Asked in Care of HorsesHorses
How do horses stay warm in the wind?
August 24, 2014 4:35PM
In the wild, feral horses will feel safer staying out in the open when it's windy, and will stand together with their rears into the wind. They are warm-blooded animals, so their internal body heat plus standing with their butts to the wind helps them keep warm in addition to standing together in a loosely bunched group. They won't find rocky outcrops or treed areas because of the immediate danger of predators that could pounce on them from above or sneak up from them from the shelter of the trees. Horses feel more nervous on windy days than calm days because of this perceived threat, and especially when they can't hear as well due to the howling wind.
Horses that are domesticated may seem luckier since they have access to a shed or barn to keep them sheltered from the wind, but that's just human thinking, not horse thinking. Horse thinking, no matter if they're feral or cared for by people, is to stay out in the open in the wind no matter if there's a shed standing there waiting for them to give them shelter. When given a choice, horses often will choose to stand outside in the open and wait the wind out than head to the shed or barn. Not even a blanket would comfort them or keep them warm, just standing out in the wind as Nature intended them to do is good enough for a beloved prey animal as the horse.
The only time a horse owner should worry about horses getting cold is when there is a cold rain associated with the wind. That is when the owner may want to keep them in the shed. But even then. horses out on a cold, windy day will still choose to be outside and tough it out like their feral brothers/sisters and ancestors have for millions of years.