Does your horse colic more during the winter months than other times of the year? We posed this question to our readers in last week’s online poll. More than 180 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 186 respondents, only 43 (23%) said yes, their horses colic more frequently during the winter than other times of the year. The remaining 143 respondents (77%) said they haven’t observed this.

Additionally, more than 50 people commented about their horses’ colic history:


Several people commented about when their horses colic:

  • “The colics my horses have had have always been in the summer.”
  • “Spring and fall are the worst”
  • “Late fall seems to be his favorite time to colic. I’ve had 3 horses and he’s the only one to colic.”
  • “My horse colicked more often in the fall. He died of colic last October.”
  • “I have lost two horses due to colic–a bowel twist and tumor, both in the fall/winter.”
  • “The crazy weather in California–hot one week, freezing the next–seems to have been the cause.”
  • “Only when the temperatures go from being warm to very cold overnight or quickly.”
  • “Only colic ever was from medication given for another issue.”
  • “Two of our yearlings colicked last year in December.”
  • “I lost the gelding that was born on my farm to colic during a cold spell in January two years ago.”
  • “Almost every year between October and January. I’m a mess during these months, worrying about her.”

Others said they haven’t experienced colic with their horses:

  • “I have never had a horse colic in my many years as a horse owner.”
  • “I have been blessed to not have problems with our horses colicking any time of year.”
  • “None of my horses have ever colicked. Horse owner over 20 years. Lucky, I guess.”
  • “I have not had colic in 11 years, much more turnout now.”
  • “My OTTB gets fussier about eating in general in the winter, but hasn’t colicked (knock on wood!).”
  • “I have not had one to colic on pasture.”
  • “None of mine have ever colicked. I always make sure they have ice-free clean water.”

Some shared what management practices they use to help prevent colic:

  • “He previously did, adding beet pulp and properly managing his feed program has solved this.”
  • “Keep them on 1/2 ounce of Diamond XPC Yeast daily and have no issues.”
  • “My 31-year-old Thoroughbred is fair game year-round. Add salt to feed, 24/7/365 turnout, and lots of full water tubs all help.”
  • “I do regular feedings–five+ times a day–to prevent colic. I’ve never experience colic, ever, feeding this way.”
  • “They have heated water and 24/7 run-ins, and free access to hay.”
  • “Mine has a huge paddock, and 24/7 access to hay and water. I give her psyllium three times weekly.”

And a few left general comments:

  • “We see colic due to lack of movement and stress, secondary to main health issues”
  • “If any of my horses colicked ever, at any time of the year, I would be very concerned!”
  • “Salt should be used to encourage water intake.”

You can find additional information on colic risk factors during the winter, how to reduce your horse’s cold weather colic risk, watch a video to find out 5 things every horse owner needs to know about colic, what to do with your colicking horse until your veterinarian arrives, and how to care for the colic survivor at!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on