7 HORSE CARE TIPS FOR SUMMER
How To Keep Your Horse Healthy in Hot Weather
- The hottest days of the summer have come! We all love summer because we have more time to ride and care for our horses in long summer days, but as responsible equestrians, we should pay attention to our horses’ health during this season.
- Just like humans, horses are sensitive to heat. Extreme summer heat and sunlight can be dangerous for horses resulting in dehydration, lethargy, and general malaise. Severe heat stress can even cause diarrhea and colic. How to keep them healthy during the season we ride the most? It’s not that hard with some simple tips:
- Hydration: For body maintenance, an average horse needs at least 5 gallons of water a day. This can easily double or triple when they’re working hard in hot weather, so make sure your horse is hydrated throughout summer. Keep several water sources available and refill the water buckets or troughs with fresh water every day. Also, troughs may be more likely to harbor algae or the water turn stagnant when it is warm, so clean the troughs and buckets more often. If you are going out for a longer ride, consider the water need of your horse.
- Shade: If the horse lives outdoors or if he/she must be outside during the day time, provide shelter to relieve them. A run-in shed is the best option but trees can also provide cool shelter in hot weather. Also, don’t forget that white/gray horses are even more sensitive to the dangerous rays of the sun. Horses with pink around their muzzles or eyes can suffer from sunburn, so they need more attention in summer.
- Fresh Air: When the heat is too high, horses need more fresh air than normal. The air in the barn must be moved during summer. You can use fans to move the air and fill your barn with fresh air. Just pay attention to the horses’ safety when using the fans.
- Work schedule: If you work between 11am-2pm, change your work schedule for the sake of your horse. Ride or exercise your horse during the cooler times of the day - such as early in the morning or late afternoon- and let him/her rest when the sun is high. If you cannot change the schedule, just lighten the work.
- Minerals: When they sweat more, horses need more minerals for their body maintenance. Don’t forget to provide them some salt blocks in the paddock.
- Bugs: Mosquitos and flies are everywhere and annoy horses during the summer season. To keep mosquitos away, get rid of any standing, stagnant water in your horse's stable or water trough. If you have too keep your horse’s water standing in the barn or paddock, you can simply add some apple vinegar in it. To keep the flies from bothering your horse, muck out regularly, and consider using a fly mask or a fly rug.
Tack safety: As horses sweat more while exercising during the summer, you should prefer high-quality saddle pads and leg protection boots or wraps for their health. Make sure the saddle pad you use is made of 100% cotton to absorb the sweat and make sure material of the boots you use is breathable.
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