Make the most of your time with your horse this summer by helping them stay cool.
Warmer temperatures can be a relief after an intense winter; show season begins to pick up, summer break allows more time for riding, and friends want to take advantage of the longer days to go riding out on the trails. Summertime is the perfect time to bond with your friends and horses.
As the summer temperatures begin to heat up and the festivities begin to take off, it is important to keep the health of your equine partner in mind. Preventing overheating is essential to having a wonderful summer together. Help them keep their cool with these 10 tips.
Provide a Fan
Airflow throughout your horse’s living quarters can make a substantial difference in the temperature of the area as well as his comfort level. Place fans inside the barn isle to bring fresh air in, and adhere them to the horse’s stall as well. When placing the fan towards the horse’s stall, prevent chewing and a fire hazard by ensuring that cords remain out of horses’ reach. Be sure to choose a fan that is designed for outdoor use to ensure that it will hold up to curious horses and be usable all summer long.
Add a Misting System
Once you have your fan in place, a misting system is a wonderful addition. Mist can help cool your horse as the water evaporates off their body with the help of the fan. Setting the system on a timer is also beneficial as it will wet and cool them at regular intervals.
Shade can dramatically decrease the temperature of your horse’s living area. If your horse is turned out in a pasture, build them a shade structure to allow them some relief from the sun. Shade will also help to reduce the chances of sunburn on your horse’s face. Horses with white markings on their muzzle and around their eyes are especially susceptible. A fly mask can also help to prevent harmful sun damage.
Provide Plenty of Water
Horse’s water intake increases greatly during the hotter temperatures, so make sure to provide plenty of it for them. Extra water buckets may be needed during the summer months to provide enough for them to drink throughout the day. Clean water buckets regularly to ensure the freshest water for your horse.
Add Electrolytes to Water
For active horses, adding electrolytes to their water may be a great service to them. Electrolytes can help to replenish salt lost during intense exercise. Be aware that some horses don’t like the taste of electrolytes and may be resistant to drink it. Also, speak with your veterinarian about the quantity of electrolytes to give your horse to keep his body chemistry equalized.
Assess His Coat
Some horses may enter the summer months with a shaggy coat that no amount of brushing can help shed off. If that is the case, you may want to consider body clipping your horse. Long hair can trap heat and can be dangerous during exercise.
Make Sure He Sweats
Sweating is a natural function that helps horses to cool down. Some horses unfortunately lose their ability to sweat, causing a major problem during the summer months. If you notice that your horse doesn’t sweat, or that he has stopped sweating, speak to your veterinarian about solutions to solve the issue.
Alter Workout Times
As the temperatures begin to rise, alter your horse’s workout time if possible. Riding early in the morning when it is coolest will help to reduce the stress associated with exercise.
Alter Workout Intensity
If you are unable to ride during a cooler time of the day but riding is a necessity, be sure to decrease the intensity of the workout. Give your horse longer breaks, allowing him to cool down and catch his air.
Alter Trailer Travel Times
If you are traveling with your horse for any reason this summer, try to leave during the coolest part of the day. Open vents and windows to allow airflow into the trailer to keep your horse cool as well. Stop regularly to offer your horse water if you are traveling long distances.
With the help of these tips, you can have a fun and healthy summer with your horse! Do you have any unique ways to keep your horse comfortable in the heat?