Readers Fight the Freezing Temperatures

Exactly 1,000 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "What problems are you facing with this week's below-normal temperatures?"

results of poll on cold weather horse care

Results were as follows: 

  • Icy conditions in paddocks and fields 60.30% (603)
  • Footing in arenas frozen 28.90% (289)
  • Other (please explain) 26.40% (264)
  • Automatic waterers/hydrants freezing 17.90% (179)
  • Frozen feed 8.10% (81)

Readers shared what they did to combat the freezing temperatures in the comments below.

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  • Coping Fine in MT. Preparation is the key
  • Hoses being used to combat frozen 'frostfree' hydrants are brought into the house. Use pelleted feed
  • Not freezing in central valley of CA, just gray, gray, gray.
  • Cold fingers
  • letting the water spigot drip
  • with difficulty!
  • With a grin and thinking ahead to the warmer weather coming in a few months!
  • just doing the best i can running a hose to water tank
  • nothing, I'm in California
  • Manure management. Can't empty manure wagon, must pile up in back yard!
  • it's not easy, but just have to make do.
  • frozen water troughs
  • frozen water buckets, icicles on the horse's legs, ice balls in their hooves
  • breaking ice and hauling water
  • frozen water buckets and more frozen water buckets and even more frozen water buckets! :-(
  • very well, we prepare for winter, just wish I had horses that used their shelters
  • water buckets freezing
  • repairing weekly
  • Ice balls in hooves despite snow pads.
  • Trying to keep walkways to & from pasture snow coated
  • Not! Boarders make it worse with their fear and mistrust when we are doing the best we can in -45C
  • Keeping water troughs and pails free of ice.
  • bringing buckets filled w/hot water from the house
  • barn fine but no house heat or water and a flat tire!
  • Metal feed bins and water tanks can be a hazard if wet lips contact in below freezing weather.
  • displaced behavior
  • I know spring is not that far away!
  • unable to school and show my horse causing so much upset for me and she is very unsettled
  • frozen arena doors!
  • Customer access is on a hill - therefore no parking.
  • Not! Boarders make it worse with their fear and mistrust when we are doing the best we can in -45C
  • Keeping water troughs and pails free of ice.
  • bringing buckets filled w/hot water from the house
  • barn fine but no house heat or water and a flat tire!
  • Metal feed bins and water tanks can be a hazard if wet lips contact in below freezing weather.
  • displaced behavior
  • I know spring is not that far away!
  • unable to school and show my horse causing so much upset for me and she is very unsettled
  • frozen arena doors!
  • Customer access is on a hill - therefore no parking.
  • Not being able to enjoy more time with the horses ouside because of the cold
  • Using much more hay than usual as grazing covered by snow and ice, feed merchant unable to deliver
  • needing to keep them in at night due to high winds
  • patience
  • snow packed hooves
  • southern horses and cold weather don't mix
  • water bucket that are frozen
  • Lots of layers. Muscles get sore after weeks of cold exposure.
  • Taking my time. Counting down the days until there is a thaw.
  • I put studs in my EasyBoots for the tenderfooted guy after a trim.
  • Bitter strong winds
  • heat tapes, chopping ice holes,
  • Let them decide how to handle the ice. Their basic instinct is not to get hurt.
  • Carrying buckets of hot water!
  • None of the above.
  • IT IS SO COLD HERE IN MN. I FEEL LIKE MY FACE IS GOIN TO CRACK AND FALL OFF SAME FOR THE HORSES WISK
  • increasing water intake, flavored warm water, increasing hay, adequate blanketing, limit stren exerc
  • frozen water buckets. but i cope with it everyday and doing okay will be glad when spring is here
  • Keeping horses in the barn to stay warm and keep the pipes above freezing in tack room.
  • I just worry about them being cold even though they have blankets on
  • shoveling dirt!
  • With a smile:-)
  • throwing bad/old hay down
  • walking out the door in the morning
  • Packing hot water and trying to keep them protected from the wind
  • Your article in this issue confirmed that the things we've been doing are right on track!
  • HOLD OFF ON TRAINING, TURNOUT INSIDE BARN AND CHOP ICE WITH AN AX
  • Manure spreader is frozen up. Snow drifts make dumping manure in barn lot difficult.
  • All our areas of horse care are covered, but we are freezing!
  • keeping water thawed
  • Veteran pony is fine. I'm really fed up and worried about her fitness and if she has enough water.
