Friday, December 21, 2007
Reminiscent of my days in Fairbanks, everything was covered in frost yesterday morning, with a soft low-lying fog that kept the weak winter sun from burning it off. The dogs love the cold weather! Rippy and Cajun had a great time romping in the snow.
A lot of people are surprised to find out that horses love winter! Trudy and Clifford are so happy right now. The only thing that bothers them is wind or freezing rain. Otherwise, there's no heat to contend with, and no bugs. They stand out in the pasture foraging for whatever is hidden under the drifts, and at mealtime they come charging in, blowing and snorting, all a-shivery and ears forward. They purr happy snorts while waiting for their grain and then settle down contentedly.
Horses "burn hay" to stay warm. With plenty of hay and an escape from the wind, they do just fine. They do drink a lot of water. I am so grateful for their electric buckets, because I don't have to break ice, but I have to fill them every day. As they consume more hay, they need to drink more, and that's fine because it keeps things moving.
With that in mind, I have a strong opinion that horses need to be outdoors as much as possible. Mine have free access to the outdoors at all times. On the rare occasions when Clifford is shut in his stall, the first thing he will do is go to his Dutch door and open it so he can put his head through and see outside.
I think as long as horses can keep moving, and put their heads down to graze or forage, their digestive system is healthier and they are less prone to colic. Plus, they are happier too.