Long, hot summer days can be hazardous for a horse’s health, but a bit of planning can keep your horse safe and comfortable during the sunniest of seasons. This guide will help you make sure you and your horse are ready for summer…
How to keep horses cool in the summer
Make sure your horse has access to a shady area or shelter so they can keep out of the sun’s rays and the flies on hot summer days. Try not to ride your horse at the hottest times of the day, but choose the cool of early morning or evening instead. Your horse will be grateful if you wash off sweaty areas too which may attract the flies and become sore.
Plenty of water
A constant supply of clean, fresh water is essential to prevent dehydration and prevent heatstroke in horses.
A salt lick will help replace vital nutrients that horses lose easily through sweating.
These pesky critters can be a real nightmare for horses and ponies. Long manes and tails are a natural fly defence, but if you prefer your horse to have a pulled mane and forelock then you could use a fly fringe or horse fly mask. If your horse hasn’t worn one before introduce is gradually, and remember to watch out for rubbing. You may also want to buy a fine-mesh anti fly rug for horses and a good quality fly repellent.
A suitable hypoallergenic and waterproof sunblock cream will help protect exposed, unpigmented, white and pink areas of the skin, like the muzzle. Apply daily to prevent sunburn.
You should monitor your horse’s weight all year, but be extra vigilant over the summer when there is plenty of grass. Use a weigh tape and keep a weekly chart, which will help you to monitor the pounds. If you notice a weight gain, (or preferably before your horse gains weight!) restrict your horses grazing area and/or hours and consider using a well-fitted muzzle for short periods. Remember this should be introduced carefully if he has not worn one before. If your horse is eating hard feed, consider reducing it or cutting it out.
Horses’ feet can dry out in warmer weather so keep them well hydrated – your farrier can advise which products to use.
These can be really handy if your horse is irritated by pollen. Introduce your horse to the net gradually if they aren’t used to it.
Stay one step ahead if your horse suffers from sweet itch. Consider bringing your horse in at dawn and dusk, and consider putting a sweet itch rug on him and ask your vet about suitable topical treatments for the affected areas.
Are your horse’s flu and Tetanus vaccinations up to date? Do you need to worm/egg count?