With the summer heat only increasing, do you know how to keep your horse safe and comfortable in the hot temperatures?
Summer is a busy time for riders. The summer is full of events like horse shows and trail rides, but the summer heat can be particularly oppressive.
On days when the heat is too great, your horse's health and safety can actually be put at risk. These tips can help you to keep your horse safe in the summer heat.
Always Provide Water
Your horse should have continuous access to clean, fresh water during the summer. Horses can drink great amounts of water when the weather is hot, so be sure to check water buckets and troughs multiple times a day.
In order to encourage your horse to drink, try to keep the water cool. Scrub troughs and buckets daily to prevent algae from growing in the water.
Give Your Horse Shade
If you turn your horse out during the day, make sure that he has access to shaded areas, ideally by means of a run-in shed or stall. Being able to get out of the hot sun can help your horse to cool down.
If the summer days are just too hot to turn your horse out, then consider turning him out at night when the weather is cooler.
Monitor Your Horse
It's particularly important to monitor your horse during summertime rides. Keep an eye on your horse's attitude and energy level, as these can be the first indicators that he is starting to overheat.
Be sure to observe how much your horse sweats, and look for signs that you may need to take a break or end your ride entirely. Learn how to take your horse's pule, respiratory rate, and temperature so that you can check these vital signs to monitor your horse's physical state.
Hose Your Horse Off
Hosing your horse off can be a good way to bring his body temperature back down, but only if you do so correctly. If you just hose your horse off once and leave the water sitting on him, it has the same effect as putting a raincoat on him.
The water creates a barrier which actually traps heat in. Instead, hose your horse off, scrape off the water, and repeat this process until your horse's skin remains cool to the touch at least 30 seconds after you've finished hosing him. It may take ten minutes or more of hosing to cool down a horse after a workout.
During the hottest days of the summer, it may be best to forego riding entirely. During days when the summer heat and humidity are high, your horse runs the risk of overheating during even a light ride.
Don't be afraid to take a few days off; doing this could actually keep your horse healthier.
Have a great summer, but stay safe and keep your horse healthy!
What do you do to protect your horse in the summer? Tell us in the comments below!
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