At What Temperature Does Your Horse Start to Get Cold?
Horses will start feeling cold below certain critical temperatures. For a clipped horse, or one with a summer coat, the average critical temperature is 40°F. For horses with a thick winter coat, the critical temperature can be as low as 18°F.
Once a horse’s coat becomes wet, the critical temperature will increase by anywhere from 10°F to 15°F. For example, a dry horse will stay warm until the temperature goes below 18°F, while a wet horse will begin to get cold at 33°F.
When monitoring the outside temperature, always consider the effects of wind chill and use that as your lowest temperature. Remember, smaller horses, seniors, horses in a new environment, or underweight individuals, may be more sensitive to the cold than a big stout horse.
so how cold is too cold to give a horse a bath?
Once a horse is completely wet they can get cold very quickly. The average critical temperature for a horse with a short coat is 40°F. Below that, they feel cold. Once a horse’s coat becomes completely wet to the skin, even a long fuzzy winter coat loses its ability to keep the horse warm.
When a horse is wet, his critical temperature will increase by anywhere from 10°F to 15°F; therefore, it would be unwise to bathe a horse if the temperatures are below 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have to bathe your horse in cooler weather when there is a chance they may get cold, choose an area where they are protected from the wind—a warm sunny spot is best, and use warm water.
After their bath, monitor your horse frequently to be sure they are drying off and not shivering. You can utilize a cooler or a heat lamp to keep them warm until they are dry. Brisk rubbing with a towel will also speed up the drying process.
Horses with heavy winter coats will take much longer to dry then clipped horses. Be sure the horse is completely dry before leaving them in a stall or turning them out. Once the really cold weather sets in, wait until spring to start bathing again.