Beat The Heat
Preventative measures to take with your horses in the heat
Summer decided to show its face later than usual this year. At first we all thought we would get through this mild summer “unbothered”—Mother Nature however had other plans. The recent humidity combined with the high temperatures can be detrimental to your horse’s health. Taking the proper precautions can help you and your horse stay healthy and safe during these periods of extreme heat.
Pay attention to your horse’s water intake. To prevent a serious problem before it begins, make sure a lot of fresh, clean water is provided so your horse has plenty of opportunities to drink. In the summer, as horses sweat they lose hydration much quicker. This process is amplified when it is humid. Horses sweat to dissipate the heat. In humid conditions less heat can dissipate. This makes humid conditions the most dangerous for both horse and rider. If exhibiting signs of dehydration or lack of desire to drink water, try using an electrolyte to entice water consumption. You can also add Gatorade and/or apple juice to their water or even hang salt in their stall or paddock!
Try to make sure your horse has shade. When they get turned out or when you are simply grazing make sure you try to find a nice shady spot so the direct sun isn’t heating your horse and raising their body temperature.
Get to know your horses and their habits. Pay attention to anything they may be telling you about how their feeling. Heat exhaustion will present itself in a few ways but the most prominent are lethargy, loss of appetite or unwillingness to drink, elevated heartbeat, heavy breathing and usually a raised temperature. A normal temperature for a horse can range from 98-101 if the temperature is over 102 there is reason for concern. In the case of overheating, call a vet and begin trying to cool your horse’s body temp. Hose your horse and put him in front of a fan or even consider rubbing him down with alcohol!
The heat can be very to deal with for both horse and rider. It is important to pay attention to how your horse is handling the extreme temperatures. Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well, the heat can have the same harsh effects on us.
May there always be a hoof print next to your foot print,