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"horses in winter" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

lmntel11 Sep 2017 1:03 p.m. PST

Hi all . During extreme winter weather ie snow and freezing conditions , would horses have blankets etc over them ? . Im thinking of artillery teams as they would spend a lot of time stationery. Or where they left to their fate in the cold?

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2017 1:15 p.m. PST

They should be out of the field during winter. If still in the field I suspect their handlers would have tried to find them some form of cover, although they would be competing with similarly chilled infantry for anything warm.

gamershs Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2017 1:43 p.m. PST

Until the Russian retreat, I was under the impression that the campaign season was Spring to Fall. Armies would go into winter quarters and except for some skirmishes battles mostly stopped. Spring was a time to rebuild the armies and make new drafts of horses.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Sep 2017 1:53 p.m. PST

Wasn't Eylau fought in a driving blizzard?

Russ Dunaway

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2017 2:34 p.m. PST

Jupp Eylau was in winter so was Austerlitz. And During SYW Leuthen was in December.
And During great Northern war many battles were in vinter. With Narva and Fraustad being the big one. So many battles were outside campaign season.

14Bore11 Sep 2017 2:48 p.m. PST

As a major Russian reader I'll pine in. Horses took a major hit in and out of Russia. I have read one account( French allied) who on the retreat took care of a horse while he had it with food and care and it served him well. At the end if a horse even stumbled down it was slaughtered immediately. The Russians shod many for the ice but don't think the French were ready for that.

Three Armies11 Sep 2017 7:55 p.m. PST

Mother nature gave horses their very own fur coat.

von Winterfeldt11 Sep 2017 11:00 p.m. PST

the greatest horse losses in Russia 1812 were in the beginning of the campaign, in summer.
In winter – they seemingly did not worse as the humans, one of the biggest needs were winter horse shoes – which the Grande Armée had none, this causing a lot of problems

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2017 11:06 p.m. PST

My daughter used to work at a stables and is fairly knowledgeable about horses. I asked her once about horses wearing blankets in winter.

Apparently they only need blankets because humans keep grooming them which thins the fur. So if you don't groom your horse the fur will grow long and thick enough to keep it warm in winter.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2017 11:36 p.m. PST

Horses can tackle cold weather quite nicely if you let them grow shaggy fur(which the cossacks did)
The cold wasn't the problem. It was the food or lack thereof.

lmntel12 Sep 2017 12:10 p.m. PST

Thank you for all your responses. I hadent thought of the grooming making a difference.You dont see many ungroomed horses now so you wouldent think of that

14Bore12 Sep 2017 12:15 p.m. PST

Also about the cold is I have read a couple of accounts ( The Russian campaign might be my biggest reading topic) it being so cold on the retreat that pieces of a horses would be taken without the horse noticing. Its hard to imagine but we are talking of temperatures 10 -20 minus

jdginaz12 Sep 2017 1:43 p.m. PST

"Horses can tackle cold weather quite nicely if you let them grow shaggy fur…"

Not all breeds grow shaggy coats.

Lion in the Stars12 Sep 2017 7:09 p.m. PST

Even Arabians will get quite shaggy if you let them.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2017 8:05 p.m. PST

If you ever seen a horse when it is really stressed out the fur will become thicker, at any time of the year. I saw this happen to a Quarter Horse in the summer when it was attacked by a roaming Pit Bull. The fur became quite thick and this was a groomed and pampered horse.

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