Horse Fact: the Horse’s Temperature

In the sixth book in the Free Rein series, Contagious, Kate King’s horse Captain gets sick. In time, so too does Jacqui’s pony Jaq. The family are on watch over all the horses being agisted at Genesis, for fear of the horses having caught something that could easily be passed onto others.

A Horse's Temperature and Other Vitals can Indicate Health Status
A Horse’s Temperature and Other Vitals can Indicate Health Status

This is the perfect opportunity for Kate to teach her daughter about taking a horse’s vital signs. One of these vital signs is the temperature. And this is an area where values will differ greatly for Australian horse owners and American horse owners. We measure temperature quite differently! In Australia, we measure degrees in Celsius. A normal temperature for a horse will be in the vicinity of 37.5 degrees Celsius, give or take a degree.

The same cannot be said for those who make measurements in Fahrenheit! A horse’s normal resting temperature in this measurement will be a lot higher – around 99.5 degrees up to 100.5.

Wherever you ride and care for horses around the world, it’s important to know what measurement is used on a thermometer to check a horse’s temperature. Digital thermometers are great in that they show the numbers on them, but it could be concerning if you expect to read 37 and instead you find 100 as the figure on display! Luckily the other vital signs are measured the same worldwide. This includes the horse’s respiration rate (breaths per minute), heart rate/pulse (beats per minute), hydration status and capillary refill time.

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