Discuss Keeping Horses Comfortable in Winter Temperatures at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums. Keeping Horses Comfortable in Winter Temperatures
by: University of Minnesota Extension January 30 2008, Article ...
Keeping Horses Comfortable in Winter Temperatures
Keeping Horses Comfortable in Winter Temperatures
by: University of Minnesota Extension January 30 2008, Article # 11246
However, horses should have access to shelter from wind, sleet, and storms.
Easy access to a stable or open-sided shed works well, as do trees if a building is not available.
In the absence of wind and moisture, horses, acclimated to the extreme cold can tolerate temperatures near 5°.
If horses have access to a shelter, they can tolerate temperatures as low as 40° below zero.
However, horses are most comfortable at temperatures between 18° if the horse has a winter coat and 59° if the horse has a summer or wet coat, Hathaway said.
Keep in mind that a horse’s winter coat can be an excellent insulator, but its insulating value is lost if it gets wet, so it is important to keep the horse dry and sheltered from moisture.
Blanketing the horse is beneficial when the wind-chill and/or temperature is less than comfortable.
Hathaway encouraged horse owners who house their horses in closed and heated stables to make sure they are properly ventilated. Poorly ventilated barns can result in respiratory problems.
In terms of feeding, energy needs for maintenance of horses increase 1.4% for each degree of temperature below 18°. Hathaway advised it is best to provide the extra energy as forage (hay).
For example, if the temperature is zero, a 1,000-pound idle, adult horse would need an additional four pounds of forage each day.
Ideally, forage would be provided on a free choice basis so the horse could eat what it needed.
Much more heat is produced when forages are fermented, which helps heat the horse from the inside, compared to the digestion and absorption of grains.
Most data suggest that the need for other nutrients do not change during cold weather.
Water should be kept at 45-65° (use of a tank heater, etc.) to maximize water consumption.
Waters should be cleaned regularly (even in the winter), and clean, fresh water should always be available, regardless of temperature.
So what do you do when it rains, and your horses stand out in the rain and you know the temp. is going to drop that night.
Do you try and dry them best you can and blanket ?
My horses just seem to love the rain and it drives me crazy.
Aren't your horses able to access shelter?
Don't you think they can figure out for themselves if they are comfortable or not? If they were uncomfortable they wouldn't seem to love the rain would they?
Horses with a thick, healthy winter coat shed water - but horses with shorter or thinner coats can get soaked to the skin, and it doesn't seem to take much of a drop in temperature for them to get cold. Poor things.
Do your horses shiver and stand hunched up and miserable?
If I have a horse that is shivering I address the situation, if they aren't shivering I don't worry about it.
My horses do all have access to shelter, that's why it is so aggrivating
Originally Posted by banat
to see them standing out in the rain. And I only have one that will shiver, and he is the only one that will be in the shelter staying dry to get his blanket on for the night. Now the other 3 they drive me crazy, because now there all soaking wet and I'm just waiting for the freeze to come in.
Horses don't always choose to go into shelters, even if it's pouring rain and they are shivering.
My blankets are waterproof (though I need to redo it ) and breathable, so I don't hesitate to put a blanket on a wet, shivering horse. I do try to blanket before it gets to that point, but sometimes I miss the mark.
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I will attest that this is true plus they can tolerate lower than that as well.
Originally Posted by paintedquarters
You just have to consider the possibility that everyone else may be wrong
When its raining and cold, feed extra hay. Hay/fiber is hard for the horses system to break down. The fermentation creates lots of heat from the inside out. So, if its cold and raining feeding hay will help keep your horse warm inside. 2 extra flakes of hay will keep them warm for up to 4 hours.This heat will help them through the cold and rain. If you blanket, remember to check often and put dry blankets on when the one gets wet.
"The Horse" magazine and web site is an excellent source for feeding for warmth when the temps drop or for whatever health questions you might have. Sign up, its free!
ejforrest- "A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence".
i feel your pain. My two horses have access to a shelter and a large cedar thicket. For the longest they wouldn't go in the lean-to, but rather stayed in the cedars @ night. Now that it is getting actually cold (lower that 30 at night generally) they will go into the lean-to together, but only when it gets dark...if it rains all day they are normally still out in the rain...and i always feel bad for them b/c even if they go into the shelter @ that point they are wet...but i've never noticed them shivering and i keep hay in the lean to on the ground for warth & as a suppliment when the ground freezes...so i guess they are okay...i'm just a sappy female, i'd bring them in the house if i could garuntee they'd stay off the furniture LOL
Originally Posted by shawnee1020
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