1) Offer your horse plenty to drink on hot summer days.
Cool, clean water is essential to a horse’s health, particularly during hot, humid summer weather. Water buckets and troughs can quickly become slimy and gross, as their contents overheat. Change the water frequently, and scrub out troughs and buckets.
In addition, active horses usually require additional electrolytes and vitamins when the mercury climbs higher. A mineral block or lick is a welcome treat and a healthful solution.
2) Give your horse a cool bath on hot summer days.
Most horses enjoy a good hosing, sponge bath or water spraying. Be sure to cool off the horse’s belly, neck and the inside of his legs – as these regions help to cool his entire body. Try not to hit the horse’s ears or face, as horses frequently resist this. A gentle mist, created by spraying the hose above the horse’s head (instead of directly in his face or near his ears) is often an easy solution.
Use a sweat scraper or shedding blade to remove excess water after bathing a horse. This will facilitate drying. Horses cool themselves by sweating, which is prevented while they are soaking wet.
Braiding up a horse’s mane and giving him an all-over body-clip (if needed) will also help to keep him cooler in hot and humid weather.
3) Install a fan on your horse’s stall for hot summer days.
An economical box fan, attached to a horse’s stall window with a couple of sturdy bungee cords, can provide significant relief and welcome air circulation during hot weather. Be careful with extension cords in the barn, however, and avoid coiling cords (as this increases the likelihood of dangerous sparks).
4) Fly-spray your horse on hot summer days.
Faithful fly spraying helps horses to remain more comfortable in pasture turnout. Bucking, fussing, stomping, and swishing away flying pests is hard work on hot days. Fly sheets can be helpful, if they are extremely lightweight and breathable. Blankets and sheets should be removed, however.
5) Ride your horse gently on hot summer days.
A sweltering summer day might be an ideal occasion for offering a horse a day off from training or riding. Or, it might be a super time to take a long, easy trail ride in the shady woods. If possible, why not take a dip in the pond with a trusty horse?
Many smart equestrians plan their daily rides in the early mornings or the evenings, rather than in the peak heat hours. This practice helps both horses and riders to remain more comfortable.
By taking a few simple steps, horse owners can keep their beloved equines as comfortable and fit as possible on hot summer days.