socks. You can get them at farm supply stores or sporting goods stores. FORGET about the cutesy little fashion socks from Fad Store Of The Year at The Mall. I wear a lot of down and insulated carharrts. An earband, with a hat, then a hood. I found out a long time ago that a major key to staying warm is to wear a hooded sweatshirt as one of your under layers. It insulates your neck and doesn't let frigid air down the back of your shirt. If I end up outside in the dead of winter without a hooded sweatshirt on, I freeze in no time, regardless of how many other layers I have. Also use those instant hand warmers and stick them in your pockets. Gloves should be loose and fluffy, and waterproof! Forget about wind pants and fancy "winter" clothing marketed by the horse companies. Go to the farm store and buy the ugliest, frumpiest fat man farmer clothes you can find and you'll be happy!

                  For your horse - keep several blankets of different weights - waterproof. I absolutely adore the Kensington Smart Blue and Smart Pink plaid blankets from Smartpak. They are GREAT!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10

                    Thanks for the tips.

                    My husband rolls whenever we talk about cold weather- he's from upstate NY and has no sympathy. I'll be fine once we get there...but the rush of making the move on short notice plus the change has me a bit brainfried. And I've become seriously bird brained trying to plan for everything.
                    Integrative BodyWorks Blog
                    'Cause every pony deserves a good rub!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      20 degrees is totally do-able. It's 20 here today. This is about the limit of temperature where I don't feel really uncomfortable, and the horses don't care at all. The old girl wears a mid/heavy turnout, the partially clipped one wears the same (she'd go with a midweight if she weren't clipped) and the Shetland who's also partially clipped is nekkid.

                      Hang in there, Missouri winters are pretty mild, IME (lived just outside St. Louis for 4 years) and spring comes early down there.
                      Click here before you buy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would be VERY happy with 20°F. It is 5 below right now, and I have been beating water pails with my handy dandy hot pink 3 puound hammer for a week. Beet pulp started early this year and hot water toting. To make things worse, out is NOT an option because this cold has been accompanied by vicious, bone chilling high winds coming from mostly north...the horses cringe when the door opens. and feeding them outside is impossible with a north wind.
                        Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                        Member: Incredible Invisbles

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Our Michigan friends "go south" to their other home in Missouri when it gets too cold here. Think MO is a nice warm place to stay!

                          We are 20F right now, which isn't too bad except for the wind blowing so hard. None of our horses are blanketed, they all grow good hair for winter. I am thinking this may be a warmer winter since the Canadian horse only has about a 3" coat. If he thinks it will be cold, his hair is 4+ inches long. Where he came from, Sascatchawan and Manitoba, -40 was pretty common during the days and they were fed oat straw then. Not fed if it was warmer, they had large fields, 5000 acres of woods and grazing for the herds. He thinks MI is pretty easy to live with!

                          I pay attention to the wind chill reports, they are what I dress for, not the plain temp on the thermometer. Keeping the head warm is really important as already mentioned. I start shedding layers in the barn cleaning stalls, but stay plenty warm with my hat on. If my feet are warm, hat on, I can tolerate a lot of cold.

                          No use whining about it, won't change a thing. Focus your attention on the good stuff, keeps you in a better mindset. I look at the drifts, pretty snow flakes sparking on my hairy horses. Horses play and race around with the cold, really like it. 20F is not bad, REALLY! Just a number.

                          I expect you will enjoy MO, once you can settle down there. Our friends have property near the National Forest, go riding almost every day with people living nearby. They say riding is fun, pretty country, nice weather. They do usually come back here in the midsummer months to avoid the heat!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by katlee View Post

                            Thanks for the tips.

                            My husband rolls whenever we talk about cold weather- he's from upstate NY and has no sympathy. I'll be fine once we get there...but the rush of making the move on short notice plus the change has me a bit brainfried. And I've become seriously bird brained trying to plan for everything.
                            It won't be so bad. I promise. Here it hovers around 10F for much of Jan/Feb. It isn't totally fun, but it passes....

                            You'll quickly learn the joys of banging buckets to remove ice, chipping away at frozen feed (like Senior feeds) and pushing wheelbarrows through snow. Oh what fun!

                            If the barn you are going to does not have hot water, get a hot plate or something to heat water up. I like to make warm mashes, and add warm water to my horse's bucket to encourage him to drink.
                            We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This might be a nice deal.
                              http://www.tackoftheday.com/default....ly&kw=20081205

                              I do love Schneiders too, tho.
                              sstack.com
                              Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                For me, anything below 45 degrees is bone chillin cold, and besides, I think 90 degrees is comfortable. I say pack up the electric blankets and make sure you have extra blankets for the horses.
                                I would think that taking them from a warmer climate to a freezing one would take considerable adjustment, for you and them. Stay warm and try not to freeze to death.
                                I am trying to be the person my horse thinks I am.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  My main concern is the adjustment period. My mare turns into a woolly mammoth- and this year in WA was unusually warm. I had to clip her much earlier than normal because of higher temps. We're only going to be in MO for six months, I'm not too worried about it for myself- I wash and wear pretty well.

                                  But suggestions on making her transition as easy as possible is definitely appreciated. She's being commercially shipped two weeks after we get down there- she'll arrive mid Jan.
                                  Integrative BodyWorks Blog
                                  'Cause every pony deserves a good rub!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Maybe switch her over now to wet meals--wet beet pulp, soaked hay cubes, whatever you like. That will get her used to them, and wet meals are a great way to keep horses hydrated when it's cold. Make sure the water source where you'll be keeping her isn't alien or strange to her--you don't want anything to keep her from drinking freely. I'm not a big believer in salt-loading a horse to get them to drink (totally counterproductive, IMO) but some people swear by this. If you're really concerned, or she doesn't seem to settle right in, consider IV fluids after she arrives. Sudden weather changes seem to coincide with outbreaks of colics in susceptible horses.
                                    Click here before you buy.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by katlee View Post
                                      My main concern is the adjustment period. My mare turns into a woolly mammoth- and this year in WA was unusually warm. I had to clip her much earlier than normal because of higher temps. We're only going to be in MO for six months, I'm not too worried about it for myself- I wash and wear pretty well.

                                      But suggestions on making her transition as easy as possible is definitely appreciated. She's being commercially shipped two weeks after we get down there- she'll arrive mid Jan.
                                      I bought my gelding in late fall from a farm in Louisiana, where he was bred and raised. He now lives in Southern Indiana. He had been completely clipped for auction, so he had no winter protection at all. We ended up having a pretty cold winter for this area (there were a lot of days around zero degrees). I bought him a really warm and sturdy turnout (it was not cheap), and he wore that all winter. He was also stalled if it was windy or too cold out. He did fine. He developed a nice winter coat the next year, and now he is kept outside with a shed for shelter all year round with no blanketing. I can't remember where I ordered the blanket from, but I did call them personally and explain that I need the blanket ASAP and why. The store was wonderful and shipped the blanket to me the same day. I wish I could remember the name of the store, which I found on-line, but I can't. I now need to move to somewhere REALLY cold so that I can use that turnout again on my horse!

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