  • can't get to manure pile due snow on ground
  • worry about dehydration so I am soaking beet pulp in hot water mash
  • think spring
  • ice balls on horses feet, water heater cannot keep up with the cold, hoses crack & break
  • I am hauling buckets of water to my babies
  • im in australia and its summer, my horse is getting, rain sculd from the heat
  • bucketing water, investing in some insulated rubber boots
  • Convincing my husband that I "really" need an indoor!
  • dealing with a cold weather founder horse does it every year when its cold he is IR
  • Fireplace, beer and dog.
  • Can't go pick up the load of NEEDED hay due to road conditions.
  • frozen hoses
  • Having to turn on and off plumbing in the barn to prevent freezing pipes. So far so good
  • Fozen manure - will have to have runs bladed w/tractor
  • A clean hoof pick breaks up the frozen grain well.
  • had plumber redo line
  • Water hose to water horses freezing. Use air compressor to blow water out of hose & hang up to drain
  • KEEPING HOSE AT HOME AND DRAINED TO PREVENT FREEZING.
  • Had to purchase heater for barn cats, No Tx is not supposed to be THIS cold.
  • diesel fuel in trucks & tractors wanting to gel. Having to plug everything in so I can feed.
  • deep snow, tractors not starting
  • Wrapping them, turning off water and draining pipes, dripping water
  • putting down grit to improve the footing
  • Thawing out waterers & cleaning the snow/ice buildup out the the hooves.
  • draining pipes/hoses, not riding/hacking in fields, dreaming of spring
  • Heat tape
  • wrapping/draining pipes and hoses
  • REALLY love my heated Nelson waterers.
  • Lucky me; I'm in San Diego and 72 degrees. No worries here!
  • insulating - heat tape
  • Not much to do... if there's too much ice, my horses stay in. Otherwise, they, and we, deal with it.
  • There are benefits to living in the AZ desert. Just a little frost in our area
  • Waters buckets freezing, having to carry water to the barn
  • Not very well
  • water hose freezing. the wind is what drives me mad
  • Just plain COLD water in buckets. Big tanks take care of themselves. We use bucket heaters when we
  • waterer knocked over by aggressive horses
  • taking it day by day and thawing pipes
  • one bully horse keeping other from shelter
  • Too cold to ride!
  • Frozen stock water tank. Installed tank heater.
  • not able to water arena--dust!
  • throwing down sand & lime
  • inadequate water intake even with heaters etc
  • after having all of the stock tank heater rings fail simultaneously, have been using heated buckets
  • frozen water that needs to be cleared, horses not drinking enough water
  • Trouble keeping water tanks open
  • frozen buckets
  • I had to keep my horse in his run for a month already, because he slipped in pasture with snow.
  • Frozen Water Tanks
  • Using salt and blocking off icy areas.
  • the water tank keep freezen too. when the temp start dropping at night.
  • frozen water that needs to be cleared, horses not drinking enough water
  • deciding on whether blankets should be on or off.
  • Very deep snow will not allow animals exercise outside of shed
  • the old fashioned way - hauling out buckets three times daily
  • breaking ice and running lots of hoses
  • frozen water buckets
  • no worries!
  • watching the older horses for any signs of distress
  • Frozen divits-horrible footing
  • Leading horses over icy /snowy ground can be very scary
  • unable to be home to change medium to light weight blankets in the daytime
  • Mucking the runs/corral with poop frozen to the ground, aka: "poopsicles"...
  • With a grin - better the snow then the mud that is going to follow when this all melts.
  • ample water consumption
  • Frozen troughs, luckily have a melting thing
  • Frozen water buckets. We don't use heated buckets for fear of a fire or electic shock to the horse
  • I spend more time at the barn and just "checking up" on my horses than during normal weather
  • Sledge hammer to knock frozen beet pulp out of rubber buckets; be careful hydrant drains THOROUGHLY
  • Not being able to foxhunt or ride!
  • sick help in cold weather
  • Mud and pasture distruction keeps me busy 'replacing divots'.
  • Trying to keep horses warm. Florida isn't use to a week of freezing temps.
  • second guessing whether blankets should be on or off
  • Carrying buckets of warm water; warm mash to assure good colon function; running the water at night
  • Falling on the ice (me- not the horses!!)
  • Fairly well even though my horses range in age from 26yr-39yr
  • Stall and paddock games, ground training
  • Problems with water troughs freezing over after ice broken and removed
  • frozen water buckets. just kepp chipping, chipping, chipping !!
  • Frozen fingers and toes. Layers of clothes; heat packs in gloves and boots.
  • getting there but with difficulty
  • not very well
  • senior horse having pain from cold
  • Keeping self warm, getting help in cold, plowing drive, etc etc etc
  • 2 horses + 5 sheep in one open stall keeping warm together.
