We love summer. My entire family is happier and our lives are spent outdoors during the warmer months. When it comes to our pets and livestock though hot weather brings, flies, humidity and the hot sun. All of these can be challenging for your horse.
Pests, in general, haunt our chickens all summer. This is just an example but the warmer the weather, the more clean-up required as poop attracts flies and pests so we have to diligent in the coop! The same goes for your horse.
Here's what you need to be aware of this summer.
1. Toxic plants
It's growing season, and so, time to patrol the pasture again. No matter where you live, there are likely dangerous plants lurking around where your horse grazes. That's why good pasture management is key!
2. Provide shade, fans, and mist
If you turn your horse out during the day, make sure that he has access to shaded areas, ideally by means of a run-in shed or stall. Being able to get out of the hot sun can help your horse to cool down.
TheHorse.com also recommends a misting system for your horse. "As moisture is absorbed from your horse's skin, it will take away some of the heat. Frequent mistings are far more effective than a single dousing with a hose."
Best advice? Get rid of any standing water. Any unwanted water collectors, such as old containers or tires should be junked. I learned this the hard way last summer as we had water containers out for the chickens but they just attracted pests!
4. What about pasture?
The rule is to maintain your pastures and keep the grass and soil as healthy as possible during the hottest months of the year. This is a tip that you need to plan for an anticipate so put this on the list for early Spring.
5. Fly spray and masks
Horseandrider.com shares tips on a good fly mask,
- Do choose a well-made mask constructed of a nonabrasive material with soft linings wherever the mask comes in contact with your horse's face.
- Do make sure the mask fits your horse's head properly, so it can be adjusted to lie smoothly against his face. The mask's lower edge should fall at least an inch below the bottom of your horse's cheekbone; otherwise, a gap created by the cheekbone will allow easy entry to flies under your horse's jaw.
Keep your water cool!
Your horse should have continuous access to clean, fresh water during the summer. Horses can drink great amounts of water when the weather is hot, so be sure to check water buckets and troughs multiple times a day.
7. Pat attention to sunburn and signs for heat stroke
Horses with lighter colored muzzles and light skin around their eyes are particularly at risk of being sunburned. I didn't know this but you can and should apply sunscreen, and yes it's ok to put this on your horse.
We hope these tips are helpful!
Always monitor your horse's body temperature, and heat stress to ensure the warm weather isn't causing heat stroke. A hot summer day can be brutal for horses so keep your horse cool with these tips. One of the best things you can do is continue to make sure they have clean water.
Fill those water containers early in the morning but don't forget to check again closer to lunch. Overheating can happen quickly and heat exhaustion can be a real problem. Humid conditions are also an issue so pay attention to the air temperature too.
So your checklist should be cool water, fly sheets, checking heart rate so what "normal" is and then more cold water!
What do you think about these tips? Share your thoughts below.
Enjoy the outdoors?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.