As you’re wrapped up in layers of clothing, you may be wondering if your horse is cold. They’re standing out in the chilly wind and wet snow. Can they handle it? Every horse mom has the right to be concerned. Winter is tough on people and animals! Make sure you know the facts.
Can they get cold?
Horses are mammals, which means they can get cold just like people. Lucky for them, they can withstand much colder temperatures. Horses are able to grow a winter coat that protects them. Not only does it keep them warm, but it also keeps them dry!
The hair on your horse is able to stand up in a process called piloerection. This creates an insulating layer that increases the hair depth and traps the heat next to their bodies. Unfortunately, wet fur is unable to stand up. That explains why wet horses get cold faster!
What are their ideal conditions?
Your horse is likely to do their best between 18 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit. And while they can handle much colder, you should offer some sort of shelter when conditions get frigid. Your horse probably prefers to be outside, so a run-in or trees to escape to is usually fine.
How do horses stay warm?
It’s imperative that your horse has access to unfrozen drinking water and hay. When temperatures are critical, your horse will begin to burn calories to create body heat. If you don’t provide extra food, they’ll start using their body energy reserves, also known as fat. This can cause them to quickly drop weight in the winter!
So yes, your horse can get cold! Just remember… they’re much hardier than people.
Don’t forget to check out ‘Beat The Cold With These Winter Riding Tips‘.