  • Mud froze into solid clumps that the horses can't walk on.
  • I put boots on my horses so their hooves wouldn't snowball, & remodeled to prevent pipes freezing.
  • frozen water buckets & tub but the muds solid!!
  • A lot of work!!!
  • None. I'm the ant, not the grasshopper.
  • I can't stop thinking that they might actually fit in the basement!
  • frozen water buckets
  • Clod horses w no shelter, just balnkets
  • Giving more hay and trying to keep the horses drinking
  • wind wind wind blowing my barn apart
  • frozen doors
  • Slippery roads on the farm a problem too
  • lots of warm water..in troughs and buckets. salting paths to stables
  • None! We are in VT and are used to it!
  • Most south Louisiana horse owners don't own horse blankets!
  • Not enough heated water buckets! Full wheelbarrow in deep snow=headache and backache...OH
  • Drifting Snow
  • Proud flesh getting frostbite even under wraps.
  • Blanketing Horses.
  • plug in auto waterer popped out- flooded pasture-2in of ice.Am chipping & salting to no avail
  • Previous mud is now hard sharp ridges in paddock
  • We are used to cold temps and do not have these problems as we address them before the cold season.
  • arab with hypothermia
  • Mostly the water keeps freezing, and footing is horribly frozen. dangerous for them to walk on
  • condensation inside barn
  • mud as it warms up during the day and freezing at night and early morning
  • frozen buckets all day
  • For where we are in Central New hampshire this has been a pretty typical winter.
  • frozen snaps are so annoying!
  • Excersing the most frustrating
  • heated waterbuckets are one of the greatest inventions
  • icy footing & going through more hay
  • Pasture horses with blankets on - not allowing their coats to grow thicker to combat the cold
  • Winter coats with 75 F daytime temps but don't want to clip; mid-low 30s at night and 20s last week
  • Being careful about turnout.
  • Horses not drinking enough water
  • I just keep trudging along carrying buckets and buckets of water for my three horses.
  • Rough, sharp, frozen ground chipping already tender feet. Horses don't want to move around much.
  • 30 year old horse's soaked pelleted feed freezes before he can eat it - has no teeth so big problem.
  • Wils animals looking for food! Racoon trying to get in barn. Lucky it's solid and animal-proof!!!
  • they get to drink free choice creek in field 3 mares are happy one colt is in lockup frozen buckets
  • We opened the gate to the pasture with a pond and are using a stock tank heater.
  • I live in Canada its always cold in winter
  • I have wrapped my hydrant in the barn and use a heat lamp to keep it thawed
  • lots of buckets, and breaking ice.
  • Fine!
  • More manure to shovel due to increased amounts of hay/water!!
  • hope for warmer weather soon to help thaw paddocks
  • hoses freezing .. I bring them into the house to keep them thawed
  • We luckily had alternate ways to get water to horses.
  • Frozen buckets and troughs.
  • water tubs freezing, using hot water from house
  • Live in Arizona, temps are moderate, worst problem is frozen hoses on cold nights
  • horse has caught a cold.
  • water frozen--heated buckets
  • barn management cut back in feed when horses need more calories
  • going through lots more hay than normal..what to do w/ haystring! : )
  • acute lameness injury from icy conditions
  • I break ice 3 - 4 times a day. Keep everyone off the ice as much as possible & warm water the feed
  • Fill bathtub with water for power outage. Stock up suppliesin case snowed in.
  • Less riding, no riding in arena, just in the fields where there's snow and no ice
  • People blanketing winter-acclimatized horses, thus causing them to be colder.
  • keeping warm water available;using a bucket heater carefully
  • shoveling paths
  • In NC - keeping water open in pasture troughs and stall buckets long enough for horses to drink
  • No worries, we are used to winters with up to 500 inches of snow!
  • Make sure horses have lots of hay and water and also shelter from icy wind
  • 8 foot drifts of snow
  • paying for increased rations 50%
  • FROZEN HORSE POOP!!!
  • frozen water buckets.
  • extreme temp changes. Blankets on and off depending on the temp. Below zero temps
  • checking water conditions more, keepinghorses out of wind is challenging
  • hauling water from house, keeping horses up more & blanketed
  • moved the horses to a winter lot with pea gravel that offers more level footing.
  • wrap all exposed waterpipes and hydrants in heat tape
  • horses getting into rye field when I'm at work-Hay is put out daily.
  • Below zero wind chills, extra clothes for me and extra hay for the horses.
