As we reach the summer months, it means the hottest days of the year are upon us. It is important to be particularly mindful of your horse's health on these days. If you struggle in the heat, chances are your horse is also struggling. Taking extra precautions on hotter days can help keep your horse happy and healthy.
It is especially important during the summer months to keep your horse hydrated, ensuring they have access to fresh, clean water 24/7. Adding electrolytes to their water or hard feed can help to rehydrate them. We advise speaking to your nutritionist or vet before introducing electrolytes into your horse's diet. If you choose to add electrolytes to your horse's water, offer an alternative source of clean, fresh water that does not have electrolytes in; just in case your horse does not drink the water with them in.
It is important that during the summer your horse has access to shade in the field or you may choose to stable your horse during the peak heat of the day. This means the horse is out of direct sunlight and shaded areas often provide coolness, a welcome respite from the heat.
You may want to avoid turnout during the hottest part of the day, especially if your field has no shade. Overnight the temperatures tend to be cooler, it also means you do not need to worry about harmful UV rays.
You may want to avoid exercising your horse during the hottest part of the day, choosing a time when it is cooler, whether this is early morning or late evening. It might be better to do a shorter session, reducing the chance of your horse overheating. Whilst, it is important not to overtrain, you do need to acclimatise your horse to the heat. If you do not get your horse used to training, they will not cope well with the heat if/when they go to a competition.
After-exercise care is important, especially in the heat of the summer. You want to make sure you cool your horse down correctly and effectively, walking them off until their breathing is back to normal. Once un-tacked, you may want to put cold water continuously over them, this could take up to 15 minutes.
Your exercise and post-exercise leg care routine may need altering for hotter months. If you use boots, choose breathable ones that allow for adequate airflow to prevent tendons & ligaments from overheating. Post-exercise you may wish to use Cold Water Boots or Ice Boots to cool the important tendons and ligaments and help improve recovery times.
Selecting the correct rug:
If you are rugging during the hotter weather, it is important to choose the correct rug. You want to make sure that a light colour rug is used, preferably white. White materials reflect some of the heat and sunlight, whilst darker colours are known to absorb radiant heat. It is also known, if you dampen a white sheet and put it on your horse, it helps to keep them cool.
Let us know your top tips on beating the heat.