Cold. The temps dropped from daily averages of 60 to 25. It’s the kind of cold snap that keeps you up at night fretting about the animals.
I really only fret about two things at night:
- Stock tank heaters dying and the water troughs freezing over. Horses tend to drink less water if the water is cold. And of course if the water freezes they get NO water. This can lead to colic (which can be lethal). Few things are as gratifying as checking on the troughs in the morning to see the goldfish* swimming freely in warm water.
- The horses running out of feed in the middle of the night. Horses have a built-in furnace in their gut. When they eat, they digest their food by fermenting it. This creates internal heat. On cold nights I rest a little better knowing their feeders are full.
I’m convinced that horses with a reliable source of warm water and constant feed can withstand just about anything. We’ve been lucky in that regard. Barring a few rough patches with our older horses who have trouble processing hay (it would help if they had more teeth, and the teeth were functional, but that’s just aging for ya I guess), the horses have fared quite well through the cold.
I went out yesterday to check on the horses. Yukon was bucking and playing. I checked on the mares and they all were running with their tails in the air, snorting and bucking. Even the quiet, thoughtful draft horse mare Sis was feeling frisky.
*What the heck? Goldfish? Yup, goldfish eat algae and fly and mosquito larvae. I’m not so worried about algae, but oh man — anything that cuts down on flies and mosquitoes is good by me!