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Author Topic: Thermoregulation in Horses  (Read 1045 times)

stablemind

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Thermoregulation in Horses
« on: December 05, 2013, 05:13:29 am »

Yes, I'm actually daring to post another article that mentions blanketing horses, but I promise this one is scientific and accurate. ;)

I was fascinated to learn why Rusty Lady's coat goes all twisty when she gets sweaty in winter and why Glorie sometimes shivers late fall/early winter but rarely in the middle of winter. I found the article very interesting and plan to see what other topics are covered on the site. There's good discussion and Q&A after the article, too.

http://academialiberti.blogspot.com/2012/02/thermoregulation-in-horses-in-cold-time.html
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Jid58

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 01:07:30 pm »

Thanks for posting this. I always thought horses that were stabiled a lot did lose the ability to thermoregulate. ( Horses in barns many times seemed so cold)From what this says I think I was right. I didn't know they could twist the hairs around though. I've noticed the standing around not moving, and then the little burst of activity to warm up. It's a neat little read...
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stablemind

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 02:30:54 pm »

Rusty's hair does this when she gets ridden hard enough to get sweaty in winter. Her hair gets twisty all over, especially on her chest, and it's actually quite difficult to get it curried out flat so she doesn't dry with it stiff and twisty. If it dries this way, it loses it's fluff-ability.

There was another good article at the parent site about seasonal weight gain/loss. Years ago, I read that horses add a layer of subcutaneous fat in preparation for winter. But lately, it has just bothered me that in the fall they start getting fat. I need to remember that a certain amount of pre-winter fatness isn't necessarily a bad thing.
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Jid58

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 03:06:10 pm »

I've noticed the fat thing too, and my barn cats get real fat going into winter too.
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Patricia Mosely

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 07:11:50 pm »

Cyd, Rose's hair is the same way. It curls when she sweats. I've started using a cooler blanket, after a cold ride. It seems to help pull the moisture out of her coat and she dries quicker. Otherwise, I brush her out, then later I have to go back to the barn and brush her again so she'll fluff up.

Rose is always the first one to get her winter coat and I've noticed she starts plumping up, in early fall. But by the end of winter, she's lost weight and it's not from not eating. She's an air fern.

Pat
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G84me

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 07:41:17 pm »

Cyd,
Thanks for this link! Lots of info there for newbies and not-sure-if-I-should-blanket folks; and even us cold-blooded owners who get cold! 
In my years of horse ownership, I have blanketed only one horse -- my very old guy who passed on two years ago, and that was for only his last winter, December 2010 to February 2011, which was pretty windy.  Had to leave it to the discretion of his caretakers because he was boarded about 30 miles away.  My three are going to be nekkid again this winter.  The two black boys get really fuzzy; Lady, my gray, not so much, but she's done well without blankets so far.  We'll see what this winter brings...
Stay warm!
Joann
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- Joann
Central Ohio
Black Jack - STB gelding @ Rainbow Bridge 11/15
Lady - Tennessee Walker mare
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dawn_a

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2013, 06:19:18 am »

I SO can't wait till Zach & I buy a home on acreage so that I can manage my horse(s) the way I really want.  I've met some great horse owners in this area, and there really are some great boarding barns in this area.  But very few-to-none have run-ins or shelter in their pastures.  Almost every boarding barn in our area stalls overnight & puts blankets on the horses all day/night because they don't have shelters to get out of the bad weather.  ERG. 

That's one of the big reasons why Axle is boarded so far away from me.  I know the barn owner up there is educated about keeping horses healthy and happy.  That includes leaving them out 24/7 in good sized pastures with run-ins, and plenty of good quality grass hay (she just added slow feed nets too!).  Hard to find that kind of place to board....

Dawn
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KysaSD

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2013, 07:50:18 am »

I was intrigued by the thought at smaller horses have to work harder to keep warm, but everything about that does make sense.  That is one reason I have my horses separated strangely this winter, even though it makes more work for me.  Even with a 36x40 runin, I have seen Molly pushed outdoors by the more dominant horses.  So I have 5 with that shelter, and Molly and Savanna in a smaller pasture with a 2 horse runin.  Savanna is the boss of Molly, but she does allow Molly to come into the runin.  Today it is -14 with a wind chill of -30.  They need some shelter!
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Kysa, South Dakota, 2 Mountain Horses, a Curly Foxtrotter, a TWH and a Mini, yes, I am crazy!

