Fun Tips to Ensure You and Your Horse Not Only Survive, but Thrive in the Heat

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You know you’re riding in the summer, when…

You know you’re riding in the summer, when…

  • You have an excuse to wear sunscreen and a hat.
  • Your horse is wearing fly boots.
  • Your horse’s tail has been braided to keep it safe from your flailing arms (see: flies).
  • You’re getting bit by pesky bugs, as well as flies that are following you around like a lost puppy.
  • You’re sweating profusely but sucking down water and sports drinks at every opportunity to try and avoid dehydration.
  • The sun feels so good when it hits your skin after spending two months under 18 layers of clothing trying to stay warm, but there are times when the heat feels unbearable even if you’re moving.
  • Your horse is covered in sweat marks but he loves it because he loves being sweaty in the summertime, too!

Cooling your horse can help prevent or reduce heat stroke or exhaustion.

If you’re riding your horse on a hot day, it’s important to keep him cool to help prevent heat stroke or exhaustion. The best thing to do is use water or fans to spray or blow on the horse in order for them to cool off. You want to make sure not to hose down your horse if the temperature outside is too high, because you are adding water which will only add heat and make your horse even hotter. However, if it’s 85 degrees or less outside, hosing down your horse can be beneficial because this process can drop his body temperature when the water evaporates.

You should also not use ice or cold water. This will cool down the surface of his skin quickly but won’t create any cooling effect since he is hot inside as well as out. If you do have an ice pack handy you can place it under his saddle towards his front legs where he has no hair and cannot sweat.

To protect yourself from overheating while riding, make sure that you are hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids (especially water) before and after your ride and during breaks in between long hours of riding!

Ensure your horse has access to shade and cool water.

  • Ensure your horse has access to shade and cool water
  • For horses, the first 36 hours of heat stress are the most crucial. Having a plan in place will help you keep your horse in tip-top shape during extremely hot weather.
  • Make sure that wherever you put your horse has plenty of shade, either under a tree or in the barn. Even if it’s cloudy outside, when temperatures are high and humidity is high, it’s important to make sure your horse has protection from heat and sunburn.
  • Your horse should have access to water at all times. Provide cool water by placing it in a bucket or trough placed where the wind can reach it (like next to the barn). Try not to use a hose or pipe if possible, as these can encourage ingestion that could result in colic.

Take extra care with older horses and ponies whose metabolic needs are harder to meet in extreme temperatures.

You should also be vigilant to ensure that older horses and ponies can remain as fit and healthy as possible during the extremes of summer weather. The lower metabolic rate which leads to better heat tolerance in younger animals is a problem for older horses because they have less capacity to perform work. As a result, you may need to reduce their workload or move them out of the sun when temperatures soar. This is particularly important for laminitics, who are often older, overweight and have poor dental health – all factors which impact on their ability to cope with heat stress.

It’s also worth remembering that older horses often suffer from poor feet, so make sure they’re shod appropriately. If you notice any signs of sole bruising or puncture wounds while checking your horse’s feet, call your farrier immediately so he or she can attend to your horse if necessary.

It’s not just physical factors that make it more difficult for olders horses to cope with hot weather. Older animals may be challenged mentally by new routine changes such as changes in feed time or turnout regime – these ‘stressors’ will add extra strain when dealing with hot weather and can lead to digestive upsets such as colic, so try and keep things consistent if possible during periods of extreme heat.

Keep your horse hydrated by providing plenty of cool water.

During the summer, it is important to keep your horse hydrated. Horses will generally drink as much water as they need if you provide them with a trough or bucket in their pasture. If you do not have a place for an actual trough, you can use one of those round plastic kiddie pools on its side and fill it with water. If your horse is not drinking enough water, you can make ice cubes out of apple juice or carrot juice and put them in the water to entice him/her to drink more. You may want to freeze some plain water too!

If there is no natural shade, create it using a tree or bush, if possible, and/or a shelter.

If there are no natural sources of shade, create it using a tree or bush, if possible, and/or a shelter. Shelters should be at least 10 feet by 10 feet and the roof should be pitched to allow rain to run off rather than pooling on top. A tarp over three posts can also provide shade. Use a beach umbrella as a last resort, as they can easily blow over in the wind.

Horse riders should be aware of their horses’ temperature and make sure their horses have plenty of water.

  • Be aware of your horse’s temperature.

If you are worried about your horse getting overly hot in the summertime, it could be worthwhile to invest in a thermometer that can provide reading for both outdoor and indoor temperatures. This will help you keep an eye on whether the environment is becoming too hot or too cold for your horse. It will also enable you to make informed decisions when it comes to how much time your horse spends outdoors versus indoors, how often they are given breaks during exercise, and how much supplemental feed they receive.

  • Ensure your horse has access to shade and cool water.

This tip is so simple yet so important! In order for horses to thrive in the heat, they must be given plenty of cool water and access to shade at all times throughout the day, especially if they will be spending a long period of time outdoors (such as participating in a trail ride). If there are trees available for this purpose, even better!

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