Mackinaw Island Horses – They are hot attractions in the summer – but are they left out in the cold in the winter? You decide!
When is it too cold? What does the winter wind have to be? What does the January temp have to be – to say enough is enough?
We are posing questions about the care of the horses that make hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the rich folks at Mackinaw Island – Are They Surviving? Are They Thriving? Can better conditions be afforded for these money makers??
“The doors are open so you can see inside of them it is 9 degrees out with and chill is -16 they have no trees they have stumps and very little in the field.”
“No shelter absolutely no protection the ‘barns’ are full of hay and machinery the doors are open so you can see inside of them.”
By Greg Peterson
U.P. Breaking News
Owner, News Director / 1-906-273-2433
Editor’s Note – We think these are very serious questions – and hope that the officials from the carriage tours, the farm and the Mackinac County human society type folks will respond. We are easy to reach.
(Mackinac Island/Mackinaw Island, Michigan) – Seems few can agree on the exact temperature a horse should be put inside rather than be exposed to the double digit below zero temps and even colder wind chills of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s coldest months
When is it too cold to keep horses, dogs and other animals outside during the frozen days of January and February in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? U.P. Breaking News posed that question to the public – and besides sarcasm – the most responses seemed to be in favor of horses being left outside in the coldest winter months – but only if they have an indoor place to escape the brutal winds.
It seems to be a question of whether a horse is merely surviving or is actually comfortable in the U.P. outdoors during the worst months of winter. Some say that human emotions can not be placed on dogs and horses in the winter – as some “prefer” to be outside – and do better outside.
U.P. Breaking News wonders if those on Mackinac Island associated with the horses can afford to provide even better conditions for its prized horses that make a fortune for the Island.
Our sources say that the farm caring for the horses is doing the bare minimum – if that – some say they are warned in advance about inspections.
Since we have not been able to reach the Mackinaw Island big wigs – we presume they will say we are nuts.
In an effort to bend over backwards to be fair, U.P. Breaking News is issuing a blanket denial for all those involved with Mackinac island horses (meaning the horses are treated well – maybe fantastic – and this topic is not an issue) – We issue the denial on their behalf until we hear from them.
You see, they already do not like this reporter on Mackinac Island – because back in the day – while working at TV6 – several of us were invited to a writer’s conference on the Island.
I had the unmitigated gall to question the treatment of the workers – at least then paid less than minimum wage – with questionable housing quarters.
These summer employees are shipped in from the poor islands in the warmer climates – but many are dressed like the old south.
If you own this farm – please contact U.P. Breaking News – that goes for the same for Mackinac islands officials – call us. You are welcome to make a response and/or write your own opinion editorial. U.P. Breaking News wants to hear from Island officials, carriage tours officials, farm officials, and those who police this kind of thing in Mackinac and Chippewa counties.
U.P. Breaking News has been contacted by U.P. residents who say they are opposed to the way Mackinaw island horses are treated during the winter – while revered during the summer at the island that is like the Antebellum South (like one of those old Disney cartoons from way back) and popular with Michigan’s richest residents.
Whether you call it “Mackinac Island” or “Mackinaw Island” – it is a place that can truly claim to be “someplace special” – like no other in the Upper Peninsula where the poverty and unemployment rate have reached staggering proportions – and even people are freezing to death in the cold.
There was a time when our forefathers migrated to the U.P. – when people had the guts to question things. Not sure much of that spirit exists. What do you think Yoopers? Our sources say U.P. residents do not want to ask questions – but some newcomers are shocked at some of the realities of the U.P. compared to how this area has been viewed elsewhere.
One sources said that many U.P. residents are looking for “someone who is willing to ask questions without a negative effect on us or our children.” Well, U.P. Breaking News is broaching this and other questions never before asked by the media.
One example provided to U.P. Breaking News is a farm on 15 Mile Road in Barbaeu, MI.
“It is a house with 2 large pole barns used for storage. In the mass fields sprawling behind it, are about 80% of Mackinac islands horses,” sources say
The following photographs – was provided by several sources – the photos with snow were just taken – and the others in the fall of 2015
“This place has been investigated, with (forewarning) notice, allowing the owners to move the machinery out if the barns, put the horses in the barns and they pass,” The reality is however, these horses don not have shelter. Of any kind.”
This despite “recent wind storm, recent ice storm, and recent drop in temperatures,” a source says.
“Perhaps you could bring this to the public eye. Have a light shed to let visitors” of Mackinac island just “knew these horses are not on ‘vacation.” But merely trying to survive their elements.”
“They are not relaxing, or even have blankets. They are knee deep in their feces, mid, and snow, huddling, trying to not die.”
The photos from the fall of 2015 “show their fields, and the three out buildings.”
“Even if they used the outbuildings for the horses, it big enough for the amount they have.
“As you can see, no leantos, no nothing,” our sources said.
“We think its important to know, that the price each tourist pays for carriage rides, and carriage tours,.”
The profits “clearly does not go towards the horses well being, but into the company’s pocket.
