The heat of Summer takes it’s strain on our animals, as well as us. It’s important that you adapt your care routine in the hot weather to make it as effective as possible and ensuring that your horses is comfortable in the heat. Take a look at some of our top tips from Equi Est to make caring for your horse in summer simple!
1. Cooler Turn out Times
It can be hard in the Summer to decide when the best time is to turn out your horse. When, or if, you turn your horse out can completely depends on the time of grassland you have, and amount of shade or shelter. It also depends on your horse- do they usually live out or do you bring them in at night? If you usually turn your horse out in the mornings and bring them in at night, in hot weather it’s usually good practice to rotate this routine. By turning your horse out at around 7pm they experience the coolest part of the day whilst also getting to graze. If your horses usually live out and you do not have stabling, or simply do not wish to disrupt their routine, make sure there is plenty of shade and extra water on hand to make them as comfortable as possible. You should also remember that hot weather can take it’s toll on the quality of your pasture. Take a look at how we can help you prepare your grasslands so that it’s always in a good condition.
2. Don’t over exercise
Just the same as we often feel sluggish in the heat, horses do not want or need to be exercised during the hottest parts of the day. Again, how you exercise your horse during hot weather entirely depends on your usually routine. However, it’s likely that light hacking or a short session of schooling in the early to mid evening will be enough for your horse. Remember to cool your horse down slowly so to avoid muscle cramps. Do this by offering water and removing tack as soon as possible after exercise. They’ll also appreciate being sponged down with cool water too.
3. Horses can get sun burn too!
Horses can get skin damage from the sun, just like us. This especially applies to greys, and even those with white socks or pink noses. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to prevent by applying sun block to the high-risk areas; there are plenty of sun blocks especially designed for horses. You may also want to consider using a fly sheet if your horse is likely to get sun burnt. However, just like with us humans, the best way to avoid sun burn is to simply stay out of the sun.
4. Be aware of the signs of sun stroke
Sun stroke can affect all of us; human and animal. It’s important that you’re able to recognise the signs of it in your horse and know when you need to call a vet. Here are the signs you need to look our for:
- Excessive sweating
- An unusually quick heart rate that does not return to normal after exercise
- Acting generally lethargically or depressed
- Body temperature that is continuously above 39.5 degrees.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your horse or pony, it’s really important that you get in touch with your vet as soon as you can. And in the meantime, get your horse into a cooler environment such as in a shaded area with plenty of cool water.