Heat is at its peak during summers. With that, special care should be given to your horses to prevent heat stroke and dehydration. The following are some information about taking care of your horse in hot weather:
During the heat, always remember that the horse’s priority need is water. You must provide the horse with clean and fresh water placed in a clean bucket. Throughout the day, check from time to time if it needs to be refilled. Check the trough or the water bucket for the presence of insect larvae, bird’s droppings, and other contaminations everyday. Change it if there is any.
You might consider feeding the horse with grass more frequently because it has greater water content than hay. Make sure that the pasture where your horse graze has enough grass. If you have difficulty in finding enough grass for your horse, other supplementary feeding are available, which also contains essential vitamins and minerals.
Check the horse’s skin for any dryness. You may consult your veterinarian if flaking or any other skin problems that you think is brought about by the heat occurs. Also, check for the skin turgor by performing the pinch test. This determines if the horse is experiencing dehydration. Other signs of dehydration that you should watch out include rapid pulse, heavy breathing and sunken eyes.
The second priority during summer is the shade. Make sure that the horse has access to the shade of trees. When grazing, they may seek the comfort of the trees’ shade or they may have a nap under the coolness of the trees. If no trees are available, you must build an alternative shelter. It does not need to be heavily constructed, just enough to produce a shade during the day. It is better to have a higher roof and no walls so that the air could circulate better.
Another problem during summers are flies. They cause skin irritation and agitates the horse if not managed. This may be addressed by applying fly sprays. Also, remember that flies and other insects are attracted to moisture, so check your horse’s nose, mouth, ears and eyes for larvae. Also, make sure to pick up manure regularly to control the flies.
If you feel like the heat is distressing the horse, do something about it. An effective intervention would bee to sponge down the horse’s large vessels, which is located in the neck, the belly, and along the inside of legs.
Lastly, modify the horse’s physical activities and trainings. Avoid strenuous activities at noontime. As much as possible, activities should be done during early mornings or late afternoons, where it is much cooler. Prevent sunburns around the eyes by using fitted flyveil. This blocks out a lot of UV rays from the sun. You may also use human sunscreen products with SPF 30 – 50. Apply it everyday for greater protection.