With summer in full swing, the days are long, hot, and at times, unbearable. It is essential to ensure your horses are well cared for and observed during these months, as a multitude of heat related issues could arise quickly. While summer in the South is typically wet, summers in the Midwest can be extremely dry, adding to the list of potential equine threats. No matter where you live though, ensure your horse remains healthy by adhering to these tips:
At the Stable
- Provide fresh, clean, and room temperature water at least two times a day, but more often is better. Horses can sweat up to four gallons on a hot day. Dehydration can strike in a heartbeat, yet is easily prevented with an adequate supply of fresh water.
- You or the barn manager should let the horses out either early in the morning, or towards the end of the day, avoiding the sweltering midday heat.
- Hose down your horse and the stall after letting them outside. The moisture will help lower your horse’s body temperature. Wetting the hay your horse eats also aids in boosting digestive effectiveness during the summer months.
- Stay on top of parasite and worm prevention. Parasites are especially prevalent during the summer months, so it is important to administer antiparasitic medications under the supervision of your equine veterinarian.
In the Field
- Make sure there is at least one shaded area in the section where your horse is allowed to run free, and it’s a good idea to have at least one additional water supply in the field.
- Use sunscreen on parts of your horse’s face that are exposed to direct sunlight. Avoid getting any in, or around your horse’s eyes.
- Cut and dispose of all weeds growing in the pasture where your horse roams. Some weeds can be toxic, so removing them all is a safe measure to prevent any health complications. Weeds grow most rapidly during summer months, so it’s important to stay up on pasture trimming and management.
Remember, summer can be a harsh season despite the hot days, so it’s important to look out for not only our own health, but our animal’s health as well.