Whilst many people get excited about the prospect of a long, hot summer, horse owners worry about the welfare of their animals in the heat. The months of July and August bring lots of opportunities to enjoy a leisurely ride, but special attention needs to be given to our horses because they are prone to dehydration and heat exhaustion during the summertime.
Horses typically drink up to 55 litres of water per day, which can increase when the weather is warm. Availability to water at all times is essential to keeping your horse hydrated. Choose troughs and buckets that hold larger quantities of water to save you from having to keep filling up. We stock the Gorilla Rubber Recycled Tyre Trough which can hold up to 30 litres!
Horses rely heavily on sweating to help them stay cool, which means they are susceptible to losing essential body salts, known as electrolytes, particularly sodium, calcium and magnesium. Failure to replace these can result in fatigue. NAF Electro Lytes Liquid and Gold Label Electrolyte Liquid are great options for restoring electrolytes lost from sweating during hot weather. You can either add them to your horse’s feed or dissolve them in drinking water.
Access to shade is also important for ensuring a happy and healthy horse. When turning out, make sure there is a shaded area of trees or a manmade shelter for them to take cover from the sun’s rays. Sensitive, young and elderly horses are particularly affected by a lack of shade. Consider opting for a fly mask that will provide UV protection and a sunshield, such as the Shires Sun Shield Fly Mask. They may also benefit from a lightweight summer rug in white that will reflect the sun whilst allowing your horse to sweat.
Ventilation is another key consideration, especially if your horse is stabled indoors. A fan is a good idea to increase the air flow. Just ensure that it is placed in a safe spot. If you need to travel, it is best to set off first thing in the morning or last thing at night, opening vents and windows to provide a steady draught.
Just as humans can get burnt when their skin is exposed to the sun, horses also suffer from sunburn. We recommend applying products such as Lincoln Sun Bloc or Gold Label Sun Guard to reduce their risk of sunburn. In the event that your horse is suffering from too much exposure to the sun, Barrier Sunburn Soother will help to soothe sore areas. Aloe Vera also works wonders on any burns.
If you are worried that your horse has spent too much time in the sun, the first step is to try to cool them down. Sponging them with cool water will work towards bringing down their body temperature. We offer a great range of grooming sponges and scrubbers including the dual-purpose Sponge Sweat Scraper!
Flies are another concern for horse owners when the sun comes out. We advise investing in a good fly repellent, along with a fly rug, fly fringe, fly hood or fly mask, to protect your horse from nasty pests, as well as the risk of infection from biting insects. After all, there is nothing more annoying for horses than flies buzzing around them in summer… It is definitely one of the downsides of this time of year.
If you would like any advice on keeping your horse safe this summer, you can give our friendly team a call on 01494 872882.