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Author Topic: Advice from the frozen tundra  (Read 330 times)

KysaSD

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Advice from the frozen tundra
« on: December 16, 2016, 10:02:36 am »

This sort of goes along with the blanketing article, something I almost never do for my horses. 

My horses all have access to good quality shelters that are closed to the north, the direction most of our winter weather comes from.  And they always have free choice hay, in nets, but free choice.  In cold weather, hay, or more hay, is the most important food source of warmth.  Never increase grain in cold weather.  The bacteria that break down hay fiber in the ceacum is the main source of internal heat for horses.  A sudden change in grain will harm those bacteria, and may add calories but reduce the horses own supply of heat.

We are just beginning our next winter storm, 24 hours of snow and blowing, followed by frigid temps.  Sunday morning we are told we will have a record low actual temp, probably minus 30, with a windchill of at least minus 45.  For Saturday night, I plan to break open small square bales in the runins.  That way the horses can eat in the shelter instead of venturing out where I feed the round bales.

After much thought, I have decided to stall Lola, the mini.  She lives with 3 full sized horses, and I have seen all 4 incident my shelter.  She is a feisty little character, but one of her herd mates does chase her away from the hay.  LAdy cannot actually keep Lola away from a complete circle of hay, but I am concerned if I add hay to shelter, Lady will keep her away from the shelter.  And Lola has a much smaller body mass.  Lola will still have to deal with the actual temp, but not the windchill.  I already prepped a stall with a five gallon heated bucket and a half bale of hay for her tiny little self.

All the horses have been doing well, even with some wind chills well below zero.  I have not seen any of them shivering, including the horses from California and Kentucky.  They have all had layers of unmelted snow on them, which means their fur is functioning well.

Sigh....why do I live here.....

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Kysa, South Dakota, 2 Mountain Horses, and a Mini, yes, I am crazy!

kckc

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2016, 11:05:41 am »

mine tend to stay out in the weather - it is cold here but nothing like your weather (thank the gods) but a couple of my older horses shiver if it rains.   so during this weekend storm I am putting out hay bags under the shed (which they don't use ..idiots).  I have not yet blocked the wind wall - I just can't quite get it completed.   If I leave them loose hay out they pig it down then in a few hours they are out in the weather again eating from the hay hut (exposed to rain/sleet again!).   When we have wind I just go ahead and stall the older mare.   
Oh and not sure about your mini but if mine were in a stall the hay would HAVE to be in a slow feeder of some kind or it would be gone in an hour...   :-)
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Raylin

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2016, 12:55:53 pm »

With our single digits Joe will put out the round bales without the ring because they want to bed down in the hay. The older ones are in the barn.

I don't care for the blanketing either. Everyone has thick fluffy coats also.

We have a 2 sided shed also.

Raylin
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KysaSD

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2016, 12:57:21 pm »

I do have some horses I worry about IR, but not the mini.  She is on pasture in the summer and does fine.  If she wants to make a bed of the hay, she can.
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PAWalker

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2016, 03:33:03 pm »

I have said this before ---- I tip my hat to you in a big way --- bigger with each passing year.

Each winter seems to bring bigger swings in the weather.

Saturday we are supposed to see a high of 69-70 F.  Sunday will see a high of 31F!

It's been a big up/down swing all week but nothing like Saturday-to-Sunday will see.

Sunday is supposed to bring a "wintery mix" of something, lollol

Rusty is 22 but he is healthy with a thick coat;  it's going to have to be really bad for me to put a waterproof lightweight coat on him.  Lightweight is all he has ever needed.

Joker is another matter.  He is 21 but is IR and never has grown a thick coat.  I have a medium weight if he needs it, plus I think Streeter's neck cover will fit him, if need be.

They both come in at dusk and are in until around 10:00 AM.  Both have free access to the barn and all the hay they want.

