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Beat the Heat: Top Strategies for Managing Heat Stress in Horses

Beat the Heat: Top Strategies for Managing Heat Stress in Horses
Managing Heat Stress in Horses
Horses need extra care during hot weather. That will reduce their stress and help maintain their health and well-being. Heat and humidity add many risk factors for equines, especially during competition, training, and transportation. You must make sure your horse isn’t getting overheated and stays well hydrated to remain comfortable when temperatures soar this summer. We’ll give you some tips to help keep your horse happy and cool even when the weather isn’t.

1.   Hydrate Your Horse

If your horse is performing or working, you can be sure it is losing a large amount of fluids and nutrients. Those nutrients are essential and must be replenished. Equines need adequate water intake to stay healthy during hot weather. If you’re traveling and have a hard time getting your horse to drink enough water, consider using a hay block soaked in water as your horse may eat even if he won’t drink. You can also use a horse hydrator when traveling.

2.   Keep Cool

Since summer is a common time for heat problems, you want to keep your horse cool during warmer weather. One way to do this is to spray your animal’s head, neck, back, legs, and rump with cool water. Alternatively, you can add some ice to the water if your horse is extremely hot.

3.   Rethink That Ride

When the summer heat soars to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is above 80%, it makes for a dangerous combination for your horse. An easy way to remember if it’s too hot to ride is if the temperature and humidity combined are over 180, you should skip that ride for the day. Instead, give your horse one of those cool showers or baths we mentioned. If you want to take a ride during the hotter days, either do so in the shaded areas or ride in the early morning or in the evening when the sun is not so hot.

4.   Give Your Horse Electrolytes

During the hot summer months, you should amp up those electrolytes. These minerals play a vital role in a horse’s water balance and are essential for proper muscle and nerve function. Also, an electrolyte imbalance can lead to more serious issues, like heart problems, digestive dysfunction, and anxiety. If you have a horse that works hard in this hot climate, the addition of electrolyte supplements is needed.

5.   Create a Cool Environment

Providing shade for your horse is a good idea during hot weather. Using fans and water misters can also help keep your horse cool and comfortable this season. Equines need a well-ventilated area with a fresh supply of clean water to offset the heat.

Avoiding Heat Stress

The long summer days may give you more time with your horse, but they can also create a challenge. As a horse owner, you need your animals as cool as possible to keep this season easy and breezy. Allowing your horse access to lots of clean water will help replenish those lost nutrients from sweating throughout the day. With some proper planning on your part, your horse can beat the heat and stay healthy this summer.