Saturday, December 13, 2008
Winter Horses and their Coats
My horses live out 24/7 in a pretty fierce winter. Their coats are, to the eye and hand, quite different: Montana the thin-skinned thoroughbred grows a lighter coat, John the tough Mountain Horse gets a fluffy bunny coat early in winter.
But it surprised me to find that Montana's coat was actually doing a better insulating job on this day last week, because he had the snow pack without icicles on his back. It had been snowing lightly for about 4 hours when I took the pictures.
Johnnie had large thick icicles on his sides, which means that melting had occurred and probably his skin had become cold. I wonder if his winter coat is more impressive to look at or feel than it is to fend off cold??
Montana's coat must have guard hairs that keep that snow on the surface. Once snow is there and conglomerated, it actually warms them. Winter horses! A conundrum. What I know is how much they love that warm beet pulp. Slurp!!!!!