The rainy season can be a challenging time for horse owners. Large amounts of rainfall can have negative effects on your horse’s health. In many parts of the country, highly trafficked pastures are beginning to look more like swamp land than spaces for your equine to roam. Let’s look at some of the most common challenges heavy rains can bring and the solutions that may help you and your horse get through them.
During rainy weather, mosquitos love to lay eggs in standing water. These tiny bugs aren’t only annoying but will come out in full force during this season. Before you know it, they’ll completely cover your horse’s coat. Have your horse vaccinated for West Nile virus, rabies, tetanus, and other common equine illnesses, according to your vet’s recommendations.
Horse hygiene is always important, but frequent inspections and grooming are crucial to decrease the impact of rain on your animal. Inspect your horse’s coat for rain rot or other skin irritations. Skin infections are especially prevalent after heavy rainfall. Provide the necessary treatments when needed, and don’t delay any vet visits. Regular brushing may prevent these conditions.
Although it may seem almost unmanageable, there are some ways to mitigate the mud that accumulates during heavy rainfall. You can modify your pastures to handle the precipitation better by installing gutters to guide water away from buildings. The use of swales and culverts will decrease the amount of standing water, which will reduce hoof issues like abscesses and thrush. These heavy rains drive rats and mice out of their usual habitats, and they can bring all kinds of diseases, so if you notice these little pests, call an exterminator immediately.
When an area receives heavy rainfall, it leads to flooding. All kinds of trash and debris can flow down to your pastures. You should check the area for any garbage to keep your horse from eating plastic or tripping over an item. Some types of debris can make your horse extremely ill, so you want to make checking the surrounding areas a regular part of your land maintenance.
When you have muddy ground, your horse walking through it will damage the pasture. Turning your equine out when the soil is still wet can cause soil compaction and may destroy the plant root system. One way to control this is to have a sacrifice lot that is a non-grazing area where your horse is kept for a certain time to reduce the impact on other pasture spaces. You can use paddocks, corrals, runouts, and dry lots for this purpose while preserving grazing areas.
Mother nature has a way of keeping us on our toes. Many parts of the country are experiencing large amounts of rainfall. That can spell disaster for horse owners. Slippery walkways, muddy pastures, and disease-ridden bugs can quickly turn into a dangerous situation. These tips can help you care for your horse during those heavy rain periods. With some preventative care and planning, you’ll be prepared to reduce the impact this rainy season has on your horse and your land.