The summer of 2017 is set to be a scorcher, and as much as we love the sunny days, it seems our equine friends do not. The harsh midday heat can quickly cause a myriad of problems for horses, from cracked hooves to dehydration, not to mention general irritability about being too hot. Read our fool proof guide to helping you and your horse beat the heat at your stables this summer.
Cover them up
There is nothing more irritating than being swarmed by flies, and the warmth brings them out in droves, which means that you need to get a head start on heading off those bugs. Flying insects can pose a real danger to the health of your horse, as the disease-carrying bugs bite, suck and feed off the secretions around horse’s eyes, nose and mouth. With the potential to make life pretty miserable for your horse from dawn till dusk, it essential that you make sure that your horse is fully kitted out whenever he is turned out. Alongside your usual fly repellent, fly masks, fly fringes and mesh fly rugs all help to create a much-needed barrier between your horse and his buzzing nemeses, so invest in some heavy-duty fly protection today.
Bring them in
It is recommended that you limit turnout to four hours a day during a heatwave, so unless you have large areas of shade and shelter in your grazing, then stabling your horse alongside may be the only answer to provide relief from the relentless sun. Stabling alongside field mates or overlooking a busy yard will help your horse keep cool, while the to-ing and fro-ing will keep him company.
Hose them down
There is nothing better after a hot summer’s day than a cool shower, and hosing down with water will certainly take the heat out of your horse. Bathe him early evening to allow him to dry off fully before the temperature drops to prevent him from cooling down too fast. Hosing his legs after riding or turnout will also provide immediate relief on hot days.
Slow them down
Extreme heat saps the energy out of the best of us, so expecting your horse to do his normal workload in hot temperatures simply isn’t fair. Incorporate rest days into your routine and invest in well ventilated stables to help your horse cope with hot days. If your training schedule is such that you cannot take a break in routine, try and ride during the early hours or later in the evening when the temperatures are not at their peak.
Feed them well
Hot summers may leave your grazing a little lacklustre, so supplement your horse with good quality roughage in the form of soaked hay/haylage to keep his energy levels up and help to hydrate him to boot. Above all, always ensure that your horse has free access to plenty of fresh water throughout the day.