Courtesy of America’s Horse Daily
With the right horse-health care, horses are built to weather winter.
Winter weather can be fickle and harsh in southwestern South Dakota. From Rapid City near the Black Hills to Interior near the Badlands, the average high hovers around 35 degrees Fahrenheit and the low around 10. But record highs are in the 60s and lows in the minus 20s. It can be tough on horses, whether they are in a barn or on the range.
“The up and down, freeze and warm, freeze and warm – it works their system pretty hard,” says Neal Livermont of Livermont Quarter Horses near Interior.
“You wake up in the morning and ask, ‘Is the wind blowing?’ ” says Patty Brunner of Brunner Quarter Horses in Rapid City. “It can be 4 degrees, but if there’s no wind, it’s almost a pleasure!”
They are fed four times during the course of the day, the last around 9:30 p.m.
“A horse’s heat really comes from the digestion of roughage, your hay. In colder weather, we up the quantity of hay they get, especially those outside.”
“The badlands will build some character,” Neal says with a smile, and he means in horses as well as people. He has broken his pelvis taking a tumble off a young horse down a cedar draw.
But the shelter of the cedars and badlands is a blessing in the winter wind.