With this weather mis-behaving so badly, I am more concerned about colic :-\
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Riderkat

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2016, 06:18:46 pm »

we don't get snow, we get rain. You bet your butt I blanket when it's mid 30s, blowing wind, and raining, plus humidity.

if we got snow, they would be naked.
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gallatingal

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2016, 08:57:33 am »

LaReina and Eldorado always  shiver in the cold rain with wind blowing, but they were fine in the freezing temps. I think it is the combination of the wet and cold wind that gets to some thin skinned horses.
The three I have now are all thick and fuzzy and I haven't seen any of them shiver. I blanket when it gets unusually cold because it makes me feel better and they seem to like it.  We have one or two really cold snaps every year it seems, and sometimes ice storms.  Probably like spring in the Dakotas  :)
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loneelk

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2016, 09:21:08 am »

We HAVE blankets, just in case of another attack of "weather" that blew snow into the run in and left our boys (at the time we had Skeeter & Ghost) shivering with monstrous icicles hanging off all over them.  So far, the blankets have only been outside their storage bags for trying on for fit.  But based on what we've seen in past 5 years, we MUST be prepared for another polar vortex. 
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PAWalker

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2016, 10:27:20 am »

^^^^i think we are overdue.  The only time, in 13 years of living here,  we have enough  snow worthy of pushing with the front loader, was March, 2008 and we had 8".

Not "plow-worthy" when I lived on the OH/PA border but it was an excuse for southern Middle Tennessee, lollol.  Plus it was spoked to that then freeze again --- what was I supposed to do, lollol

We have ice storms to where I had to keep the horses out of the big pastures but, even those were some years back.

I was in shorts/tank top cleaning stalls this morning but, the wind is whipping pretty good, so a sweatshirt & hat were in order to dump the cart :o
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KysaSD

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2016, 10:29:17 am »

Just in from morning chores....oh my goodness.....the Internet said minus 35 for a windchill, and it was that.  Got my water hauled, and the horses all got their alfalfa pellets with supplements.  None of them were shivering. 
I have to go back out this afternoon, and will break open little square bales in their runin sheds.
The current forecast for Christmas Day is a high of 20.  That will seem like a tropical breeze!
I dressed well in multiple layers.  I was done about the time I started getting cold. 
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fracturedfairytales

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2016, 04:16:34 pm »

Kysa, I feel your pain! Here in Ontario we're getting freezing rain after 2 days of snow squalls. I've had it with shovelling snow and technically winter hasn't even started yet! My gelding, George, is boarded out with a donkey and another horse. They have a shelter and a hay hut with a round bale in a small hole hay net so they have access to hay all the time. I started blanketing George last year since he's 19 now, lowest in the pecking order and only gets to stand 1/2 way in the shelter so the wind and snow/rain gets his hind end. He comes in for a rest in a stall overnight once a week so he can lie down flat out on soft bedding; a vet told me once that horses need a deep sleep at least once a week or they could develop neurological problems. I don't worry about it except in winter.
Last year I was so frustrated by the ups and downs of temperatures that I bought a very expensive Bucas blanket that has a wide range of temperature tolerance. A couple of dressage riders had them and told me that they can even put them on wet horses and the horses dry off without getting chilled. Seems to do what it's supposed to and I'm a lot less stressed about blanket and weather changes. Horse gets fancy blanket, I shop at the thrift shop....typical, right?
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Iceangel

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2016, 07:44:21 am »

Yep, -25 this morning here in NW Wisconsin.  Hay and more hay!! This is what worries me about bringing my girl from N Carolina.
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kckc

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2016, 07:52:56 am »

yeah, that's one heck of a temperature difference...
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KysaSD

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2016, 01:00:53 pm »

Well, the actual temp this morning was minus 35.  Not much wind, though, so we lucked out on the windchill.  Lola's was pissed to be in a stall in solitary confinement overnight, even though that meant she was much warmer than the other horses.  And they ate the little squares to nothing.  36 hours of hay gone in 24, but they really did need it.  We are having a tropical heat wave now.  The temp is to warm up 35 degrees to zero!  And nothing the high on Tuesday is 20, so then we will be back to just normal winter.

Someone posted on Facebook this morning that a nearby town was minus 29, and he research station at the South Pole was minus 9.   Something just really wrong with that!
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Kysa, South Dakota, 2 Mountain Horses, and a Mini, yes, I am crazy!

kckc

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Re: Advice from the frozen tundra
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2016, 04:28:21 pm »

hmmmm...we were at 72 degrees today !  back down to 30-40 something tomorrow....   and rain thank goodness, gosh we need the rain
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