“These horses are mascots for Mackinac Island, and are continuously highlighted in all publishing, commercials and other public media, however are not taken care of,” sources asks and tells U.P Breaking News.
The most recent photos – January 2017 – show the horses outside in a “wind chill of -7.” and “again with no shelter.”
“One horse trough for water. No shelter absolutely no protection the barns are full of hay and machinery.”
“The doors are open so you can see inside of them it is 9 degrees out with and chill is -16 they have no trees they have at stumps and very little in the field.”
“No shelter absolutely no protection the ‘barns’ are full of hay and machinery the doors are open so you can see inside of them.”
“Yet it is 9 degrees out side with a wind chill of -16.”
“They have no trees all they have a stumps and very little hay.”
“These horses are owned by Mackinaw Carriage Tours and the farm who is supposed to be taken care of them is Atkins farms”
“Their coat is isn’t the issue here … the issue is, they have NO shelter, no windscreen, no blankets, no lean-toes.”
We “just want people to know that carriage tours” make a lot of money for the Mackinaw Island – hundreds of thousands of dollars annually just from rider fees.
Scroll down to see public comment when we posed question on Facebook:
Just surviving or comfortable (from google search)?
How do horses tolerate the cold?
In the absence of wind and moisture, horses tolerate temperatures at or slightly below 0°F. If horses have access to a shelter, they can tolerate temperatures as low as -40°F. However, horses are most comfortable at temperatures between 18 and 59°F, depending on their hair coat.
U.P. Breaking News Mackinac Island Horses – and all U.P. horses – Advisory/Expose – when is it cruelty – what temp?
When we publish these photos – we want to include experts on the topic – are you one?
1-5-17 1 p.m. ET Mackinac shows off horses in the summer and leaves them outside in below zero weather in winter – why why??
We will be publishing the photos today or tomorrow – as we are working on numerous other new stories at this hour.
U.P. Breaking News wants experts to tell us – when is it too cold for horses to be outside?
Same for other animals like dogs
It seems there is no law that exactly says when it is cruel to leave animals outside. You see they show off these horses in the summer – and throw them to elements in the winter. We will be showing some shocking photos from two years of this.
Angela Kiviniemi – Horses can stay outside in the winter. As long as they’re being fed, the water isn’t frozen over, and they haven’t been shaved. They actually grow a winter coat that keeps them warm during inclement weather. All it took was Google for me to find out this information.
Message · 12 · January 5 at 1:40pm
Ed Nephler – Wow, reporting that horses stay outside in the winter. Really? You call that news? lol Damn! They are different than dogs, most are draft horses and use to being outside all the time. They grow heavy coats for protection. It’s no wonder why you have been fired from most your jobs…all you do is hype bullshit.
Message · 6 · January 5 at 2:59pm · Edited
Brant G Haynes – They stay outside here in Alaska as well. Maybe this dude needs to bone up on his equine studies.
Message · 3 · January 5 at 3:46pm
Rebecca Oberstar – horses can still get frostbite in winter. They should have some sort of windbreak.
January 5 at 11:08pm
Amanda Rose – There are at least 3 huge barns on the island that stay well stocked. The island also has 4 full time vets there year round as opposed to one human doctor year round.
Message · 13 hrs
Sarah Toutant – There is literally ice on her eyelashes and she is still warm. You have to understand the coats a horse has to understand It is not cruel. Also, they will shelf themselves from the wind by going into a shelter,trees,or by standing closely to one another. I promise you if these horses are fed,this isn’t abuse.
Message · 5 · January 5 at 5:54pm
Rodney Riesland There he goes again reporting on something he has no idea about and without doing basic research. Just trying to stir up some DRAMA!
Sarah Toutant – Horses stay outside year round. Their hair acts an insulation. They eat all day because it helps keep them warm. Most get blanketed but not all need it.
They don’t shave the horses on the island, they get very fuzzy.
Horses that are shaved usually go…See More – (Go to our News/Personal FB pages)
January 5 at 5:51pm
Christine Corp Arbib Just like all news reporting. When there is nothing, you have to make something up. You have to be kidding or apologize on this one. Should the horses be sent to FL or brought in the house? Seriously – I want to know what your solution is. Think I will let you go. It’s just gotten tabloid ridiculous.
January 5 at 2:25pm · Edited
Christine Corp Arbib On second thought I think I’ll stick around to see what asinine “news” you will next be reporting.
January 5 at 2:21pm
Natalie Irene Christine Corp Arbib Provides good entertainment
January 5 at 4:33pm
Jane Rogers Shocking photos of horses outside in the winter? They grow under coats that keep them warm in the winter, in extreme temperatures owners will put blankets on them or try to keep them in barns.
Do your shocking photos include these horses next to the…See More (Go to our news/personal FB pages to read more)
Message · 6 · Yesterday at 5:18am
Mary Nichole Where did you get that info. They ship most of the horses off the island in the winter. And they have coats/ blankets for the horses in the winter.
