Summer months can be horrible for humans, but even more so for our horse friends!
- Ride early or late in the day to avoid the hottest periods
- Use cold water hosing or sponging to cool your horse after exercise. It’s not true that pouring cold water over hot muscles will cause cramping. Apply cold water, scrape it off, and pour on more to carry heat away. The Tiger's Tongue sponge is great for cleaning deep dirt away!
- Allow your horse to drink during and after exercise periods, give him a chance to drink, walk him for a few minutes, offer more water, walk, and continue until he has had all the water he wants
- Next time you’re enjoying watermelon on a hot summer day, consider dicing up some of the pulp and offering it to your horses. Many horses enjoy the taste with or without a light sprinkling of salt, and it’s a good way to get a little more water into equines that sweat out a lot of fluid during periods of warm weather
- Think about your horse’s condition frequently as you ride, don’t hesitate to cut short a trail ride or jumping lesson; horses can suffer from heat stress and illness just as people can
- With older horses or those in obese or unfit condition, be careful to limit exercise in hot weather. These horses may get overheated more quickly and be less able to lose excess heat than their younger, fitter peers;
- All horses should have access to a salt block. If your horse is working regularly in hot weather, consider using an electrolyte supplement like RESTORE even if you don’t see a lot of sweat, which can evaporate before it becomes visible.
- Be sure your horse is comfortable even when he’s not working. Give him access to plenty of fresh water and a shady spot to rest. Use a fly sheet or fly spray like FLYAWAY as needed to guarantee he can relax; stamping at flies uses a lot of energy and is hard on legs and hooves. Putting sunscreen on white or light-colored muzzles will keep sensitive skin from getting painfully burned.