Tips to Keep Horses Healthy and Comfortable in Hot Weather
Your horse’s health may be more at risk in oppressive heat than excessive cold. As heat and humidity begin to crank up follow these tips to keep your horse happy and healthy. Use this formula to determine if it is safe to work your horse:
Temperature (degrees F) + Humidity (%) – Wind speed (MPH.)
Example: 90 (degrees) + 70 (percent) – 12 (MPH) = 148
If the result is close to, or above 150, too much work could put your horse’s health in jeopardy. Learn how to monitor your horse’s heart and respiration rates. Also become familiar with his normal sweating pattern.
The most important element of equine health in hot weather is plenty of clean, cool water. No matter what type of watering system you use check it at least once daily. Automatic waterers can quit, water lines break, horses sometimes confuse their water bucket with the manure bucket, and playful horses knock over barrels and tanks leaving everyone without water.
If you horse goes off his feed, the first thing to check is the quality of the water. There are three things you need to check when evaluating your horse’s water supply:
Quantity – is the bucket or barrel full?
Smell – does the water smell clean?
Taste – If the water passes the smell test, go ahead and dip your finger in the water and taste it. If you don’t like it neither will your horse.
Flavor the Water
A trick used by horse owners/trainers who haul frequently is using flavored water. When your horse drinks water at home flavored with Gatorade, apple juice, or Kool-Aid – you can usually get them to drink any potable water. For double duty from the water bucket, add either apple or orange flavored electrolytes. This encourages your horse to drink more and keeps them balanced.
Sometimes a horse’s muzzle will peel and look dry and sore from sunburn; other times it can be improved by balancing their micro-nutrient intake. Use sunscreen and try putting a soft block of trace minerals in your horse’s feeder to see if the situation improves.
Horses come with varying degrees of sensitivity to insects. The menu of options to protect your horse against biting and disease- Is There A Rat Season carrying insects range from the new pour-on topicals that last for two weeks to stall confinement in the most severe cases.
The only way to determine the best approach for your horse is through trial and error. Be careful not to overuse fly sprays and don’t let a residue build up on your horse’s coat. Some horses can develop chemical burns from layers of fly spray.
Fly sheets vary widely in design and material. Choose a fit that won’t rub your horse and provides adequate air flow. Don’t leave fly sheets on for days at a time. Use them during the day or overnight, whichever bests protects your horse from sun and insects. Rinse fly sheets regularly to keep your horse …