Beat the Heat
With temperatures set to soar over the weekend owners need to monitor their horses carefully, taking particular care when exercising their horse. Rowen Barbary offers the following top tips to help keep your horse healthy and cool as the temperature rises:
- If possible, try turning your horse out during cooler parts of the day. Overnight is ideal, but if that’s not possible turn out for a few hours early morning when the temperature is cooler. If your horse is out during the day ensure you have suitable shade available either from trees and hedge lines, or from the use of a field shelter.
- During the summer months, you may need to supplement your horses grazing with additional fibre such as hay/haylage as grass becomes sparse to help your horse maintain a healthy body condition. Fibre replacers such as ReadyFibre Mash and Forage ‘n’ Fibre can also be used to help balance the forage given.
- If exercising your horse on a hot day, morning exercise is better than evening exercise when the air temperature is cooler. Try to ride early morning before 9am, and in extreme conditions it may be better for you and your horse to take a few days off.
- It is vital that plenty of fresh water is available at all times. A horse can lose as much as 10-15 litres of water per hour in sweat, so if you are travelling or competing in hot weather it is important that the horse must be offered water at frequent intervals. Succulents such as apples and carrots can be added to water to help tempt your horse to drink, with specially prepared soaked feeds such as Carrot Mash also helping to tempt a horse to drink.
- When horses undergo prolonged sweating for example during strenuous exercise essential minerals are lost through sweat and can cause fatigue, decreased performance and dehydration. Many horses will benefit from additional electrolyte supplementation such as Re-Hydrate which can be provided in the feed or water help to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.
- Fed soaked, super fibres such as sugar beet and soya hulls, as found in the Rowen Barbary mashes, provide an excellent source of highly digestible fibre and have a “water holding” capacity which will help improve fluid intake.
- Some horses, especially those with PPID, or Cushing’s disease may benefit from being clipped to help them regulate body temperature and keep cool as the temperature rises. Be careful not to clip the hair too close, and consider using sun cream especially on white horses, and those with white socks and blazes, pink noses and hairless patches.