Here are a few tips on how to look after your horse during hot weather –
Access to water – Ensure your horse is kept hydrated and has access to constant clean fresh water, even put out an extra bucket of water just in case. Your horse’s water should be checked at least twice a day.
Sunburn – Any pink skin areas on your horse, particularly around the face and heel areas, need to be protected from the sun. There are many horse specific sun creams on the market or you can use children’s sunblock, but do test the cream on a small area of your horse first to check for possible allergic reactions, you can also check with your vet. Make use of full face masks to help protect your horses face from the sun.
If your horse has suffered sunburn, remove your horse from the sun as soon as possible and cool the burnt area with water. There are specialist creams available to aid soothing and to help re-hydrate the skin, but always check with your vet.
Shelter and shade – Where possible bring your horses in during the hottest part of the day (late morning until late evening). If you are unable to stable your horse in the day then ensure your horse has access to shade/shelter in their field, either man made or natural – horses will appreciate some respite from the sun and flies.
Ventilation – If you do plan to stable your horse during the hot weather just consider ventilation, does your stable have enough air flow? You can try and use a large fan to increase the air flow to your stable if needed, but make sure you place it in a safe location where your horse cannot touch it or its power supply.
Flies – Use fly creams. sprays, fly rugs and masks to help lighten the burden of summer flies and midges. Also stables that are kept clean and fields that are poo-picked are less appealing to flies which in turn make a more comfortable environment for your horse to be in.
Exercise – Avoid exercising your horse during the hottest part of the day (10am – 4pm) and keep your exercise sessions short.
Cooling down – After exercise make sure you cool your horse down by either hosing or sponging down, this will help remove sweat and aid your horses cooling down process.
Feed electrolytes – Feeding electrolytes daily during the hot weather and when your horse has built up a sweat through exercise will replace minerals lost through sweating and will help keep you horse hydrated by encouraging your horse to drink.
If you require any further information regarding caring for your horse in the hot weather visit www.worldhorsewelfare.org or contact your vet.