When its Too Hot to Trot
Summer keeps catching us out these days. We go into that post-snow limbo that seems as if it will last until the following winter and then, quite suddenly, it breaks.
We start to open windows, leave coats and jumpers in the closet, and within a matter of weeks we have gone from warming ourselves up to trying to cool ourselves down.
We may be able to do those things for ourselves, but our horses might be grateful for a bit of help. Equally, there may be things that we want to do for our horses that, during the hottest months of summer, they would be grateful if we didn’t. Here’s a few pointers to the extra care required
Tails and manes – no trimming please! The swish of the tail is often the poor equine’s only defence against the persistent attention of irritating summer flies. You can try a fly mask but nature gave them tails for a reason.
Check on the hooves, especially if the horse is unshod, they can dry out and crack causing irritation. This is especially true if we have prolonged dry spells where the ground becomes very hard.
Worms as well as flies can be a problem for the horse. Equine and Livestock Insurance Company recommend that you continue to worm your horse through the summer; but check with your vet whether a change of strength is required. It will help on both counts to keep the field as clear of manure as possible.
Make sure there’s lots of clean fresh water always available and check the level to make sure they are actually drinking it. A salt block near the water trough will encourage drinking.
Always make sure there’s plenty of shade for all angles of the sun as it passes over, and don’t forget that horses with white markings can get sunburn. When it’s around the nostrils and muzzles in particular, it can peek and leave nasty sore areas. Human sun cream works just as well for horses!
And finally, a nice cool shower is always welcome, take them inside and turn on the hose; they’ll love you for it.
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