04.09.07

Winter Horse Turnout New Hampshire Log

Posted in Horses for the horse crazy at 10:32 am by glendale

This is a daily log of the deep winter turnout of my
three horses in central New Hampshire. As mentioned in
previous posts, also see Horse Profile (under Looking
Closer at right), we have a 21 yr.old Arabian mare and
her two half percheron sons, ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2
years. They are offered run-in stalls 24/7, a shed
roof shelter with peastone gravel footing (12×20
attached to the barn,) and fields and woods to roam in
(approx. 5 acres total.)

They have the choice to shelter or not; we feed them
grass hay and a small amount of grain twice daily
(they are easy keepers.) They are barefoot and we do
not blanket them against the weather.

See all the blog info on peastone gravel for horsekeeping… and be sure to look for other folks’ COMMENTS at the end of these posts.

Beginning on January 29 I recorded our morning
temperatures between 7am and 8am and noted where the
horses chose to be each morning. Their location
options were in their stalls, under the shelter at the
barn, near the barn, middle field, in some trees, and
lower field which is the furthest away and their
favorite (having horse neighbors.) They relish gnawing
on tree bark (they are all part beaver) and were often
found in a stand of “new” trees which was opened to
them for a couple of weeks.

We had our first covering snow early in this Log (3-4
inches on Feb. 3) and got a foot and a half more snow
on Feb. 14-15. Any unusual weather has been noted in
the Log below.

My observations are as follows: the horses stayed
outside about 95% of the time, day and night. Snow
showers did not drive them inside; their thick winter
fur (grown naturally because no blankets were used)
insulated them so well that the snow did not melt off
their backs. Freezing rain did not drive them to
shelter. Really strong winds with cold rain, sleet or
snow sometimes drove them to shelter after prolonged
hours.

On days with temps below 15 degrees F. they sometimes
came back to the barn at feeding time uncalled (we
have trained them to come to a bell for their twice
daily feedings– see other posts.) When more snow
was on the ground (over a foot) they seemed to come
unbidden to the barn (at feeding time) more often than
when less snow was on the ground.

We did shut them into their stalls during a 36-hour
snowstorm (Feb. 14-15,) and for other storms, mostly
for our own convenience so we could plow/shovel in
front of their stall doors more easily before they
trampelled it down. One or two other nights when it
was frigid with blustery winds, we also shut them in,
which made us feel better.

There was one frigid and windy night (March 6, -1
degrees record cold) that we didn’t shut them inside;
the next morning we found them in their stalls, the
mare and yearling in one stall together, and the mare
was shivering and trembly. The wind was blowing into
the stall door. I shut her in the rest of that day and
night, rubbed her down vigorously, put a lightweight
blanket on her for a couple of hours, and gave her
extra hay (hay is much better and safer to warm their
guts than is grain.) She had no ill effects (though I
felt like a bad mom!) The two youngsters were not
shivering, so I assume her age and smaller size were
the differing factors, also that her Arabian hair coat
is not quite as dense as theirs. After that incident
we were a tad more cautious about shutting them in.

A final note: At the end of March we have seen them
reluctant to come up to the barn for their feeding
bell when they started reaching dead (overwintered)
grass in their lower field, and they have actually
left some hay uneaten. Our assumption is they prefer
dead grass to hay and are getting plenty of it to eat
once the snow has melted, so we cut down on their hay
quantity if they go off and leave it.

HORSE WINTER TURNOUT LOG
MORNING TEMPS in F. at 7am-8am (before variable feeding time) and where horses were:

