Lots of great information here already, especially on the blog, but one thing I didn't see mentioned was ICE! We often get ice where we are, and it is difficult for people and minis to walk on. We put down used bedding (with the poop removed), which for us is broken down pellets/sawdust, to cover any ice. Used kitty litter or fireplace ashes might also work, but we know the bedding is safe. We start stockpiling it about now, either in piles or containers. We let the minis make their own paths through the snow, which they do quite well with the snow depths we usually have around here.
Most of our minis have heated buckets in their stalls or heated tubs in their runs but for those we don't trust with electrical cords, we make insulated buckets by putting different sized buckets, one inside the other, with insulation in between. If needed, we use a regular carabiner to hang it. We also will add very warm water to top off buckets at bedtime. This gives them warm water to drink and keeps the insulated buckets
Sleigh bells are pretty challenging. Glad you made it through!All of the above! My mare has a very thick coat already and looks HUGE, but after feeling her ribs I have had to up her food. If you don't check the ribs and top line it is so easy to be deceived. Everything fits tighter on her now, even her halter with all the hair on her chin! I've had to make adjustments on her harness to increase the sizing and also I was training her with sleigh bells today and when I went to put on her surcingle I had to increase that quite a bit, but all the while she is actually thinner.
Why is it when I am introducing something new like the sleigh bells did the neighbor have to come to the pasture fence line behind the shrubs and trees and fire up the weed eater? She was going alright with the bells, but the two together sent her over the edge. We worked through it but she almost got away from me. We got a lot of good exercise going back and forth near the fence line though.
What feeds do you have access to? Forage alone is not enough, even the easy keepers need at least a vitamin mineral supplement to supply what forage lacks. What to feed will depend on what is available to you, and how easy of a keeper your horses are in general. For warmth, just more hay is suggested as the digesting of fiber is what helps warm up a horse; but a good supplement is still a good thing to add to the diet.I'm getting worried now that my minis are not heavy enough for the oncoming winter. I'm in central Ontario, so it hits about -20/25 c at its worse during Jan-March. I have an open ended stable block, with their stall inside. It does benefit from a roll down garage door at the end, so if it gets really insanely cold, at least I could pull that down at night, but I do plan to turn them out during the day, as their previous owner had been doing. They also have a large shelter in their paddock as somewhere to avoid the bad weather during the day. I bring them in at night due to the coyotes here. On to my enquiry about "feeling' them. I am not happy they're plump enough. Their withers, I feel, are boney, though their bellies are plump, but they're very hairy already. They're on hay primarily, a mix of timothy and alfalfa. How do I plump them up even more so that they're building muscle and fat, and not just full bellies. I am learning as I go. I had a hiatus from horses for nearly 30 years. I've just got back into it, and stated with these two girls when I took them on 8 months ago. Any supplement food suggestions, and any making them more active suggestions please. They are not very walking in hand friendly unfortunately, though not as feral as they were when I first got them! And they've never been broken for pulling anything. So my options are limited on how to 'build' them up. I just don't want them standing around bored for 4 months of cold winter. Thanks.
Spine and hips are a good place to feel as well.Feel the ribs, not the withers or belly.