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Winter Care At Draft Gratitude

Shannon Miner
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Winter Care At Draft Gratitude

Postby Shannon Miner on Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:10 pm

Winter Care At Draft Gratitude
(Written by Rebecca Roy, Photography by Shannon Miner)

Now that winter has arrived, our hay seems to get eaten up faster and faster!! But that is OK! In fact, it is what we want. In many studies, and in my experience, horses that have access to quality hay 24 hours per day are better able to maintain their body heat. As the gut digests the fiber in the hay, heat is generated, even in freezing temperatures.
Our horses are outside most of the time. They all have access to run-in shelters that can shield them from the wind and let them get out of the snow or rain. Many rescuers and farmers will share in the frustration of spending ample amounts of money to provide shelters to horses and other animals, to then look out and see them walking around with 4 inches of snow on their backs, and only finding poop inside the run-in shed!
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Shannon Miner
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Re: Winter Care At Draft Gratitude

Postby Shannon Miner on Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:11 pm

In addition to their free access to hay and shelter, our horses also have unlimited fresh water. Hydration is very important to their wellness. Lack of water will result in eating less hay, which will take away their body heat. Lack of water also will cause dehydration which can lead to impaction colic. At Draft Gratitude, we have electric tank heaters available to keep the water from freezing if needed, but also have found a solar water tank heating system that works great!
A lot of followers ask if we blanket our horses. The answer is sometimes. Our horses that have recovered to a healthy body weight, are acclimated to our climate, have decent wooly coats, and access to run-in shelters, free access hay and water, would very rarely need them. The exception to that rule would be older horses or arthritic horse that might need the extra help to get through an exceptional cold snap, single digits and below. Now, all bets are off when it comes to a new arrival. When we have a new horse come to our rescue in the middle of winter in poor condition, then we follow the advice of our veterinarians.
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Re: Winter Care At Draft Gratitude

Postby Shannon Miner on Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:12 pm

The horses seem to enjoy the snow, they will run around in it, play, and roll. Ice, of course, isn’t as much fun and can be dangerous. All of our paddocks are reasonably level and have 12 foot gates. When our paddocks get icy, we have a local contractor drive right into the paddocks with a dump truck and spreader to sand them thoroughly.
Winter can feel like a long stretch in New Hampshire. Yet there is something peaceful and serene about a fresh blanket of snow, the sun glistening down, and hearing the constant grind of the horses chewing their hay.
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Re: Winter Care At Draft Gratitude

Postby Shannon Miner on Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:12 pm

Before we know it, the days will be getting longer which will trigger the horses to start shedding. There will be horse hair on every mitten, in every vehicle, on every sweatshirt, in mouths, up noses, and beyond!!! We won’t wish our days away waiting for spring to get here, the time will pass soon enough. We enjoy spending each day with these draft horses and giving them everything they need.
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Re: Winter Care At Draft Gratitude

Postby Shannon Miner on Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:17 pm

Even in the worst days of winter, we are lucky to have these horses here with us.
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Re: Winter Care At Draft Gratitude

Postby Shannon Miner on Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:19 pm

Draft Gratitude is an all-volunteer nonprofit draft horse rescue in Winchester, New Hampshire. Draft Gratitude saves draft horses from slaughter by providing a second chance and a place to call home. To learn more about Draft Gratitude, you can visit their website at http://www.draftgratitude.com.
Rebecca Roy is the founder of Draft Gratitude and can be reached at 603-762-3266 or info@draftgratitude.com
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