Winter cold and safely working horses

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

Christina_M

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2002
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
I live in Ohio, so the winters here get cold and snowy. I've heard a few different opinions on when I should and shouldn't work the horses, but I would like to know more. Someone told me that you shouldn't exercise the horses when it's below 10 degrees because it is bad for their lungs.

I'm aware that you don't want to work the horses on the ice or slipery snow, but what about the cold air? When is it too cold to work the horses? Do you have any precautions that you take before or after or work them? How long do you work them? I'm wanting to lunge and ground drive this winter, but I definitely don't want to hurt any of them. Thanks in advance for your opinions!
 

hobbyhorse23

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
7,805
Reaction score
36
Location
Lakeport, CA
If the air hurts my lungs to breathe, I won't ask the horses to work in it. I may invite them to play with me and run around, but it is an invitation and they are free to decline.
default_biggrin.png
They'll tell me if they feel like running!

Ground-driving is a good option in winter because you can accomplish a lot at a safe walk without overheating them or worrying about their lungs. Work on collection, transitions, a good marching walk, standing quietly, sidepassing, backing, obstacle work...there's lots you can accomplish.

Leia
 

Margaret

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2004
Messages
1,102
Reaction score
0
Location
Queen Creek, Arizona
I live in Arizona and it gets freezing here in the early AM and PM, so I usually dont work mine all winter, til it gets spring again..

I'm sure you will get a host of different awnsers, but I have always considered this time their time to just be horses.

Mine are in a large pasture setting, so they get enough of exersize at their own free will. ( maybe yours arent?)

They also need a bit more calories in the colder weather just to keep them warm, and it can be harder to monitor their weight under their woolies.

Just a note to consider, Exersizing them in the winter would cause an additional need for an increase in calories in their diet.
 

afoulk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2003
Messages
478
Reaction score
0
I don't like to do any conditioning type of work in the winter months. They need some time off. However, there are many things that can be done. I like to teach patience and manners in the winter months. Line driving is great at a walk if you have a good solid non slippery surface and you can teach almost anything at the walk. I don't want anyone getting warm under all that hair as cooling out is hard and don't want any chills. Great winter projects are pivots, sidepasses, setting up, tieing and I have even set up a small x type of jump in the barn isle just to teach the going over the middle for the hunter type horse. My temperature threshold is about 20 degrees.

Arlene
 

Sandee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2005
Messages
2,862
Reaction score
29
Location
Wisconsin
I don't like to do any conditioning type of work in the winter months. They need some time off. However, there are many things that can be done. I like to teach patience and manners in the winter months. Line driving is great at a walk if you have a good solid non slippery surface and you can teach almost anything at the walk. I don't want anyone getting warm under all that hair as cooling out is hard and don't want any chills. Great winter projects are pivots, sidepasses, setting up, tieing and I have even set up a small x type of jump in the barn isle just to teach the going over the middle for the hunter type horse. My temperature threshold is about 20 degrees.
Arlene
We have lots of cold, ice and snow in the winter months - but a big DITTO to the above suggestion.
 

Bess Kelly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
2,298
Reaction score
34
I'm with ground manners mainly......in winter

It does get "cold" for ME out there and I wear one of those insulated one-piece coverall beauties. A real fashion statement
default_rolleyes.gif
BUT, once I'm out there moving around and exerting energy, I can warm up and actually begin peeling and unzipping. Do that yourself and you realize what the horses are feeling with their "built-in" jumpsuit. Mine generally like to run and buck more in the winter than the summer, so I feel that they get all they need in that respect -- learning to whoa, back, etc, they can almost always use as a training or re-fresher.

Deck your self out and see what you feel. Oh, if you do have an inside area where they can slowly and properly cool out that's another consideration BUT -- it gets hot and sweaty in those winter coats!

Much care is needed if you force the workout.
 

RhineStone

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
1,636
Reaction score
2
Location
Wisconsin
We are in WI, and 20 degrees is my cutoff. Below that is just too cold for me!

We work (drive) our horses in our indoor if the temp is above that, and haven't had any issues, esp. with the minis. If they get sweaty at all, make sure they are dry before you turn them out, if you do that. (Our horses are turned out all the time except to be fed, worked, or if it is just unbearable. Wednesday night is supposed to be 0 degrees and 30 mph wind! We will probably leave some horses in.) I usually do not work them so much so they get very sweaty. A wool cooler can help with removing moisture from their coats if necessary. (I don't find that my mini gelding ever sweated that much to need one.) If their paddock is deep with snow, some horses actually appreciate having the opportunity to be able to move!

Another good option to consider for winter is Showmanship work, even if you aren't going to show in that class. Showmanship will teach the horses how to maintain distance from you while walking, trotting and turning, patience in standing, setting up. All of these skills are useful in teaching a horse to drive. We have found that the more Showmanship work a horse has, the easier they are to teach to drive. If you use the same vocal cues for Showmanship as you do driving, they will pick it up fast: w(ho)a, stand, come, get, walk, trot, etc.
 

Latest posts

Top