Top Ten Tips To Keep Your Horse Cool
Top ten tips to keep your horse cool and happy this summer.
Finally we have some lovely warm weather and I am confident spring has finally sprung!
The last few days of sunshine has been just wonderful for everyone including our horses.
Ten top tips to help us enjoy our horses this summer.
Summer is a great time to ride, below are ten top tips that can help you enjoy the summer and look after our horses in the heat. Heat can be dangerous for horses, resulting in dehydration, lethargy, and general malaise. Severe heat stress can even cause diarrhea and colic.
Here are some helpful tips to help you enjoy the summer with your horse.
Choose cooler turnout times.
Choose your horses turnout times during the cooler hours. Overnight is ideal, but if that’s not possible, then turn your horse out as early as possible during the day.
If your horse is outside during the day, provide relief from the sun. At Court Bank Farm our horses are very lucky to have trees and hedges that provide natural shelter from the sun and flies.
Move the air.
Court Bank Farm have a natural air flow through all the buildings. We also have the fan in the solarium which is great way to cool your horse down after exercise.
Hose down your horse.
A light misting with the hose pipe is a great way to cool down your horse.
Provide fresh, cool water.
Make sure your horse has plenty of fresh, cool water. Again at court Bank Farm our horses have access to fresh water in the field and fresh water in the stable through the troughs and automatic drinkers.
Slow down the work.
If you have to work your horse in the heat, lighten the work or spread it out over a couple of short sessions. This is especially important when the humidity is high, contributing to the poor quality of the air your horse is breathing. Cool your horse down slowly. Take the tack off as soon as you’re done and sponge the horse off again with cool water.
Stick to a schedule.
Within the parameters of keeping him cool, try to stay as close as possible to his normal schedule. Too much change at one time can be an invitation for colic.
Consider using a fly sheet to help protect white or gray horses from sunburn.
Horses, especially white horses, can suffer from sunburn. Even those with white socks and blazes, pink noses, or hairless patches from scarring can be susceptible.
Applying sunblock to small, particularly vulnerable areas can be effective. Staying out of the sun’s harmful rays will, of course, be best.
Clip horses with longer hair coats.
Clipping is important, especially for those with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, or Cushing’s disease). While some coats can provide protection from the sun and insulation, a long, thick coat tends to hold heat and makes it difficult for the horse to cool down. Be careful not to clip the hair too close, however, as it provides some protection from damaging rays.
Know your horse and signs of heat stroke.
Heat stroke can happen anytime your horse is exposed to excessive heat that his body cannot handle. Heatstroke can happen if exercising in hot conditions, but be aware that it can also happen if standing in a hot stable or trailer.
You should know your horse’s normal temperature, heart, and respiratory rates. To find the heart rate of a horse, simply find a pulse and count the beats for 15 seconds, then multiply that number by four, which will give the beats per minute. Count the breaths per minute in a similar way.
Signs of heat stroke can include:
- An elevated heart rate that does not return to normal in a reasonable period of time;
- Excessive sweating or lack of sweating;
- Temperature that persists above 103°F;
- Depression and/or lethargy; and
- Signs of dehydration: dry mucous membranes, poor capillary refill, and poor skin turgor.
If you are concerned that your horse is suffering from heat stroke, call your veterinarian immediately and get your horse into a cooler environment.
This was a very useful question and answer session we had here at Court Bank Farm courtesy of our local vets Pool House. They are always more than happy to discuss your concerns do click here