Pasture time for your horse is important throughout the season, even when it’s snowing and cold. We may not like the cold, but horses are wild animals and they don’t mind being outside. Horses do best in temperatures that range from 14 to 77 degrees. They will also snuggle together for warmth if necessary.
Watch out for the glazing on the lawn and the icy patches next to the grass shelter and frozen water buckets. For patches of ice, but something with some “grit” to make it easier to walk on and try spreading some alfalfa meat on ice to help it melt. Dirt, ashes from chimneys, or ashes from campfires work great for extra traction. Keep the water always accessible, breaking the frozen top into water buckets or feeders can be done in just a few minutes, sometimes a ball in the water can help prevent the top from freezing.
A shelter or shed works great on the pasture or paddock to protect horses from wind, snow, and rain. This shelter should have clean bedding and water. Dry hay should also be provided in the shelter even if there is hay in the pasture. Remember to watch your horses; some will try to “dominate” the refuge and deny access to other horses. You must ensure that everyone has access to shelter, food, and water.
A shelter is fine for most days, but in severe weather conditions, a closed stable is best for the protection of your horses. If you choose to stall your 건마 (dry horse), there are a few things to keep in mind. Your stable should not be much warmer than the outside air temperature your horses will be delivered to. Do not seal your stable, the airflow is good for the horses (and also for the humans who work in the stable). Make sure your stable is well ventilated but free from cold drafts so as not to cause respiratory problems in your horses. Make sure to install clean shavings/bedding daily along with clean water and hay. If horses must be installed, provide entertainment such as a cheery ball or horse packing toy. Let the horses out every day if the weather permits.
Remember, winter coats can hide ribs, so keep an eye on your horses; increase feeding immediately if you start to see weight loss; increase the portion of hay, not a grain; Timothy hay, garden grass, and long-stem hay are great for keeping the intestine working, generating heat, and maintaining weight. It is much more difficult for horses to gain weight in winter, so try to maintain your weight with plenty of hay throughout the season. Also, be on the lookout for fellow herders, as some may become possessive of their food and will not let others eat; make sure each horse has its fair share of food available.
If possible, let your horse’s coat grow out, don’t trim. Horses are designed to be “outdoors” without problems. They do best with the natural protection of their coat. A horse’s winter fur coat is more insulating than most blankets, but not when wet. A wet horse can lead to hypothermia, so if your horses get wet outside, take a few minutes to tend to them. Towel dry - remember your legs and pat dry against the grain of your hair to get all the moisture on your skin. Then curry, quickly, then cover with a blanket, wool is good at absorbing moisture and providing warmth. Blast off after about an hour and they’ll be ready to do it all over again! Horses also cannot stay warm if they are dirty or muddy, their fur can “fluff” to keep them warm. If they are muddy, you can brush them to make the hair “fluff” and insulate more efficiently. Just because we are cold does not mean that our horses are. I hope it was useful and entertaining.