Horses are animals, and like all other living beings they need to be cared for with the proper housing and nutrition in order to live a long life. Keeping horses outside during heavy rain is not something that you can do if you’re just getting started on horse ownership.
Horses are well-adapted to the rain, but can still suffer from hypothermia and dehydration. This article provides insight into how to keep your horse safe during a storm. Read more in detail here: why do horses stand still in the rain.
When it begins to rain, we often assume that the best location for our horses is indoors (after all, that is what we want), but is it truly what your horse wants? Most horses, according to research, prefer to be outdoors, but is this truly the best option for them?
Is it safe to let a horse out in the rain? Most horses can gladly be outdoors without any difficulties if they haven’t been clipped and the rain isn’t too heavy (or the wind isn’t too severe). They require their coat to stay warm, so blanketing them is a good idea if they’ve been clipped.
When it’s raining, everyone has their own opinion on whether it’s better to bring a horse in or not, making it difficult to know what to do. Both sides make compelling arguments, but the simple reality is that every horse is unique, and every situation is unique, therefore there is no one-size-fits-all solution, which is why I chose to create this post. I’ve had several horses over the years and learned (sometimes the hard way) what works best for them, so I thought it would be useful to set out the facts so you can make a more educated choice regarding your horse’s winter care.
Is it permissible to leave a horse in the rain?
Horses have a natural waterproof coat that helps to keep them warm and dry. However, although this works well most of the time, it is less effective when the rain is really heavy or lasts for an extended length of time. The issue is that when their coat becomes wetter, it clumps together and adheres to their body. This means the horse is no longer able to remain warm and may soon become severely chilly, perhaps succumbing to hypothermia.
That isn’t to suggest that as soon as the sky turns gray, you should hurry to get your horse inside; it just indicates that they shouldn’t be left out in the rain. If you’ve ever seen a horse in the rain, you’ll notice that they’ll seek shelter behind a tree or huge shrub. We should follow their lead and ensure that they have enough cover; only then will they be safe to leave outside in the rain.
When the rain becomes particularly heavy in the nature, horses will utilize natural cover to hide from the rain. Combining this approach with the usage of a shelter can enable your horse to remain out in the fiercest of rainstorms.
Is it possible for horses to get ill from being in the rain?
Just though the rain itself won’t injure your horse (unless it flattens his coat and let the cold in), doesn’t imply that the rain’s effects won’t. There are a variety of circumstances and challenges that arise as a result of the rain.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial illness that may cause fever, stomach discomfort, lack of appetite, and even cause a mare to abort her foal. It is thankfully rather uncommon. Normally, the creature resides under the soil, but when the soil is disturbed by heavy rain, the bacterium is transported to the surface, where it may swiftly spread to adjacent pastures.
Rain rot, also known as dew poisoning, is a bacterial skin infection caused by the Dermatophilus Congolensis bacterium (or D. Congolensis for short). This bacterium grows naturally on a horse’s skin, but wet and humid circumstances may induce infections, resulting in dry scabby sores on the back and neck of horses exposed to the rain.
The good news is that it’s pretty simple to avoid this by grooming your horse’s coat on a regular basis. However, if you live in a location with a lot of rain and high humidity, this isn’t always the case. It’s important not to let your horse get too wet in these situations, or at the very least make sure he dries off fast.
Mud fever is caused by the horse standing on wet and muddy ground for an extended length of time, similar to rain rot (and caused by the same bacteria). Mud fever exclusively affects the legs and is caused by the horse staying on wet and muddy ground for an extended period of time. Normally, bacteria that dwell on the surface of the skin remain there, but when the skin is weakened by mud, the germs may break through and create an illness.
Infections of the hoof
Thrush is the most prevalent hoof infection, affecting mostly frogs (although it can sometimes affect the heel). It’s caused by continuous contact with water, and it may make it difficult for the horse to walk since the delicate hoof tissues are frequently exposed.
Many people do not consider the impact of rain on mosquito populations, but it may, regrettably, dramatically boost their numbers, particularly if the rain has created a lot of standing water or if you live in a place with a lot of summer rain and high humidity, such as Florida.
While mosquitoes won’t harm your horse, they may spread a variety of illnesses, so a good pest control strategy is necessary.
How can I keep my horse dry in the rain?
While there’s little you can do about the rain (unless relocate to a less rainy place), there are some things you can do to help your horse cope with it.
Make sure your horse has a safe place to stay.
If you don’t do anything else to keep your horse dry, at the very least give him with a shelter. Natural shelter is acceptable (and preferable to none), but a three-sided shelter is the best option. This will enable the air to flow while also allowing him to seek shelter from the rain if necessary.
Brush your horse on a regular basis.
Brushing your horse on a regular basis may help him stay dry in two ways. It will first remove any muck from his coat, lowering the risk of illness, but it will also encourage the creation of natural waterproofing oils. These oils will not only condition (and shine) your horse’s coat, but they will also protect him from the rain by acting as a water repellent in his coat.
Pig oil may be applied to your horse’s legs.
If you’ve ever seen cross country or eventing, you’ve probably noticed that the horses’ chests are covered in a white substance. This is most likely pig oil, which is excellent for waterproofing your horse’s legs. Spraying it gently on his legs will keep the dirt from clinging to them, avoiding mud fever and other illnesses. Pig oil is available at most tack shops, but if not, you may simply get it from Amazon.
Your horse’s legs should be bandaged.
If your horse’s legs get really muddy, it may seem paradoxical, but wrapping them loosely in bandages will aid in the drying of the muck and is vastly preferable than hosing them down. You may just brush the muck away after it has dried.
