Keeping your equine friend happy and healthy over the summer months can be challenging. In this blog, we share our summer health tips for horses. Whether it’s how to cope with hard ground, rising temperatures or fly irritations, we share our expert tips for managing your horse’s health this summer.
With the lack of rainfall comes hard ground and deep arenas. While working on a variety of different surfaces is said to be good for the horses’ limbs, regularly riding through deep, uneven arena surfaces or fast work undertaken on rock hard surfaces will be detrimental to your horse’s welfare and long term soundness. Ensure that your arena is regularly harrowed and watered during the summer months and adapt your riding across the countryside to suit the ground conditions. Choosing rides that incorporate hill work and different terrines can be hugely beneficial for strengthening and conditioning, even in walk. It’s one of these summer health tips for horses that really makes a difference.
Unfortunately, our horses are not suitably adjusted to sudden bouts of hot weather in the UK, so expecting your horse to work in the hottest part of the day (Noon until 4.30 pm) during a sudden heatwave is unfair and could result in heat exhaustion and even dehydration colic.
Tailor your riding to accommodate the weather and temperatures and beat the heat. If a hot weather spell is predicted, ride in the early mornings, then turn your horse out in the field with shelter or stable if a cooler option. Turning your horse out overnight also helps cut down on fly irritations.
Incorporating electrolytes into your horse’s feed ahead of a hot spell is also desirable. If you plan to compete, travel your horse earlier or later to avoid traffic delays and the heat. As always, ensure that your horse has access at all times to fresh water and add in wet hay and succulents such as apples, pear and melon as tasty treats to tempt them (our horses love apple bobbing in their water buckets!)
Flies & Midges
Accompanying the long summer months are thousands of flies and midges, which can drive your horse to despair if you don’t provide some relief and escape. Turning your horse out overnight, using fly spray and a fly rug can help.
Feeding Aloeride helps to promote healthy skin enabling natural support for fly and midge irritated skin. Managing a horse that suffers from sweet itch follows similar recommendations. Try riding early or much later in the day to beat the worst of the heat and flies. Feeding garlic powder can help repel flies naturally. Hanging fly traps positioned out of reach from your horse can help keep field shelters and stables a sanctuary from the heat and annoyance of biting insects.
Are Your Horse’s Hooves Prone To Cracks And Splitting, Making It Difficult To Keep Shoes On? Read Our Blog On Hoof Health, Hoof Strength.