January 5 at 2:38pm
Mary Nichole – Here is a pic of some of the horses leaving the island. They only keep about 15 there in the winter.
January 5 at 3:07pm
Bobbi Jo – Do you people know how to say anything nice ever? Same bitchers all the time. Must be your life’s journey. Sad
January 5 at 5:36pm
Tony Kulie – I smell award winning Journalism on this one!
Message · January 5 at 3:36pm · Edited
Judy Hutnik Bonello – The horses are sent to a farm in the U. P. where they are fed, etc. Who runs this site!?!?
Nathan Larsh Google. – Use it.
January 5 at 2:28pm
Kami Batho – Hmmm…I guess we should bring the cows in as wel
Pamela Ekdahl – Heifers no. Cows yes. You will not get milk production from a cow left outside vs one kept in
Message · 14 hrs
Amanda Rose – Chickens, pigs, goats…. They all need their own rooms too
Also posted the question on my personal Facebook page and received these comments:
Tod Poirier – Animals are adapted better to survive cold weather than we are. Just because you or I are cold doesn’t mean the animals are suffering. If the animals have some sort of shelter they can use to get out of the elements they’re typically fine – a windbre…See More
January 5 at 1:18pm
Dean M Dove – Horses and other animals eat hay, Hay will keep them warm from the inside out.We put hay on a side walk to keep the warm so it can harden. It keeps them warm and with the thick skin they have.The hide of an animal was made to keep them warm, that’s why we make Coats out of the hide.
January 5 at 10:17pm
Alicia Guiliani Diane Peppler – do you have any input? Tammy Collins?
January 5 at 1:27pm
Greg John Peterson – Thank you Tod Poirier – That is the info I am trying to find out – when should horses be required to be inside? I am not an expert. I can react more as a sympathetic human – like telling people take a blanket and spend a night in your dog’s outdoor house. See if ya like it? It is more of a gut reaction.
January 5 at 1:29pm
Greg John Peterson Wish that Dr. Pol guy could tell us. My girlfriend loves that show. I have watched it a few times.
January 5 at 1:30pm
Greg John Peterson Tod Poirier Sounds like the human emotion versus reality are two different things – certain animals (dogs) are better adapted than others. I can not help but feel for a horse standing outside in below zero weather – but maybe that is truly OK and not …See More
1 · January 5 at 1:34pm
Tod Poirier I haven’t.
I think a person should provide an animal with some kind of shelter, but most animals have survived in the wild long before we got to them.
January 5 at 1:36pm
Sadie Mae – Cold Weather Tips for Horse Owners
Cold Weather Tips for Horse Owners
Here are six important tips to help owners keep horses healthy and safe during the cold days of winter.
January 5 at 1:40pm
Sadie Mae – In the absence of wind and moisture, horses tolerate temperatures at or slightly below 0°F. If horses have access to a shelter, they can tolerate temperatures as low as -40°F. However, horses are most comfortable at temperatures between 18 and 59°F, depending on their hair coat.
January 5 at 1:41pm
Linnea Kelly Danielle Sawyers I bet you’d have something to say about this.
January 5 at 1:43pm
Kylie Gearhart – Now it’s been a while since I have been to mackinaw island but I recall taking a carriage tour and they showed us the winter stables. I’m pretty sure they aren’t just left out in the winter. And it’s not like they are alone all winter there are people on the island that would take them out and let them in.
January 5 at 1:58pm
Patti Ness My horses are outside during the day and stabled at night. They have quality hay all day. Everyone is fine. If it’s excessively brutal, the come in early and get extra hay. I have winter blankets for them but rarely need them. My senior stallion (29 yr…See More
January 5 at 2:15pm
Alicia Guiliani – I was just going to ask how can you tell if they are cold lol, I didn’t know they shiver. Do their hooves protect them from the cold ground?
January 5 at 3:02pm
Patti Ness – Yes their hooves do a good job 🙂
January 5 at 3:47pm
Danielle Sawyers – Our horses are outside during the day and in the barn at night during the winter months. Some nights we have to catch them as they don’t want to come in. Some horses prefer being outside. From experience it needs to be consistent, they can’t be brought in once and a while then left out again as they will get sick. They can adapt to weather conditions easily. We don’t use blankets because of sweating issues, as that leads to other problems. Some breeds of horses get very thick winter coats and would not do well in a barn all night. Horses in the wild adapt to the changing seasons and survive some brutal winters.
January 5 at 2:41pm
John R. Manninen – K WHAT NEXT ?? IS IT TO COLD FOR WHITETAIL DEER? I can understand how people feel, as I also do for animals. But where does reasoning and common scense fit it. WHAT NEXT Rabbits, birds ??
January 5 at 9:45pm
Jill L. Fries – Depends on the breed but I had horses for several years in Marquette County. They had a shelter to block the wind but even on the coldest days and I would check on them several times a day they were always plenty warm
January 5 at 9:56pm
Anthony Fortunato – Most of the horses used are not on the island in the winter they winter in farms downstate and some in the U.P.