- Virginia Shaw, BTB Trainer
How to beat the heat
With all that is going on in the world, it seems like I am constantly hearing about living “The New Normal”. In my opinion, this doesn’t only apply to new Corona virus protocols, but also the heat we have seen this summer. I can’t remember a time that I have
longed for some nice fresh fall air as much as I have this summer. Not only can the cold be hard to deal with when it comes to horses and their health, the heat can pose a serious threat as well. Here are some tips for dealing with extreme temps:
1. Hydrate: Hydration is key for horses at all times of year but when the temps rise above normal it is accentuated. Make sure you are checking the buckets regularly and filling as needed. You can even supplement the water with some electrolytes to give them an added boost. Make sure you are hydrated as well! Working with the horses and doing chores in the heat can cause a quick onset of heat stroke!
2. Keep them cool: Horses sweat to maintain a normal temperature. So if it is hot and you see them sweating it’s okay. Hence why hydration is so important. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause heat stroke and even colic in extreme cases. Bringing the horses in for a cool hose can really be helpful, (I recommend standing them in front of a fan after hosing. This is a sure way to get them dry and cool before turning back out). I don’t recommend turning your horse back out in the sun/heat right after hosing. This can cause them to reheat and be uncomfortable.
3. Exercise lightly: On a super-hot day you won’t see me teaching many lessons, but I do try to work the horses at the coolest parts of the day; either early morning or evening. I do this because there will be hot days when we have to compete and we need to be able to handle the heat, so to speak. You don’t have to work them hard to get where you need to be, maybe go on a shaded trail ride, or do a light hack. Always make sure you use proper cool out methods.
4. Air Flow: make sure your barn or where you keep your horses has plenty of air flow (use fans). If you can keep fans going in the barns do so. Constant air flow allows for the horses to stay as cool as possible.
Any extreme temperature can be hard to navigate with horses. I have no doubt you can beat the heat and enjoy summer with your 4 legged friend!