Six tips to keep your horse happy and cool this summer
Fly rugs and masks go a long way to prevent the sun from reaching our horses’ sensitive areas, as well as preserving their coat colour from bleaching in the summer sun. However, it will not be enough to protect horses against harmful UV rays.
Where horses have exposed skin they are susceptible to burning, while pink-skinned areas (such as around the muzzle), the tips of their ears and white leg markings will be particularly sensitive to the sun.
Just like us, when horses burn it can lead to painful blistering. That’s why sun cream with a high SPF should be applied to any hairless areas to prevent sunburn.
Water, water, water
This may be obvious, but it is absolutely the most important thing to remember. It is always best to check throughout the day that your horse has enough water.
A horse can drink up to 55 litres when the weather is hot, so he may be drinking more than usual. Furthermore, if your horse is a mischievous character and likes to kick over his water bucket, it is vital to spot this as early as possible.
For an easy summer water solution, click here.
Consider a second clip
Particularly hair ponies and horses may be suffering unnecessarily in the extra heat. Horses with Cushing’s may also be struggling with a thick coat in the summer months.
You can help these guys out by giving them another clip, but if you do, make sure that you use fly sheets to give them protection from the sun as the underlying skin will be sensitive after being protected by the thick coats.
Give your horse a shower
This will not only give your horse’s summer coat an extra shine, but it is also an effective way to bring his body temperature down after exercise or on a particularly hot day.
Your horse will be producing more sweat in the heat, so it is important to this washed off to avoid him becoming itchy, particularly around the areas under tack.
This is a great summer activity that is enjoyable for both the horse and rider- but be prepared to despair as you watch him roll the minute you turn him out in the field.
Replace electrolytes- THIS IS A MUST
In hot weather, your horse loses electrolytes through sweat at a faster rate during exercising as well as when he is just standing in the field.
Electrolytes are vital for regulating many physiological processes. One of the most vital electrolytes is sodium as it regulates the retention of water in the body. To maintain proper hydration levels, the brain constantly monitors sodium concentrations.
If electrolyte levels become imbalanced, it can have serious implications on the overall health of your horse. Once imbalances occur, it takes time to resume your horse’s natural electrolyte levels, so it is really important to support your horse to prevent his levels from becoming too depleted.
For more information and to learn how to safely replace electrolytes, click here.
Your horse would enjoy a refreshing treat on a summer’s day, just as we do.
Fill a small empty feed tub with water and a few carrot or apple chunks, then leave it in the freezer overnight.
This icy treat can be put in the stable or paddock and it will not only keep your horse cool, but it will also keep him happy and entertained.