Your horse’s tail should be trimmed.
If your horse’s tail is prone to become very muddy during the winter months, cutting it will assist to avoid this and reduce the danger of illness from germs found in the mud. But don’t worry, it’ll grow back in time for him to start swatting flies in the summer.
Make sure your horse isn’t too blanketed.
When it’s raining, the temperature is often milder, so keeping this in mind when blanketing your horse can lessen the risks of him overheating, which has its own set of concerns.
Distribute hay across your horse’s paddock.
If you leave your horse turned out for the winter (or at least a portion of it) and feed hay in the pasture, don’t put it all in one spot. Using lesser quantities in several locations will keep any one area from getting too muddy and marshy. Avoiding placing it in high-traffic places, such as entrances, will have the same effect.
Cover muddy areas with straw.
This isn’t for those who want a clean yard, but placing straw on top of muddy and/or damp portions of the pasture can assist to absorb some of the water. It will also function as a barrier between the wet ground and your horse’s hooves and legs, reducing bogginess and providing some cushioning.
Make sure your horse has some ways to pass the time.
If the weather is simply too awful and you have no choice but to bring your horse in, make sure you have lots of boredom busters on hand to keep him entertained and interested while he’s stalling. I like to use a ground feeder, such as a ball feeder (available on Amazon), but there are other other possibilities.
Is it possible for horses to be outside during a thunderstorm?
You may be shocked to learn that although some horses may be terrified by bright flashes or loud bangs, most horses like being outdoors during a thunderstorm. In reality, not only do most horses love it, but being outdoors during a thunderstorm is typically safer for them.
Some say that stalling a horse in an open field during a storm is preferable since it decreases the risk of injury. Of course, there is some logic here, but there is also the argument that if a horse is outdoors, it may continue to go and so is safer. This is undoubtedly true in the case of tornadoes and hurricanes, but lightning may move so quickly that I’m not sure a horse could outrun it.
There’s no doubt that if a horse is in a field with trees, they’ll be less likely to be hit by lightning, but there’s still a chance they’ll be wounded if lightning strikes a tree, which is why many people opt to bring their horses in during a thunderstorm.
Essentially, there is no right or wrong answer as to whether or not you should bring your horse in during a storm; each owner must do what is best for them and their horse based on the weather and imminent threats.
Personally, I like to keep my horses outside since it enables them to make their own decisions about what is in their best interests and allows them to continually adjust to changing surroundings. The only two limitations I have are that your horse must have enough shelter and that you must provide it. I also have a lightning rod adjacent to the shelter to reduce the likelihood of lightning striking it.
Reading list for the future
Products that are suggested
I’ve tried hundreds of different horsey goods over the years, from various blankets and halters to various goodies. I’ve liked some and disliked others, but I wanted to share with you my top all-time favorite goods, the ones I never leave the yard without. I’ve given links to the goods that I believe are fantastic (in no particular order).
- Mane and Tail Detangler – Even if you never exhibit your horse, you’ll need to disentangle his tail (and maybe his mane) from time to time, which is always a difficult task! I’ve discovered that running a little detangler through my horse’s tails every few days keeps them from mattifying and makes combing them simple, even when they’re covered in muck. It also works wonderfully on my hair, which I’m not sure whether I should disclose or not.
- TAKEKIT Pro clippers – I’ve tried a number of various clippers over the years, and although some were clearly better than others, these were by far the finest. They’re heavier than many other clippers, which I think is a good thing since it makes them seem more solid and durable. Furthermore, they come in a variety of speeds, making them as effective at trimming your horse’s back as they are his face. I also enjoy that they come with a convenient travel bag, although that isn’t for everyone. The firm that manufactures them is fantastic, and they’re also really helpful, which is a huge plus these days. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it didn’t come with any oil, but it’s not a big deal since lubricant isn’t hard to get by.
- Shire’s ball feeder — There are a plethora of boredom-busting toys available, but I like to use them on a daily basis, regardless of whether or not my horses are bored. I found that giving my horses with treats (or pieces of fruit) not only encourages them to solve problems, but it also mirrors their natural grazing activity, which helps to keep them relaxed and de-stressed.
- Horse safe mirror – This is an odd one that many people are startled by, but I prefer to have horse safe mirrors in the trailers and quarantine stalls. It helps to alleviate feelings of loneliness by creating the idea that there are other horses around. Horses, like herd animals, may get severely anxious if they think they are alone, but with these stick-on mirrors, they assume at least one other horse is around.
I hope you found this post to be informative. If you do, I’d like it if you could share it with me since it would be quite helpful.
Watch This Video-
Horses can’t get enough of the rain, but they are not always good at coping with it. They will shiver and shake in cold rain, and they might even refuse food when it’s raining outside. Reference: horse shivering in cold rain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it OK to leave a horse out in the rain?
A: This depends on what your horse is made out of. If the horse is made out of plastic, it should be fine to leave it outside even if youre in a downpour. However, if the horse is metal or wood, they will most likely rust and need maintenance after being left outside for long periods of time despite their material.
Do horses need shelter from rain?
A: Horses are able to tolerate rain with minimal discomfort, and thrive in wet conditions. They need protection from intense sun exposure though.
Is it okay for horses to stand in the rain?
A: Well, yes and no. Horses can typically take a lot of moisture in their feet so they dont feel the wetness as much but its also important to make sure that your horse doesnt get chilled or develop open wounds from being outside. If youre unsure if taking your horse out is going to be okay then please consult a professional before doing so.
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