Extension > Agriculture > Livestock > Horse > Horse care and management > Equine winter care
Marcia Hathaway, PhD and Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota
Horses, given the opportunity to acclimate to cold temperature, often prefer and are better off outdoors. The Minnesota Pet and Companion Animal Welfare Act outlines several minimal care standards for food, water, shelter, space, cleanliness, exercise, and hoof care. Some of these standards become even more important in the winter. For example, the act states that snow or ice is not an adequate water source for horses and all horses must be provided free choice protection from adverse weather conditions, including extreme cold, wind, and precipitation. Shelters are not required in outside exercise paddocks, as long as horses are not kept in those paddocks during adverse weather conditions.
Keep in mind that a horse requiring special care (i.e. trimming, medications, or special diet) during summer months will need that care continued throughout the winter months too. To ease the transition into winter, horses sh...