Should Horses Have Shelter in the Winter?
As the weather gets colder, horse owners need to take extra care of their animals. This involves making sure that their horses are well-protected from the harsh winter conditions in horse shelters. To achieve this, providing adequate shelter is essential.
Shelter Provides Protection from Harsh Winter Elements
Horses are known for being hardy animals, yet they even need protection from harsh winter weather. Bitter cold, freezing rain and heavy snow can be detrimental to your horse’s health if they are left exposed for extended periods. Adequate shelter provides a refuge from these elements, helping to keep your horse warm and dry.
Maintaining Overall Health with Horse Shelters
Although horses are known for being able to generate body heat, they are not immune to the cold. When temperatures drop significantly, horses need to use more energy to maintain their body temperature. Additionally, horses are prone to respiratory infections, frostbite, and hypothermia, particularly if their coat stays wet for too long. Plus, horse hooves can develop ice balls if they do not have a dry place to stand during portions of the day. These pieces of ice stuck in your horse’s hooves can create tremendous discomfort and result in injury. Horses with no shelter are far more likely to fall ill without the opportunity to escape harsh winter weather.
A Shelter Stores Food Water and More for Your Horse Through Winter
Horse shelters such as stables, barns, or even sheds can provide storage place for their feed, keeping them dry and protected. During winter, horses may require more feed due to their extra energy expenditure, so it is vital to ensure that their food stays dry and that you have plenty to feed them. Access to clean and fresh water is also essential, especially during winter when water sources may freeze. Also, storing other items related to caring for your horses in the same place will make things easier. With a horse barn or run-in shed, you can achieve all objectives: keeping your horses dry, ensuring proper nutrition, and having a convenient place to store their items.
How Much Space Do Horses Need in a Barn or Stable
Providing a run-in shed or shelter is sufficient for some horses. If you want to offer more comfortable surroundings you should consider constructing a barn or stable. The amount of stall size required primarily depends on the size of the horse. For a fully grown horse a minimum area of 10×10 to 12×12 is recommended, providing room for the horse to move around and stretch its legs. However, miniature horses or ponies can do well with a smaller space of 8×10. By providing your horse with enough space, you can rest assured they will remain dry, comfortable, and happy. Please remember horses that are kept in stalls need to have dry bedding each day if they do not have access to the outdoors without daily turnout. They also need access to clean food in water within the stall.
Full Circle Equine for All Your Equine Needs
As a horse owner, providing your horses with access to shelter during the winter season is essential. Whether you have a well-equipped barn or a simple run-in shed, shelter will protect your horses from harsh weather conditions, maintain their body temperature, prevent cold-related health issues, and reduce stress for their overall comfort. At Full Circle Equine, we understand that owning a horse is a huge responsibility and we commend all horse owners. If we can ever assist you with any of your horse’s needs, we are here and happy to help.
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