362 Rugg Road
Schuylerville, NY 12871
As we enjoy the dog days of summer with our horses, we want our excursions to be both fun and safe for both ourselves and our equine charges.With just a little attention to summer safety, and a few heat precautions, we can do our best to ensure that we will be as prepared as possible.
1)Water:Both you and your horse will need to keep hydrated! Your horse may not want to drink water that is warm from being outside, so you may need to refill water buckets frequently.Be sure automatic waterers are working.A mineral block can also encourage increased water consumption, as well as replace minerals lost through sweating.If you are going to offer your horse access to an electrolyte solution in their water ALWAYS hang two water buckets in their stall – one with electrolytes added as well as a bucket of plain water.
2)Shade: Although your horse enjoys being out and grazing, he will need a shelter to get out of the direct sunlight.This shelter can be the form of a run-in shed, or even a grove of shady trees.If the weather is really oppressive, you can keep your horses in a barn during the day (provided it is cool and well ventilated) and turn them out at night.A fan in the window of their stall is also helpful.
3)Activity: During the hottest part of the year, you may want to avoid hard work during the hottest time of the day – between 11am and 4pm.If the weather has suddenly become warmer, we suggest that you let them acclimate for 10 days before a really hard work.During longer periods of activity with your horse, please take a moment and give him an opportunity to “wet his whistle”.
4)Sweat:Horses need to sweat to help dissipate heat.Horses can sweat large quantities, as much as 10- 15 liters per hour.The dissipation of heat is less efficient with high humidity, so you need to be especially careful in humid conditions.
5)Bathing: After activity (and an appropriate period of walking), you can give your horse a cool bath to help cool him off.Direct the water especially at the head, neck, and inside of the legs where large blood vessels are located near the surface.It’s important to scrape the water away and apply new water so that the water doesn’t become hot on the skin and trap the heat.A cooling sheet is not necessary in the heat of the summer.
6)Know the signs of heat stress: Heat stress can be a life threatening condition. Signs that your horse may be suffering from heat stress include lethargy, unwillingness to eat or drink, a rapid heart rate, rapid respiration, and an elevated rectal temperature.A normal temperature is 98 to 101 F. If your horses’ temperature is over 102 F you should be concerned.In that event, initiate methods to cool your horse (such as a cool bath or even pour rubbing alcohol over the horse’s back), place your horse in front of a fan and call your veterinarian!
Last updated October 26, 2015