Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Equine Internal Combustion

Help kick-start your horse’s furnace by providing proper fuel: food, particularly good-quality forage.

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Equine Internal Combustion
Horses can be amazingly hardy. On a below-freezing day, your horse can stay warm and snug. So warm, in fact, that if you put your bare hands into his coat, you can actually warm them up. It’s hard to imagine how a horse can keep himself comfortable when you are bundled up in so many layers it looks as if you could mount an expedition to the Arctic Circle!

Your horse is very adept at keeping himself warm; in fact, it’s easier for him to warm up than cool down. He has more than one way to keep warm, but essentially, he is his own furnace. And with furnaces, if you put in the right fuel, heat is created. You can help kick-start that furnace in your horse by providing the proper fuel. For the horse, that fuel is food–and some foods are better for this purpose than others.

But first, let’s look at some of the ways horses stay warm.

Seasonal Insulation

“In the fall, horses that have adequate feed supplies are beginning to put on more body fat, creating insulation and stored energy,” says Bob Coleman, PhD, BSc, assistant professor and extension horse specialist at the University of Kentucky, in

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Written by:

Sharon Biggs Waller is a freelance writer for equine ­science and human interest publications. Her work has appeared in several publications and on several websites, and she is a classical dressage instructor.

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