You may not realize it, but as the temperature reaches the mid-twenties or higher, there is crucial advice to follow to keep you and your horse safe and healthy during the summer months. In the heat, keeping yourself and your horse cool is critical to your training success. With a few recommendations and some of our favorite items, we’ve got you covered to keep you and your horse healthy and happy during the horse training.
Remember to put on Sunscreen
Horses, like humans, may get sunburned, particularly on pink and white parts- around the nose and muzzle. Pay special attention to the heels! They are generally quite pink for the horses wearing white socks, and thus, prone to sunburn. There are many various types of sunscreens and sunblocks available for horses and ponies, so pick the best one for your needs. This applies to the rider too. Put on min SPF 30 Sunblock and wear protective sleeves. Right after the ride, wash your hands and put on Aloe Vera gel.
Plan the Rides according to the Temperature
On the warmest summer days, don’t be hesitant to cancel an outdoor lesson. Both you and your horse benefit from time off from training. Have some fun and mix up your work to keep your horse interested. To get some exercise and stay cool, go on a shaded trail ride with friends, go to the beach, or take your horses swimming. Simply ensure that your horse is transported in a well-ventilated trailer. Spend a day grooming, washing, trick training, or cleaning tack if you can’t leave the barn. Apart from riding in the heat, there’s much to do around the barn and numerous ways to engage with your horse!
Keep Your Horse Hydrated
Throughout the day and after riding, make sure your horse has access to water and essential liquids. Once the horse has calmed down, provide cool but not extremely cold water, and if he has worked himself greatly, consider adding electrolytes to his water to replace those lost during the ride. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, and keep yourself cool and hydrated too! Even if you’re riding early in the morning, bring a drink with you because the temperature rises quickly.
Don’t Forget Fly Repellents
If your horse is turned out during the summer, you’re probably already using a fly repellent on them, but it’s just as vital to protect them throughout your ride. Fly fringes that attach to the browband can reduce fly irritation in your horse’s eyes significantly. They are now available with and without ear protection. Ear bonnets are another stylish option for ear protection. These appear to be popular, and not just for flies! When the flies are out in force, you might also consider putting bug repellent on yourself to avoid being bitten to death by horseflies!
Ice the Legs of your Horse
Injured horses’ legs are frequently iced, but there’s no reason why a healthy horse’s legs can’t be iced on a hot summer day to speed up the cooling process after exercise.
Hose Down Your Horse- Twice, If Needed
Immediately after working, hosing your horse will reduce his body temperature. If your horse is still too hot after the first round, you may wish to water him again. If you plan on hosing the horse down again, using a sweat-scraper to remove surplus water is critical, as excess water from the first round may heat up, making the second round of cold water less effective. Make careful to hose under the stomach and chest, as well as behind the tail, so that every part of the horse receives direct water and the sweat is removed.
Ventilate Your Barn
If your barn has inadequate ventilation or no air conditioning, you should consider installing a fan in your horse’s stall as well as in the cross ties. Make sure you’ve chosen a barn fan that doesn’t have any electrical cables that could provide a fire hazard in a hay-filled barn. For long-term use, portable wireless fans are recommended. If you ride indoors without air conditioning, another great option to stay cool is to install a fan in the arena.
Tips for Riders
Remember to cover your arms no matter how hot it gets – a lightweight cool shirt with long sleeves offers better protection against insect bites, cuts, scrapes, and grazes than a t-shirt or vest top, and is just as cool, if not cooler! Most significantly, it provides sun protection.
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