5 Tips to Keep Your Horse Cool
Summer is a great time for you and your horse to enjoy the outdoors. However, the weather can sometimes get too hot that it might even pose a great threat to the health of your friend. It’s not just the hot weather, but also the high humidity making it even more uncomfortable.
The number health hazard would be heat stress. It is when the body can no longer cope with the extreme heat and humidity that it is unable to cool itself down. It can result to muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke which may even lead to death.
Good thing there are a few things that you can do so you can prevent your horse from experiencing heat stress. Here are some of these tips:
1. Always have clean, drinking water available.
Most horses can drink up to 50 liters of water per day and even more especially if the temperature is too high. You can place a trough nearby or just a bucket filled with cool water and hang it on a fence near your horse.
It is also a good idea to add electrolytes to the drinking water to help with the quick recovery from all the salt lost due to the weather. Just check first if your horse will prefer the electrolyte water and just to be sure, have a bucket of regular water nearby.
2. Don’t overwork your horse.
If the weather’s too hot, refrain from going for a ride or letting your horse graze under the sun. Too much exertion can easily increase the horse’s body temperature and which may lead to exhaustion or even worse, heat stress. Keep any work to the minimum and just let your horse relax in the stable.
Also, make sure that your horse is feeding properly as the extreme heat may also affect his eating routine. Keep hay within easy reach and always use the right horse feeding equipment.
3. Keep your horse in the shade.
Avoid the harsh, hot sun by keeping your horse under a shade like in the stable or just under a tree. If you want to go out for a ride, at least do it early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the extreme temperature. And if you’re going to keep your horse in the barn or stable, make sure that there is enough ventilation either through an open window or by installing electric fans.
4. Give him a quick bath.
If you sense that the weather is just too hot for your horse, then grab the water hose and spray your horse with cold water. Make sure you cover the neck, shoulders, and under the belly. Scrape off the water when you’re done and don’t let the water to air dry.
5. If the coat is too long, clip it.
A thick coat can make the hot weather just too unbearable for your horse. It is best to clip a long coat as it can trap the heat underneath the hair and contribute to the increase of body temperature. And with the shortened coat, it is advisable to apply sunscreen so your horse will be better protected against the harmful UV rays of the sun.
Beware of the heat stress signs.
Now that you know how to best keep your horse cool, it is also useful if you know the signs should your horse start to feel the effects of heat stress. This includes profuse sweating, a rapid heart rate, and rapid breathing. For more information, check out the infographic below.