With the eventual arrival of summer not only does it bring glorious weather but also more potential problems for us horse owners…sunburn, flies, over heating and dehydration to name a few!
However there are plenty of things we can do to help avoid such problems:
- Make sure horses have constant access to clean drinking water.
- If possible bring horses in during the worst of the sun or make sure they have access to shaded areas either natural or in the form of a shelter.
- Plan to exercise during cooler periods such as first thing in the morning or during the evening.
- Use sun protection especially on horses with pink skin, either in the form of a sunblock or UV masks.
- Use adequate fly protection to avoid pesky insects bugging your horse!
- At competitions where it may not be possible to avoid the worst of the sun make sure to provide fresh water and if necessary replace lost salts with electrolytes in feed.
- Feeding soaked hay can help ensure that your horse is getting enough fluids.
- If necessary clipping heavy coated horses can help keep them cool, however care must be taken to ensure the skin doesn’t burn once clipped.
- Use cold water to sponge or hose down especially the major blood vessels down the neck and under the stomach.
- Keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke: Elevated Heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature combined with severe sweating and lethargy needs immediate action to cool your horse down, if symptoms persist its time to call the vet!
By following these simple steps you and your horse can enjoy the hopefully long hot summer ahead.