With the heat of the summer comes health problems for our horses. While it is a great time to enjoy trail rides and the summer show season, it is important to know some key things about our equine friends and how to keep them healthy in the summer.
Watch your horse for signs of heat exhaustion
According to the Horse Channel, symptoms of heat exhaustion include a temperature above 102 degrees, weakness, stumbling and an increased pulse or respiration rate. If your horse has stopped sweating but is still exhibiting these symptoms, the condition is serious and a local veterinarian should be called. To help an overheated horse cool down, give them water in small amounts, hose them down and try to house them out of the sun.
While working with your horse, be aware of your own heat exposure. People can suffer from heat exhaustion too. If you feel dizzy or sick, dismount and take a seat in the shade. If possible, try to sit in front of a fan or in an air conditioned area. Remember to drink plenty of water while out at the barn.
Adjust your riding schedule
Riding your horse in hot weather can be damaging to both you and your horse. You should avoid a hard workout during the middle of a hot day. Early mornings or late afternoons tend to be the coolest time to ride. Break your rides down into shorter sessions and keep the workload light. If your horse seems to be wheezing or breathing more heavily, it might be time to give him or her a break.
Make your barn summer friendly
During the summer, ventilation is very important in an enclosed barn. Make sure doors and windows are kept open. If possible, have fans installed to help encourage air flow. Some fans will even spray a mist, helping to cool down the area. According to Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, mist can help lower the temperature in your barn up to 10 degrees. This is especially helpful during a dry heat wave.
Ensure that your horse is hydrated
Horses need water, just like we do. Your horse should always have access to a clean water source. Michigan State advises that a 1,000-pound, idle horse needs at least 10 to 12 gallons of water each day. Replace water regularly to make sure it stays cool and clean.
To go along with water, your horse also needs a source of salt to replace the sodium it loses while sweating. Feed supplements can help protect your horse from this. Try Finish Line®‘s Apple-A-Day™ supplement to help replace electrolytes and minerals lost through sweat.
Sunscreen isn’t just for people
Horses can get sunburns, just like we can. Light colored horses are especially at risk. Apply sunscreen to your horse’s muzzle, as this is where they are most likely to burn.
Electrocharge™ is a formulated for rapid absorption and replaces electrolytes in the same proportion as lost through sweat!