Horses’ Shade Preferences Evaluated

Researchers sought to investigate horses’ preferences when it comes to standing in shade or in the sun.
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Horses’ Shade Preferences Evaluated
The team concluded that shade provides horses significant physiological benefits, even with limited use, and when given the choice mature horses show a preference for using shade under summer conditions | Photo: Kathryn Holcomb

The benefit of horse housing might be obvious during cold winter months, but what about during sun-filled summer days?

Researchers at the University Of California, Davis (UC Davis), College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Animal Science worked together to execute several studies to investigate. Researcher Kathryn Holcomb, PhD, presented the results of two studies at the 9th Annual International Society for Equitation Science, held July 18-20 at the University of Delaware in Newark.

“Research shows that shade benefits livestock, leading to increased weight gain and milk production,” Holcomb said, but existing research about horse housing and weather primarily focuses on winter conditions. For the two UC Davis studies, researchers chose to look at climate conditions more common in California—sunshine and heat

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Written by:

Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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