  • winterizing barn/run in shed from cold wind
  • Keeping water warm enough to encourage drinking in pastures
  • Waiting it out
  • filling water tanks & buckets
  • I contantly check my water trough heaters to be sure waterDon't strip stalls, add bedding on top
  • cold getting into the old horse's bones.......makes them (and me) hurt more. Just dreaming of spring
  • snow buildup in pastures. The snow is so deep the horses dont go far from the barn
  • stock tank heaters, insulated heaters for hydrants, blankets for outside horses
  • Not all of us are freezing...It's still 60 here in California.
  • Dress for the weather, water heaters, horse blankets for below 25 degrees. Enjoying no bugs!!!
  • You don't have frozen tanks without water heaters! Having to break ice, I would love electricity!
  • just give them more hay,worry more about ducks on frozen pond
  • I don't want to go outside!
  • Our pastures are very large and spread out making it difficult to get to. 4-wheeler & tractor help.
  • not riding!
  • new young horse pulling out water heater from tank! Too cold to work/train the youngster
  • heated buckets, blankets all day/night, extra hay
  • frozen buckets
  • Hooking up to the hot water faucets when watering. Saves time when buckets are frozen.
  • We live in Southern CA and it is 75 and sunny today, but we have other issues to deal with.
  • tractors not starting!
  • It wears me out !
  • With HUMOR!
  • frozen manure and urine in stalls and paddocks
  • No problems in snowy Vermont
  • harardous footing for people
  • poop frozen to the ground that has to be chiseled free!
  • avoidance
  • Living in So. Ca. I dont have these problems anymore!!
  • Barn Fever/Cabin Fever
  • bucket of warm water ...from the house to the barn...
  • frozen hose
  • my mare has hay allergies, I have to wet/soak her hay...ahhhhhh brrrrrrrr
  • Shortages of salt and grit making it difficult to keep walkways safe
  • we have freezing days and then hot days and the horses' coats are confused!!
  • Rolling over the icy spots with the tractor
  • we ran water from the house :)
  • water consumption decreased
  • we spread stonedust and/or wood ash for traction
  • the hose I need to fill the water trough stays frozen, even if drained
  • and I'm already tired of breaking the ice in water buckets and we have several more months of this!
  • Can't ride my horse on the ice
  • limited turnout in extreme cold
  • none of them...knock wood, i am a well-managed hobby farm.
  • Severe weather conditiions, strong winds, hard to stay warm while feeding and watering.
  • None so far. I water during the afternoon, so the hose doen't freeze. No fun hauling buckets!!
  • spreading sand!!
  • Patience and lots of time making sure everyone has plenty of water/hay/shelter
  • Deciding whether to blanket or not, keeping wind out of barn...
  • Not!
  • Keeping water available in pasture and stalls.
  • I have no outside shelter so with all the wind, I have to keep them in!
  • I have no problem to feed and water in -50c with a superinsulated low temp heated water tank
  • North Wind
  • The hoses freeze so can't fill stock tanks, even when they have automatic warmers in them.
  • Just plain worrying about if my horse is warm or not.
  • Nothing! I live in sunny AZ it was 70 out this past weekend!! :)
  • balancing hay requirements with my horses decreased thirst to avoid colic
  • florida feels like the artic and to cold to ride
  • Wind chill too severe to leave the horses out for any length of time. I do have an indoor though.
  • I use solar waterer's to insure water is ice free!
  • Water freesing in the field. Heater fan in the stable by the pump
  • strong winds
  • Road to icy to get to field. Horses stuck in 24/7
  • ice balls in hooves -- ugh
  • Totin' buckets
  • frozen hoses, frozen buckets, giving extra hay & feed
  • Playing the thawing game! Heat lamps on heat lamps off.... praying to the heated auto-waterer gods!
  • water freezing
  • Making pathways with used sawdust, dirt, etc. so the horses can grip the ground instead of slipping.
  • Water hoses/tanks freeze. Feed companies use too much molasses. Lumpy footing.
  • blanketing and stalling horses, wrapping/draining pipes, feeding hay in fields
  • We live in FL and the water troughs are frozen.
  • I'm not coping! I miss my horses!
  • bringin hoses into house-chopping ice with ax
  • I fill my buckets from a stream we have on our property. We are lucky.
  • frozen water tanks, horses play with heaters
  • good
  • Our barn is shutting off the water completly. We will have to haul water in for the next 3 days.
  • Its only icy once in a while and then i throw the manure out on the ice and that works well
  • water buckets freezing and breaking
  • Having horses in Alaska, this is normal.
  • my horses have a had time walking on the frozen ground they are barefoot
  • the wet feed freezes before they get it eat
  • to cold for most horses to go out
  • Researching for different ways water troughs were kept open in history.
