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> I just have to ask..., horses in Alaska?
Kirsten Cowan
post Jun 30 2005, 02:47 AM
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Okay, you will soon find out that I am on the brink of being obsessed with horses tongue.gif So I was wondering if you have seen any horses/ponies up there. I know there are some smaller ponies that could survive the harsh winters but im not so sure about any of the larger horses... sorry just my cookie random thoughts! Thanks

Kirs Cowan
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post Jun 30 2005, 08:46 PM
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Funny you should mention it but I saw a horse last night. We stopped at a little store in Joy, Alaska about 50 miles north of Fairbanks. There was a girl there who was 14 or so and she had a little grey and white speckled horse. The only one I saw though. I would guess that -30 temperatures would be pretty hard on animals that aren't adapted to the cold.

Mr. C.
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post Jun 30 2005, 10:25 PM
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Great question about horses!

We do have them in Alaska and there are even horse shows and riding clubs such as 4-H. Several of my friends have horses in Fairbanks and Kotzebue and it is a bit of a challenge to keep them. Most of the breeds require some sort of warming area to protect them from the cold and to keep their water from freezing (i.e. heated barns or stalls with insulated doors and bright lights). They also require lots of hay and oats to keep them from loosing weight in winter. Keeping the feet, belly, and ears from getting frostbite can be an issue depending on the breed. People do use horse blankets or insulated coats to help keep them warm and take off horseshoes in the winter months.

There is a breed of horse, Icelandic Horses or Ponies that are very well adapted to cold climates. They can eat a variety of vegetation (woody plants, grass, hay, and tundra) and they have long hair and a short stature. They are very expensive to have shipped to Alaska but from the people that I know that own them they love them and think they are worth every penny.

You might be interested to know that there are two woman, Miki and Julie Collins, that live near Denali National Park in a very remote cabin. They use a combination of Icelandic Horses and sled dogs to run their trap-lines and to haul gear and wood. They have a book called, "Riding the Wildside of Denali" that talks about their horses. Here are some websites that have more information about the horses and these women:

http://www.imh.org/imh/bw/iceland.html (About Icelandic Horses)

Photos of Collins family in Denali National Park:
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post Jul 6 2005, 04:47 PM
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For lack of better wording... That's really cool! I knew that some of the stockier ponies could probably stand the colder temperatures but geez I have a hard time riding in the 15 degree winter's here in NH, I cant even begin to think about -30... But I guess you get used to it after living there for a while! I can imagine it costs a ton to keep a whole barn heated, just keeping a tack room heated in the winter brings the bills up in most local barns around here! Well thanks from taking the time to answer my question so throughly! It was one of those things I have always wondered about!

Kirs Cowan biggrin.gif
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post Oct 26 2005, 04:30 AM
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Also, I'd like to add that you can keep pretty much any breed of horse up here, but they require blankets, heated areas, etc. But the barn I ride at has an indoor heated arena, and we have A LOT of Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds and such ^^ Riding outside is much fun in the summer, as long as you look out for bears! xD
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