Ocala, Florida, is horse country, but it’s also one of the hottest places in the United States, so we need to know how to keep our equines safe and healthy in the summer heat. Our training horses are brought to the track early in the day, which helps avoid the heat, but that is not the case for racing or other disciplines. Here are some tips for keeping cool this summer.
Horses need to stay hydrated, especially when they exercise. But also, just like us, horses can be stubborn when they should drink but don’t. You’ll want to provide unrestricted access to clean water. Clean and check the buckets regularly and refill them when necessary. Horses should drink between 5 and 12 gallons a day and up to 15 in the summer heat.
Keep Them Cool
If you feel hot, so do your horses. Two ways to keep horses cool in the summer are airflow and shade. Have places in the open spaces where they can retreat under trees or cover. You can install fans in the barn to keep them cool. Racehorses exert a lot of energy, so keeping them cool with fans and shade is critical in the summer in Florida.
Avoid Riding in Danger Zones
All horses are different, and they’ll react differently to heat. But there are some rules you can follow in the summer to keep them safe. Knowing when to ride them is critical. Along with the air temperature, consider the horse heat index, which is temperature plus humidity. Anything over 90 degrees with high humidity can be too much for equines.
What To Do if They Overheat
So what happens if your horse overheats? Pay attention to the signs of heat stress. Take these steps if they seem to be overheated:
- Stop riding, get in the shade, and call your vet
- Fan them if the air isn’t windy or breezy
- Use cool but not cold water and gradually get them wet all over, starting at their feet and ending at their head
- Provide small drinks of water every 15 minutes until your vet arrives
Keeping Cool at horseOlogy
We take safety very seriously at our farm. We keep our horses cool and well-hydrated, especially during the summer in Florida. We also use swimming and the cold water spa to maintain their health and safety as athletes.
Meet the Ologists
Follow horseOlogy online and on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about our team, thoroughbreds, and services. Call us at 855-HORSIES (855-467-7437) to schedule your visit to our facility.