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Heat

- August 1st, 2019 - Ask the Vet, Uncategorized

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Every year around this time, I like to remind everyone how important it is to keep an eye on some things to help your horse navigate its way through this time of year.

As with all year round, water is very important. With the added stress of hot weather, it is very important to supply endless cool, fresh and clean water. Things that can decrease water intake are hot water, dirty water, different water or contaminated water. Please, check the water often to make sure it is pristine. If traveling, a trick my assistant likes to use is to give her horse a second water bucket with a sports drink mix in it for about a week prior to going to the event. Then, at your destination, you can add the sports drink mix to the new water to hide the different taste!

While water is the most important thing to pay attention to, heat itself is a problem. To reduce the impact of the increased heat to your horse, there are some things you can do. First, provide shade. Not having that hot sun beating down on your horse can really help to not overheat them. This can be via a stall cover or natural shelter from trees. They may not always use it, but just them wandering through it can help. Misters and fans can do a great job also at reducing the impact of heat to your horse. The fans move air and encourage the evaporation of sweat. This action removes heat from your horse. The water from misters contacts the body to gather heat and evaporate it away. Combine the two, and you have an evaporative cooler for your horse!

Change your riding schedule and ride when it is cooler. Go to bed early and get up early and ride before work. It is usually much cooler in the morning than the afternoon. You may even have a better day at work having had some fun before! If that does not work for you, then wait until the sun goes down. Install some lights on your arena if you do not have them and enjoy the cooling off time after the sun has set.

Well, hopefully the annual recap (this is my fourth annual article) will help out you and your horse. Some of these may seem like common sense, but not everyone thinks of it. Enjoy the rest of your summer and we will talk next month!

–Dan

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