Depending on where you’re located, the winter months can bring extended periods of cold weather. While we may feel the need to protect horses during the winter months and keep them inside, they can actually tolerate cold weather very well. In fact, horses tend to be more comfortable in colder temperatures than in very warm or hot weather. And, many horses even grow thicker coats during the winter months to help protect them.
We may be tempted to have them spend more time in the barn, but keeping horses in their stalls all day can actually increase the chances of a winter illness due to poor ventilation in the barn and not enough physical activity. Therefore it’s important to ensure that horses get a lot of time outdoors for fresh air and the opportunity to exercise. Be sure to provide a horse shelter for when your horse may need to be protected from the elements. And, beware of any icy area as horses can slip and fall on icy patches.
When horses are inside the barn during the winter months, there are some things that can be done to help prevent illness. During times of extreme cold they can be covered with a blanket for additional warmth. In addition, barns should be properly ventilated in order to provide good airflow and stalls should be cleaned regularly. Proper nutrition including horse feed and hay is also important to keep horses healthy. Hay feeders can be kept outside so that horses can graze as they spend time outdoors.