Summer Care Tips for Horses
Summer is here and the memories of mucking out on freezing cold winter mornings are a thing of the past. The warmer weather makes it appealing for both riders and their horses to get out and about more and more. But, as with any season, the change can bring about its own set of issues to be aware of. We spoke to our horse health experts to find out what we should be on the lookout for this summer.
Hit the Ground Running
The risk of lameness becomes greater on the hard ground. Try to organise regular farriery visits. Ask your farrier about your horse’s hoof balance and conformation, you may need to invest in some horse hoof care products. Farriers can use products such as Equi-Pak to alleviate concussion. Also, make sure you check ground quality if not riding on an artificial surface.
You Can Take a Horse to Water…
A 500 kg horse drinks 12 to 40 litres of water a day and their requirements will only increase during warmer weather or when they are exercising, lactating or ill. Electrolytes are also essential for maintaining your horse’s correct fluid balance and important for normal body functions; deficiencies can lead to problems such as azoturia (tying-up).
We might not notice slight increases in temperature during the summer but horses will. Provide shelter, cool them off after exercise with water, add electrolytes to their water and give them a salt lick to replace what is lost from perspiration. Ensure your horse is fit before exercise and know their normal body temperature.
Too Hot to Handle?
When travelling to and from competitions, make sure there is plenty of ventilation in the horse transport and always carry water, so you can offer it little and often. Try to minimise dust in the area of travel and know and monitor for signs of heat stress. Install a thermometer in your horse transport and try to park at shade in competitions, but in hotter weather avoid leaving your horse in the transport altogether.
Things You Might Not Think About!
– Apply suncream to pink noses to prevent sunburn!
– Horses can develop photosensitivity, often from ingesting or coming into contact with St John’s Wort. Be aware of this.
– Avoid riding in the heat of the day and provide shelter for your horse whilst grazing.
– Provide access to clean water at all times.
– Make sure you have plenty of adequate fly control – use rugs, masks and sprays.
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