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What do you about ice?

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  • What do you about ice?

    ve lived here for years and have never had it this bad. The horses cannot hardly walk, and tonight we had to stall them. The barn is built to where the horses can go in and out as they please, but it is so dangerous that we had to stall them. Anyone got any ideas on what we can put down to help not only the horses. but us humans too? I did try cat litter and manure and that did not work. What is making it so much worse is the temps are in the 50's, and its raining. The ice is about 2 inches thick and its everywhere. and we have a lot of runoff because its somewhat hilly here. Please any ideas is so needed.....Thanks.....

  • #2
    Keep them in. Seriously, ice (freezing rain) is a horse killer. The only way to get rid of it is to run over it with maybe a tractor or the like. If you're on a hill, you're asking for a sliding, skidding horse wreck. We deal with freezing rain out here quite a bit, and it just plain sucks.

    Sorry I don't have a horse solution, but for you safety, old golf shoes work wonders on ice. Or slip a nylon over your shoes, that works too.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


    • #3
      I'm having issues with ice too

      For ME I use something similar to YakTrax. I bought my "spikes" from Sports Authority. They were $5.....and the YakTrax are like $30. I like my cheapy ones MUCH better than the yaktrax.......

      For my barefoot ponies, it's a little more difficult. Mine also have in and outs. First, I will "de ice" with magnesium chloride. Same stuff they use in arenas to keep the footing from freezing. I only use it on the ice, and then I sand over that area. I tried "Landscapers Friend" or something like that, which is supposed to be safe for lawns and animals and it did NOTHING to break down the freaking ice damns we have!!!!! So MAG is the way I am going for now. Of course, my paddock is sand underneath the ice, so the sand just blends in.

      Hope this helps!!!!!


      • #4
        PS. I use my Scott's lawn spreader to spread the MAG and the sand! SOOOOO much easier than spreading by hand!


        • #5
          A couple years ago we had a bad (for VA) ice storm that left the pastures as a solid sheet of ice for a few days. It was terrible... we could hardly walk without falling on our butts, let alone the horses! There are are only a few stalls where I board, and my gelding is 24/7 pasture boarded so we had to come up with something...

          The BM took the tractor out there and drove around the water trough, gate, hay feeder and run-in shed. She created enough of a path with the tire tracks that they could walk semi-safely without worrying.

          My gelding, not being the sharpest tool in the shed, decided he'd venture out onto the ice and try to paw for grass (what a pig ). He didn't ever get through the ice and eventually gave up, but it was quite interesting watching him try to walk out there.
          "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"


          • #6
            Excavation, drainage, 'fall' (gentle slope). Get the water to drain off. Swales, drainage ditches, a place where the water runoff can collect - such as a holding pond. Getting the water to not sit on the ground everywhere is the key.

            We don't have the horses out on the grass when it's icy. We drag paddocks so they are smooth and we don't have any ruts where water collects and ice forms. The water just runs off. If I'm very lucky I get to the paddocks at just the right time and break all forming ice with the Tr3 rake, so it's in small pieces. We also added sand and rubber chips, which can be dragged and broken up quite nicely.

            We actually have a lot of arena moist in our sand/rubber mix, as it's old footing from our arena. Oddly enough, the arena moist seems to help with icing. I can't quite figure it out, but before the temperatures start dropping, it may absorb some of the water and prevent it from sitting around so much and freezing on the ground. At some point the arena moist seems to get very dried up and shrunk, and I'm sure it can't absorb water when the air is below freezing, but it does somehow seem to help.


            • #7
              Tractors don't always work with tires alone on thick ice...depends if there's any air space underneath or not. But I have found driving up to the edge of the ice and then slamming the front loader down on it a few times does the trick.
              I have YakTrax...but if you can find boot cleats cheaper buy those. Any traction will work and YakTrax aren't the cheapest things around. Do NOT wear Muck Boots without some sort of cleats on them, that's slippery as heck. Warm toasty dry boots...don't work on ice worth crap.
              You jump in the saddle,
              Hold onto the bridle!
              Jump in the line!


              • #8
                I use cow salt... the stuff they feed cows... it's fairly inexpensive and is 100% safe if the horse licks it. Comes in 80# bags and does an ok job.

                Watching Hawk Arabians
                Home of ZEGAS
                *Ganges x Zabrynka


                • #9
                  Barn Dri! Saved my life, and the lives of the heese in 1993, when we had the worst ice storms EVER. The ice was half a inch thick, and people were losing broodmares like mad, as they fell on the ice, fractured ribs, and punctured lungs- truly horrible!

                  It is cheap, and it will keep you, and your horses vertical. Spread it in a broadcast spreader for maximum effect. As it is granular limestone, it is eco-friendly, and great for the fields- won't hurt the driveway, either!
                  Last edited by ASB Stars; Dec. 27, 2008, 01:53 PM.
                  When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou


                  • #10
                    Spreading lime on ice can give you traction and the horses can get traction. It is non toxic and workds pretty well. It will wash away so you need to reapply. Just a thought............


                    • #11
                      The Ice is HORRIBLE here in Illinois! Nothing more to add to the great advice you have gotten so far - just feeling you pain
                      "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


                      • #12
                        YakTraks are great for humans, but as others have said, ice can be a horse killer. If they have stalls, keep them in until it is safe! Tractors often don't do squat on really thick ice.