Peru V N

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2013, 08:05:23 am »

I live at the edge of the snow/rain border. We get freezing rain here instead of snow. It freezes to the trees, fences and grass but also to the horses coats. Manes and tails get ice coated. With the rain wetting the coat and then it freezing, I do not see how fluffing the coat works in this kind of condition.
 My horses are usually out 24/7 but in that kind of conditions, I  put them in the barn until if stops raining or changes to snow. At least they stay dry. The barn is open on one side so not heated.
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slicksrmh

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 11:32:57 am »

That 's a great article.  I've finally been able to read through it entirely.  I've tried a few times previously, but always got sidetracked.

Since I moved Aspen back to the other barn, he's been out much more than the other horses.  He stays pastured exclusively with Stacey's horses.  When the other horses go in, he is usually out with a run in.  However, since he is king, he doesnt' always play nice and let the other boys in the shelter with him and his little queen, he's in his stall (providing that he's not a turd and lets Stacey catch him).  Some days he just has that "I don't want to" attitude and walks away.  She usually gives him three chances.  That last cold spell he and his buddies were all out, while the other boarders' horses were in their stalls.  We do blanket when it's bitter cold and windy and wet.  I actually just got him a new weatherproof sheet with no fill for those days.  Depending on the other boarders' horses and pasture arrangements, he doesnt' always have access to shelter.
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Laurie

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2013, 06:12:39 am »

thanks for posting that link....made me feel a little better about my guys out in this ice storm :)
They do have cover next to the barn if they choose to stand under it. I've never blanketed one and they have done fine....like the article said....it's easier for them to warm up than cool down.  I am providing more hay than usual. Our cold weather usually doesn't last that long- thank heavens! I don't know how you guys in the North manage in the snow and ice.  Just a few days of it stresses me out ;D  Its 19 degrees and falling....really cold for us southerners!

Laurie
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 06:19:25 am by Laurie »
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MyBoyG

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2013, 05:10:33 pm »

This is G's first winter being out 24/7.  He has a nice double wide shelter with half the front enclosed for protection.  My concerns, especially after reading this, are 1) he is turned out by himself and 2) he doesn't  have 24 hour access to hay.  In winter, they're kept in their paddocks, so no interaction with the barnlords horses, except tag over the fence.  He gets  3 big flakes of hay am and pm and 1-2 flakes at lunch, dependent on size.  The way he eats, I'm not sure he would ever stop eating if it was always in front of him.  Don't plan on blanketing and we do have the option of putting him up in his stall at night if we have blizzard conditions.  So far, I've discovered he will spend the majority of his time in the shed when its raining (based on poop count ;) )  we'll see about snow and ice soon  :D  He has been more relaxed at this farm than any of the prior ones and I attribute much of it to not being stalled at night anymore.  It will be interesting to see how we survive winter.
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Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.

kckc

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2013, 05:50:22 pm »

he's probably love one of those slow feeder tubs with the feeder holes in it
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GloriousJourney

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2013, 08:07:40 am »

Reading all of these posts brings me back to my past, with keeping horses dry and comfortable. I never blanketed when I lived up north. NOW, I have the opposite problem. I live in sticky nasty South Florida where the weather this week is STILL in the eighties with high humidity and rain. YUK!! My pony looks like a small chocolate yak, and my TWH has almost an inch of hair. I am going to clip them both ASAP, but cannot get a day that they can be bathed, and actually get DRY before I clip them. I have been reasearching "wet" clipping after bathing, and just may give that a try. I have to get my boys some respite from the heat. I do have very light blankets available just in case we get a "Florida winter" after they have been clipped, but they are suffering under lots of hair and miserable heat. A little bit of cold actually sounds refreshing...but of couse either extreme is awful.
Lesley
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Lesley in Jupiter

2gaits

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Re: Thermoregulation in Horses
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2013, 10:02:12 am »

That was an interesting article.  Thanks for posting.  I've been concerned a few times when we get freezing temperatures but according to the article my horses are equipped to handle it.  They always seem fine in the cold.  The high heat here in the summer is probably harder on them.
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