Your horse doesn’t have to be a racehorse to be pampered in the summer. While we make sure our working horses are kept comfortable and happy in the summer so they can race, your horses also deserve to stay cool this season. While summer temperatures can vary greatly depending on where you are in the country, temperatures will rise, and your horses need to keep cool. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your horses happy this summer.
Like us, horses need to stay hydrated, especially when exercising. But, as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Horses can be stubborn when it comes to drinking, so it’s up to us to ensure they stay hydrated. The best thing to do is provide unrestricted access to clean water, check the buckets or troughs regularly, and refill when necessary. Horses should be drinking between 5 and 12 gallons a day and sometimes up to 15 in the summer when it’s hot.
Shade and Airflow
Horses are a lot like us in the summer, so you may want to check your horses if you feel hot. Two critical factors for keeping cool are shade and airflow. Give them plenty of spots to seek shelter. In their stables, install fans that blow directly onto them. This is very important for our racehorses here in Florida. They’re exerting a lot of energy and need to be kept extra cool with fans and shade when not running.
When Not to Ride
While all horses are different, and some handle heat better than others, some rules to follow will help them stay happy, cool, and healthy in the summertime. One of those rules is to know when not to ride them. You don’t just want to look at the air temperature but consider the horse heat index, which is the temperature combined with the humidity. Anything over 90 degrees with high humidity might be too hot to take your horse out for a ride.
Cooling an Overheated Horse
What happens when your horse gets overheated? First, it’s essential to know the signs of heat stress. If you’re concerned that your horse is overheated, take these steps immediately:
- Stop riding, seek shade, and call your vet
- Use a fan if there’s no breeze
- Using cool but not cold water, start at their feet and gradually get them wet all over, including their head
- Give them small drinks of water every 15 minutes until your vet arrives
Thoroughbred Care in the Florida Heat
We take safety very seriously at horseOlogy. We always ensure that our horses stay cool in the heat and well hydrated, especially during the summer in Florida. We also have a pool that helps cross-train horses and keep them cool while exercising.
To learn more about what horseOlogy has to offer, contact us today.