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Wet horse won't go in shelter

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  • Wet horse won't go in shelter

    I got a horse off the track a couple of weeks ago,she has gone into the run in shed very briefly,she normally stands outside with her head in.
    She is in a paddock with my retired horse,and she is the dominant horse of the two of them,so there is no issue of him not letting her in,she is firmly the boss.
    I really didn't give it much thought,I live in the very Deep South,it hardly ever drops below 60 here.
    However today and for the next few days it is going to be in the 50's and 30's at night,and raining.
    She is standing outside and wet,I have honestly never had a horse stand outside and shiver in the rain.
    How bad is it for a horse to be wet and cold?

  • #2
    I have one who loves to stand out in storms and blizzards, or just put her head in. Or stand under a tree instead. I have another that runs to the shed at the first drop of drizzle.

    If she is actually shivering, can you bring her in to dry, then put a sheet on her? Or put a fleece/scrim under her sheet, and change the underlayer every 1/2 hour - hour until she has dried herself?


    • #3
      If she's shivering, I'd try to do something about it. If not, I wouldn't worry. Horses think 40 degrees F is the perfect balmy temperature - sort of how we feel about 72F.

      What is your run-in roofed with? I've known some horses who wouldn't go under tin roofs in the rain because of the noise. Could that be it?
      I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


      • #4
        When my mother was cold, she used to make us kids wear sweaters......
        Seriously though Annie, if you're concerned about her being wet and cold, put a rainproof sheet or lightweight blanket on her, or stall her overnight. Mack HATES being stalled. Even if he's cold, wet, shivering and miserable, I physically have to MAKE him come inside, or he'll just stand outside looking pitiful. Quite different from Conny, who decided that being wet was to be avoided at all costs!
        Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.


        • #5
          If she's shivering, she's having a hard time maintaining her body temp. Giving hay, drying her off and putting on a waterproof sheet/blanket, etc should help.

          Some horses just don't like going into the shelters...
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


          • #6
            They do this to drive us nuts.
            If she is showing signs of being cold I'd get a rain sheet on her and throw some extra hay.
            You can lead a horse to shelter but you can't make them smart.
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!


            • #7
              If she's in decent condition and so long as she has access to shelter and it's such high temperatures I wouldn't worry at all.

              Here the night temperatures are about -6 to -9 C now. (21 to 15f). Mine are turned out about 4pm and back in about 8am. They have access to shelter but unless it's persistent freezing rain they tend not to bother going in other than to pee and poo just to give us extra work mucking it out!


              • Original Poster

                Thank you for your replies.I should have said that I don't have a rain sheet for her,and she is to small to fit into my other horses clothes.
                She does not have a blanket either,I live in North Florida, I wish I could put her in a stall but right now that is not an option,she is now standing in the rain grazing,[I still have grass]
                I just wish it was not going to be so cold tonight,[I know you northerners are laughing]


                • #9
                  If you don't have a blanket, just make sure she has a lot of extra hay to eat all night, the digestion process will help keep her warm!

                  If she's healthy and holding her weight a little shivering won't be bad for her. I know how you feel about the cold because we have similar conditions in California. I have every weight blanket possible for my horse and even though she has a trace clip, I rarely blanket her and she lives in a mare motel. I just make sure she has extra hay and she does just fine.
                  Last edited by jenm; Dec. 1, 2009, 05:32 PM. Reason: took out extra words.
                  Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks Thomas and jenm, you made me feel betterI can't even imagine freezing rain!
                    I know I am such a southerner,I heard the weather and they said it might get down in the 30's and I panicked.
                    I got his mare 2 weeks ago from a trainer at Arlington Park, so she is used to Chicago weather.


                    • #11
                      I have a few horses who insist on being outside when it's raining.

                      It started with my appaloosa, I think because his Native American roots tell him he should not trust the white man's shelter or something. My others seem to have picked it up from him.

                      I put them in their waterproof sheets or blankets with neck cover, let them do their thing, and all of us are happy.

                      Agreeing with the extra hay in the absence of waterproof sheet. Most horses do just fine outside in all kinds of weather. They really do.


                      • #12
                        I should have said that mine aren't rugged either but still would prefer to stand outside unless it's been persistent freezing rain.

                        We had that on Saturday night.... it was dire! A strong gale force wind gusting up to 70 mph north prevailing - straight from Siberia and intermittent hailstones between freezing rain. The next morning I had 4 t/b's squashed in one field shelter - snug as bugs in a rug! The rest were virtually inside in pairs and the shetland ponies and a welsh C and welsh A pony had taken the opportunity of the rest being in to hog the hay bales all to themselves!


                        • #13
                          If she is an off the track horse she may not understand the concept of shelter / run in entirely quite yet. It can be quite an adjustment for horses who have led very sheltered / managed lives to transition to living outside 24/7. She may also be so enamoured with the great outdoors that she is reluctant to come inside.

                          If she is coming at night, then I would just toss a rain sheet on her and not worry. However, a rain sheet 24/7 would inhibit her coat ability to fluff and keep her warm at night.

                          My suggestion? Feed hay (or MORE hay) in the run in. 1. It will induce her to come in for longer durations. 2. Hay and forage digestion keep horses warm. Good luck!
                          Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


                          • #14
                            Absolutely agree about the hay. If mine are unwilling to take shelter, I make sure they have a boatload of hay. Mack is a coming 23 y/o, and he's still fat and sassy.
                            Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.


                            • #15
                              An old timer told me once that if they get dry once every 24 hours they will be ok. I've not got any proof, and yet, in my experience, it seems to work out that way. Some just stay out and the rain sort of drips off them. If she is shivering, then time to go shopping. She's preferring the grass to the hay in the shelter.
                              Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                              • #16
                                My mare will stand out in the rain rather than go inside. It's her call. She knows the shelter is there, she's gone into it before. If she wants to stay out, that's her decision. If she gets wet, that's her problem.
                                Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                                Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                                VW sucks.


                                • #17
                                  I have one that will stand outside his stall in all kinds of weather. The only way he'll go in is if he is fed inside. Like someone else said, throw the hay in the shelter.


                                  • #18
                                    My mare does this occasionally, esp. if there's a chance she can build icicles on her shaggy coat and drive her person nuts!

                                    She has access 24/7 to a bank barn with an overhang.

                                    I suspect her choosing to stand outside may have to do with the pressure from the storm itself and from the noise of the precipitation on the roof. A prey animal isn't happy to have her sense of hearing diminished from the distracting noise. That's my theory, anyway.

                                    If it's wet and cold/windy enough that I just can't stand it, I have rigged up a way to confine her under the barn, when of course I give her loads of hay to keep her occupied.


                                    • #19
                                      Honestly if she is from Chicago and you are in N FL, I don't think you need to worry too much :-) You may be projecting a little, she's most likely fine. We have run-in sheds that are 18x30 and 10' high. We only have 2 horses in each pasture and honestly in the pouring rain, like now, when it is pretty cold, like now (we are in TX), they stand out in the middle of the pasture with their butts to the rain. Why, oh why, did we waste $10k on sheds??? Anyway, my take on it is - they know where they are, they've been in there before (bit diff from yours) and if they are dumb enough to stand outside, that's their problem.


                                      • #20
                                        Make SUUUUURE there's nothing with the shelter that's making it scary/uncomfortable, especially for aa super-sensitive Thoroughbred jazzed up from the track in strange surroundings. I'm reminded of a story from a vet of a horse housed iin an old garage that was afraid of its feed box. Turned out there was a live wire that SHOCKED the horse every time it put its nose there...