Whether it’s a temporary heatwave or a warmer climate, summer can bring challenges for horse owners. In this horse health blog, we share ten tricks and tips for keeping your horse cool this summer.
How do you keep a horse cool in summer?
Keeping a horse cool in the summer months takes organisation and planning. As temperatures rise, adapt your riding routine to avoid the hottest part of the day and ensure your horse has plenty of shade and fresh water. Sudden heatwaves can cause distress in younger, sick or elderly horses, so ensure you have plans to keep your horse cool.
Clip Hairy Coats To Keep Cool
If your horse grows a thick coat all year or has a thick curly coat due to Cushing’s disease, you should think about clipping their hairy coat. Clipping an excessively hairy coat will ensure they don’t struggle as much in the heat. Your horse will feel much more comfortable and cooler without wearing a thick fur coat!
Avoid Riding In The Heat Of The Day
Choosing to ride early in the morning or much later at night will help prevent your horse from getting stressed in the heat. The sun is at its strongest in the UK from 11 am – 3 pm, but your arena can take much longer to cool down, even without the sun bearing down on the surface.
Tailor Exercise Routines
Tailoring your exercise routine may mean you swap schooling your horse in the arena for hacking. You can still hack your competition horse and practice your schooling simultaneously by incorporating exercises you usually ride in the arena. Shoulder-in and leg-yielding can be ridden in walk and on bridleways to keep your horse supple and schooled.
Add Ice To Washing Water
Add ice to your horse’s washing water for a cooling wash down. Alternatively, adding an equine rinse with mint can be equally refreshing for your horse.
Whether competing at a show or turning your horse out in the field, your horse must have access to shade if they are out during the day’s heat.
Make A Tasty Ice Lolly
Freezing slices of pear, apple, and even the odd blackberry in water can be a refreshing treat for hot weather. Freeze in Tupperware in the freezer, pop out of the container into a bucket of fresh water, and watch your horse enjoy his own equine icicle pop!
Feeding electrolytes to your horse is essential in hot weather and for those who sweat excessively. Electrolytes replenish lost minerals and help keep your horse hydrated by encouraging them to drink. Dehydration is a summer health problem in horses you want to avoid.
Soak Your Horse’s Hay
Soaking your horses’ hay can add moisture to their diet. Soaking hay can be particularly beneficial to fussy drinkers when away from home. Haylege has a higher moisture content than hay, so it really depends on whether you choose to feed hay or haylage, as to what you decide to do. Remember not to make sudden changes to your horses’ diet, including their forage.
Add Sliced Apple To Water Bucket
Add some thin slices of apple to your horses’ water bucket to encourage them to take a drink and play in the water with their muzzle to retrieve a tasty sweet slice! This can work very well for fussy drinkers at home or shows.
Give A Mash Following Exercise
Give your horse a tasty sloppy soup of mash following exercise. There are plenty of brands on the market, and some are even specifically designed to feed following exercise with nutrients for recovery. A post-workout drink they will love!
Also read What Does My Horse Need This Summer?