The following horse care hacks will guide you through more tips on approaching your day to day routine in the warmer days.
As horse owners, we understand the need for routine to keep our horses happy. Although consistency is vital, it is important to adapt your care routine in hotter weather to make sure it is effective as possible and insures your horses’ comfort.
Just like we tend to feel sluggish and placid in the heat, so do horses, the last thing your four-legged friend wants to do in the heat is an intense workout. How you approach your summer exercise routine is completely dependent on you usually a method.
If activity is required, be sure to only engage in a light hack or short session in cooler periods of the day!
2. Slow Down The Work
Yes, your horse may be in ultimate physical condition but don’t think they can work the same in hot weather as every other day.
Lighten the workload and spread it out with short sessions. To avoid an increased risk of Colic, adjust your routine slowly, introducing diet and exercise changes gradually.
Your horse is not the only one to consider when carrying out your equestrian responsibilities be sure to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun!
3. Quick Cool Down
To avoid serious overheating when exercising your horse, be sure to walk for a least the last 10-15 minutes of the ride.
After removing all of their tacks, allow your horse to drink as much water as they like freely, once they have finished you can either mist him down with running cool water or sponge liberal quantities of water over the entire body until it runs off cool.
After wiping off any excess liquid, walk your horse into a shaded area, where they should have access to fresh water and be monitored to ensure they full cool down. Once satisfied you can worry-free put them away to rest.
Hot weather and exercise mean your horse is likely to need a higher water intake than usual. Of course, saying this is one thing but achieving it is not quite so easy!
Some horses are fussy about the type of water they drink, whether it be plain or with electrolytes, others simply just don’t want to drink when it’s hot outside.
By using salt sprayed hay or salt blocks you can encourage your horse to drink more, another option is to soak their food in water, that way they’re ingesting more liquid whilst eating.
Horses required fresh, cool water, be sure to regularly change it throughout the day to avoid it getting warm.
5. Clipping Your Horse
Approaching the summer, it is important to understand your horses’ coat. If they have PPID, Cushing Disease or particularly long thick coat, clipping can be very important.
Clipping should leave enough length to protect your horse from the damaging sun rays but not hold heat and insulate.
Used to control fluid balance in your horse body, the salts and minerals of electrolytes conduct electrical impulses and so are essential for energy generation, muscle contraction and most of their major biochemical reactions.
In hot weather, your horse will sweat out more of these electrolytes than usual, it is very important to replace these to avoid fatigue, overheating, weakness, muscle cramping, heart trouble and dehydration.
High-quality forage may provide your horse with the levels they need, however, it’s important to remember that salt should always be provided to achieve safe sodium levels, as this is not offered through forage alone.
7. Summer Sore
Although becoming increasingly rarer, summer sores are something to watch out for. A result from an association between the horse, the stomach worm and its intermediate host, it is not the horse stomach lining that main issue.
They can invade fresh wounds or moist areas of the horses’ body from manure, therefore it is very important to keep in internal stables and pastures maintained, removing manure regularly.
Hot weather can further worsen this risk, so approach tactful, ensure parasite vaccinations are implemented!
8. Turnout & Stabling
During the hotter months, turning out is recommended overnight or during the early morning and late evening for a few hours, avoid the warmest hours usually between 11am-3pm. As much as possible, ensure the pasture has natural shelter, such as trees and shrubbery.
Stabling can offer your horse relief from the heat and its impacts throughout the day. However, although shaded from the sun, it is vital to achieving quality air flow to keep your horse cool.
Choose temporary stables that have quality ventilation, access to cool and fresh air and that are well maintained within a clean environment.
If you’re struggling to achieve natural air flow, consider fans to keep the air moving, just be sure to secure them well and out of your horses reach!
9. Beat the Flies
With summer, comes the pesky flies! Your horse can become very irritated as the flies buzz around and bite them, causing them to kick and swat their tail.
Fly rugs and masks are lightweight and reflective, so not only can they protect your horse from bites but also reflect the sun and so heat, however not every horse takes to them very well and may show a talent for removing them!
As an alternative, fly repellent spray may be an option, try and source a long-lasting, evenly sprayed and fairly pleasant spelling option, such as Absorbing Ultra Shield.
Some owners choose to use ingredients such as citronella, cider vinegar and tea tree oil to make their own repellents.
10. Sun Cream
Horses with white coats usually have non-pigmented or pink skin underneath, especially in white markings on the face or legs. Such areas are very prone to sunburn and this is where sun cream can be very helpful.
There are loads of horse-friendly sun creams available, and avoid sunburn and reduce the risk of cancer they are definitely worth a go for our four-legged friends with sensitive skin!