In this sort of weather, the horses at Rockley have free access to the tracks, barns and yards and they can choose exactly where they want to be and when. There is ad lib haylage in all the shelters and ample feeders for all of them to get more than their fair share.
Seasonally there are changes in how they live, but at the moment overnight they hardly set foot outside the barn - they were all still there when I fed them this morning and thats been the pattern for a while now, except when there is a really bright moon.
As soon as it got light there was, as there usually is, a collective decision made to go out to the fields, even though the wind is north-easterly and even though it was snowing(!).
Its fascinating to observe horses' preferences if they are able to express them. Its not quite as simple (for my horses at least) as wanting to be out in the field all the time - that's not what they choose at all. The weather plays a part, but thats not the whole story either.
Sometimes they want to be under cover, sometimes they want to be out looking at a view, sometimes they want somewhere comfortable to lie down and go to sleep, sometimes they want lots of space to gallop about in. The constants are that they like to be able to eat, wherever they are; they like to be able to move around, wherever they are, and they like company, wherever they are. Even in a big field, they will tend to be grouped together and its the same when they are on the track or in the yards.
There is a very natural human tendency to want to contain horses - in bad weather we like to have bolt-hole which we can snuggle up in, and we assume that horses feel the same - the horses here agreed with that last night, but not this morning :-)
Of course box-rest is a whole 'nother question, and I'll post about that shortly - and yes, I imagine it WILL be illustrated with more snow pics :-)