Desert Horse-Keeping

From hydration to irrigation, learn how to combat challenges that come with caring for horses in arid climates.
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Desert Horse-Keeping
Keeping horses in the desert presents a number of challenges, including keeping horses hydrated, preserving pasture, providing shelter from the elements, and more. | Photo: iStock

Combat challenges that come with caring for horses in arid climates.

Horse owners in cold, wet climates dread the springtime rain and mud that eventually breathe a rainbow of life back into their barren winter landscapes. But those residing where sun-and-saguaro, 100-degree heat is the norm deal with an entirely different set of challenges. By May, the rains—if they’ve materialized at all—have pretty much vaporized, paving the way for months of sun-baked soil and parched vegetation.

Yet not all desert is equal. Higher-elevation desert (think inland Northwest and Great Plains) deals with temperatures just as cold as—or colder than—those back east and down south. Large areas of the United States fall into the desert category, which is loosely defined as areas receiving less than 12 inches of rain per year

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Written by:

Diane Rice earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin, then married her education with her lifelong passion for horses by working in editorial positions at Appaloosa Journal for 12 years. She has also served on the American Horse Publications’ board of directors. She now freelances in writing, editing, and proofreading. She lives in Middleton, Idaho, and spends her spare time gardening, reading, serving in her church, and spending time with her daughters, their families, and a myriad of her own and other people’s pets.

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