Horizon Structures Presents Series: Good Reasons Not To Brave The Weather When It Comes To Horse Care

by Nikki Alvin-Smith

 The reality of the suffering or health damage that brutally cold or extremely hot temperatures can inflict on horses is sometimes overlooked when it comes to horse care.

Consider the ever-present conflicts and conversations about whether a horse should be blanketed and if so at what temperature or humidity level, or the advertisements touting what shampoos can assuage discoloration of a pristine black equine coat or product can protect a gray horse from melanoma as good examples of issues related to horse care in certain types of weather.

There are many good reasons not to brave the weather when it comes to horse care, and these are just a few.

If you’ve ever lived in Wyoming or Montana and other regions where arctic air breezes in each year with the subtlety of the interest a mare in season shows in a stallion, then you’ve seen the results of frostbite on the stubby eared equines that showcase their exposure to Mother Nature’s wrath.

For those of us with experience in the world of horse breeding we know just how fast a foal or weanling can become dehydrated or chilled despite their otherwise apparent good health due to extremes of temperature and exposure to sun and rain. Elderly equine statesmen are similar to the youngstock in that their temperature regulation is not in full operation working to ideal capacity so also similarly to their junior counterparts they are at risk for health issues caused by severe weather (be it hot or cold).

Horses that ‘go to the doctor’ aren’t given a written warning the way a human receives information, that the doxycycline they’ve been prescribed to treat Anaplasmosis or Lyme disease can cause them eye damage if they don’t protect their eyes from the glare of the blinding sun that reflects off snow or water. The Equus is painfully unaware (or will be) that liver damage may result from too much exposure to the sun’s rays when taking certain drugs. Indeed often, the horse caregivers themselves are blind to the side effects of medicines prescribed or over the counter remedies that can be purchased for treatment of equine maladies.

Is A Run-In Shed Enough?

The provision of a permanent form of shelter (not seasonal hedgerows or tree canopies) is always a good start to providing protection from the elements for horses at pasture.

While the horses have the opportunity to choose between being under cover of its roof or standing in the pasture the reality is the equine resident does not always make the smart decision. Like naughty children they sometimes do the complete opposite of what we expect them to do. Instead of seeking shade from the midday sun, they will stand next to the cooling effect of the water trough with their heads hanging low over the water surface catching sunburn on their white or pink noses. In the blasts of a Nor’Easter they will stubbornly stand by the gate knee deep in mud rather than huddle up in the back of the run-in shed.

So sadly, no, sometimes the run-in shed is not enough to provide the shelter needed in extreme weather conditions. Its 3-sided protection cannot abate whipping winds that bring wind chills to minus double digits of -30 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. While the horse’s long neck will help protect its lungs from the damage of the bitter cold air, the extremities of the horse are exposed and subject to frostbite.

Horses do not innately know that the sun’s rays are bad for them when they are taking certain medications or have a genetic make-up that makes them prone to health problems.

The Immeasurable Pleasure Of Owning A Horse Barn

There is an audible sigh of relief heard from most horse caregivers when their herd is safely shepherded into the warmth of well-bedded stalls during horrid weather or rescued from the incessant activities of biting flies and ensconced in cool, shady stables.

A barn offers the horse a respite from extremes of weather, but it also serves a valuable purpose as a hospital bed or an examination room.

The horse barn offers a retreat for the Equus suffering from too much herd interaction and can mitigate its ability to overindulge on sugary short green pastures of Fall and the rich spiking grass of Spring. In times of extreme human behavior, such as neighbors setting off celebratory fireworks, the barn can also become a much appreciated refuge and safe harbor for the noise sensitive equine.

An enclosed barn stall is an open plan dining/living room and bathroom for the horse, and yes, as such it does require more horsey housework. It also requires a capital investment. Nonetheless, owning one is a capital idea. You’ll never regret it. And don’t forget, what’s good for the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a human.

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Feel free to contact Nikki Alvin-Smith for further information and high res photos.

 About Horizon Structures:  One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners.  At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.

All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –

Horizon Structures also sells chicken coops, equine hay feeders, greenhouses, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures and playsets.

Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook.  Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business.  He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.

For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com

Horizon Structures LLC, Atglen, PA
Media Contact: NAS@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com
Tel: 607 434 4470

Photos are available on request.

About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
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Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.