Horses are built for the cold…mostly!
Horses and ponies are amazing creatures and thru evolution have developed some pretty wonderful ways to keep themselves healthy in extreme conditions. On their own they can handle he cold very well.
Here’s the problem…humans interfere with the horses natural way of caring for themselves. Silly humans!!
Most of us keep our beloved horses at a full board barn. That’s great as there are many people around to keep a watchful eye on things. They get turn out for the day then come into their stalls for dinner. Once the horse is in his/her stall all natural ways for the horse to warm themselves ends.
We think we are doing them a favor but in the real world a horse that is outside in the cold can roll, play, move any way they like and that creates body heat. Besides hay to eat and water to drink…that’s all they need! They are very good at making the subtle adjustments needed for their health.
So, what happens when they are in the stall? All rolling, playing, etc stops. They do have hay and water so the heat generated in the digestive process is working for them but they can struggle in extreme cold.
It is so important if you keep your horse in a stall to have appropriate sheets and blankets for them to wear to conserve their body heat.
Courtney, with Anytime Tack shares, “an important thing to realized is if you don’t normally blanket your horse because they are extra fuzzy, when you decide to put a blanket on them you need to blanket as if they do not have a fuzzy coat. The weight of the blanket interferes with the horses natural way of warming themselves by puffing out their coat.”
She adds, “the breed and age of your horse needs to be taken into consideration too. Thoroughbreds and Arabs typically have thinner skin and coats so need a heavier blanket. Where your Fjord and draft breeds could use a little less blanketing. Older horses need a little extra TLC too.”
If you come to the barn and your horse is shivering you need to pay attention as they are telling you that they need some support.
If we listen…our horses are “talking” with us all the time and it is our job to be listening all the time. Stay warm out there!!