Friday, November 20, 2009

Advice for a cold horse?

I am not sure I'm posting correctly --it's been a LONG time since I last posted.

(Dolly is 100% Curly; Diamond is 1/2 Curly, 1/4 Quarter Horse, 1/4 Thoroughbred)

But I am very concerned about my newest girl, Diamond (I haven't posted on here about her, but I have posted on my personal blog which is located to the right of this page, I think). We got her this fall. Anyway, it's her coat and the temperature outside that is my concern. She doesn't seem to have a thick enough winter coat, and has no layer of fat. In fact, I think she is growing taller as I type this.

I can't seem to keep her warm enough. It has been somewhere around 0 degrees F for days now. My curly you might all be familiar with, Dolly, has shivered a little bit but is overall doing very well. Dolly is getting free-choice hay, vitamins, mineral salt block, and seriously about a teaspoon of dry cob, a teaspoon of alfalfa pellets, and a small handful of beet pulp, just so she doesn't feel left out *cough*. Dolly seems to have finished growing taller and is now growing, um, outward (she's a little overweight).

Diamond, however, appears to be in the middle of a HUGE growth spurt. She's eating free-choice hay, vitamins, mineral salt block, a handful of beet pulp, 2 cups of dry cob and 2 cups of alfalfa pellets each day.
They have access to shelters but are not locked in stalls at night because I only have one water tank heater. They always have access to warmed water out of a giant trough.

Diamond gets SO cold, though. She shivers ALL over. So I have been keeping her blanketed. It helps a lot but not enough - she still shivers a little bit. Also, she has dandruff like crazy beneath the blanket.

How do you guys get your growing Curly mixes through cold temperatures? I wonder if I need to board her at a heated barn this winter, but I don't exactly have the money for that! (Plus then Dolly would be very lonely again.)

Oh yeah!! And to make sure this post is sort of relevant -- note that in the 3rd pic, Diamond is connected to Dolly's saddle (sort of). I am trying to teach Diamond/Dolly how to pony. :) Dolly is GREAT at it -- Diamond has run smack into her butt and Dolly didn't care at all. I'm really surprised at how well Dolly is doing. Diamond still needs to learn a lot (about everything :) ), but so far it has been a lot of fun.


  1. I shiver myself thinking of the temps you must get up there in Alaska. I would think with free choice hay, warmed water and a blanket that Diamond would be fine - I wish I had more suggestions for you. Maybe a better insulated blanket? It is hard because it's a catch 22, if you over blanket, she won't grow her winter coat, but you really have no choice to keep her happy. I hope others offer some advice for you. Good for you for adding that great piece of relevance to the RAC at the end! =] I can't believe how big Diamond is getting..ponying is a great idea - good girl, Dolly!

  2. Hmmm well my apha mare never grows much of a coat. But the coldest it gets here is neg 30, and rarely for long. I do go to 16 % protein feed and she has 3 sided shelter. Some horses require blankets.

  3. Dolly,

    I have heard good quality hay help keeps horses warm -seems I read an article on this - might google for details but is suppose to be a great to keep them warm by encouraging their friends in Alaska remind me how cold it can get....warm hugs, Angie

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  5. Thank you, everybody! Hopefully my vet can come back out soon and give her two cents as well (okay, hers costs more than two cents!). I hate to change feed without consulting her, because both horses eat from the same hay, and Dolly gains weight REEAAALLY easily... ;)

    But it is good to think about -- hay quality & protein feeds. Thanks!!!


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