Friday, January 16, 2009

Baby...It's Cold Outside!

No seriously, FREAKIN' cold! It's bad enough I live in a city that is notorious for being colder than most cities in the province, now we are being hit with an arctic wind that could make you even want to cuddle up with Bush to get warm. After my incident with Shaeffer running away in the -30, I have smartened up and make sure I have adequate bundleing when I go out (as have I learnt to have a good hold on the pooch). It's so important to make sure the horses and dogs are also looked out for in this extreme weather.

There are some absolute musts when it comes to horses and extremely cold temperatures. Without the proper care they are at risk of getting sick, frost bite, and even death. Not only that, it's just plain cruel to not give your horse everything they need to stay comfy and happy. Horses are tough and the freezing temperatures don't bother them as long as they are comfortable.
The Must Haves:
Hay and plenty of it. Eating helps keep horses warm. It keeps their digestive system going and it helps keep their organs warm and working well. If your horse is fat and you are trying to watch their hay intake, try and feed them smaller portions more often so they are able to eat as continuously as possible.

Water, not snow. For obvious reasons, horses must have fresh water available to them. I know it can be very difficult when the temp drops significantly, but there are many ways around frozen buckets and water sources. Do a quick search on google or pop onto COTH and you will find help and options in no time. Frozen blocks of water in a bucket do not count as water. I do not want to see that anymore!

Shelter from the wind. If they aren't inside then please make sure they have something that they can tuck in away from the wind in. The majority of the time it is the cold wind that really is what bothers them.

A decent soft place to lay down, preferably with bedding. Not the most important (in my opinion it's high up there), but still important. There is nothing more I hate than a frozen base of hard poop balls where the horses have to stand or lay down. Who would want to lay down on that? It's not comfy and it's NOT making your horse happy.

Blanketing is not a must, but it is a favorite for a lot of people. I personally have a mild obsession with rugs for my horses, and that obsession has followed suit onto my dog. I bought Shaeffer a Shedrow dog blanket, it fits really well and even has leg straps to prevent shifting. It keeps him nice and toasty and I have actually had countless people in the city compliment me (him) on how sharp he looks. Possibly the best feature, is the collar that pops up for when it snows or is windy. He fits right in with all the college boys in the area who sport that lame ass look. I bought it at Greenhawk for roughly $30.00 and it was money well spent. You can't find something that good at a pet store at that price, plus they never have large enough sizes.

Both Fandango and Archie are dressed in Horseware for the winter. Fndg wears a medium weight Amigo turn-out and Archie a light weight Rambo turn-out with a high neck. Archie is roughed off all winter so he grows a coat and only gets an under blanket at times like these when it's below -15c. Fandango also wears an Amigo stable liner under his rug when it's colder and under his newmarket fleece in at night. Right now he has a fleece under his 2 rugs. 3 blankets is a lot for a Connemara but then again it has been -37c all week!

The majority of rugs by Horseware are expensive, but they are definitly worth it. My first event horse Westie was the ultimate blanket destroyer, he went through 8 blankets in 2 weeks. We spent $400 on a Bucas 10 years ago and I STILL have that blanket. It outlived Westie and is still used as a back up when necessary. Before I got Fandango he was turned out with two blanket destroying big boys - they were so insanely in love with wrecking blankets that one day when I went into work my co-worker found Fandango with Lucas stuck to him like they were about to enter a 3 legged (6 legged?) race. Lucas had jumped on Fandangos' back and ripped a hole in the top of the blanket. His leg went right through and they were basically attached to each other through this blanket. We had to cut the blanket off and poor Fandango looked like his knees were going to give out from carrying the weight of a 17 h beast horse. Anyways, I put my Bucas on him that night and he never had a problem again!

I can't stress enough how good these blankets are. I will only buy Rambo, Rhino, Amigo, Bucas, or Horseware. They are incredible blanket makers. Indestructible, no rubbing, and great fit differences for all horses. The Rambos work best on my tall thin Thoroughbred while I fancy Amigo for my round pony. You can see all their rugs on their website Horseware Ireland.

Time to make some tea and relax by the fire. The temperature is supposed to start to rise tomorrow. Fingers crossed I will be working in the barn!


  1. Hi. You have a problem with feeds, I suggest you fix it. I wanted to subscribe your site, but both Google and the direct Atom feed didn't work.

  2. Ok I'll look into it. Hopefully I can figure it out. You can follow if you click the link on the left "Follow this Blog".

  3. Ok I think I fixed it. Let me know if it's not working!

  4. Well, I'm not sure if it's completely fixed because when I wanted to subscribe and chose Google, it didn't add it. But when I tried to subscribe trough Atom and I chose Google as my reader, it added it.
    It was weird.
    Anyway, thanks :) And a lovely blog.


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