Help your horse handle the heat this summer
As you already know, it looks like this summer will be another scorcher. Here are a few tips that will keep you and your horse safe in this season’s heat.
Another hot summer is upon us, and horses can be especially susceptible to heat stress (thermal stress). Keep you and your horse safe this summer by following these suggestions.
Water is your friend
Be sure to keep lots of water available to your horse (and yourself) at all times. If your horse seems uninterested in drinking, adding some electrolytes to the water can give it a more appealing taste while providing some extra nutrients to your horse. If you are traveling long distances, don’t forget to stop and water your horse frequently (at least every two to three hours). Be sure to keep the water clean and cool. Check out your waterers to be sure that they are reachable to all of your horses. Keep in mind that accommodations may need to be made for some shorter ponies or foals.
After a heavy workout, it can be a good idea to give your horse a quick “shower.” Spray your horse down, aiming for the large blood vessels to cool your horse the best (the neck, legs and belly). See more tips on spraying your horse down after exercise.
Don’t overdo it
When planning your riding or exercise times, schedule wisely. It is cooler early in the mornings or evenings. Additionally, be sure that there is some type of shade in each turn out area. After you ride and dismount, loosen the girth slightly and walk your horse. This will be a great time for both you and your horse to loosen up those muscles that you just worked!
If you are planning to show this summer, don’t use your horse as a “couch.” That’s right – don’t hang out on your horse all day while you watch the show. Make sure that your horse has time to rest and relax, too. Learn more about when it is likely too hot to exercise your horse.
Other helpful hints
Fly sheets are a great way to keep those pesky bugs away while providing a small heat block for your horse. Remember that lighter colors are better for keeping the heat away. Don’t forget that your horse can get sunburned, too! If your horse has a white or pink muzzle, put a little SPF sun block on as a precaution.
Fly sheets for horses are a great way to keep bugs away while providing
Related eXtension resources
- Equine thermoregulation: How a horse’s body cools itself
- Conditioning your house for the summer: Cooling out a horse
- Responsible horse care for winter and summer