Horses and hot days

Horses & Hot Weather

With a heat wave crossing over much of Europe and the US at the moment, it's important to know how to manage your horse during the hot weather. Here are our top 10 tips for surviving the summer heat: 

  1. Work load - be sure to exercise your horse early in the morning or late in the evening. Avoid exercising in the peak heat. Even if the weather is cooler in the mornings/evenings try not to over work the horse on extra hot days. Give lots of small breaks during the workout to allow your horse to take a breather. It's crucial to ensure your horse is cooled down properly after their workout with a long walk and a cool shower. Only offer water after they have completely cooled down and make sure it's not too cold. 
  2. Water - staying hydrated is most important on a hot day! Offering horses water from a bucket (even if they drink from their automatic drinker) is a great way to encourage them to drink more during hot weather. If you have a horse who is a fussy drinker, drop a few apples into the bucket. You and your horse are certain to have fun with this game! Adding mint or apple juice may also encourage fussy drinkers to drink more on hot days. Soaking your horses hay is another great way to increase their water intake. Avoid soaking hay in direct sunlight, soak for between 30-60 minutes and feed directly after. 
  3. Elektrolyte - it's important to give your horse electrolytes on hot days/heavy workloads. Follow the instructions on the container and mix the electrolytes with the correct amount of water. Having a salt lick in your horse stable or turnout is also important to have to encourage hydration. 
  4. Shade/shelter - if you have your horses turned out on the field during the hot weather ensure that they have sufficient shade via trees or a shelter. Be sure that water and feed/hay is also in a shaded area to avoid it heating. 
  5. Air flow - if your horse is stabled in the day, make sure that there is enough ventilation in the stable. Consider using a large fan placed in a safe location to help keep your horse cool. If needed, black out windows during the hottest part of the day to keep the box cooler. 
  6. Flies and insects - with the heat comes the horse flies and insects. Ensure your horse has fly spray on when exercising and turned out and use a fly mask, such as the Kentucky Horsewear Fly Mask, where possible. If your horse is turned out, consider having a fly rug on them, but ensure that it is very well ventilated so they don't overheat. To reduce flies in the stable, clean the boxes regularly. 
  7. Travelling - avoid travelling your horse unless absolutely necessary during the peak heat. Travel in the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler. Provide as much ventilation in the trailer or truck as possible by opening all windows and air vents. If you need to travel over a longer period ensure you stop regularly and offer your horse plenty of fresh water. 
  8. Sunburn - pale skinned horses or horses with pink noses are prone to sunburn. To avoid this, use a sunscreen and a full fly mask with nose protection. If the horse does get sunburn, cool the area as much as possible and apply a cream such as Cavalors Lurax to help re-hydrate the skin. 
  9. Feed mash - feeding mash on hot days is an excellent way to increase hydration. If you have a fussy horse it's a great way to increase their water intake. Be sure to follow the instructions to ensure you soak it for the correct amount of time. 
  10. Turnout - where possible turn your horse out on the field overnight or early morning/late evening. It is often cooler for the horses to be in the insulated stable during the peak of the heat rather than being turned out. There are also fewer flies and insects during the evening so the horses will be happier. 

 

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