SUMMER HORSE CARE
Summer is one of the best times to be outside and around the horses but it can also be quite dangerous for our four legged friends. During these hot summer temperatures it is always important to keep our horses and our own health and safety in mind. Many horse shows take place this time of year and it is important to take the time to pay attention to keeping your horse cool.
If riding your horse on a 90 degree day is a must keep in mind that spreading the work out with lots of walk breaks will help protect your horse from overheating also staying indoors and out of the sun will help. Definitely keep the work to a minimum and offer your horse water as long as they will drink. Try riding early morning or late evenings to dodge the hot mid day temperatures. Making sure your horse stays hydrated during these temperatures is essential, using electrolytes or providing a salt block to encourage your horse to drink can be helpful.
Cooling your horse off with the hose is also important and walking them out making sure that their heart rate comes back down after any exercise in the heat, even if they aren't exercising a nice cool spray with the hose on a hot day would feel wonderful!
It is very common to switch turnouts during summer from daytime to nighttime, and as long as you are comfortable nighttime turnout for your horse can be a wonderful thing. Nighttime turnout minimizes bugs, heat and the chance of your horse getting sunburned. A fan on them in a nice cool barn during the day is a nice trade off instead of standing out in the heat, but if you prefer your horse out during the day be sure to provide a shelter with some shade to give your horse the option to get out of the sun.
If your horse happens to have PPID or Cushing's disease it is a good idea to clip your horses coat if they have not properly shed their coat for the season.
Pay attention to any signs of a heat stroke
- An elevated heart rate that does not return back to normal in a reasonable period of time.
- Excessive sweating or lack of sweating
- Temperature that persists above 103 degrees
- depression and/or lethargy; and
- Sign of dehydration: dry mucous membranes, poor capillary refill, and poor skin turgor.
Always remember if you think your horse is suffering from a heat stroke call your veterinarian immediately and get your horse to a cool place. For the appropriate tools and equipment to make sure your horse is taken care of, take a look at our Horse Care section of the website, which can also be found here.
Happy riding and stay cool!
From your friends at Horse & Rider!