                        I remember the same storm milocalwinnings mentioned. We arrived home from SC the day after that storm blew in (great timing on our part). We actually had to take our horses and stall them at Morven Park for a couple of nights because we couldn't get in our drive! When we finally attempted to get in, the trailer got stuck half way up because it wouldn't break through (big dually truck and a trailer with 4 horses and all their gear). Thankfully, I was the only one who kept falling on the ice on the long walk from the trailer to the barn. It was so bad, and so scary.

                        Our guys who lived out survived because before the ice came several inches of snow. They made paths for themselves through the snow to all the important spots, and while they were slick once the ice came, they were pocked up enough they could get a grip.

                        I HATE ice.


                        • #13
                          If the pastures are okay (just snowy) I try to clear the area around the barn for walking by shoveling and throwing something down in the path. If it's really cold and nothing is melting I throw down some Barn-Dri (recommended years ago by ASB Stars. That stuff is great as long as the ice isn't melting, otherwise it doesn't do its job) and coarse sand. I've already used plain salt (not that Qik-Jo stuff or its ilk, which would be bad for the horse if ingested) to help melt ice in the paddock.

                          If the pastures are also icy I would just keep the horses in for a day or two--it won't hurt them as long as you monitor their water intake and add some water to their feed. There's too much of a risk of the horse losing its footing and breaking something. I had that happen to an acquaintance who lost a wonderful stallion because of it--turnout in that case is just not worth the risk!!!! Let common sense prevail!

                          If turnout was really bad, the horse had to be in for more than a couple of days and I thought the horse needed some exercise I would shovel a track around the parking area, throw down deicer and sand in the path and walk the horse for 10-20 minutes. My horse did have an impaction colic once when I was out of town and the vet said it was due, in part, from lack of exercise so anytime she had to be in for more than a day or two I'd take her out and make her move around for a while. Yes, it's a PITA but it's so much less expensive than having to call the vet out in the dead of Winter and much better for the horse's health if it doesn't get sick!
                          Have we learned nothing from the Romans???


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Woodland View Post
                            The Ice is HORRIBLE here in Illinois! Nothing more to add to the great advice you have gotten so far - just feeling you pain
                            No kidding. And now it's what, 55 and raining? WTF. Less than a week ago it was below zero and now this. And all the rain is supposed to freeze again tonight.

                            I hate ice. I board so I really don't have to worry about ice management, but I still hate it. My horse slipped on ice in the barn's driveway last year - it wasn't really that slick out in general, he just stepped wrong on a freak patch of ice, and busted his knee open. It was a huge ordeal and ice has made me terribly nervous since then.


                            • #15
                              What do you about ice?

                              Add booze.
                              "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                              ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                                What do you about ice?

                                Add booze.
                                plonker haha

                                seriously if that bad then grit- the areas that your walking on
                                and put your stable pooh aorund the water tanks as this will keep them warm but best to do it before ice comes----- then your at an advantage of keeping your water flowing in icy conditions


                                • #17
                                  I've heard that in a pinch scatter the manure on the icy areas to make some traction. You can rake it up later. Fireplace ashes also melt ice - but maybe not good in the paddocks themselves where the horses might ingest. But great for driveways, parking areas, etc.

                                  Here it was super icy the other day, and I could barely walk, but the horses were heavy enough the ice just broke under their feet, so they didn't slip. It was snow on top of mud that froze into ice, so when they broke through they churned the mud up and mixed it and it wasn't slick where they walked around.


                                  • #18
                                    Finally a use for wet bedding!

                                    I find spreading used (wet) bedding at the gates/along the path to the fields works wonders - The wet stuff sticks on the ice and you can build up to a few inches in key areas. A big bonus is that it can absorb a ton of rain/run-off and still stays dry and springy on top therefore preventing more ice from forming in that area. Plus it's free


                                    • #19
                                      When I farm sat years ago for my trainer, we got a helluva ice storm. When I stepped out of the house, I promptly fell on my behind, slid down the stairs, then continued to slide on my behind towards the barn. Since the indoor gets mag chloride every fall, I just started to fill up the wheelbarrow with some footing and made paths in the parking area, by the gates in the pastures and near the water troughs. It worked pretty darn quick. This year we really didn't hit in the pastures as bad as we could have. Trainer's boyfriend used his bobcat in the fall to level all the pastures after he scooped out manure. Then he added a bit of a slope for drainage. When he snows, he also uses the bobcat to plow paths in the pastures and help break up the ice. However, if footing gets too horrible? The horses are stuck inside where it's warm an safe (for human AND equine).

                                      Now Chevy, who is here at home for the winter? He has a 12' x 24' stall, which opens directly to a 12' overhang area then his paddock and pasture access. So far, the boy has been EXTREMELY smart! His hay gets tossed out in a corner of the overhang area plus he gets the other half of his hay portion in the stall. I have his heated water bucket in a corner of the overhang area as well. So all the important things are always located on good footing. When footing or weather is bad, the furthest he comes out is the edge of his overhang area. He seems to have a good "feel" for when the footing is okay to wander out on. If I didn't have this set up.... then he'd be locked up in his luxury suite until the ice melted enough to be safe.

                                      Oh & Ghazzu... what booze would you like with your ice?
                                      *bad shoulder clique * Member of "OMGiH, I loff my Mare" Clique! * Proud owner of a CANTER Cutie!
                                      My Horses; COMH Page; My Blog


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks everyone for the advice....