Winter is coming! We finally had our first actually cold day here! Texas gets a late start when it comes to chilly weather. Strangely, it was 68 degrees when I woke up this morning, and 52 by 11am! Abrupt weather changes can cause complications with horses. For one, they can be a little frisky when the temperature first drops (which Chance was today ;)) or even right before. I have noticed that sometimes horses and dogs act a little nutty right before the weather changes.
Also, the beginning of winter always seems to be a big time for colic. One reason could be that they tend to not drink enough water when it is cool out, which can cause impactions. Furthermore, I think that adjusting to new temperatures can be hard on them – as it is often hard on us. Horses have very sensitive digestive systems, so that is often the part of their body that reacts to stress or environmental changes. I always feel affected by weather changes, and it takes me a while to adjust to new temperatures; so I imagine my animals go through the same thing. Also, in Texas, the weather this time of year is crazy! It can be 80 degrees out one day and 40 degrees the next; or, like this morning, the temperature can significantly drop in a few hours. Thus, it is really hard for us to get used to the cold – or the heat for that matter – and I have always felt that the horses are affected as well. Regardless of the cause for increased cases of colic in the winter, it is important for us as horse owners and trainers to be aware! We must monitor our horses water intake, and be on the lookout for symptoms of colic. I read an article last week from Kentucky Equine Research about weather changes and colic, you can find the link below or follow them on Twitter: @kyequine. They post great stuff! Also, follow me on Twitter for lots of articles and more; the link is on the right hand side of this page!
“The Role of Weather in Colic,” by Kentucky Equine Research