As the summer sun blazes down and temperatures soar, your horse relies on you to keep them cool in the summer heat. Equine Simplified explores effective strategies for keeping your horses cool during the hot summer months, ensuring their health, happiness, and peak performance.
From horses that don’t sweat well to those that appear to be melting in the heat, we hope these tips give you alternatives to battle this summer hot weather.
Just like humans, horses can quickly become dehydrated in the scorching heat. Proper hydration is essential for regulating their body temperature and preventing heat-related issues.
In addition, offering adequate shade and shelter is vital to shield your horses from direct sunlight and extreme heat. Ensure your horse’s pasture or paddock has access to natural shade from trees or structures. If natural shade is limited, consider setting up temporary shade structures.
Also, during summery months, you may consider an additional fan if one fan doesn’t do the trick.
Further, modifying your horse’s turnout schedule can significantly impact their comfort during hot summer days. Aim to turn out your horses during cooler times like early morning, evening or at night. This reduces their exposure to the midday sun and minimizes the risk of overheating.
And, as an added benefit, the sugar content in grasses increases as the temperature rises, so shifting their turnout time also helps minimize sugar intake. To learn more, see my blog post on grasses.
Particularly in the summer, regular grooming promotes better air circulation by removing excess dirt, sweat, and loose hair. Also, a light-weight fly sheet may help maintain your horse’s coat. However, be careful not to overdo it, as excessive grooming or bathing can strip the coat of its natural oils that help regulate body temperature.
In addition for the older horse that may still hold onto that thicker coat in the summer, consider body clipping to aide in his comfort.
Hosing horses can help horses cool and lower their body temperature. Use a sweat scraper to remove excess water and prevent prolonged wetness that could lead to skin issues. Applying water to the neck and chest area can be especially effective, as these areas have blood vessels closer to the surface, aiding the cooling process.
Additionally, if your horse is in a pasture and likes to play in water, consider using a sprinkler on a timer to allow him to self-cool.
Sometimes in the hot weather, horses need additional support to maintain their electrolyte balance. Electrolyte supplements help replace vital minerals lost through sweating, promoting hydration and overall health. That said, follow recommended dosages and guidelines to avoid over-supplementation. Veterinarians or equine nutritionists can help you identify if your horse’s diet suits the season.
Finally, for both you and your horse’s well being, adapt your horse’s exercise routine to prevent overexertion during the summer.
Ensuring your horse remains cool during scorching summer months requires thoughtful planning and attention to detail. By implementing these practical strategies, from ensuring proper hydration and shade to incorporating effective cooling techniques, you can safeguard your horses’ well-being and ensure they enjoy a comfortable summer. A well-cared-for horse is a happy and healthy companion, prepared for any equestrian adventure that comes their way.