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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Special Topics

Is shade for horses a comfort resource or a minimum requirement?1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 95 No. 9, p. 4206-4212
    Received: Apr 18, 2017
    Accepted: July 04, 2017
    Published: August 10, 2017

    2 Corresponding author(s): keholcomb@ucdavis.edu

  1. K. E. Holcomb 2a
  1. a Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616


Shade or shelter as protection from extremes of weather is required for horses at agricultural research and teaching facilities and is recommended or required by many states, professional organizations, and industry groups. The focus of this paper is the recent research on the responses of horses to hot, sunny weather, which has begun to provide scientific evidence that characterizes how and when shade is used and any benefits shade confers on horses. These behavioral and physiological findings support provision of shade as a resource for thermal comfort and the expression of normal behavior that should be included as a standard of best care practices for healthy adult horses living in the environmental conditions reviewed, rather than an absolute minimum care requirement. Additional research is required for horses living under other environmental conditions, for very young or old horses, horses in very poor body condition, or those with compromised health to determine if their responses to hot, sunny weather differ from those presented here.

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