Friday, January 17, 2014

Winter coats.

This is an old photo of my now gone, Cheyanne in a snowstorm.  

This is Peaches a few years ago. 

This is a shot of Siera from the other day.

Our herd has a huge area of valleys and woods to get into during the winter and during bad weather.
We do have an area inside to keep an animal if they are sick or need special attention.

In 20 yrs I've never had an animal die from the cold, the wind, the snow, or bad weather.
Cheyanne lived until she was 28.  I tried keeping her in one winter and she went mad, stomping, whinnying and exhausting her old self.

Yesterday I posted the Siera photo on Flickr.  
I had some interesting comments.

'Oh dear, she looks so COLD!'
'Poor thing,'
'She needs a scarf and hat'
Horses and most mules have an extremely thick undercoat.  This insulates them and will even keep them dry after a snow or sleet storm.

This mule was not cold.  I just awakened her from a standing nap when I walked down to check the heated stock tank.

I often walk amongst the herd running my bare hands through their undercoat.  It is warm under the snow and dusty.  Yes, dusty.
I guess I am frustrated by folks who don't own any equine thinking that if they are cold, the animals with fur coats are cold.

However, donkeys have long coats, but poor undercoats.  They can get chilled with a sleet and do need a place to get out of the weather.  
I think my friend at The Dancing Donkey can answer that question or comment on that much better than I can.

Anyway.  I believe in many ways that being outdoors is so much better than being stalled inside for 18hrs a day.   That is, if you have that option of course.
Run ins are even better.

But hey I'm no expert in the matter.
I just felt compelled to discuss the matter.
Here people thought this poor mule would be so cold.  
Did I forget to mention that it was 32 degrees?


  1. Looks like some mighty fine winter coats to me! Equines would always prefer to choose if they can and if Siera fancied a nap in the open I sure she was toasty warm in her furry coat. Ours will often be found out in the paddocks in the freezing cold rain, even when the choice of a warm stable is there.... says a lot! I reckon your gang are just grand :-)

  2. Yes they fancy to be in the harsh weather and seem to be prepared for it.

    I know that some people find it offensive that I don't blanket all of them and offer them stalls.

    They thrive with fresh air.

  3. I tried to write a comment to this the other day but I see that I must have forgotten to type in the magic code. You are welcome to link to my post and if it is OK with you, I might borrow your photo of Sierra. Your comments touch on a subject I've been thinking about for quite a while. Our culture has become so urbanized and divorced from all aspects of farm life. People mean well, but don't have any understanding of what animals really need anymore.

  4. Yes go ahead and use the photo of Siera. After all I'm sure you can see that she wasn't sad or upset, but doing a typical mule nap.

    I saw a good joke on blankets that showed one horse looking at another that could barely move it was so blanketed and wrapped.
    The blanketed horse says...'My owner got cold'. Perfect explanation.