Researchers Assess Horses’ Susceptibility to Cold, Heat Loss
Norwegian researchers have found that horses’ susceptibility to cold is individualized. Breed, genetics, body condition, coat type, exercise level, diet, age, and health all contribute to how horses lose heat—and how humans should manage that heat loss through blanketing, shelter, and feeding.
“The common management of clipping, blanketing, and stabling in warm buildings is perhaps not the best we can do to help our horse maintaining thermal comfort,” said Grete H.M. Jørgensen, PhD, of the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, in Tjøtta. “But it’s what everybody else does. It is what the professional riders do. And it is what we humans would do when we feel cold.
“Everyone loves their horses and wants to do the very best for them, but to be honest, I think the general knowledge about thermoregulation in horses is somewhat lacking,” she added. “Every individual should be evaluated separately, and management routines might change as the horse gets older, exercise routines are altered, or if the horse becomes pregnant or
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