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Outdoor businesses making adjustments due to oncoming weather threat

OKALOOSA COUNTY - Many outdoor businesses are making adjustments because of the weather. At Fort Walton Beach equestrian center, they've cancelled lessons, and put extra effort into protecting the horses.

Laura Hussey "There are 27 horses here at the Fort Walton Beach Equestrian Center. When the staff heard the forecast, they knew they had lots of work to do"

The horses here are more protected than their cousins in open pasture....they have stalls, and the trainers say first priority is warm, clean bedding.

Randee Harvell "The other number one thing is we make sure the blankets are on them and they're nice and secure"

Blankets will be checked carefully to make sure they stay on through the cold night. Marissa Brown says says horses that live outside grow thicker, warmer coats. But those that wear blankets regularly, need them now.

Marissa "If you were to take any of our other horses like Phoenix here, and take her blanket off and leaver her with out a blanket for a night, she could freeze"

Protecting the horses' water supply is important too. Lines are checked, and trainers will break ice if it forms in the water buckets.

Randee "Horses themselves, they need water, they drink about 20-30 gallons each day, yeah, they drink a lot" 

They'll keep feeding them too...a horse's body temperature goes up when it's digesting food.

Marissa "A lot of people will give their horses extra hay on a really really cold night, to keep them eating and keep their body temperature raised that way"   

The center will lose some income the next couple of days. Lessons were cancelled to protect both horses and riders from cold and injuries.

Laura Hussey "Complicating the situation, the owner tells me there's a hay shortage this year. So to keep the horses going in the cold, they're having to use more of a more expensive commodity."