Keeping horses warm in harsh winter conditions
BATON ROUGE - While most are turning up their heaters Thursday, others are venturing into the cold to keep animals alive. At Farr Park in Baton Rouge, the park system is focused on the dozens of horses that live there.
"Horses are very fragile, so your biggest concern when it gets really cold like this is they'll stop drinking,” equestrian technician Shawna Guidry said.
Tasked with the job of overseeing the animals' medical care, Guidry has been bundling the horses up with blankets and keeping them inside their stalls.
"Horses standing in a lot of mud, wet, anything like that it causes damage to the hoof,” Guidry said.
In total, workers at the equestrian center care for 90 horses.
"I've only had one so far that she's just not feeling up to par, so we're monitoring her. I've been on the phone with the vet all day,” Guidry added.
BREC owns the majority of the animals for educational purposes. The remaining 40-some are boarded at the facility.
"She's sassy sometimes, but she's been such a good pony to me,” said 13-year-old Emma Monroe, talking about her horse, Bailey.
Monroe and her friend Carolyn Herman braved the cold to check on their animals.
“Just to ride him and give him some exercise because I know they've been cooped up in the stalls a lot in the cold weather,” said Herman.
"I wanted to check on her, make sure she's warmer than I am,” added Monroe.
Guidry says these visits make all the difference for the horses who would rather be hanging out in temperatures 20 degrees higher.
"Their temperatures run a little higher than ours, their resting temperatures, so they're more comfortable in the 50s, 60 degrees, more than we would be,” explained Guidry.
With the weather warming up the rest of the week, Guidry says the horses will be able to get outside more until it’s too hot. That’s when the weather again poses a threat to the animals' safety.