In Texas, near Dallas, we get a few good hard freezes a year. As a horse owner, this can be a time of distress due to cold temps coming on suddenly and causing colic. We also have to make sure our horses keep drinking even though they do not like the icy water. We add salt/minerals to their diet to ensure their desire to drink is strong. We want to keep them hydrated! I know that a lot of folks in the colder states feel that we are over doing a lot of things. Like blanketing. But the issue is simple. We could have a 40-50 degree temperature drop and rise in one day. Welcome to Texas! Our horses are not likely to be 100% prepared for the rapid changes! So yes, we might sheet or blanket our horses when the temps drop below 40 or we have cold rain/snow as we did already this week!
There are so many benefits to a good freeze! For one, our winter grass depends on these freezing temperatures. Without it, the winter forage cannot thrive. Add in a lack of rain, and guess what? No grass! Our warmer types of grass will die off and without a good freeze, the winter grass will not come into play. This means we have to rely on more hay to keep them satisfied!
Another bonus to a good freeze is killing off pests! It seems I was still utilizing fly spray into November. That is crazy! A good freeze will kill off the flying pests! It also helps to kill the fleas and other annoying bugs. So, even though we don’t like to be cold, we truly need a good hard freeze (or 5) to reset the insect population!
As far as barrel racing goes, I’m a fair weather racer! In fact, I much prefer summer in Texas with temps reaching the 100° plus temps over winter amy day! Why? I can cool down. It’s hard for me to warm up! But we shall trudge on and keep going because, well, in Texas, barrel racing is year round!
So I took a photo of the morning sunrise over the pasture today. I want to remember WHY we need a good freeze! Our high today will reach near 50°. I’m sure we will hit that in a couple of hours. I bet the four legged children will love to shed their blankets and run around like crazy kids soon! My point of this post is simply that a good freeze will benefit us in so many ways. So instead of cursing the cold, we need to embrace it!
2 thoughts on “A Good Freeze”
I would agree with you completely. Although during the time it is harsh but in reality the benefits definitely out weigh the short period of discomfort with the freeze. Not only flies and pests are killed during a freeze but also other horse compromising elements such as the parasite that causes Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EMP). New research has found that not only possums carry the parasite but cats, birds, and raccoons are hosts as well.
I don’t think you’re crazy or overkill at all! Here in NY we are used to the cold but we also experience crazy temperature changes. Sometimes it’s 70 and overnight it freezes. At LEAST you don’t have to worry about frozen troughs! I also add salt to my horse’s feed and I built an insulated box to cover the trough. The uninsulated trough next to it is frozen solid! I imagine some cooler weather is a treat for you every now and then! We’ve talked about moving south but we aren’t sure we can handle TX.