The endocrine system is the massive, complicated network of chemical hormones. In winter our horse’s endocrine/hormonal systems alters in response to food, temperature, shorter days and slower metabolism. This in turn changes the levels of insulin, cortisol, and the sex hormones. Cortisol is the stress hormone – in animals this fluctuates in line with life’s desire to eat. In winter the stress hormone often increases and can unbalance the body. When animals are hunted or go out to hunt, the level increases until they can rest and rebalance again. If the body has inflammation and/or increased stress, it is often unable to switch off and rebalance and so the body can flood with cortisol which then causes dysregulation with many other systems. This is often the cause of many metabolic syndromes. We can help our horses cope with this by supporting the underlying processes such as digestive and liver functions and by removing stress where possible.