Cold Weather Horse Management Tips

Ensure horses have adequate shelter, water, dry bedding, and feed when temperatures drop.

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Cold Weather Horse Management Tips
Young growing horses will likely require a concentrate in addition to ample hay to meet their increased caloric needs. | Photo: Matt Barton/UK Agricultural Communications

As the calendar flips from December to January, the coldest months of winter are typically just settling in. To help owners weather the winter, an equine expert from the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is sharing some tips for managing horses during extremely cold weather.

While the ideal time for cold weather preparation is in the fall, there are some steps you can take now to help keep your horses healthy. Bob Coleman, PhD, PAS, extension equine specialist in UK’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences, said horse owners should prepare for both acute and chronic cold; acute cold occurs during the cold snaps that last for short time periods, while chronic cold takes hold and stays in a region for a much longer duration. In some cases acute situations can be more dangerous than chronic cold, he said, because animals aren’t as used to the cold and owners might less prepared to combat the temperatures.

Regardless of the type of cold, owners should ensure horses have adequate shelter, water, dry bedding, and feed, he said

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