Horses have natural body heat. As a horse’s metabolism burns food, it diverts the energy to maintain the body temperature automatically during cold weather. Plus, the fur provides insulation which helps some horses to withstand cold as low as zero degrees. Still, there are two ways to protect your horse from chilly temperatures, to ease your mind about your equestrian friend in the winter.
Horses require plenty of food and water during the winter. Your horse may eat more hay or grain when it’s cold to keep the body heat regular. Horses also tend to move less often in the winter, so that most of the energy from food will go toward maintaining the body temperature. Water is also vital to the horse’s temperature. Most horses drink more than 10 gallons of water in the warmer months. A percentage of the horse’s moisture comes from its food. Grain, hay, and feed will have less moisture in the winter, meaning that your horse needs more water to compensate.
Providing shelter for a horse is one way to ensure that it survives bitter cold. There are several ways to shield the animal from the cold, such as building a stable, using a shed, or providing blankets. Stables have four sides to keep out the winter elements, including howling winds which can sometimes spook a horse. A shed usually has an open front, allowing for a horse to seek shelter when needed. Blankets provide an additional layer of warmth but make sure that it is breathable. If a horse is sweating under the rug, it could be colder wearing the blanket, than just using its own naturally created heat.