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    [RC] adapting to cold - Debra Ager

    I'm no vet, but I have kept horses for the past 20 years under all kinds of weather conditions, and I know that any kind of weather outside is healthier for the horse than being inside in the best of conditions.  Inside you have dust problems, ammonia problems (even if you can barely smell the urine, it is damaging to the lungs), and problems caused by lack of sufficient movement in the horse.  IMO, the sooner the better out to the paddock, regardless of the weather.  Unless, of course, you are going from a heated barn to sub-freezing temperatures with a body-clipped horse, in which case a little acclimation is in order.  I had a friend who kept her horses under what she thought was the best of conditions:  Deeply-bedded clean stalls at night, with pasture turnout during the day, best of feeds and suppliments, regular exercise, etc.  She often wondered why she had so many cases of colic, respiratory ailments, and founder.  I've had only very rare incidents of colic, and only under highly stressful situations, no founder, and no respiratory problems.  I've always kept mine outside 24/7.  But after all, horses aren't cave-dwellers; they're plains animals!  Hope this helps.