Last night the windchill was predicted to be -48c. Not sure if it got that low or not, but it was -35 without the windchill this morning.
At which time, naturally I worry about Merlin and Trinny. Trinny in fact more so since she is a thoroughbred and not as tough as Merlin.
I needn't have worried. For non-horse folk, horses are 'designed' to be out in weather up to -40c, provided they have shelter, whether that is with trees, a wooden shelter or, as in this picture, a simple windbreak. Instinct is to go wrap them up in blankets or put them in a heated barn. In both cases you would be wrong. Blanketing merely flattens a coat instead of allowing air to be trapped between the hairs and creating warmth. Unless, of course you have a performance horse which is working and going in and out of different temps, you should never blanket. If a horse comes into a barn at night, then you would not turn it out without a blanket on a cold cold day.
Horses aren't stupid. If in a herd, they stay together and give each other body warmth. In cold weather such as I mentioned today, if they haven't got a continuous supply of food then you are asking for trouble. The very act of eating and digesting ensures warmth. Plus a goodly supply of fresh water helps them enormously.

Merlin and Trinny would probably have been all right without extra food today, but I didn't feel right without giving them something. I glanced over the whole herd and no one was shivering. I gave RD, another of the thoroughbred mares, a few nibbles, too. Prob shouldn't have done since she isn't mine, but, heck, she wasn't going to watch Merlin and Trinny eat without shoving them off anyway, and even she was incredibly polite today.
I came away with a great deal of admiration for my animals. I was out for ten minutes in scarves and hat, gloves, sweaters, furry boots etc and I was frozen. Those guys were all, like, whatever! It's Alberta. Even the damned cat went out. I was cringing but he insisted. I called after ten minutes and he reluctantly came in and then wanted straight out again. He can stay out until the sun starts going down, I guess, but I don't like it. I do worry about those delicate ears. I guess I am just a human wimp - lol.



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