Running Hot and Cold: Caring for Horses During Weather Changes
When the mercury rises or drops dramatically, will your horse be prepared?
In October 2013 South Dakota livestock and farmers were experiencing balmy 70- and 80-degree temperatures when a storm moved in from the Rockies and a cold front from Canada. The collision of the air masses created heavy rain, winds up to 70 mph, and a dangerous blizzard. Many cattle drifted with the storm, piling up against fences, getting covered with snow, and freezing to death because they were soaked with rain before the snow and cold temperatures set in. Though there were some equine losses, outdoor horses generally fared better than cattle because they’re more adept at finding windbreak and shelter. But horses with no reprieve from the elements likely suffered cold stress and frostbite.
Similarly, albeit not so drastically, horses might have a tough time adjusting to the elements when moving from a cold climate to a hot one (or vice versa) or when body-clipped during a serious cold snap.
When horses have a chance to adjust gradually to seasons changing, they typically tolerate heat and cold well, says Bob Coleman, PhD, PAS, associate professor and equine extension specialist at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington. It’s the combination of temperature extremes and swings that can be stressful. Here’s how to help your horse handle these conditions and battle cold or heat
Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.
Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with