There are plenty of ways to help keep your horse cool during the rising summer temperatures. Keeping your horse cool and well hydrated can prevent many health conditions such as rhabdomyolysis, colic and can greatly reduce the risk of heat stroke. Your horse may find the heat very uncomfortable and it’s important to know that young, old or ill horses may find it more difficult to cope with.
Shade is a great way to keep your horse out of direct sunlight, especially if you aren't around to bring them back inside their stable during the midday heat. Make sure your horse has access to shaded spots at all times and allow them to rest in them especially after any kind of activity.
Spraying your horse with a cool hose will help to lower the body temperature. It’s best to start by spraying your horses lower legs and chest area before covering the whole body.
Ensure that your horse has access to a supply of clean and fresh water at all times. Make sure that you refresh your horse’s water daily, if not more regularly.
Some horses won’t drink enough to keep themselves hydrated, even if water is provided. If you are having problems trying to get your horse to drink, try spraying a small portion of your horse’s hay with salt water to encourage them. Alternatively you can try soaking your horse’s feed in water to increase their water intake.
If you are away from home and your horse is refusing to drink, adding a palatable flavour to their water can sometimes work, you may want to introduce your horse to the taste a couple of days before going away. Some horses develop a taste for their own home water, and usually bringing water in a large container from home will do the job.
Horses also lose electrolytes when they sweat. Electrolytes help regulate the horse's body temperature. They play a vital role so it’s important that you replace them. They are made up of Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium.You can find electrolyte additives in most equine stores and they will help replenish your horses electrolytes.
Some people will clip their horses all year round, and others prefer not to. Clipping your horse in the summer months can also help in keeping your horse a little cooler in the heat. For more information on how to clip your horse correctly, head over to Horsemart’s ‘Horse Clipping Tips and Advice’ page.
If you have tried all of the above points and you are still worried about the wellbeing of your horse, we recommend you seek further assistance and advice from an equine vet.
For any other information on horse health care, please visit Horsemart’s ‘Horse Health Care, Ultimate Guide’