Breathe Easy in Winter

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Common viruses and stale indoor air can increase your horses’ chance of developing respiratory illness over the upcoming winter. So that both you and your horses can breathe easy, follow these two key strategies.

Credit: H&R file photo

Credit: H&R file photo

Vaccinate. Check with your veterinarian to see if any booster shots are needed to strengthen your horses’ immunity to disease—especially flu and rhino—for the cold months ahead.

Ventilate. Give your horses plenty of turnout, plus check that your barn has adequate air exchange (though not cold drafts). A barn that’s sealed up tight can intensify the effects of airborne dust, allergens, and noxious gases (such as ammonia) that can irritate airways and lead to respiratory ailments. To further reduce air pollutants, clear your barn of old hay, bedding, and cobwebs. (For more on preventing respiratory infections in horses, search the phrase at HorseandRider.com.)