Jan. 29 14 degrees, in lower field; took sunbath mid-morning in middle field
Jan. 30 7 degrees, in lower field
Feb. 1 21 degrees, in lower field; came to barn uncalled
Feb. 2 25 degrees, under barn shelter
Feb.3 25 degrees, lower field all night (gentle overnight snow 4-5 inches, no tracks in snow near barn)
Feb.4 13 degrees, at barn, in sun (see photo)
Feb.5 5 degrees, under barn shelter
Feb.6 8 degrees, in lower field
Feb.7 7 degrees, near barn/in stalls at 7:15am
Feb.8 11 degrees, near barn
Feb.9 14 degrees, in lower field; came to barn uncalled
Feb.10 16 degrees, in lower field
Feb.11 19 degrees, in lower field
Feb.12 18 degrees, in trees (newly-accessible area)
Feb.13 2 degrees, in lower field/new trees
Feb.14 10 degrees, in middle field; out in overnight snow storm (9 inches by 8am,) ran back to barn uncalled; shut into stalls in am.
Feb.15 7 degrees, shut in stalls 36 hrs. total for 18 inches snow falling, shut in overnight (very windy)
Feb.16 10 degrees, shut in stalls, very windy; let out for day, shut mare and yearling in overnight
Feb.17 20 degrees, two shut in stalls, three-year-old hanging near barn; let out in am.
Feb.18 23 degrees, in new trees; came to barn uncalled at 9am.
Feb.19 4 degrees, under barn shelter, wind gusty previous night
Feb.20 12 degrees, in new trees; came to barn uncalled
Feb.21 21 degrees, in new trees
Feb.22 24 degrees, in trees, cloudy; came to barn uncalled
Feb.23 25 degrees, in middle trees
Feb.24 12 degrees, at barn shelter; were fenced in close to barn due to fence problem
Feb.25 20 degrees, in middle field (still fenced in close)
Feb.26 26 degrees, near barn (fenced in close)
Feb.27 25 degrees, in middle trees (fenced in close)
Feb.28 30 degrees, at barn (fences fixed and opened up again, “new” trees access closed off)
Mar.1 22 degrees, in middle trees
Mar.2 29 degrees, out in snowstorm (which started 3 am,) came into stalls at 6:30 am; shut into stalls for day
Mar.3 27 degrees, still shut in stalls for plowing
Mar.4 31 degrees, in middle trees
Mar.5 24 degrees, in middle trees
Mar.6 minus 1 degree (RECORD COLD and WINDY,) in stalls since overnight, mare shivering in stall; shut into stalls for day, high temp. of 5 degrees
Mar.7 -1 degree, still shut in stalls; let runout into paddock only, high temp. of 17 degrees; shut into stalls for night
Mar.8 9 degrees, still shut in; let out in am., windy, shut into stalls for night
Mar.9 4 degrees, still shut in; let out in am. and left out overnight
Mar.10 24 degrees, at barn in sun (see photo)
Mar.11 38 degrees, hanging at barn (starts daylight savings time)
Mar.12 31 degrees, fenced in close to barn (accidentally)
Mar.13 40 degrees, in middle trees (sap is probably running)
Mar.14 43 degrees, in middle trees
Mar.15 50 degrees, lower field and trees; ugh!! RAIN!!
Mar.16 40 plus degrees, VERY WARM!, in middle field; midday snow starts, shut into stalls in pm. for snow
Mar.17 20 degrees, still shut in stalls; one foot snow with sleet on top; left shut in stalls
Mar.18 22 degrees, let out of stalls in am. after plowing; out overnight
Mar.19 21 degrees, in lower field pawing for grass through crusty snow
Mar.20 31 degrees, in lower field pawing for grass through crusty snow
Mar.21 17 degrees, middle/lower field
Mar.22 28 degrees, middle field; warming temps, melting snow, MUD HAS STARTED! yuck!
Mar.23 45 degrees, lower field; pawing through soft melting snow for dead grass; slow to come to barn for feeding bell, so reduced hay quantity
Mar.24 34 degrees, lower/middle field
Mar.25 34 degrees, lower field; pawing through 3 inches new soft snow for dead grass
Mar.26 35 degrees, lower field; eating dead grass; MUD started in earnest

HorsesSnowPaddockNap 2.jpg

HorsesSnowPastureNap.jpg

See Jaime Jackson’s book that started a natural barehoof movement, Paddock Paradise
and Pete Ramey’s Natural Hoof Care trimming book also.

RELATED STORIES on petArtistWithPeaches:
barefoot
turnout
paddock paradise
pea stone gravel
… and be sure to see other folks’ COMMENTS on these posts.

3 Comments

  1. Floridiot said,

    April 10, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    I love horses so much and these photos are really marvelous.

  2. connie said,

    April 11, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Thanks for your comment– we learn so much from our horses! I never get tired of observing them OR taking pictures.

  3. Floridiot said,

    April 11, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    cool. i want to be a photographer, as well as a wildlife biologist. right now, me and my friend are saving up for a horse. it’ll take us a while, but we’re getting there. i enjoy your photos a lot. i can’t wait to see more of horses. (and other animals, too!)

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