I always tell folk from south that Orkney has mild winters, and contrary to common belief, we don't get much snow and we can go a couple of years without a hard frost.
The only thing we can say for this year is that, though we DID get snow, frost AND ICE, we fared much better than the rest of the UK!
There was treacherous ice, earth turned to mud by melting snow, then frozen into rock-like chunks where the ground had been poached. And between the snowy & frosty spells, we had typical winter gales to keep us out of the saddle for much of the winter.
As soon as the ice melted, the wind dropped and the ground began to dry out, out came the ponies. They were as grateful as we, ourselves, for the break in the monotony. Little surprise, though, that they came home sweating! Their bodies had acclimatised to the extreme cold and windchill and, lacking regular outings, they were unfit!
If this happens to your horse, for goodness sake, don't just sling him out, unprotected, into a windy field!