It’s British Summertime at last – and although we may be enjoying the hot sun, remember to think about how your horse or pony copes with the weather.
Summer’s hot weather and high humidity could pose serious health risks for horses and ponies. However, there are simple ways to help keep your horse cool and healthy. Although most of this is down to instinct or basic general knowledge – we have put together a few tips to help you keep your four legged friends cool in the sun.
- Provide ample fresh, clean water at all times. Check daily or better still, twice daily that buckets or troughs are not contaminated with algae growth and that there is still plenty of water available. Try to keep the water cool. Horses may not want to drink warm water. Ponies and foals may have trouble reaching to the bottom of a shallowly filled trough. Make sure everyone in your paddocks can reach the water.
- When you horse or pony is in the field, make sure there is a place for your horse to avoid the sun, either a field shelter or in a shady spot under a tree. If there isn’t too much shade int he field and during very hot weather, consider keeping your horses stabled during the day, and letting them out at night.
- You might want to think about clipping horses with heavy coats. Be careful not to clip too close however, since exposed skin can sunburn. Also, if your horse or pony has white makings, such as a snip on their nose or a blaze, remember to apply a high factor suncream to prevent them from getting sunburnt.
- After riding, or prolonged exposure to the sun, try sponging or hosing down the large blood vessels along the inside of the legs, belly, and neck to cool off your horse.
- If you are planning to ride, try to schedule your session for early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
- Consider using electrolytes if your horse does sweat a lot. Electrolytes replace salts lost in sweating, and are similar to human sport drinks. You can put electrolytes in the horse’s feed, or use a large-ended syringe to squirt into the mouth.
For more information, why not check out the RSPCA’s informative guide to caring for animals in hot weather, byclicking here.
If you have any more tips to keep horses cool in the sun add them below for everyone to see.