So finally Summer has arrived and looks like were in for a couple of weeks (if not months) of rather hot weather! Which is brilliant! We finally have got rid of all the cold, clouds and rain! Woooo! However when we do get the warmer weather we do need to make sure we take extra care of our horses.
So here are some of my top tips for horses, riding and riders (yes were important too) to help us get through these summer days!
1. Turn Out
If your horse is only turned out for a few hours try and pick the cooler hours of the day. Overnight is ideal as it is obviously much cooler, however this is not always possible. If you horse does have to be outside all day ensure they have plenty of shade they can access and always has access to plenty cool, fresh water. Another point to consider is that sometimes pasture can be affected by the heat too and can become sparse, so ensure your horse is getting enough food to maintain a good condition and keep energy levels up!
2. Cool Water
Cool, fresh water is important whatever the weather, but obviously you will find your horses will drink more (as we do) in the warmer weather. An average size horses can consume over 25 gallons of water per day when the temperature is above 70°F (22°c)!! So make sure the bucket is clean and the water is fresh! Nobody likes a warm glass of water!
Yes we can still ride when its hot! They do in most other countries. However maybe be a little bit more thoughtful about it. Try and pick cooler times of the day to ride, such as early in the morning or later in the evening. Maybe make the session slightly shorter than normal, and ensure that you cool your horse down after riding. A nice bucket of cool water and sponge normally does the trick!
4. Avoid Sunburn
Many grey (white) horses will have pink skin, which is prone to sunburn. Even darker horses with white markings on their legs and faces can suffer from it too and especially on the nose area where there isn't too much hair. Just like when we get sunburn, this can be very painful for horses and can even blister. So the best thing to do is to apply sunblock! Obviously keeping them out of the sun at peak hours is also a great help.
5. Know your signs for Heat Stroke
Heat stroke can happen at anytime. When your horse is exposed to excessive heat. Heatstroke can happen if exercising in hot conditions, but be aware that it can also happen if your horse is in a hot stable, travelling or even just hot in the field!
To ensure your horse doesnt have it and to be able to spot the signs, you must first ensure that you know your horses vital signs. So the normal temperature, heart, and respiratory rates.
Signs of heat stroke can include:
If you see any of these signs you must take immediate measures to cool your horse down. These include:
6. Dont Forget To Look After YOURSELF!
Yes we all love our horses dearly and their needs often come before our own, however if you're not around to look after them like royalty then who will?? So take some time to think what YOU need in this warm weather.
Well I hope these tips can be useful in this hot weather, please do share with your friends. And now I hope you all enjoy the sunshine safely and have a super summer with your horses! :)
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