Experts Warn Against Intense Exercise with Horses as Temperatures Plummet

intense exercise should be avoided in extremely cold weather

Experts Warn Against Intense Exercise with Horses as Temperatures Plummet

Experts have warned against canter and gallop work as the temperatures become the coldest yet, this winter.

Dr. David Marlin, founder of Science Supplements and horse expert, took to Facebook to warn of the effects that strenuous work, in the cold weather, may have on your horse’s respiratory health.

Humans and horses can be affected similarly, by the cold weather. Human asthma suffer’s symptoms become worse in the cold weather, Asthma UK estimating that 4 million people (approximately 75% of the UK’s asthma suffers) would be at risk of life-threatening symptoms due to sudden drops in temperatures. Asthma UK’s advice is to avoid strenuous exercise in cold weather and to wear a scarf over the nose and mouth, which should help to warm air before it is breathed in.

Horse’s are also commonly effected with asthma-type conditions too, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heaves, and recurrent airway obstruction (RAO). Therefore it is important to consider the effects of the cold air, especially on those horse’s effected with respiratory disorders, as it con irritate the airway in the same way allergens and dust do.


Healthy horse’s are at just of much risk of being effected by the cold weather too. Studies have observed damaging effects to horse’s airways during slow canters, breathing in air temperatures as high as 5-degrees-celsius. Also, studies into racehorse’s showed increased occurrence of exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH), symptoms including nose-bleeds, as air temperatures became lower.

Unlike humans, we cannot reduce the risk of breathing problems caused by the cold air. We cannot provide warm environments and although some cold weather masks have been trialled in horses, they do not have the same effect as in humans.

During the cold snap, it has been recommended to look out for signs and symptoms which indicate airway inflammation. Symptoms include nasal discharge and the quicker onset of fatigue during exercise. However, it is strongly advised that horse owners do not strenuously exercise their horses in the cold weather, especially those with a history of respiratory problems.

For more advice surrounding your own respiratory health in the cold weather, please visit Asthma UK.


[avatar user=”AbbyDickinson” size=”medium” align=”center” link=”file”]Everything Horse News Reporter, Abby Dickinson[/avatar]

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