  • stock ponds frozen over
  • Poo is frozen to the ground - how to pick?
  • the stall doors keep freezing shut
  • No problems. Our horses are used to -40C or F. Extra food, lots of water and a three sided shelter
  • So much snow you have to shovel the roof off!
  • Icy road conditions getting to and from the boarding barn.
  • Everything -30 is to COLD
  • knowing when the horse needs a blanket and when he doesnt.
  • Ice balls on shoed horses!!!
  • Traveling to local indoor arenas
  • one day at a time....
  • I have been giving warm buckets of water as a supplement
  • big paddock with hills are unusable. horses are doubled up in the smaller level paddocks.
  • Frozen water- frequent hot water additions
  • frozen water buckets; removing ice &/or carrying warm water to barn from house
  • muddy paddocks,horses preferring to go in the stalls to toilet
  • -12 and no problems
  • turn out time decreased due to wind chill factors
  • 2 geriatric horses that need extra TLC/stalling-more work
  • none, i live in florida
  • all horses are outside free choice hay, heated water, older ones get moved to shelter.
  • my ponies are bored and my fingers and ears are frozen! toes too!
  • deep snow with ice. horses afraid to move around much
  • Doors are hard to open. Frames shift and bolts won't match with slots. Ice build up in door tracks
  • De-icing water tanks, hauling water, monitoring intake
  • water tanks frozen over
  • It's COLD out there! lol
  • keeping horses drinking enough water
  • very deep snow
  • Carrying buckets of warmed water out to the barn.
  • Putting on blankets, checking under them daily. Horses don't like their blankets 'fussed' with.
  • training track also frozen
  • Staying warm during chore time!
  • Frozen water tubs - by using tank heaters
  • Pasture water tubs freeze, must open twice a day
  • using heating elements in water troughs
  • Frozen roads/trails & keeping sr horse warm.
  • Vehicles, Bobcats & Tractor Breakdowns
  • Keeping water pails clear of ice. I add hot water every 2 hrs to avoid colic later.
  • Worst winter since the 80's
  • Frozen water buckets
  • electricity went out, we connected a generator to water the horses in the barn
  • too much ice to get hay to horses... can't drive on ice.
  • Perseverance. You do what needs to be done.
  • Frozen Pond and Curious Horse
  • None as long as we don't get ice. Ice will limit horses to indoor arena for turnout.
  • not very well!! horrible weather
  • AS I need to monitor fluid intake, I use heated water buckets or hot water top ups.
  • difficult to clean stalls, hard to tell wet spots and frozen manure
  • The ice that is on the ground on the way to the turnouts can be dangerous
  • Door frozen shut.
  • considering all that we are having to endure, mostly the horses just hate not having access to pastu
  • Heaters in water troughs, horses turned out 24/7 so they don't run on frozen ground.
  • Frozen poop on ground
  • cold bitter winds and only trees for windbreaks
  • Sore hoofs from rough icy paddocks and fields
  • I use course lime on the ice
  • wind chills make any outside work hard
  • frozen water buckets, icy hills up and down to the riding arena, and cold toes!
  • 3 days of snow,coyotes in pasture,horses wouldn't use run in, one got the shivers, 2 Morgans love it
  • Pasture footing - was muddy, now frozen, just a mess...
  • Harder to drive to the arena & nobody else there (wimps!)
  • frozen water buckets
  • Horses staying in the stalls/run-in and the time it is taking to muck.
  • I live in Florida where temps went to freezing. I brought out hot water and added mollases.
  • slips (self & horse) on driveway & gravel roads I would ride down.
  • 20-30 degree below wind chills
  • no issues - I'm in Phoenix
  • Frozen divots in the fields near the gates; plan on putting in drainage and stone dust by the gates
  • wind
  • ME! My arthritis is screaming!
  • It's just too damn cold!
  • prayer
  • Live in a sub-zero winter climate, this is normal--no problems.
  • Heated arena, tank heaters, 24 acre pasture- no problems-single digit temps-lows are below 0.
  • Only ride on the road (very quiet rural road)
  • Bring the horses into the barn more often
  • Not very well! = (
  • Heavy wrap on pipes and trying to keep horses to a slow walk in pastures (ha ha).
  • Main problem is ensuring ALL horses in herd consume enough supplemental hay.
  • Just Do It...
  • In Mn we are used to having these temps every year. My biggest issue right now is snow drifts.
  • carrying buckets
  • keeping my horses drinking. adding salt to their grain
  • Wind chills and keeping horses in who would rather be out in the pasture

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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