Tips for caring for your horse in the heat
The outbreak of COVID-19 may have put a stop to competitions and play, however, the seasons roll on and the weather is certainly getting hot hot hot in the UK in recent weeks. The warmer weather has been gladly received (we’re not complaining!) and screams beer in the garden to us humans, however, it’s vital that we keep the horses cool and comfy! Since Equestrians have been urged to safeguard the NHS by either not riding or not jumping and hacking on the roads – some people have turned horses away for a brief holiday while others continue to train safely. Competitions or no competitions, it’s important that we keep our horses safe in hot weather as the temperature continues to rise. We’ve put together some tips on how to care for your horse in the heat to help you out!
Water, water, everywhere…
With the glorious Spring/Summer days can come extreme heat, which is especially oppressive if your horse is in an exposed field. One of the key risks of hot weather is dehydration, so first and foremost, make sure that your horse has plenty of fresh water to drink which is readily available. On average, a horse will consume seven gallons of water a day in cool temperatures, and when temperatures rise they can commonly drink as much as twenty gallons on a hot day. If your horse is turned out with others, you might consider providing more than one water source, to prevent more timid horses from being unable to drink due to other horses in the field who are more dominating.
Another thing to consider is adding electrolyte supplements to your horse’s water or feed. Electrolytes are lost when your horse sweats and replacing these electrolytes with a simple supplement will help to restore your horse’s electrolyte balance – this is especially important if you are training and riding in the heat. Horses that sweat for long periods are more prone to heat stress due to the imbalance of electrolytes in their body, along with internal heat generated by working muscles during exercise and exertion.
Time for a shower! Cold water leg hosing might have resulted in tap dancing routines in Winter, but your horse will absolutely love a nice cool shower in the heat. Ensure that you shower off your horse and scrape off the water as the skin gradually cools, as drastically lowering body temperature can lead to cramp. Hot weather is a great excuse for a bath, so why not have a pamper day with your horse!
Plenty of shade & avoid the burn
As obvious as it may sounds, making sure that your horse has ample shade in the field is a priority! This is especially important in a large herd when shade out of the direct sun is limited. Trees are ideal for providing shade, but if your field or turnout area doesn’t have any natural shade then you can build a field shelter.
Ever sat in the sun for too long and emerged looking like a lobster? Your horse can suffer from sunburn too! This is especially important if your horse has pink skin and/or white patches, as they will easily sunburn. You can apply suncream to your horse’s face to protect them from harmful rays on a daily basis, making sure that it’s waterproof or specifically for horses, and many fly rugs are UV ray protected that will keep your horse’s body from burning.
Finally, be smart about turnout time. Turning your horse out over night, in the evening or early morning will really decrease your horses chances of suffering from any heat-related discomfort.
The F word
FLIES! Oh, how we hate them. Equestrians have a long-standing hatred for flies and it’s no secret as to why that is… nasty bites, irritation in the field, head shaking, kicking… the list goes on. They really are the worst. Some horses get bothered by flies more than others, but if your horse is one of those who are constantly tortured by flies you can alleviate their problems by getting them a good fly rug. Our CORE Range Fly sheet is a great pick as it can double up as a super smart cooler! Invest in some fly spray to use throughout the Summer months, or if you don’t want to pay the retail prices, you can always make your own – a great little lockdown project while we are all at home! We hope these tips help and that you have fun in the sun with your horse this weekend.