Extremes in our weather are becoming more commonplace and on the back of record-breaking summer temperatures winter is likely to follow suit. Horses feel uncomfortable and fall ill just as easily as humans in extreme temperatures – hot or cold – so the quality of your shelter, including your choice of bedding is essential.
We all know that extreme temperatures can be dangerous, and with the climate becoming increasingly unpredictable each year it’s important that you can keep your horse comfortable, safe and well rested in both cold and hot weather.
Horses have evolved to cope with our summers and winters but depending on their condition they are most comfortable at temperatures between 7°C and 15°C. If your horse experience temperatures outside of this range, it’s more at risk from complications which can go on to affect their well-being.
The easiest way to understand the impact of cold weather on your horse is to think about the basics of heat exchange. This is when warm objects, or animals like your horse, will lose heat to the environment around them whenever the air temperature is colder than it is. The colder the air around your horse, the greater the heat loss will be.
Horses in good health and good body condition with a fully-grown winter coat can withstand significant drops in temperature. However, as cleverly designed as their winter coat is, it won’t protect them in all conditions. A combination of a cold wind and rain, or sleet, is probably the worst-case scenario for a horse, under those conditions, without shelter, they can quickly become chilled.
In 2013 one of the worst blizzards on record spread through a mid-western U.S. state leaving destruction in its path. The storm began with rain, soaking horse and cattle that had not yet grown their winter coats. Heavy winds followed, adding freezing temperatures as the rain transformed to snow. Tragically, without access to a shelter, an estimated 10% of the state’s livestock was wiped out – that’s around 100,000 animals.
To protect horses from severe weather conditions in winter a good shelter, with adequate bedding, can go a long way. Horses that have access to a shelter can conserve up to 20% more body heat than horses that are exposed.
Summer is a great time to be outside with our horses. Extra daylight hours mean more chances to ride but the summer heat can be dangerous for your horse and lead to dehydration, lethargy, diarrhoea, colic, and even death.
You will have heard of heat exhaustion and will know how it can affect humans. But for horses it can be life-threatening. In fact, if a horse’s core temperature reaches 40°C their metabolic system will be affected, and if it goes to 40.5°C or higher, their organs and circulatory system may start to shut down. Identifying early warning signs of heat exhaustion is critical to avoiding devastating consequences.
Horses get hotter much faster than humans. Professor Michael Lindinger, an animal and exercise physiologist at the University of Guelph, explains: “It only takes 17 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in hot, humid weather to raise a horse’s temperature to dangerous levels. That’s three to 10 times faster than in humans. Horses feel the heat much worse than we do.”
Not only do horses warm up more quickly than us they also cool down far more slowly, as a result of their lower surface area-to-volume ratio.
Research shows that your choice of bedding can make a significant difference to keeping your horse warmer in winter and cooler in summer. That’s because cardboard has some of the highest performing insulating properties, more so than wood shavings, straw and wood chips. In fact, cardboard animal bedding could be up to 245% more insulating than wood chips, 73% more than straw, and 44% more than wood shavings.
Cardboard’s high insulation value can be attributed its assembly. Fluting is formed by the arched shapes that create space between layers of board and act as pockets that trap air. Since air is a poor conductor of heat, it takes time to both acquire or release heat. So, in the winter cardboard bedding can keep your horse warm, and in the summer, it will keep them cool.
As we move away from warm summer days to cold winter nights it’s the perfect time to think about switching to a bedding that’s naturally insulating. BedKind was created with one goal in mind – to improve the health and happiness of animals. It will keep your horse cool, comfortable and fully rested in summer – and in the winter, cosy and warm.
Our cardboard bedding is scientifically proven to provide high levels of insulation. But don’t just take our word for it - read what our customers have to say…
My horse is 27, so it gives me piece of mind that she has a nice warm, cushioned bed to sleep on, protecting her joints when she’s in at night. Since switching to BedKind, she has even started using her banks as pillows! Thank you BedKind for giving my old girl a better quality of life when she’s in the stable!"
Megan Oliver – Northamptonshire
"We’re so pleased with how BedKind is working for our 3 ponies, it’s so absorbent plus it makes a lovely, warm, and fluffy bed.”
Lizzie Burton – Essex
"I first fell for BedKind last year because of Hollyfield needed surgery last year after an injury. I wanted to give his recovery the best chance possible, and I knew that my bedding choice would be important to minimise infection. My vets were using cardboard bedding, largely because it’s virtually dust-free – not to mention its many other benefits – so we had to try it! Since we’ve moved over to BedKind, our mucking out time has halved, the beds remain big and soft, and the horses love sleeping on it! We won’t be turning back!"
Lissa Green Eventing – Oxfordshire
Give your horse the bedding it deserves
This year alone, 98% of our customers said they would recommend BedKind to a friend!
BedKind bedding doesn’t just keep your horse warm, dry, and comfortable when they rest. It has a wide range of benefits such as its ease of use, and cost efficiencies! Find out more here.
If you have a question about BedKind please get in touch by using our handy contact form, give us a call on 01234 862169, or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org.