Winter Shelter

On long winter nights, would our horses rather be outside or warm and dry in a barn?
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On those long winter nights, when frigid winds chill to the bone and snow or sleet or cold rain makes outdoor activities decidedly miserable, most of us like nothing better than to curl up with a good book and a steaming-hot beverage. Every now and then, we pull aside the curtains and press our noses to the chilly windowpanes and feel doubly glad that we’re snug and safe inside and that our beloved horses are out in their field.

What? Our horses, outside? On a night like this? Wouldn’t they rather be warm and dry in a barn?

Actually, probably not, says Nancy Ambrosiano of Los Alamos, N.M., U.S. Pony Clubber and co-author of Complete Plans for Building Horse Barns Big and Small, 2nd edition. ‘A healthy, unclipped horse will do just fine outside in most North American winters. Even in Fairbanks, Aka., where I used to live, many horses lived outside and rarely sought shelter–and that was in temperatures of down to minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit! Of course, those horses were acclimated to the conditions, had very heavy winter coats, and were hardy and in good health

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Written by:

Jennifer O. Bryant is editor-at-large of the U.S. Dressage Federation’s magazine, USDF Connection. An independent writer and editor, Bryant contributes to many equestrian publications, has edited numerous books, and authored Olympic Equestrian. More information about Jennifer can be found on her site,

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