Stephens College Equestrian Center prepares for bitter cold

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 | 5:55 p.m. CST; updated 10:03 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 6, 2014
Preparing for extreme cold, the Stephens College Equestrian Center exercises and blankets horses Wednesday.

CORRECTED CAPTION: Kicker, a quarter horse, grew a very thick winter coat that needed a special trim to keep him from overheating from exercising. An earlier version of this caption misrepresented the horse's coat.

COLUMBIA — After the majority of snow from Columbia's latest storm was cleared Wednesday, the students who staff the Stephens College Equestrian Center were able to let the horses into pastures and an indoor arena for some exercise.

Preparing for even colder days later in the week, Sara Linde Patel, the program coordinator and instructor, and students volunteered their snow day blanketing, exercising and grooming all 58 horses on the property.

Because horses regulate their body temperature best when standing still, it's difficult for the horses to stay warm when exercising in cold temperatures, Patel said. Horses will place their tails between their legs when they're cold, she said.

“You can also tell by feeling the tip of their ears,” she said.

The center takes other precautions to keep the horses comfortable, as well. Extra bedding is placed in the stalls, and blankets and hoods are securely fastened.

Because of their thick winter coats, horses generally have a good tolerance for the cold, but some horses like the cold better than others. These "pampered horses," as Patel calls them, are given special care, she said.

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